Picking a Lens 3


Yes, one last post on the subject of Lens.  In my last post on lens I mentioned four lens which would enable you to do 99% of most photographic tasks.

  • Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
  • Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8

Now of these lens I own four of them.  Instead of the 14-24mm f/2.8 I have the DX version a 12-24mm f/4.  When I finally upgrade my DSLR bodies to full frame then the 14-24 f/2.8 will definitely be on the list.

The photograph at the top of this post was actually taken with a consumer zoom set to 70mm before I owned my 24-70mm f/2.8. Many consumer lens are very good if used stopped.

In a studio with mains powered flash head shooting at f/8 where most consumer lens perform very well, is not a problem. What does make things more difficult is that most studios are quite dimly lit.  This is so you can see the affects of the modelling lights, and a consumer lens which at its long end may only be f/5.6 can struggle to auto focus at those low light levels.

Andrew in a Wetsuit

The majority of my portraits which I shoot with DSLR’s are taken with two lens, the 24-70mm or like in the shot above the 70-200mm.

So if the lens I listed above can handle 99% of my work, why did I mention the other lens in the original post and why.

Lets remind ourselves what lens I picked.

  • 20mm f/2.8 Superwide
  • 24mm f/3.5 PC Lens
  • 35mm f/1.4
  • 85mm f/1.4
  • 105mm f/2.8 Macro
  • 300 f/2.8

There was also one I missed the 200mm f/2

In many ways the 20mm is the odd one.  Its a lens that I have long coveted but today you are possibly better served by the 14-24mm.  Its advantage is weight, if you want a very wide angle and want to travel light its a better option for some people.  Its a lot smaller and easier to use then the zoom and can use normal filters which the zoom will not take.

The 24mm is a very specialist lens with it being a PC – Perspective Control Lens.  For lovers of Architectural Photography a PC lens is a must for keeping your Angles straight.

The 35mm f/1.4 is a favourite focal length for me and one that I consider my standard lens.  Its also the focal length I use most on my 35mm Leica as well.

The 85mm f/1.4 is the typical focal length for portraiture and with its fast aperture can give you a lovely dreamy out of focus background.


The 105mm is my macro lens, together with my macro flash kit, it enables me to get some stunning close up photographs.


The lens I missed originally was the 200mm f/2, this again is a stunning portrait lens for head shots and with an aperture of f/2 enables you to get the eyes sharp but then have the rest of the face drift gently out of focus.

Lastly I had the 300mm f/2.8 lens on the list.  The longest lens used by fashion and studio photographers, its also the shortest lens for wildlife photography and possibly for most photographers the most affordable fast long lens.  Though affordable is a relative term.

Now this set of posts about lens has been very 35mm DSLR focused.  If I was picking lens for for say a Leica M then my choices would be different.  This series of articles has also been very Nikon biased as I am a Nikon DSLR user, if your after a Canon perspective  then check out Chris’s blog post here at CBPhotoblog.com

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