When I first bought my Nikon D50, I thought I was done purchasing my camera equipment. Camera – check, Kit lens – check, memory cards – check, lens filter – check….done right??
Now that I have a year under my belt, I have purchased two more lenses and have my roving eye on many others. In this post, I will just let you know why I have my specific lenses and why I chose them for my type of candid portrait photography.
Kit lens – 18-55mm zoom f3.5-5.6 – approx. $120
With this lens the lowest f-stop depends on the zoom. At 18mm it will stop down to f3.5, but at 55mm it will only stop down to f5.6. It is a great lens for summertime when you have more light available, and the wide angle at 18mm can make for some fun shots. The versatility it gives as a first time lens is very nice; however, once you have to start using it inside in low light situations the limitations become frustrating.
50mm f1.8 – approx. $110
This lens is a great lens when you have to move inside. It isn’t a zoom, so if you need to get closer or further from your subject you have to use your feet. Once I got this lens a whole new world of natural light possibilities opened up for me. Even using it outside is great due to the depth of field it can create. It is only limited by small space. If you are in a small room and want to get a shot of multiple people it can prove difficult since you can’t get back far enough.
35mm f2.0 – approx. $300
I wanted this lens due to the small space issue, and the fact that it is easier to use for group photos. It isn’t such a wide-angle that it causes much distortion, so that is an important point for portrait photography. In addition, I wanted the low f-stop. When looking at lenses that is one of the big selling points for me. In the winter, especially, I have to shoot indoors most of the time. If the lens doesn’t open up enough (like the kit lens), then it is pretty worthless for me during many months of the year.
That’s all I have…for now!
Here’s what I want:
85mm f1.4 – approx. $1,000 (EEK!) – This one is on my wish list so I don’t need to be as close to the subject. This is a great lens for outdoor photography since the kids are usually running around the yard. They generally aren’t very close to you, so this is a nice telephoto with a great bokeh.
80-200mm f2.8 – approx. $900 (EEK!) – This one is more for when the kids start playing sports. I will need a decent zoom lens to be able to pick them out of a field of a lot of other kids wearing the same clothes. I have a few more years before I really need it, though, thankfully.
These are just my preferences. I know some people like zoom lenses better than prime lenses, but I prefer primes as they tend to be sharper. In addition, the cheaper zooms change the aperture when you change the focal length, which just drives me batty because that changes your exposure.
Okay, so I know some other photographers read my blog. Care to chime in on your favorite lens and why you love it?
I now have an 85mm f1.8 lens, and it has wonderful bokeh on it. I also have a 18-200mm lens and it is a great travel lens and just all around lens. It is heavy, but it has a lot of versatility in its focal length.