Everything You Want to Know About Camera Lenses: Part 2-What Lens Should I Buy?

As we are learning all about lenses this month on Click It Up A Notch, hopefully you can make more informed decisions on which ones best suit your needs. For those of you who want someone to tell you straight up what lens to buy, this post is for you!

What lens to buy?

Before I get to the list of favorite and most popular lenses, I wanted to share with you a little about my journey with lenses. Keep in mind that I am a Canon shooter, so the lenses I will discuss are Canon. However, I have listed both Canon and Nikon lenses on the favorites list. Also, I shoot mainly portraits, events, and food, so my recommendations of what lens to buy are based on lenses for those types of photography.

Moving Beyond the kit lens

When I got my first dslr camera it came with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. After feeling unsatisfied and doing research, I discovered variable aperture lenses are generally of lower quality than fixed aperture lenses. They are fine for beginners and casual amateurs, but as my photography skills were improving I wanted a more sophisticated lens. After asking other photographers a lot of questions, I learned what it meant to have a “fast” lens. Check out Laurie’s post, Understanding the writing on the lens, for more on variable aperture and fast lenses. Since I was shooting a lot indoors and in low light, as well as portraits where I wanted to isolate the subject from the background, I knew I needed faster lenses.

Prime vs. Zoom

My next consideration was whether I should get a prime lens (fixed focal length) and/or a zoom lens. Generally, you are going to get the very best optical quality and sharpness in a prime lens. The greatest value to me personally with a prime is the nice background blur and less distortion for shooting portraits, products or food.

A good place to start when choosing your first prime lens is with one of the “nifty fifty’s” (50mm lenses). I have the Canon 50mm f1.4 lens and it captures stunning portraits! The low aperture creates the shallow depth of field that makes your subject pop off the page and softens skin nicely too. The f/1.4 also comes in handy when you have little available light to work with.

Before I owned the f/1.4 version, I started out by purchasing the super affordable Canon 50mm f/1.8. It was actually a nice, sharp lens for the $119 price! If you are on a budget and want to experiment with a 50mm lens, I would start with the f/1.8, then upgrade later once you decide whether or not you like the 50mm focal length. To keep you smiling…a shot taken with my 50mm of my son getting caught red-handed cutting barbie’s hair.

Courtney will do a detailed post in a few weeks comparing two different versions of the 50mm lens. Also, check out her previous post on comparing the 20mm, the 35mm, and the 50mm primes for further insight.

The trade off with a prime is obviously that you have to do the footwork closer or further from your subject, rather than conveniently zooming in and out.  And you may miss out on that shot-of-a-lifetime if you can’t zoom to the proper focal length to capture it!

There are some excellent zooms out there too, like the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L that I own. It’s extremely popular among professionals as an “essential” lens to own.  It’s considered a wide-angle lens, so it’s great in tight spaces, when shooting large groups, or for architecture and interiors.  I have this lens on my camera 90% of the time because it’s a multipurpose, every day lens with superb image quality. The f/2.8 capabilities coupled with the convenient zoom range make it a very desirable lens for various types of photography.

Here’s a shot I took with my 24-70 this week of my kids for their daddy’s Birthday.

Often compared with the Canon 24-70mm and a more affordable option is the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. I owned this lens for a year until I saved up enough for my Canon 24-70. I was very happy with the image quality and light that the f/2.8 brought in…and it is SHARP! It has the ideal focal length for taking natural-looking portraits. It’s a great lens to own until you are ready to make the jump to pro level glass.

So, if your wallet allows, I recommend getting one of each…a prime and a zoom to start out with. It’s nice to have the option to choose a mid-range zoom when you are in tight spaces or chasing toddlers, but also have that 50mm when you simply want to create a fabulous portrait of a friend or an artistic shot of your dinner plate.

Something to keep in mind

When considering what lenses to buy, remember also to take into account the crop factor that will apply to your camera.  Read your manual or research what crop factor you camera has. The impact of the crop factor on the Canon 50D camera, for example, is that all Canon lenses act as if their focal length has been increased by 1.6x or 60%. So for example, a 70-200mm lens will act more like a 112-320mm. Melissa will talk more about the differences between crop and full frame sensors next week.

