Happy Friday everyone! Lately, I have been chatting quite a bit with other photographers about lenses; which lenses to buy, which lenses to consider, which lenses are the best for you? You get my drift. To me, lenses are the most important tools in photography. Give me a fabulous lens and an entry-level camera body and I guarantee that I’d be able to create better photographs than if I had a top of the line camera and an entry level lens. Lenses make your photographs sing and pop. Period. You’ll see below how many mistakes that I’ve made because of not holding out for the best and regretting it. If you are thinking about adding a new lens to your bag, take my advice and wait until you can afford the best or at the least, try out the lens first (beg/borrow from a nearby photographer or worst case scenario, rent one).

My strongest suggestion (again) to all of you that are lens shopping: SAVE until you can buy the best. Stepping stone lenses are a waste of money. If you know you ultimately want the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, don’t waste your money and buy the 70-200 f/4 now. Ok, I’m done. =)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and I hope you take a ton of photos!!!

Here is the chronological order of all of the lenses that I have owned and a photograph taken with each lens since my first DSLR in 2007 (all lenses are Canon except where noted):

  1. 18-55 f/3.5-4.5 (bought USED) – never used it ever, seriously. [sold July 2008]
  2. 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 (bought USED) – my walk around lens for my first year of photography. weddings, portrait sessions, events were all photographed with this lens [sold July 2008]

  3. 50 f/1.8 (bought NEW) – loved this little lens. Super sharp. Great quality. Best value for the money in my honest opinion. Horribly slow to focus and beyond 10 feet, I couldn’t get a consistent focus…ever. [sold March 2010] 

  4. 17-55 f/2.8 IS (bought NEW) – I read a ton of reviews and I was debating between this lens and the 24-70. All of the photographers at the time (that I was following) absolutely raved about this lens. How fast it was, how awesome the IS was, etc. I did really enjoy this lens, but I didn’t love it. This is when I first realized when buying lenses, to save up for the best even if you have to use your older lenses for that much longer of a time. Unfortunately, it’s a costly mistake that I’ve made several times. [sold April 2009]

  5. 70-200 f/2.8L (bought NEW) – my first “professional lens” blown away by its quality and awesomeness. sharp throughout 70-200 at f/2.8. I started photographing everything with this lens. Plus, it made me feel like a real photographer when I used it…lame, but true. [sold April 2009]

  6. 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 (bought NEW) – absolutely incredible lens. Brandi still uses it to this day. incredibly sharp and ridiculously fun to use. Majority of my landscape and wedding reception photography were from this lens. Plus, it doubled as a macro lens (to some degree). [in Brandi’s bag]

  7. 24-70 f/2.8L (bought USED) – Whoa. The jump from the 28-135 to this lens is Grand Canyon deep. The build quality and robustness of this lens gave me superb confidence in any situation. This became my new walk-around lens and oftentimes, it would be the only lens I used during portrait sessions. [sold May 2010]

  8. 70-200 f/2.8L IS (bought NEW) – After shooting numerous weddings with the 70-200 f/2.8 without Image Stabilization, I realized I was doing my clients a disservice by not having the best because I was having issues hand holding that lens at 1/50th shutter speeds. So I upgraded to this bad boy and while it is heavy, it is also amazing. I used to use it for everything. Literally. But now, I primarily use it for wedding ceremonies. [in my bag]

  9. Sigma 50 f/1.4 (bought NEW) – I decided that I wanted to mix things up a bit and use primes (fixed length lenses) more often. The 50 f/1.8 just could not compare anymore to all of the other lenses in my bag and after much debating between the Canon and Sigma 50 f/1.4s, I decided on the Sigma because of all of the positive reviews. Quite a few of them said it was better than the 50L which is what really sold me. Fantastic lens. Loved it straight out of the box. No focusing issues on my 5DII whatsoever. Sharp at f/1.4, and then a bit soft from f/1.6-f/2.2 and then sharp again through the rest of its range. Started using it for everything. Became my new walk-around lens. [in Brandi’s bag]

  10. 16-35 f/2.8L (bought NEW) – When I upgraded to the 5DII, I needed a wide angle for full frame cameras and because I loved the perspective of the 10-22 so much, I knew I had to get the 16-35. I use this for almost all of my wedding reception photos as well as most wedding formal portraits. Very well built. I’ve dropped it on numerous occasions and it still keeps rocking it. [in my bag]

  11. 50 f/1.2L (bought NEW) – Quite simply, this is my favorite lens ever. Impeccable image quality. Decently fast focusing speed. Shooting at f/1.2 is obnoxiously awesome. [in my bag]

  12. 100 f/2.8 Macro (bought USED) – I bought this lens for my wedding clients so that I could take super awesome photographs of their rings. Well, it turns out that this lens can do much more than just ring shots! If you are interested in macro photography, this lens is amazing. [in my bag]

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