Have you checked out the lens series this month? If you have been following the other posts you will know more about what the writing on the lens means, you’ll have been given an idea on which lenses to buy and when, heard what our favorite lenses are and, difference of your lens on a crop vs. full frame camera. There has been so much useful information shared by everyone, I am kind of nervous to follow all of those awesome posts! Since the other articles have already given so much information, there’s not a ton I can add…therefore my goal is to portray the difference in some of the popular lenses in pictures.
Questions alot of photographers receive
-What is your favorite lens & why?
-Which lenses do you use most?
-If I buy THAT lens, can I take pictures like THAT?
-What lens do I have to buy to blur the background?
-Just tell me which one to buy :)
The fact of the matter is that you can ask opinions of others all day long but in the end, you need to be happy with your purchase because it’s the right fit for YOU, not for us or a friend or a photographer you follow. We have attempted to educate you all this month so that you can make the decision yourself but it would be a disservice to just tell you what to do! I will try to point out some of the differences in lenses through pictures while attempting to be unbiased :) Although I can’t say I always followed my own advice (I wish I did), I always recommend people rent a lens before buying it to make sure it’s a good fit. Usually lens rental is available (online or locally) at a reasonable price. Try Borrow Lenses if interested in check on lens rental prices.
Some people have go-to lenses they LOVE & rarely use their others. Some people (like myself) constantly change lenses out to achieve different affects & truly LOVE all of them for different reasons. There is no right or wrong & everyone is different :) Don’t feel pressured to buy every lens out on the market all at once because that’s not feasible. Plus if you do that – you might start buying for price & not quality then so that you can get more for your money. With lenses quality matters & it pays off to invest in good lenses. Take your time adding to your collection & make sure you are informed & have tried out each lens before you just HAVE. TO. HAVE. IT. NOW. so that you make sure you are happy for the long run! Because if you think about it….if you invest in a lens that is say $800-$2500, whether it is high or low on that range, you want to get use out of it for a LONG time!
Lenses do a nice job of helping you create the look you want for your images. If you are going for that urban, editorial-ish wide angle feel, obviously a wide angle is the best choice. If you are photographing a single child in a field with beautiful light coming through the trees & are hoping to capture bokeh, I’d grab the 50mm or 85mm over the 24-70mm or whatever wide angle lens YOU have.
Before I continue to ramble, I will post some examples of images using different lenses. In order to accurately depict the different in look & feel between the lenses I chose to use. I chose the same subject at the same spot with the same f-stop, same ISO & same distance from my subject on the same day :)
(Boy was it hard to get this guy to stay still…I definitely had to put down some tape to show him where to stand & kind of giving in to the idea of having “mediocre/ not so good” pictures for this post!). I tried about four different days, was forced to quit each time either because of weather or Garrett’s behavior! I then decided to re-schedule to a time when his dad could be there with us so that he had a distraction. I also had to buy donuts & tell him to eat them veeeeery slowly without getting up! Are your kids this high maintenance?
All of my lenses go as low as f/ 2.8….many of them go much lower, but unfortunately my wide angle & zoom lens only go to f/ 2.8 so for that reason (to create consistency) I will take each image at F/2.8. Just for the record, if I were shooting these images for fun & not for the purpose of this project, I’d have shot more wide open (probably f/1.8-2.5).
Here are the lenses I used in the order I used them:
All images taken with f/2.8, ISO 200, kelvin WB 5800, & SS varied a stop or two. I took the pictures from the SAME spot, moments within each other using a tripod to make sure I really did stay in one spot…(side note: the sun was popping in & out of the clouds every two seconds & going from completely overcast to very sunny during each set pretty much….if I tweaked settings, it was only a stop or two up or down for exposure to account for the change in light).
These images are pretty much untouched/ unedited so the color is off. I wish the sun was out consistently because I think the best way to truly show a difference between lenses is to look at the light coming through the trees, then compare the bokeh & look. Ih well, I tried to wait for good, sunny weather to backlight these photos & it just wasn’t going to happen! I hope this still shows the difference in the focal lengths well enough.
Those are all of the lenses I own. Sorry Canon people, I’m not a two brand girl or I’d provide images using both! This list can easily be applied to Canon lenses as well, as they offer comparable quality & lens focal length options. In fact Canon even offers many of their L series prime lenses in f/1.2 (such as the 50mm 1.2L or the 85mm 1.2L which I hear are sweet (costly but SWEET!)!
So what can you notice after reviewing the images shot with different lenses & different focal lengths (all with the same settings)?
I remember I said I’d stay unbiased & let you jump to your own conclusions :) You decide what you think first & then read the following. Don’t cheat!
I will just say that if you agree with some of the statements below, then we are on the same page!
-while the 24-70mm is a great portrait lens, it is (to me) the most beneficial around 24mm:
…indoors when you don’t have much room to back up & want to shoot wide
…to capture wide angle shots where you really want to capture the background to make a statement
for the “lifestyle” feel where you’d like to incorporate as much context as possible
…but for this project (since wide angle was not the “look” I was going for), shooting at 24mm was unnecessary & almost looked silly
-at 70mm, the 24-70mm still has the ability to blur the background a bit (maybe not as much as the 50mm or 85mm though)
-the 50mm is a great versatile, sharp, fun lens & would be a great first purchase
-the 85mm is smooth & creates beautiful bokeh, awesome for portraits of one individual especially
-the fisheye is VERY fun! not necessarily practical to use often though; definitely didn’t work for this assignment but it has it’s time & place where it is INCREDIBLE!
-the macro lens is a great lens but more useful maybe for macro shots versus portraits such as the one I took for this project (a better example of a good time to use it below)
-the 70-200mm when shot at 20mm really brings the background in to bring attention to subject nicely
Bottom line, all of these lenses (in my mind) have very redeeming qualities & specific purposes. You just have to decide what is right for you when making your lens purchases using your experience & all of the information that all of the lens series posts have taught!
I’d love to hear what you think! Thanks for reading!
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
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