Beyond the Basics

Once I owned both a prime and a mid range zoom, I still felt like I needed a telephoto zoom lens with a longer reach. I mainly needed it for capturing my kids in sports, while boating, or to make it easier to get close in the moment, but not disturb the moment. Telephoto lenses are great storytelling lenses.

I decided I wanted the popular Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L, but wasn’t ready to break the bank to get it! So I purchased the slightly more affordable version of that lens, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L, which worked for me since I was only planning on using it outside where there was plenty of light. This lens is still a highly rated zoom and one of the cheapest “L” series Canon lenses. It is also much lighter to carry around, which is what I wanted for travel and street photography. This lens has served my needs perfectly, but I do plan to upgrade to that f/2.8 when I’m ready to make the financial leap. Here’s a wedding shot I took using my 70-200mm on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. I was quite a ways away from the bride & groom, so I was able to capture a natural moment without disturbing them.

So, my advice to you is…when considering what lens to buy, keep in mind your own goals, abilities and budget. If you can’t bring yourself to purchase a $2000 lens, either save up for awhile until you can get the one you want, or look for a comparable lens within the same focal length that you need. And remember to always look for lenses with the lowest number f/stop possible. I prefer f/2.8 or smaller in most cases. Lenses hold their value quite well. So you should be able to sell them once you “outgrow” them with no problem.

The last non-essential, but “fun” lens that I purchased was the Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro. I will talk more about this lens in an upcoming post next week where each of us will share one of our favorite lenses and why! Macros are fun to experiment with when capturing fine details, texture, and even portraits. I use mine to magnify things like eye lashes, skin texture and hair on newborns.

As much as I would like to continue talking about different lenses, I won’t bore you with all my “nerdy-ness”. OK, here’s the list….

THE List

Below is a list (broken down according to price) of some of the most recommended Canon and Nikon lenses, according to my research.  I didn’t list any third party lenses (except the Tamron 28-75) because I don’t know enough about them. I tried to include the top lenses for each type i.e. primes, zooms, macros within each price range if there was a good one.

Canon (Price no object)

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM Wide Angle Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Telephoto Zoom

Canon 70-200mm f/4 L IS Lens

 

Canon (Around $600 or less)

Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Wide Angle Lens

Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens

 

Canon (Around $300 or less)

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens

Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Standard Zoom Lens

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens

 

Nikon (Price no object)

Nikon 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S RF SWM Prime Wide-Angle Nikkor Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor Lens

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Lens

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens

Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens

 

Nikon (Around $600 or less)

Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor Lens

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G SIC SW Prime Nikkor Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR Lens

Nikon 85mm f/3.5G AF-S DX ED VR Micro Nikkor Lens

Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens

 

Nikon (Around $300 or less)

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR Lens

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR Lens

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope this has helped you decide what to buy. Always read the reviews before you buy! And as a recap on the lenses I own, here they are in the order that I purchased them:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens
Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens
Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS

Read the whole series: Everything you want to know about camera lenses
Part 1: Understanding the writing on the lens
Part 2: What lens should I buy next?
Part 3: Our Favorite Lenses
Part 4: Lens on crop vs. full frame sensor
Part 5: Comparing different lenses
Part 6: 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4

Disclaimer: These are affiliate links. What does that mean? Basically, if you loved the information and decide to purchase anything through the link that the author of this post will receive a small percentage of money from the company at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance if you do decide to make a purchase :)

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I am a photographer from Salt Lake City, UT. I enjoy shooting food, travel, macro, and lifestyle portraits. I have been in and out of the photography business since 2005, juggling the demands of motherhood (four kiddos) with my love of photography. I feel it is a true gift to be able to express who I am and my everyday through my lens. I find much joy in learning and improving, and in helping others grow. I also love a good sweaty workout, shopping alone, house boating on Lake Powell, sauteed mushrooms, salty & sweet together, and un-interrupted afternoon naps! Looking forward to sharing my knowledge and learning with all of you this year! Website/Blog | Facebook My Camera bag: Nikon D700 | Nikon 85mm f/1.4G | Nikon 24-70 f/2.8G | Nikon 35mm f/2D | Lensbaby Composer Pro| SB-910 Speedlight Flash

Comments

  1. Great Article! I am looking forward to this series re: lens.
    One quick ?
    If I don’t have a macro or not planning to purchase one, wouldn’t I be able to “crop” (in Lightroom or PS) to get the same effect?

