I’m often approached by amateur photographers who are thinking about making their first lens purchase. This is a big investment, so people want to know what lens is the best one to have if you are only going to have 1. First, it’s important to understand that different lenses will do different things. So this is a very, very subjective answer as it depends on the type of photography YOU are going to do. The problem is, of course, most amateur photographers are not yet sure what type of photography they want to focus on in the beginning. You might end up as a pet photographer, build your career in stock photography, weddings, you name it.
As a wedding photographer, I would have to say the one lens I consider to be my “workhorse” would be the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens followed very closely by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Telephoto Zoom. It’s a great general use lens for portraits, people, action, and the zoom capabilities give you a lot of flexibility for different types of shots. I actually tend to use my prime lenses a lot more these days, but I would not recommend a prime as a first or second lens. While prime lenses have some key benefits, they are not as versatile as a zoom lens, especially when you have to quickly compose shots on the fly. On the other hand, the depth, color and emotion I can capture with my Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens is incredible. But I’d better know what I’m focusing on, otherwise the image will turn out to be a blurry mess, which I don’t consider to be “artistic”. It took me a couple of years to really nail my understanding of focusing and composition before I could really handle a prime lens properly.
What’s your favorite lens?