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FAQ: What are Your Favorite Lenses?

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

FAQ: What are Your Favorite Lenses?

What is your absolute favorite lens? If you only could pick one, what lens would it be? I get this question via email from readers all the time, so I thought I would not only survey all of you but share my answers.

This question is a really hard one for me as I change what is my favorite all the time.  I will tell you in a time line what my favorites were…

When I just started out, I had no favorite.  I really did not understand the differences enough to know. I had a Canon 20D, then 40D and now Canon 5D MKII for cameras.

As time went on I LOVED zoom lenses and my favorite was the 24-105L (I still have it though I am in the market to sell it if any of you zoom lovers might be interested).  It was a great walk around all purpose lens.  And it never came off my camera. Until…  I fell in love with shallow depth of field.  Yep – I caught the bug.  I have tried many, but certainly not even close to all of Canon’s prime lenses.  My first prime was the lens every just starting out photographer should own – the 50 1.8 (which can be found for under $100).  It is the best value in Canon’s lineup.  If you get into photography more seriously than you can do as I did and upgrade to the 50 1.4 and 85 1.8, which were my next two primes.  I loved both – but I found true love and my next favorite lens when I got the 35L 1.4.  It was my favorite prime lens for a while.  I still love it, but new favorites emerged since then and I do not use it as much as I use to. There is just something magical about Canon L Glass, especially L Primes.

As of today, and with my long answer to a short question, my favorite lens (and most used) is the 50L 1.2.  It is incredible and versatile. And it is on my camera the most (I should add that the 35L lived on my camera when I had the 40D, so it must be I like this focal length since the 50L is now what lives on my camera.


I do switch lenses and have many.  To me you can never really have too many lenses as long as you understand which lens you would want for a particular shooting situation and why.

I love my 85 L 1.2 for when I want closeups inside, so beautiful and creamy.  I do not use this lens a lot even though it is amazing.  It is not a good shape for me.  Yes, I must be weird, but it does not feel right in my hands.  But when outside or if given enough room inside, the 135L 2.0 is a dream. It is just the right shape for my hands, feels like when you have a pair of jeans that fit just right with a tiny bit of stretch.  You know the pair? This lens is incredible for closeups. Now, what if I need a travel lens?  Then I turn to my Tamron 28-300. It has an image stability system and is the most versatile lens I own, as long as there is a lot of light.  I will not get the same background blur or razor sharpness as a prime, but the trade off is I can go from 28 to 300 in a millisecond. So for vacations and travel, I often will bring my Tamron zoon, plus my 50L and I am in perfect company.

So now it is your turn to share “what is your favorite lens and why?”

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  1. August 31, 2011 at 10:33 am —

    Sigma 30mm 1.2

  2. August 31, 2011 at 10:36 am —

    I use my Sig 30mm 1.2 with my 40D and makes an excellent walking lens.

  3. Jennifer Shannon
    November 8, 2011 at 12:31 am —

    I about cried when I read this article… let me explain. My husband and myself had our own photography business, while I started to sore as a wedding photographer, my marriage was failing. Try taking pictures of love unfolding in front of you at a wedding when your husband is cheating on you. You can then say you have been a photographer under “all” conditions. In the divorce I had to sell my much loved Canon 5DMII, 50 1.4, L70-200, L17-44 that I worked so hard for, a price worth my now peace. Long and the short of it, it doesn’t matter what’s in my bag that makes me a great photographer, it is what’s in my heart!

  4. December 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm —


  5. Hans
    January 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm —

    My favored lens is still 85/1.8! Apart from this lens I prefer a 20/2.8 depending on what I need to do.

  6. February 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm —

    My favorite prime is the 50mm 1.4, and my favorite zoom is 70-200mm 2.8

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FAQ: What are Your Favorite Lenses?