with Courtney Slazinik
Everything You Want to Know About Camera Lenses: Part 3 Our Favorite Lenses

Are you loving this lens series and learning all about the different lenses?? I know, I am!!!

Today each of us are going tell you about our favorite lens and why. This is a common question we all receive. However, as you can see, each of us have a different favorite and for different reasons. Before you buy any lens, you need to ask yourself…What do I want to capture with this lens? Make sure that lens can capture that for you.

My favorite (Courtney) Lens-50mm 1.4D

I LOVE my 50mm f/1.4D. My first lens was the 50mm 1.8 which is also a great lens, but for Christmas this year I treated myself to an upgrade. Wow! I will go into more details in a few weeks about the difference between the two but the 50mm f/1.4D is a dream! I love the bokeh, the sharpness, and the color it presents. It’s fantastic for low light situations. Honestly, that lens lives on my camera about 60% of the time. It is a wonderful prime lens and I love that the aperture can go down to f/1.4.

Here are a few images taken with the 50mm f/1.4D:

Kelly’s Favorite Lens-85mm 1.4G

Although I LOVE all of my lenses, find them irreplaceable & use them all a ton, my absolute favorite is the 85mm f/1.4G. This lens has the ability to capture bokeh like none other (in my opinion) & always makes the background look creamy. I’m not able to use it all the time because I find it best to use on just one or two individuals & when I’m not in terribly tight spaces. I think it focuses best when at least a couple feet from the subject (not right in their face). But still…combine this lens with the right amount of subjects, a good location & dreamy light, & its magic! :) Love it. Sidenote: I just so happened to buy the 1.4G version but I have heard great reviews about all of the 85mm lenses (1.8, 1.4D & 1.4G).

Here are a few images taken with the 85mm f/1.4G:

Melissa’s Favorite Lens-24-70mm 2.8L

The 24-70mm f/2.8L lens is one of my favorite lens because it is an amazing walk around lens. I took this lens last summer on our trip to San Diego and it was amazing. I took it to the beach, Sea World and the zoo. It has the perfect focal lengths to take on the go when you’re not sure what you’ll be shooting. But it’s also an amazing family portrait lens. When you’ve got quick moving toddlers, sometimes having that extra reach is exactly what you need!

Here are a few images taken with the 24-70mm f/2.8L

Laurie’s Favorite-105mm 2.8

I think all of my lenses are my favorite! They each serve a special purpose. However, for fun, my Nikon 105mm f/2.8G macro lens is my favorite to play around with. If ever I’m in a rut, I like to put the macro lens on and take pictures of something, anything, that sparks my interest. I love photographing my kids, and my children are one reason why I fell in love with photography, but to me, it is also about more than just capturing memories. It is a creative outlet just for me. And that is why I love shooting macro. This lens is super sharp and so much fun to play with!

Here are a few images taken with a 105mm f/2.8G:

Jen’s Favorite Lens-50mm 2.5

Following my Canon 24-70mm lens, this is my next favorite the 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens. It’s a lens not many people know about. I call it “my creative lens”. It gives my images a dreamy feel, capturing pieces of light and texture beautifully. I use it for artistic shots of details ie. food, still life, newborns, flowers, etc. I get amazing clarity in eyes and hair when shooting portraits with this lens. It’s considered a macro lens, but is “compact” because it focuses down to one-half life size vs. 1:1 magnification that most macros have. So I get more magnification than the naked eye, but not too much so that things look un-natural. The f/2.5 creates a nice shallow depth of field, soft bokeh, and a natural blurred vignette around the edges. I love how my images turn out SOOC with this lens!

Here are a few images taken with the 50mm f/2.5:

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 :)

  • March 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    seems like all the lenses I would ever want were covered here. thanks for the post it was nice to see the images produced by all of these lenses.

  • Jen
    March 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    I’m really enjoying this series. It’s very helpful. One thing that I’d like to know is if each photographer has a crop or full frame sensor.

    • Courtney
      March 7, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      Hey Jen! We all have full frame sensor cameras now but we all did start with a crop :O) Hope that helps! In fact, check back tomorrow because Melissa is going to do a whole post about the different lenses on a crop vs full frame!

  • Kira
    March 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I am loving this series! I’m learning so much. Also, after all your great reviews I signed up for a Clickin Moms membership. There is a ton of information there. It was totally worth $30 to try it out! I tried to sign up for the Best Darn Beginner Course a couple weeks ago, but the full participation was sold out 20 minutes after it came online. Grr…I’ll have to wait for the next one. :)

    • Courtney
      March 8, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      So glad you like this series!! Yay, for joining Clickin’ Moms!! I hope you are able to get into the workshop next go around. It’s VERY popular!!!

