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Thread: Three "L" lenses I always carry...

  1. #1
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    Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    There are lot of "What lens should I get?" threads here, and rather than answer them individually, I thought I'd list the three lenses I always have in my bag, and why. I hope other photographers will jump in and list their favorites as well, so those looking for lens recommendations will have a concise thread to read first.


    I shoot with a 5D Mark II, so my preferences are based on using a full-frame sensor, although I'd used similar lenses with my 30D. Listed by preference:


    1. 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Hands down my favorite lens. It's fast, incredibly versatile, and consistently nets me more keepers than any other lens I own. Whether I'm shooting my son's baseball game, a Craftsman Bungalow, or a neighborhood rose garden, this is the first lens I grab. The only drawback to the lens is its weight and size. The non "IS" version is a bit lighter and less expensive, but the added flexibly of a 2.8 lens with three full stops of IS makes it a no brainer. Buy this lens, you'll love it!


    2. 16-35mm f/2.8L This lens is simply fun. Put it on your camera and you start seeing things in a whole new way. This is my lens of choice for shooting showrooms and landscapes. I'll put it on my camera as I'm walking around and just look at things from odd angles. The lens constantly surprises me. The images are, of course, beautiful, with great bokeh and remarkable edge to edge sharpness even wide open. Keep in mind this lens was really made for a full-frame camera, so if you're using a 30/40/50D or the like, it won't give you the same experience. 25-56mm just isn't the same thing. That's a useful range for sure, but no longer what I'd call "wide angle."


    3. 24-105 f/4L IS We've arrived at the difficult, and somewhat,controversial,choice. Yes, the 24-70mm f/2.8 looms large here. There's a lot to recommend about the 24-70, but I'll tell you why I prefer the 24-105 in my bag.


    This is what I consider my "walk-about" lens. A "jack of all trades, master of none" lens if you will. If I don't know what I'll be shooting, or what I'll encounter, but want to have my camera around my neck ready for anything, I put this lens on the 5D. In this regard it has a huge advantage over the 24-70 in that it's significantly lighter. The weight is also a consideration in a bag with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. I've got a bad back, and anything that reduces the load is welcome.


    Do I miss 2.8? For sure, especially when it comes to motion in low light. However, the IS on the 24-105 gives me three full stops of stabilization, and I can hand hold 1/3 sec and still get tack sharp shots. A little longer even if I haven't had caffeine. [] That's remarkable really, and for a walkabout lens, meaning you rarely have a tripod, it's incredibly useful. And, as Bryan's review will attest, the 24-105 is no slouch when it comes to image quality. In fact, I use it for catalog product shots all the time, and find the sharpness and color to be outstanding.


    Finally, the additional reach of the lens is something you'll appreciate far more often than you'd think. Without the overlap with my 70-200mm, I'd have to do far more frequent lens changes, something that isn't fun and drains the creative juices when you're shooting. There's no getting around it, 24-105 is a far more useful range than 24-70.


    The 2.8 is really, really tempting, and there are times I wish I had it instead, but more often than not I'm happier with the 24-105mm f/4L IS.


    FWIW, I also keep a 2x converter in my bag. It's light and easy to carry, and is great for those times when I really need the extra reach. The 1.4 is probably more practical with only 1 stop lost, but when I want reach, I really want reach!


    I hope that helps some lens shoppers. I hope others jump in, as I love reading about others experiences and choices. I always learn something.

  2. #2
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    I'm actually slimming down right now on my "L" lenses. I need to recoup some of my investment and I've nailed down my range too.


    I shoot mainly with a 5DmkII but occasionally pull out the 40D with the 100-400.


    1) 16-35 2.8L II is my favorite/walk-around. I love 35mm, it is my favorite perspective and I really love the ability to jump out to 16mm at any given moment.


    2) 70-200 2.8L IS is my second favorite. It is a great lens although my wrist start to ache after and hour or so.


    3) 24 1.4L is in my bag, love the sharpness of the fixed. It use to be on my camera a lot more before the 16-35 II came along. I still love it because sometimes 2.8 isn't fast enough. It is a little bit wider than my preferred 35mm perspective but 24 is very useful.


    I also have the 100-400 but I don't carry it in my main kit. I usually just take that out for air shows and outside sports stuff.


    I am actually selling my 24-105. I actually really liked this lens, but I always found myself either shooting wide with it (which wasn't it's strong suit) or long with it, so I determined it wasn't a lens I needed any more.

