“What lens should I get?”
I hear that question a lot from students, and I am always delighted to help answer it.
Of course “help” is all I can do. And I will, over time, in this blog. I can explain the difference between:
- Zoom and prime.
- EF and EF-S (or non-DX and DX).
- Wide and telephoto.
- Normal and specialised, like Macro and Tilt-Shift.
And I can explain what to use them for (long for sports and safaris, short for environmental, parties, and photojournalism).
And with that knowledge, you can, for instance, buy the lenses I use – or at least understand why I bought them:
So this is a typical photojournalist collection, consisting of fast (f/2.8 or better) lenses:
- Zooms: 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 2.8L and 16-35 2.8L
- 100mm macro
- Fast primes, 35 mm f/1.4L and 50mm f/1.4
But “fast” does not have to mean “expensive”. The first lens you should buy is the lens I shot my lenses with – the cheapest Canon lens (and Nikon has one too): the 50mm f/1.8. The “nifty fifty”. And while the lenses above range from $500 (50mm) to $1,000-$2,000 (all the rest), the 50mm f/1.8 is just over $100. And boy, is it fast and sharp. Zoom in to see!
And that nifty fifty on a crop camera turns into an 80mm portrait lens.
One thing to feel good about: when buying a lens, you are investing. Unlike a camera, which loses value as quickly as a PC, a lens keeps its value for many years.