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FAQ: What are Your Favorite Lenses?


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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.

513nx9mpkxl_sl500_aa280_ FAQ: What are Your Favorite Lenses? FAQs MCP Thoughts Photography Tips

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?”


No Comments

  1. Mike Richards on December 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    70-200 2.8 (IS or VR) but now it might be my Nikon 85 1.4!!!

  2. Meg Manion Silliker on December 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    50mm 1.4 but recently the 85mm 1.8 – j'adore!!

  3. Gail Kenney on December 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    70-200 2.8 IS

  4. Leaha Bourgeois on December 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Canon 70-200L IS 2.8 !!

  5. Stacy Reiman on December 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I really love the 24-70 L, but a close second is the 50 1.4.

  6. Whitney Gray on December 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    50 1.2 hands down!

  7. Shawn Richter on December 2, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I only use three, in order of most (by far) to least (by far): 70-200 2.8L IS, 24-105 4.0L and 50mm 1.4. Very very rarely I'll use the 17-40 4.0L but not a big fan of wide angle stuff…

  8. Denise Sasso Snyder on December 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Right now its my Nikkor 60mm 2.8 macro – its an amazing portrait lens!

  9. Robyn Middleton on December 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    85mm 1.2

  10. Maris Murphy Ehlers on December 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I go in spurts, but RIGHT now, the fav is the Canon 70-200L IS 2.8. Other than that, it's the 50 1.2 the 85 1.8. I really need a fisheye – anyone have any recommendations? Has anyone tried Lensbaby?

  11. Heather Jennings on December 2, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I absolutely love my canon L lenses, but for ring shots or anything macro, there is nothing like the sigma 50mm macro, yep, and even for frost on leaves:

  12. Shawn Richter on December 2, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I just do the Lensbaby effect in PS, no need to spend $ on yet another lens…

  13. Caroline Redmann Collenburg on December 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Zeiss distagon 2.8 / 25ZF

  14. Michelle Schilling Wotkun on December 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    nikkor 85mm 1.8. LOVE it!

  15. Joanne Beecham on December 2, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Well I use my 50mm 1.8 All the time and it makes me nice photo's. So I have a lens in mind that I want; but for now, thats my fav =)

  16. tricia nugen on December 2, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I have the 50 1.4 and I puffy red heart it! It’s my other favorite…..

  17. tricia nugen on December 2, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I meant to say other favorite love besides my hubby and kids!

  18. Wendy Mayo on December 2, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Yup! My 50 mm 1.4 is the go to lens for me!

  19. Lori Lee on December 2, 2009 at 10:42 am

    My 50mm lens as well that’s my FAV!!!! I don’t use any other lenses but that.

  20. Brenda on December 2, 2009 at 10:53 am

    My favorite lens is my 50mm 1.8 because it makes me walk around and really consider how best to frame everything. But the lens most often on my camera is the 18-55 kit lens that came with it. Go figure!

  21. Tiffany on December 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Mine is my 85 1.8 and my 100mm 2.8 macro….I’m drooling over the 135L though.

  22. Amber on December 2, 2009 at 11:15 am

    My 85 is tack sharp, I love it more than any other, even my 24-70L! Primes are the best!!

  23. Jill on December 2, 2009 at 11:23 am

    My 85 mm. If I had to get rid of all my others, there’s no question I’d keep only this one.

  24. Jonathan Golden on December 2, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I know Nikon makes some great zooms but I love the 50mm 1.4G. Its not the fastest to focus but it is razor sharp and extremely light weight and versatile. It stays on my D700 the most.

  25. Brendan on December 2, 2009 at 11:38 am

    17-55mm f/2.8

    • Misty on October 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      I agree. Have had that one about a month and I LOVE IT. Really debated between that and the 24-70 but on a crop sensor, it made more sense. It is L glass and amazing.

  26. Feekner on December 2, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Well I have two kit lenses and a prime so not much to choose from but I love the 50 f1.8 that you mention. What a great lens for a great price! If anyone is just starting out this is a must have, especially if you’re on a budget. The lens I really want to get is the Canon 10-22mm…..someday.

