I often get asked what lens I recommend and why. Lenses have different purposes and effects and really depends on the style and look your going for. Before I get into my personal favorite lens and why, lets start by talking about a prime lens vs. zoom lens. A prime lens is a lens that has a fixed focal length. Essentially with a prime lens, you are in control how far or how close you are to your subject. A zoom lens is a lens that you are able to zoom in on your subject.
If your just starting out, getting your feet wet into photography, borrow or rent different lenses so you can get a feel of the different lenses there are out there.
When I started out, I researched some of the photographers I followed to see what their favorite lenses were and what they were using. I rented a zoom lens a 70-100mm 1.4 and it was one of the heaviest lenses I ever use. I realized that even though it took some really tack sharp, with the perfect blurred background, I learned it just wasn’t for me and I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t try it out and glad I didn’t waste the money on it.
After trial and error, I realized I was a prime lens kind of girl. I loved how light the lenses were and loved the fact I was in control on how close and how far I was to my subject. I have tried the 85mm 1.4 for both Nikon and Canon and the 50mm for both Nikon and Canon. Both fabulous lenses for close up portrait photography. This leads me into my all time favorite lens.
The 35mm 1.4 does not leave my camera. It is wide angle lens perfect for wider angle photographs. But I have a secret… I use it for close ups too. Everything I take is with me 35. To be honest, I maybe breaking so many rules in the photography world, but I just have fallen in love with the look this lens gives and it has become part of my style for the last 4 years. My favorite things about it is the fact its wide angle. I love I can use it for wider close ups and wider pull backs. I love how it brings beautiful sun flare into my photos and is great in almost any lighting situation.
Most photographers I have shown my work to are amazed that I have used this lens for everything because with close ups, a wider angle can give a distorted look to a subject, but I haven’t really had a big issue with that and most the time they tell me if it is working for me, then go for it!
Picking your lenses doesn’t have be overwhelming and the truth is, you don’t have to have a bag filled with lenses that you most likely wont use anyways. Pick the style you want and the lens type that works for you (prime or zoom). You only need two lenses… heck I only use one for everything! And sometimes you just have to break the rules to get to the style you want and in my eyes… go for it.