    Thank You

    • No. When you crop a photo you are just cropping the frame tighter. A macro lens actually magnifies detail that would otherwise be impossible to detect with the naked eye. The macro lens I have is a “compact” macro, meaning it focuses down to one-half life size, whereas most macros are 1:1 magnification. The picture of the eyelashes in this post is probably not the best example of a macro shot. They are magnified a little with my lens, but not as much as they would be if you had a 1 to 1 macro like the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro that’s on my wish list :)
      Jennifer recently posted..Things I love: Baby gear!

  2. So awesome – you were beyond thorough! Wish I had had this when I started :)

  3. This iis such a great article covers so much I’ve wanted to know more about. I own a 50mm 1.8 and I am ready to soon buy my second lens and I was having trouble deciding which to go with either 1. upgrading my 50mm or 2. buying the 24-70mm, still a little undecided. But this helps better my decision thanks for all the info!
    Deneil recently posted..Self Portrait

    • I would get the 24-70 as your next lens. You won’t regret it! I use that lens sooo much, even more than my 50. You will love the versatility of a zoom. Canon actually just came out with a new version of the 24-70 that you might look into. I know it’s lighter weight than the old version, which would be awesome since my only negative thing I can say about that lens is that it’s heavy.
      Jennifer recently posted..Things I love: Baby gear!

  4. Great article! I own a 50mm 1.8 and I just got the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. I might be ready to upgrade to the 50 mm1.2 by the end of the year! We’ll see!
    LaShawn recently posted..As Seen In My Life: New Orleans

  5. Thanks for this! I’m so glad I found you over at STIS. I got the cheaper Canon 50mm lens for Christmas and I can’t believe I haven’t used it yet. I really want to experiment with the Bokeh effect and after reading a lot came to the conclusion this was the best for the price. I took an all day photography class in the fall that helped explain all the basics. I then realized with not enough light the shutter speed was just too slow and I got frustrated with certain shots. I do have a great zoom lens that I bought a few years ago to take to horse shows. I needed something that would allow me to get in fairly close while being far away. I’ve taken some awesome photos at shows with this one.
    Jen recently posted..It’s A Cat’s Life

  6. Thank you so much for posting this series! Do you recommend not buying the kit lens when you get a camera?

  7. avatar Debbie Panton :

    Thank you for this. Very clear and very easy to understand. I think I would follow a similar path in choosing lens. I would like to have the versatility of the prime, macro, and telephoto. Still undecided between about the Tamron AF 28-75 and the Canon 24-70. I’ll be choosing the most cost effective options. Right now I only have the kit lens. I feel I’ve gotten some nice shots with that… but it would be nice to see if my photography would improve if I tried some these options without breaking the bank. It’s fun learning. I’ve had my Canon Rebel XTi for a few years years now. What would you suggest as the next step up from that for a camera body,and will the lenses I’m looking at work with that camera body… or should I think upgrading camera before lenses. I was looking at a sight yesterday that was talking about the new Canon… now sure if it’s out now or coming soon… OMG it sounded so amazing… completely over my head and would probably have to have just won the lottery to justify the price ( close to $7000.00) but it sounded nice….this is the way guys are about cars isn’t it????

    • Yes I have officially turned into a photo nerd… like guys are with cars! My husband tunes out when I start talking technical lens jargon…ha ha. I would upgrade your lenses before you upgrade your camera. Rebels are good cameras. You will see a huge difference in brightness and clarity in your photos when you shoot with a better lens. That Tamron lens sounds like a good option for you since you are cost conscious. You will see an even better improvement in your photos once you can shoot in manual too:) Not sure if you know how to do that? A good camera that is known for bridging the gap between amateur and professional is the Canon 7D if you are looking to upgrade. Or if you want a full frame camera, the one I have (more professional level) which is the 5D Mark II. The lenses you have will work with the 7D, and all the ones in this article as well I believe.
      Jennifer recently posted..Things I love: Baby gear!

