The “Go To” Lens

I have 4 lenses which I use for the bulk of my photography work – but one of them is the “go to” lens. It goes to nearly every assignment.

I use Canon L series lenses. They are Canon’s highest quality lenses and are recognizable by the red ring around the end of them.

The 4 lenses I mainly use are:

  • 50mm f1.2 This lens is always in my bag for weddings. It performs very well in low light situations like churches and reception venues.
  • 100mm macro f2.8 This is a versatile lens. I use it for macro images, some portraits, and quite extensively in my stock photography work. It is not just for macro images.
  • 24-105mm f4 This is a very useful and versatile lens. I use it for portraits, landscapes, and for stock photography.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 This lens gives great flexibility. I use it across a broad range of image types – from studio portraits to weddings to wildlife.

All 4 are very good lenses and provide options for making different types of images. That said, the 70-200mm lens is the “go to” lens. It is in my bag for nearly every photography job – weddings, studio portraits, outdoor portraits, and wildlife shoots. The zoom range gives flexibility, and being able to shoot at f2.8 lets me achieve fast shutter speeds with a narrow depth of field.

Canon lens

The Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens

It is a great lens and I recommend it if you are serious about your photography. If you don’t use Canon equipment, don’t worry. All the major lens manufacturers have an equivalent lens. I’d recommend you check it out.

What are the trade-offs?

There are two trade-offs with the 70-200mm lens.

First, it is relatively expensive. The Mark II version with image stabilization is around A$2800. If that is out of the budget, consider a second hand Mark I version or a cheaper model with the same zoom range. A cheaper lens won’t have the same image quality but that may not be critical for you.

Second, it is quite heavy, at just under 1.5kg. Carrying this lens all day can be challenging.

When don’t I carry the 70-200mm?

I don’t carry the “go to” lens when I shoot corporate portraits at an office. These are typically small spaces not suited to this zoom range. In this case I use the 24-105mm lens.

What is your “go to” lens? Is there one lens that always goes in your camera bag? Why?