  27. Heather Embrey on December 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I would be very interested in your 24-105. I kick myself when I bought my camera that I didn’t purchase the kit with this lense. If still available please contact me via my email. With the details. Heather

  28. tanya on December 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Definitely my 50L 1.2, it lives on my camera, even though I do not have a full frame yet

  29. Crystal ~ momaziggy on December 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I’ve had the 50mm 1.2L {traded for the 70-200mm 2.8L IS} and now the 50mm 1.8 and don’t care for either. I’ve always been a zoom shooter because I love the compression of the bokeh…not for the zoom itself. I always zoom with my feet. Never been a prime girl UNTIL I bought the 85mm 1.8. This lens has turned me into a prime LOVER. I also love my 100mm 2.8 Macro, but the 85 lives on my camera…which is now the 50D! I can’t wait to upgrade to the 85 1.2L. So my #1 lens is my 85 1.8 and one day will be the 85 1.2L! :O) And when I go full frame in a couple years I hope to have the 135L! So it’s safe to say this previous zoom gal is now a prime gal! :O) Wanna send me your 85 1.2L????? Ha!

  30. JulieLim on December 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Hands down 50 1.2! I used to own 50 1.8 and loved it until dusts got inside (cheap plastic covering). I just got the 50 1.2 for my 30th birthday present! How awesome is that?!

  31. Christina on December 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I am back to the nifty 50 1.4. I agree, it is great for composing the picture too.

  32. Alexa on December 2, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Right now I LOVE my 50m 1.4. However, I am not shooting full frame. ( 🙁 ) So, I am not sure if I made the switch to full frame I am tempted to say that my favorite would be a 85mm… I might just love my 50mm more though if it was a true 50mm! 😉 Can’t wait to find out.

  33. kc on December 2, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    My 50mm F/2.0 zuiko is my fav. Also the 12-60mm F/2.8 ( I use this more with families), next on my list is 35-100 F/2.0 (I shoot with olympus incase any of you were wondering what these lens are. 🙂

  34. Bree on December 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I love The Composer by LensBaby right and feel like I’m learning constantly. No, I *am* learning constantly.I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of lens I want regarding zoom or prime for distance. My family wakeboards and by next summer I want a lens that I can use to get nice shots of the people behind the boat. I’m new to the SLR world though and don’t know what would work best for me.

  35. Melissa on December 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    My 50 mm 1.2 lives on my camera too! Love it.

  36. Susan on December 2, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I just got my first L lens the 24-70 and it was worth the wait! I now totally “get” the big deal about L lenses.

  37. Rose on December 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    My favorite is my 50mm 1.4 Nikkor, I absolutely love the depth of feild and bokeh I get with it!

  38. Sarah on December 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Love my 50mm 1.8. But I’m craving something wider for my Nikon D80 (I’m guessing I would love a 35mm 1.4, or similar).

  39. Courtney on December 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I’m looking at adding a wide angle lens to my arsenal. What wide angle would you, and all you readers, recommend? I have a Nikon D60 and will probably be upgrading the body to maybe the 300 sometime within the next 12 months. Help please!

  40. Cindi on December 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I am jumping on the 50mm bandwagon too! I have a f1.8 and want a 1.4 or 1.2. Besides the great backgrounds that lens gives you, it also is so much less intimidating to children and babies than my 70 – 200mm 2.8 which is my next favorite lens. Plus it is not nearly so heavy to use and carry around, I am always bumping things with that long lens. I do not have a true wide angle, but did get the 24 – 700 2.8 zoom and while I like the zoom capability, I do not get the out of focus backgrounds and shallow depth of field that I love, even wide open. So, 50 is best — in lenses and ages! 🙂

  41. Cindi on December 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Oops. Typo in the above comment — the lens is a 24 – 70 mm, not 700!!

  42. Christy Lynn on December 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    My fav is my Nikon 50mm1.4! I love the bokeh, it’s so smooth and creamy. Babies are so soft with this lens and Seniors just pop!

  43. Pam on December 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I just had to send my 50mm f/1.4 in for repair for a second time (same problem). I told them that if it’s not fixed right this time they are going to have to compensate by giving me the f/1.2. LOL! Yes – I love the 50mm. I love the 85 f/1.8, and just got the 12-24mm for some architectural work that I’m doing, so I love that lens for that.I guess it just depends on what I’m shooting, but overall I don’t think you can beat the 50mm. I’ve been lost without mine these past few weeks.