      • avatar Debbie Panton :

        Thank you. Just learning the manual settings. Looking forward to learning more. Reading these posts and blogs are great and even reading others question and comments is informative. Still haven’t read much on the differences with photos from the cropped sensor to the full frame other than what you mentioned in your post. I usually just shot in ” P” mode. I started doing that quite awhile ago… to get rid of the flash but than I had other issues with blur and colour but it didn’t occur to me to adjust WB or ISO… and I knew nothing about aperture. It’s like pieces of a puzzle… and a lot of trial and error probably. Thanks again.

  8. So, so helpful for me. When I go to buy my lens I am going to review this whole series again.
    Amber recently posted..I Clicked It Up A Notch: February 2012

  9. I just wrote up a novel and my daughter deleted it right when I was getting ready to hit send. Perhaps she spared you. ;) With that… Thank you for this post!!

    I am looking for new glass for my Rebel T2i. I own the 50mm f/1.8 and am happy with that for now. I also own the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 – but it’s heavy and bulky and I’m not ‘amazed’ with the quality (which could still a learning curve issue, I won’t rule that out.) The question is by already owning that and being in the ‘under $600 budget’ catergory – do you think the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 is an upgrade and a good replacement?
    AP Mommy recently posted..Mae’s First Dentist Visit

    • After reading your comment and doing a little more research on the 18-135 lens, I decided to take it off the list. Reason being that (you are correct) if you are looking for a zoom in the under $600 price range, you should just get the Tamron 28-75 lens. It far outperforms any of the variable aperture zoom lenses. You will love the f/2.8 on that lens too. Brings in a lot of light. Generally, zoom lenses with a broad focal range like the 18-135 aren’t the greatest. It’s best to get a mid-range zoom and a telephoto zoom separate in my opinion. Hope that helps!
      Jennifer recently posted..Things I love: Baby gear!

      • Wonderful! Thanks! Very much looking forward to grabbing a new lens. Going to package up my 18-135 today and do a little research on the best price I should get for it. :)
        AP Mommy recently posted..Seuss-y Fun!

  10. Awesome job Jen! Lot so great information :)
    Laurie recently posted..Daddy Daughter Dance

  11. So helpful! Needing some advice however. I am an amateur photographer with a canon 1100D. Basic, I know, but am loads of fun with it even with my kit lens and my recent acquisition, the 50mm f/1.8. Do you think I should just stick with what I have or invest in another lens…say a Wide angle or a telephoto?
    Gerty recently posted..Clucky

    • I think you should upgrade your kit lens first. You will be amazed at the difference in your photos once you get a good lens. The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 that I mentioned in this post sounds like a good option for you. It’s a great walk around lens and for use indoors. Then I would look into a telephoto zoom lens or wide angle.
      Jennifer recently posted..Things I love: Baby gear!

      • Thanks! I will definitely look into it. The 28-75 mm refer to zoom OUT and zoom IN, right? And will a Tamron do as good a job as a canon lens?
        Gerty recently posted..Clucky

  12. So helpful! Needing some advice however. I am an amateur photographer with a canon 1100D. Basic, I know, but am loads of fun with it even with my kit lens and my recent acquisition, the 50mm f/1.8. Do you think I should just stick with what I have or invest in another lens…say a Wide angle or a telephoto? Can’t decide which one!
    Gerty recently posted..Clucky

  13. Thank you for this post series! I have been so lost when it comes to lenses, having no idea what most of the numbers mean, and these two posts have helped a ton! I bought a Canon Rebel T2i and the 50mm f/1.8 a few months ago. I love the pictures I have been able to get with it, and am learning to shoot in manual, but it’s limiting when I’m trying to shoot pictures of my kids in the house. (I’m often standing on top of the couch, a chair, or in the far corner of the room to get far enough away to get all of them in the picture). I’m looking at the Tamron lenses because of price, and the big range of the 18-270 sounds awesome. But the Tamron 18-75 has the lower aperture (2.8)…and I like having that option. Which lens would you suggest buying first?

    • Ya, I have a hard time with my 50 in tight spaces as well. Although the focal range of the 18-270 sounds appealing, you will be limited with the variable aperture and it’s harder to learn manual. Generally, a large focal length lens like that isn’t going to give you the best quality/sharpness either. The focal range of the 28-75 is perfect for indoors. You will love being able to keep the f/2.8 across the whole focal range of the lens too. And the f/2.8 will come in handy in low light more than you know! I would recommend getting the 28-75 first, then a larger telephoto zoom after that.
      Jennifer recently posted..Things I love: Baby gear!

