What’s in my camera bag? I get asked about my lenses all the time. What are my favorites and what’s the best lens for ….. Compared to some photographers, my collection is small. I have 5 lenses in total. One is a kit lens that I never use anymore (except to take this picture), Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5. I won’t talk about that one, but my others are all useful and my go-to for different shooting situations. I certainly have a wish list of lenses and other equipment, but the lenses I have get the job done!
What’s in my camera bag?
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L: This is my everyday go-to lens. This is what is on my camera for most of my personal shooting – vacations, school events, and other everyday needs. I also use it for shooting events. The L series lenses are pricey, but are definitely worth saving for. This lens is fast, sharp, well built, and versatile. It is a little heavy, but you get used to it. It has been one of the best lens purchases I’ve made!
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8: I love this lens! It is my favorite of my 2 portrait lenses. I love the bokeh (blurry background) it creates. It’s small and lightweight, and as far as lenses go, very reasonably priced! I love the focus speed and sharpness I get from this lens. It isn’t part of the Canon L series, but my research convinced me to go with the 85 f/1.8 over the much more expensive f/1.2.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4: I love this lens too! It’s great in lower light situations because of the 1.4 focal length. It’s a great portrait lens, is lightweight and inexpensive. This and the 85mm are the two lenses I use exclusively for portraits.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L: My go to for my boys’ sports! Both my boys play football, and one swims while the other plays basketball and tennis. Therefore, I shoot a lot of sports! I rented this lens many times before I could save up to buy it. I love that this lens is fast, sharp, and perfect for action shooting. The only learning curves (not even negatives) were that I had to learn to keep the camera very still on long focal lengths (200mm) because of camera shake. This occurs because of the weight and size of the lens. A great way to avoid this is by using a monopod or bracing you camera against something steady.
A few tips..
Invest in good “glass”. Many years ago a photography instructor gave me the best piece of advice about camera equipment. Invest in your glass (lenses). If you have a DSLR, but it is an entry level body with a cropped sensor (such as a Canon Rebels or Nikon DX Series), buy lenses for full frame cameras, if you have the option. Most cropped sensor bodies are compatible with full frame lenses. The cropped sensor will change the focal length some, but they will be a better long term purchase. By investing in better lenses you have the opportunity to learn more about technique and shooting. Having the latest and greatest camera body is a great goal, but not the most important purchase, in my humble opinion!
What is the best lens for you? That’s a personal question. Are you looking for a versatile, daily use lens? Are you looking for a longer focal length to use from the stands at sporting events? Or, are you wanting to try a prime lens? When lens shopping, this is the first thing you need to determine.
Do your research. Once you know of a specific type of lens you’re searching for, look at reviews for not only your camera’s brand of lenses, but competitor brands, as well. Sigma and Tamron make some fabulous lenses that are often as good as Canon and Nikkor, but at a lower price. One of my favorite lenses that I used to own was made by Tamron. Go to a camera store and play with lenses, ask questions, compare, and rent one to test out for a weekend.
Look for deals. There are great and reputable sites to purchase used equipment. Both of my L series lenses I purchased used, and they are fabulous. It’s a great way to get great equipment at a considerable savings. Lens rental companies, Canon and Nikon, and online camera equipment stores all sell refurbished equipment.
Ready to learn more??
What are your questions about camera lenses? Comment below or contact me with your questions! Want to learn more? I will be hosting a Basic Photography Class this summer, so be sure to sign up for PCP emails for priority notifications and receive our complimentary Family Photography Welcome Guide as our gift.