Lens Dilemma

I’ll start this post with an apology for the long gap since I added anything to Enthusiast Photographer.  November and January combined for nearly 30,000 miles in the air, and while December didn’t involve any travel, I was either recovering from travel, working, enjoying the holidays or getting ready for more travel!!  The good news is I’ve been keeping a running list of topics, and I’ll promise to spend more time turning that list into (hopefully useful and/or interesting) content!  So let’s get to it!

Ironically, what inspired me to write were a couple of items I’ve seen in the last day about lenses.  I’ll start with a post from the almost-always interesting Photofocus blog about advice regarding what lens to buy.  The post boils down to the fact that the answer is different for almost every photographer – your needs, skills, budget, interests and style is different than anyone else.  If you frequent photography forums, you’ll nearly always find someone asking for advice on this topic.

What is my advice?  Same as it has always been:

  • Always buy the best glass you can, and don’t be afraid of older lenses.  I have some pretty vintage lenses in my bag, but I’ve got a very workable kit.
  • Buy used at places like FredMiranda.com where enthusiasts and pros sell to each other (and there’s a good rating system in place for buyers and sellers).
  • If you can’t afford the expensive constant aperture zooms, get the inexpensive zooms and add a nice f/1.8 prime to your bag (they’re usually pretty affordable, even new).

By the way, if you aren’t sure what “fast glass” “prime lens” or “constant aperture” means, see the my post on “Fast Glass“, and of course always feel free to ask any question via the Comments section – if I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find out!

Honestly, most Enthusiast Photographers aren’t getting as much out of their equipment as we could (myself included).  Boning up on your skills, your knowledge, your holding technique and more can be a huge benefit.  See my book recommendations on books in one of my first posts “Breaking Through the Wall.”

3 thoughts on “Lens Dilemma

  1. unless one needs something specific. i would recommend one lens with a long range of zoom such as a 18-200 or now i believe their is a 18-300mm. its better to buy a more expensive lens then two cheaper ones (like 18-55-55-200) because when you switch lens a lot dirt can get inside your camera.

    • Thanks for stopping by and for the comment! I have the 18-200 and I love it! It is a terrific travel lens and is easily the most flexible thing I have in my bag.

      The saying goes “Jack of all trades, Master of none”, and that has been kind of a theme from a lot of lens snobs when it comes to lenses like Nikon’s 18-200, 18-300 and 28-300 lenss. People say they aren’t especially “fast” and they aren’t very sharp.

      I disagree. Heartily. These are terrific lenses, and far better than the snobs would have you think. There are a few drawbacks though – they are heavy, they are fairly expensive and they do have some limitations when it comes to creativity – you’re not going to do the things with those lenses you might do with faster glass like a 1.8 prime (which can create a really shallow depth of field and create more bokeh for nice backgrounds).

      But for the dlexibility tthey offer and the bargain prices they seem to be selling for used, I think it is a terrific idea ot have one in your bag! (this may turn into a whole post…)

      Thanks again!

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