My Canon Lens Purchases and the Reasons Why

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Between my Canon 60D and now the 5D Mark III, I’ve made a variety of investments in lenses. I’ve often been asked about why I bought what I did at the time. So, I thought this might be an opportunity to share my thinking when I invested in each lens. Keep in mind though that this setup is just my personal own–and it may not work for you.

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Canon EF 28 f1.8 USM Lens

Along with the 18-55mm kit lens that came with my 60D, I invested in the 28mm f/1.8 which provided me the equivalent of a 35mm due to the camera’s cropped sensor. Back in the day of shooting film, I trained my eyes using a 35mm and 50mm lens and they have proven to be my default focal lengths even when using a zoom lens. The fast f1.8 aperture made it an invaluable lens to use in low light and an ideal lens for much of my street photography.

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Canon EF-S 10-22 f3.5-4.5 USM Lens

It didn’t take long to be frustrated by my inability to shoot as wide as I wanted with the kit lens. The 10-22mm delivered a 16mm to 35mm equivalent, which was ideal for urban and natural landscapes. The lens was especially helpful when I wanted to make photographs with a strong foreground element or simply wanted an expansive view. When I wasn’t using my fixed focal length, I would find myself using this lens more often than the kit lens.

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Canon 50mm f1.8 II Lens

Though the lens delivers the equivalent of a 80mm equivalent focal length on a 60D, I enjoyed using the nifty-fifty as a very affordable and compact portrait lens. Between the 28mm and the 50mm, I was often able to do a day of shooting with this and the 28mm lens alone, foregoing the use of the slower kit lens. Despite its affordable price, it delivered stellar image quality.

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Canon 50mm f1.4 USM Lens

When an accident damaged my 50mm f1.8 beyond repair, I decided to upgrade to the faster f1.4 lens. My increasing need to shoot in low light conditions made the additional increase in a speed a real benefit.  Once I upgraded to my full-frame 5D Mark III, it became my favored focal length.

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Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM Lens

When I purchased my 5D Mark III, I chose the kit which included the 24-105mm lens. As well as falling into my budget for the new investment, it provided me the focal length range that I most frequently used. Though it does not provide as fast an aperture as the 24-70mm, I found that the low light performance of the camera more than made up for it. If low light was a big consideration, I already had my fixed focal length fast glass to handle those situations.

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Canon 40mm f2.8Canon 40mm f2.8

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Canon 40mm f2.8 STM Lens

The 40mm was more of a gift rather than an actual purchase, but I found a lot to like in this unique pancake lens. For days when I wanted the camera to be as low-profile as possible for my street photography, I found that I often favored this lens over any others that I owned. Despite its simple optical design, I have continued to be impressed by the lens’s optical quality.

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Canon 85mm f.1.8 USM Lens

I love portraiture and so there was little doubt that I would add an 85mm focal length to my camera bag. Though the 24-105mm offered an 85mm focal length, I wanted the very shallow depth of field delivered by the fast portrait lens. The compression and bokeh provided by this lens is exceptional. Though the faster f1.2 may have its appeal both physically and with its faster aperture, I found it hard to justify the price.

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Canon EF 70-200mm f.2,8 L IS USM

Though not the more recent Series II version, this telephoto zoom workhorse has served me well when photographing events and for portrait work. Though it’s heavy as the dickens, a boost in ISO ensures a fast enough shutter speed to deliver tack sharp images. As I have moved away from shooting events, I have much less need for the lens and sometimes pine  for the smaller and lighter, 70-200mm f4, it’s hard to argue with the quality that this lens provides, especially for portraiture.

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