I recently created a B&H Wish list. It was mostly lenses. I am planning on how and what to save my money for. When I was done, the sub total of the list was $14,891.10. I mentally fainted. After putting myself through this, I came to the conclusion this list was mostly lenses I wanted but not needed. Have you ever thought about what lenses are essential to your photography? I’ve been thinking about his a lot recently. As I evolve as photographer and learn, I’ve been developing a lens force, or my team of lenses that I absolutely need.
On Good Glass
Here on the The Phoblographer, we like to stress the use of good lenses. We tend to agree that lenses are more important than your camera. When thinking about future pixels, I have to keep in mind how I am going to see them. A good lens is an enormous part of that equation. Early in my photography, I went ultra-cheap when purchasing my lenses. I got lucky on one lens, my Nikon 28-80 fx; the other lens, an older Tamron 28-200 FX, not so much. I’m sure the newer version is better though. Even though I use it sometimes, it’s basically a doorstop when it comes to using it with my Nikon D90.
If you have read my landscape posts in the past, you know it’s one of my favorite styles of photography. This style does not need super-fast lenses. It needs lenses that are pure quality. Right now, my favorite lens for landscape photography is the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. It is my favorite because I own it and the lens gives me a great field of view. I do want a wider prime for landscape like the AF NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8. However, the lens that would have to be in my kit is AF Zoom-NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF. This great multi-purpose lens easily transitions into other styles of photography. I am really thinking about the Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Ultra-Wide Zoom, but for now, its more of a want than a need.
For street photography & photo walks
The AF Zoom-NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF is a great lens for street shooting and for photo walks. It gives great views and also allows you to switch to easily switch to a portrait focal length. On occasion I do like to carry my Sigma 70-300 DG Macro. It is by no means the fastest lens in the world but it’s versatile and provides solid images on photo walks. It’s a great lens to capture candid moments. My favorite lens, though, for street photography while on photo walks is my AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D. On a full frame sensor or a Crop, it’s ultra-versatile. Able to go indoors or out, it’s small and unassuming but delivers fantastic images. I can use it with my bokeh masters kit, adding another dimension to my photography
For Portraits and Events
The AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D is also great for portraits and events. The lens is great up close. I have heard a lot of people rave about and suggest the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G and I have shot with the AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED. They are both very good lenses but the lens I literally dream about, when it comes to portraits, is the AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D. It is a medium telephoto lens with defocus image Control. This lens allows you to control of the degree of focus in the foreground or background making it a bokeh super hero.
For foodie, coffee and product
The AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D is great for product shots also. With this lens you can get a lot of different perspectives of the product while controlling what is in and out of focus. I find the AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D and the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is great for products also, but really shines with food and coffee photography. Another lens I have wanted to use for food and product photography, though, is a tilt shift lens, specifically PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED, for its perspective control.
I like the PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED for its tilt, shift and rotation capability which is perfect for architectural, nature and commercial photography. Wide-angle lenses like the AF Zoom-NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF will work well when photographing buildings but nothing tops a tilt shift lens.
In the end
These lenses are what I consider my must haves. At this moment in time, I now have AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D, AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G and the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO. The AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D, AF Zoom-NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D and PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED will be what I am saving for after I get my full frame camera. All these lenses can be used on my Nikon D90 and handle everything I want to do well. I do want more lenses after this but for now, these will be a great team of lenses.
What lenses do you absolutely need? Let us know in the comments.
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