      • Thanks for your suggestion Jen, I really appreciate that you took the time to reply. It sounds like the 28-75 will be better for me right now.

  14. thank you! thank you! wonderful and helpful post! i am SO in love with that birthday photo! super cute idea…. now what could i possibly spell with my 7 month old’s cute little footsies? hi? or should i make it a selfie and pick a 4 letter word? hmmm… this is getting worse. i’ll get back to you! :)

    i am bulking up my wish list and excited to keep expanding. i have a cheapo 50 that i love and hope to upgrade. can you speak to the difference in the 85mm and the 50mm 1.4? i am having trouble finding good comparisons.

  15. Wow! This series is AMAZINGLY helpful. I saved my pennies and recently I got a 50mm 1.4. Still saving pennies for my next lens. Having lists broken down by price range is extremely helpful. I felt like I was just going around in circles, and my head was getting ready to explode trying to understand all of the options when I was trying to figure this stuff out on my own. You explain things so clearly. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  16. So excited to find this site today!! All the tips and information has been extremely helpful for me considering it is all a foreign language to me but I’m still a little confused about what lens would be the perfect fit for me. I currently have a Nikon D3000. I’m not a professional photographer just a wanna be photographer. I just enjoy taking pictures of the family and tutorials for my blog. I currently have a 55-200 mm f/4-5.6 lens and was looking for something that would allow me to get closer to my subjects. What would you recommend?
    Kara recently posted..Meet Jessi from Practically Functional

    • Glad you have found this site too! Courtney has some great learning resources here. I would recommend the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 if you want a zoom/good walk around lens at an affordable price. The f/2.8 will come in handy for low light indoors. It’s a great range for everyday and in tight spots when there’s not a lot of room. Hope this helps!
      Jennifer recently posted..Common photography mistakes

  17. Great post! I love my Canon EF 50 f/1.4 lens. I own others but keep comming back to that one quite a bit. May look into buying the compact macro later this year.

  18. avatar Cassie Treuil :

    This is such an informative post! I currently own prime lenses, Canon EF 50mm f1.4, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8,Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, and they all are great for what I’m currently needing them for, kids, families, lifestyle. I am wanting a nice zoom lense for a few weddings I have coming up but don’t have enough for the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L :( Both weddings will be at sunset, can you PLEASE lead me in a direction as to what would be best for now, until I save up enough for a nicer lense?

    • I would recommend a mid-range zoom like the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 for weddings. It’s around $400. I owned that lens before I got my 24-70 and it’s a great lens. The f/2.8 comes in handy for low light and it’s a great walk around lens for events and travel. It will also work well for you at sunset. Hope this helps. Best of luck to you at your weddings!
      Jennifer recently posted..Good-bye to this blog!

  19. I am looking for a wide angle in the $300 range for my Canon. The one listed in this post isn’t really available as a new item, so I was wondering if there was something else you would suggest. Thanks!
    Amanda recently posted..Skillet Cheesy Chicken & Rice {Foodie Friday}

  20. Hi! Great article. Love the detailed explanations. I own a Canon Rebel T2i and currently have:
    50mm f1.8
    18-55 kit

    I was thinking about selling the kit 18-55mm and buying the tamron 28-75. Some of my friends say get teh 18-55 f2.8 because my camera is cropped. Do you think the tamron 28-75 is a good choice to replace my 18-55? i love my prime, but i hate bringing it to some events because it’s hard to capture the whole scene. Thanks!!

  21. I enjoyed reading your article too–it was very informative. Thank you! I recently bought the 5D mark iii (I’m still an amateur) and I bought it w the kit lens, partly bc I’d been looking at the lens anyway–24-105 f4 L. I’ve been pretty happy w it, but I have also been thinking about getting a prime lens. My question is since my camera already takes incredible pictures in low light, would a prime with f2.8 or lower make much difference? My other lenses are the 70-300 f4-5.6 L and the 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS, so I’ve never used a lens lower than f3.5.

    One other question if you don’t mind–I was concerned that since the 24-70 that you have doesn’t have IS, I would have camera shake, especially w a heavier camera. Is that a problem? I don’t like the hassle of using a tripod. Thanks so much!