  3. #3
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    I agree with Kbeat but still carry a slightly different group. I love my 70-200 non-IS but it is too heavy for my taste and I only carry it when I know I will need it.


    My number one would be the 24-105 f/4L as my primary walk around. If I know I will be in a 2.8 situation then I will switch my 24-70 f/2.8 into it's place.


    My second choice is my favorite lens, the Canon 135mm f/2L lens. Great for portraits and events. I carry a 1.4x converter in the bag to give me a little extra reach when I need it.


    My third choice is not an L but is mighty darn close, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. This is my wide angle lens and produces images that rival the 24-70.


    I use a 40D by the way.






  4. #4
    Alan
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    For me, also with a 5DMk2, it's:


    17-40 f/4 L


    24-105 f/4 L IS The camera has this lens on it most of the time. I agree that it is the most versatile lens when walking around.


    70-200 f/4 L IS (I have the 2.8, but for most shots during the day, the slower zoom is fine, and the images are slightly sharper).


    I also carry a 40D and for this reason, I include this lens: 100-400 L. This stays on the 40D for the most part, since it gives me a 640 mm reach on wildlife, etc. I throw in the 1.4 converter, just in case


    That becomes 17-900 mm. This covers the entire range for me. A tripod is a necessity, and can help mitigate the need for faster lenses on certain shots, so this comes with me (collapsible so it's easy to carry).



  5. #5
    Senior Member Mark Elberson's Avatar
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    Only one 'L' but 3 lenses I always want in my bag are:


    Body : Canon EOS 50D
    1. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS
    2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS
    3. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5

  6. #6
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    I should have dropped the "L" from the thread title. Mine just happen to be "L" lenses, but any lenses you keep in your bag apply.


    I keep a BG-E6 battery grip on my 5D Mark II. More than the extra battery life or portrait grip controls, I find it balances the camera much better when shooting with the heavier lenses. This is especially true for the 70-200 f/2.8L IS lens. If you haven't tried a battery grip (or shot with a 1D/1DS), you should try it. It really helps with hand fatigue for longer shooting sessions, even if it adds some weight to the camera.


    Not in my bag or in my possession is the 85mm f/1.2L, but it's on the top of my wish list. I want to be able to take photos where the front of a person's nose is in focus, but the back of the nose isn't. (In the case of my nose I can probably achieve that with an F/4 lens, but I speak in terms of normal noses). []

  7. #7
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    If we're dropping the "L" requirement, this is my current 3:


    50mm f/1.4


    17-55mm f/2.8 IS


    70-200mm f/2.8 IS


    I've been eyeing the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, though....Speaking of, BRYAN, what are the chances you can get your hands on one ofthe Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 lenses to test?

  8. #8
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    Interesting to see everyone's choices. This is easier to read than the "what's in your kit" thread from a few months back. Seeing what everyone picks, makes me think I need more lenses...


    I have to say these three go about everywhere with me.


    1) EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM


    2) EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM


    3) EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM

  9. #9
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    Quote Originally Posted by KBeat


    I should have dropped the "L" from the thread title. Mine just happen to be "L" lenses, but any lenses you keep in your bag apply.



    I also have the Canon 50 1.4 and Canon fisheye 15 2.8 (well it is up for auction too).


    Only lens on my wish list is 35 1.4L (II).

  10. #10
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    Re: Three "L" lenses I always carry...



    I shoot full frame (5D2), so the three lenses I always have with me are:


    1. 24mm f/1.4 II. I just love shooting wide angle. When I had the 24-105 and 24-70 on my camera, I almost always used them at 24mm. For me, the option to use thin DOF and ultra wide angle at the same time allows for some very interesting photographs. But even when I'm stopped down, such as f/2.8, I really appreciate the much higher quality of this 24mm over the zooms.


    2. 70-200 f/4 IS. Unlike wide angle shots, I prefer my telephoto shots to have relatively deep DOF. I often shoot headshots at f/5.6 or narrower so that both eyes, ears, and nose will all be in sharp focus, while the background will still have a nice blur thanks to magnification. The image quality of this lens is outstanding. Here I really appreciate the flexibility of the zoom.


    3. 50mm f/1.4. With the other two lenses and a 580 flash, I don't have room for anything bigger, so it's foruntate that my next most-frequently used angle of view corresponds to this small, light-weight lens.

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