  • Cristin
    March 23, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Hi Courtney! I am also a military wife who LOVES photography!! I just found your site this morning, and I am super excited! I just received my 5d Mark ii yesterday after rocking my Rebel Xsi for 2.5 yrs. Too many professionals proclaimed a turning point in image quality after upgrading, which saved them tons of time in post-processing! I did invest in better lenses though before making a camera upgrade :)

    Kira, I signed up for this same course, but I’m trying the study along! I hear it’s great too!!

    • Courtney
      March 26, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Cristin! Congrats on the your new camera! How exciting! I remember I danced for joy when I upgraded to a full frame! Yay! And hello fellow military wife!! Hope you love the workshop through CM! It was the first one I took and it’s AMAZING!! Enjoy!!

  • Murugesh
    March 28, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Lovely pictures……….It seems that i have to change all my lenses………………………..
    Thanks for sharing your experience…………………

  • Allison
    January 10, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    This series just seriously inspired me to finally move beyond the kit lens!! I can’t wait to see the new possibilities I can capture with some new lenses. Here is my question though- I just ordered the Tamron SP 28-75/2.8 and already had the 50mm/1.8 (although admittedly may have been using it the wrong way.)- which would be a good third lens to round out my collection for casual family use? I love capturing my toddler and have another baby on the way, but have not found the 1.8 to be as helpful in low light as I would hope and always find myself backing up without enough space when indoors. I’d like another prime to get portraits and low light- and was wondering whether the 85mm/1.8 or another prime (the 50/1.4 , 50/2.5 or perhaps a 35mm might be the next best option)?

    I really appreciate the help!!

    • Courtney
      January 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      Hey! How exciting to get to purchase another lens :) What is it about the 50 1.8mm that doesn’t work in low light for you?? If you find that it’s too tight for the 50mm indoors then I would try the 35mm 1.8. The 85mm 1.8 is a great lens from what I have read but it may be too tight indoors if you think the 50mm is too tight already. Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

  • immy
    September 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Just watched you back lighting video and it was great, cant wait to try out the new trick. Have another question though, I have a 50mm 1.8 (my first fancy lens :) ) Because it’s prime it’s hard to use on small spaces. The first picture in this post by the refrigerator, I am guess you used your 50mm 1.4L , my question is how did you get her whole body to fit in even though she is inside of the room?

    • September 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Hey Immy!

      For the image of my daughter in the fridge, I backed up quite a bit. Our kitchen at the time opened up to our dinner room as well so I had more space to work with :)

  • Anna
    January 9, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    So I own a Nikon d7000 and have a 50 1.8 d and 85 1.8g. I love them both but find I would like a zoom and I aim to go full frame so prefer no dx lenses. I am starting to do family portraits unpaid, but soon I hope to do some paid. Which you recommend if I plan to get a d600?

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      That is a tough call. If possible I would try to get your hands on a zoom lens to see if you like the feel and sharpness of it. If you don’t have a local camera shop consider renting one. That will help you figure out what to purchase next. Best of luck! Check out the other posts in this series and maybe you’ll see a lens you like.

    • Brad.
      May 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Hi if you are moving to a full frame camera .I’d suggest going with full frame friendly lenses.buying anything other will probably just collect dust. They still work on crop cameras and you get a little more distance with them. :)

  • April 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I’ve been using 50mm f/1.4G for portraits so far, but I absolutely love the results of 85mm f/1.4G. Looking at more images taken with this lens makes me want to buy it very soon!

  • Brad.
    May 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I mostly shoot scenery.In total I’ve got five lenses (1) Nikon prime 50 mm1.8d the rest are zooms
    (2). SigmaDC 17-70mm 2.8-4 macro Hsm (3) TokinaSD 11-16 f2.8 (if) dx it’s my wide angle. (4) Tamron sp 70-300mm f4-56 (this was my first telephoto) and last but least (5) Sigma dg 150-500mm 1:5-6.3 apo hsm
    Im still shooting crop but most of these are full frame friendly .I do want one more lens a prime but macro lens for bugs lol
    The sigma 17-70 stays on the camera the most. After that I think the sigma 150-500 is my fave but the Tokina is very close tuff call.

  • K.P. McDermott-Hotte
    April 3, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Courtney, I LOVE the 85mm photos above, of the little brown-haired girl in the denim sun suit. Looks just like my daughter. Question: How close were you to this little girl? I am in the market for an 85mm lens myself, and would be very happy to capture these close-ups of my daughter—-head-to-toe! Thanks much! –Kathleen

    • April 5, 2016 at 2:30 PM

      Hey Kathleen,

      I wish I could help but one of our former contributors took that photo so I don’t know how close she was.

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