  22. This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me.
    Thank you!
    fotograf ślubny warszawa i okolice  recently posted..fotograf ślubny warszawa i okolice 

  23. Thank you for this post!! It is the most helpful and concise post I have found while looking for this exact information. I’m about to buy my second lens (I only have my kit lens right now) for my trip through Europe this summer. I think the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 will be my best option for the versatility of the lens, and I have seen tons of great reviews. However, I noticed that it does not have image stabilization. Did you notice this to be a problem for you at all? I’m also swayed by the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and really want that one too, but I’ve never had a prime lens and I’m not sure if it would be good for walking the streets of Europe. If you have any thoughts or pointers, I’d really appreciate it!! Thanks!
    Anna D recently posted..18 Days – Eurail Passes!

  24. Hello

    It was great information i have read here.I am new to this and i am a indoor and out door potriate shooter I just want to ask you if I shoud buy me the tamron 24 70 f 2.8 or the 70 200 f4 L lens? please advice me and mail me.

    Thank you

  25. Hey Courtney,
    I own a Nikon D3100 with the Kit Lens I just recently read your Article about how you should first buy the Body and then the Lense Second! I wish I would have seen this a few months ago anyway I was just wondering what Nikon Lens I should Upgrade too??? I only shoot in Manual I’m still learning my Setting Though. Also do you think I should keep my Kit Lens or Try and Sell it???

  26. Hey Courtney,
    I own a Nikon D3100 with the Kit Lens I just recently read your Article about how you should first buy the Body and then the Lense Second! I wish I would have seen this a few months ago anyway I was just wondering what Nikon Lens I should Upgrade too??? I only shoot in Manual I’m still learning my Setting Though. Also do you think I should keep my Kit Lens or Try and Sell it??? Thanks!

  27. Hi Courtney,
    Thank you so much for putting together this post. The whole series has been so helpful. I own a Canon 60d and currently shoot with the kit lens. I own a 50mm already that I love, however I am looking to upgrade my kit lens to an all around, good for traveling lens. I’m always on the road traveling and would love to have a lens that has a reasonable wide angle for landscape shots (nothing too extreme) but still able to take group photos and portraits. Do you have any suggestions? I have been looking at the ef-s 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, ef-s 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM, ef-s 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM. I know it would be best to travel with multiple lenses but I want to keep it to 2, as I just won’t switch them on and off! Thank you so much for any insight you could provide!

  28. I can’t stop reading on your page, I go from article to article and love what i’m ready and learning.

    Thanks!

  29. I can’t stop reading on your page, I go from article to article and love what i’m ready and learning.

    Thanks!

  30. Which lense is best for an active toddler and an amateur photographer mama with a Rebel T 3i?

  31. Hello! Thank you so much for this site its amazing! I am looking at getting the Nikon D3300 or 5300 and would love a prime and zoom lens. I am thinking the 35mm/1.8 for the prime so I can capture a bit more in the image easier but not sure what a good, cheap zoom lens would be, since as a mom of 2 under 2 sometimes I just cannot zoom in with my feet ;) I would love to look into a macro after that as well. Any recommendations would be fantastic!

  32. Hi there :)

    I love this blog and have found it so beneficial..

    I am a newborn/baby photographer and I am going to buy a 24-70mm f/2.8 :)
    I am using a canon 50mm 1.4 & canon 100mm f2.8 at the moment but don’t want to keep changing lenses so feel that the 24-70 would suit me perfectly :)

    BUT I cannot decide between the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 MKII or the Tamron version which is half price… I am swaying slightly more towards the canon version but then I look at some reviews and doubt my decision as the Tamron seems to get some really great reviews… Soooo confused. I feel like the canon might be the better investment but then again if the Tamron is much the same, maybe I should go for that??

    Have you had experience with both or any advice pretty please?

    Many thanks in advance
    Susanne :)

    • Both lenses will give you great results. Maybe you could rent both before you buy and do a comparison. I’ve owned both and I can’t remember the specific difference to be honest. I started with the Tamron and saved up for the Canon. In my opinion, nothing compares to Canon pro lenses. They are the best! The Canon 24-70 is worth every penny if you can afford it. Maybe after renting both you can differentiate whether or not the price jump is worth it to you.

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