  44. Amber Katrina on December 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I am a Prime girl all the way. I have a zoom that has never been used – lol! I have the 28 1.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.8 and 100 2.8 macro. My favorite used to be the 50, but I am starting to LOVE the wider angles of the 28. My next dream is the 24 – I’m seriously needing some L glass.

  45. Sandy on December 3, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I love my 85 mm 1.8 – can you use the Tamron 28-300 with the Mark II? For some reason I thought it wouldn’t work with a 5d?

  46. kirby on December 3, 2009 at 1:03 am

    i started out with the 50mm 1.8. great lens. i have two lenses that i use a lot now, the 85mm 1.8 and the 28mm 1.8. 85 1.8 is awesome for shallow depth of field and candids and the 28 1.8 for telling a story. next on my wish list is the 35 1.4l and a 135 f2l.

  47. Adam W on December 3, 2009 at 8:59 am

    i. I usually have my 50mm 1.4G Nikkor on my D700. Well built, does an excellent job and is light. ii. My second choice would be my Nikkor 70-200/2.8. It is too big and too heavy … but I always love the quality of the images it produces on my D700 and that keeps me going back time and time again to use it.

  48. Trude Ellingsen on December 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Definitely love the 50mm 1.4. I took online friends’ advice when I first got my dSLR and ordered that lens instead of the kit lens, and am SO grateful I did! Soon afterward I also got the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and love that as a travel lens. There are others on my wish list, but I’ve really done fine with just those two the past two years! 🙂

  49. Vanessa on December 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Right now, my go to lens is the 85mm 1.2 and in tighter spaces, the 50 1.4. Of course, this is until I get a 50 1.2. I’m a sucker for prime L glass.

  50. Paul on December 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I have to agree!! I rarely leave home without my 50mm L 1.2 it’s the bees knees..! Second is my 135L f2 crazy about it…

  51. Lissette Q on January 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    I have the 35mm/1.4L, the 50mm/1.2L and the 85mm/1.2L II and I love ALL three equally, although the 50mm spends more time than the others on my 5Dmii. I have several other L lenses, but these 3 are my top peeps!

  52. MCP Actions on January 8, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Thank you everyone for sharing what lenses you use and love.

    • June Anderson on January 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      If you still have your Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for sale, I am very interested in buying it. Thanks, June

  53. Sherri SW on January 9, 2010 at 5:32 am

    Well being that I only own 2 lenses at the moment I LOVE them both I have the 50mm 1.8 and the Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 But the Sigma stays on my camera about 75% of the time so I guess you could say its my favorite for the time beingBuying 2 more lenses this year as soon as Tax season just not 100% what I want yet – highly considering a good Macro lens

  54. Tommie on January 12, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Canon 35mm 1.4 by a country mile!

  55. Dawn Lepper on January 12, 2010 at 9:49 am

    How much are you wanting to sell the 24-105 lense for?

  56. Dawn Lepper on January 12, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Would you be willing to give some tips on the best uses for the prime lenses?

  57. Ginger Zagnoli on January 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    have a D90 and love it….I bought only the body and puchased the best value prime, 50mm 1.8…..I love it and have only missed one shot where I needed a wide angle. for 6 months I’ve lived with this prime and glad that I didn’t buy what I thought I wanted. I think I am going with either the Nikon 18-200 VR, or the Tokina 12-24mm f/4. The prime takes such great crystal clear shots, I can always crop to a closeup and still get that wonderful Bokeh.

  58. Jeff Oliver on January 22, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Love my 35mm 1.4, but have just bought the 85mm 1.2. It is my new best friend & I am officially in love

  59. izzy on April 12, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I’m getting my first nifty fifty – f1.4.Already ordered and just waiting for delivery.I’m very very excited hehe 🙂

  60. Mary cardini-Anderson on May 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I have the canon 40d. My favorite lens right now is the canon 50mm 1.4.I love the blur in the background that I can get. Love the way that I can take awesome photos indoors.Mary

  61. gblanco on August 31, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Sigma 30mm 1.2

  62. gblanco on August 31, 2011 at 10:36 am

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

  63. Jennifer Shannon on 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!

  64. Allie Miller on December 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm


  65. Hans on 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.

  66. Sarah C on 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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