What’s your favorite lens, and why?

For many photographers this is like asking which child is your favorite.

I have serious love for a couple of my lenses. Could I choose just one lens forever? Depends on the alternative! Which image speaks to you? What elements are included or excluded? All things to consider when selecting your choice of lens. These images were taken within a minute of each other. Just long enough to change lenses. All sooc crops on a full frame camera, and only bumped the exposure a little bit.

photograph with Canon 35mm lens by Kristin Dokoza
Canon 35mm L - ISO 100 - f/2.8 - 1/500

The 35L gives a nice sense of depth to this image. It is easy for the viewer to separate the far background where the large oak tree is, the middle focal plane where my subjects are and where the large tree is they are under. The foreground also gives additional space to the image and a sense that the viewer is observing, not necessarily in the subjects space. The grass has plenty of details, as does the trunk of the tree.

picture with Canon 50mm lens by Kristin Dokoza
Canon 50mm - ISO 100 - f/2.8 - 1/500

The 50 includes plenty of foreground and background.

The lines of trees at the horizon are only slightly oof. Details to the grass are noticeable. The sunflare is not included in the frame, so that extra space of sky is missing here in the upper middle of the composition. The space on the right is also eliminated.

Now the frame ends where the tree is cropped. The large tree in the background is slightly more oof, and has given the viewer a sense that it may be closer to the subjects. The additional surrounding elements still give the viewer a feeling of observing the subjects, not necessarily being in their space.

photo with Canon 100mm lens by Kristin Dokoza
Canon 100mm L - ISO 100 - f/2.8 - 1/500

Using the 100L has really brought the subjects front and center in comparison to the 35L and 50mm. You can also notice a difference in the lighting of the composition. Less foreground is included, the details to the grass are a little more oof vs. using the 35L and 50.

The rim lighting is more noticeable and overall the subjects have a nice glow all around them. The large tree in the far background is seen less, but is now used to frame the subjects a little more. The overall image appears to be brighter, but using the 100L has only brought the surrounding areas that were in the sunlight into the frame.

pic with Canon 135mm lens by Kristin Dokoza
Canon 135mm L - ISO - f/2.8 - 1/500

You may only notice a slight difference between the 135L and the 100L.

The foreground now is creating depth by being slightly oof and giving the image some pretty foreground bokeh. The focal plane, and where my subjects are placed are now in the middle of sparkly bokeh from the grass, and bokeh from the lines of the large oak tree in the background.

The details from the tall grass that are on the same focal plane are seen and give a little bit of texture to the image. The line of trees in the far background have been eliminated, and you can just barely recognize the fence line. The large oak in the background now spans across the entire frame adding an interesting element. It is still giving a sense of distance, but not as recognizable as in the 35L or 50mm.

What you may notice right away is how creamy and dreamy the bokeh and the surroundings have become. This is a common and noticeable look for the 135L.

So, which one is your favorite? What elements within the composition make the image your favorite?

The atmosphere, surroundings, the light and change of perspective and depth should all be considered. Selecting which lens to use has become a part of my style and vision. I’ll be impartial and not say which image immediately speaks to me. But I was surprised at how much I loved one of the images from a lens that I hardly ever shoot with anymore!

Giveaway update! (this giveaway is now closed)

Congratulations to the following 10 commenters for winning a lens case form Adorama! I’ll email you on how to obtain your prize.

  1. Linda who said, “My very favorite lens is my Nikon 50mm f/1.4! Perfect for low-light conditions.”
  2. Jennifer Carr who said, “Wow, what an amazing giveaway! My go-to lens is the Nikkor 24-70.”
  3. Shawna who said, “Only have one lens so far… I’m a newbie. It’s the nifty fifty.”
  4. Erin Peters who said, “I just have my kit lens & a 50mm. I’m thankful for both and the great pics I can capture. The 50 is my favorite, as I love the light it brings into a frame.”
  5. Lisa who said, “My go to is my 50 1.4…so lightweight and just an all around great lens!”
  6. Terri who said, “Thanks for the comparison Kristin! I think my favorite from the examples above is the 100. It creates a nice sense of intimacy but still includes enough detail in the surroundings to tell more of the story. Unfortunately I don’t own a 100 😉 so my go to lens right now is my 85mm 1.8.”
  7. Melissa Ives who said, “I love my 85 mm right now!”
  8. Becky who said, “My go to is my 50 1.4 but I am saving up for the 135L! <3”
  9. Maja who said, “I switch between 35 and 85mm on a crop sensor. Once I save up for a FF camera, I’m also getting the 135mm.”
  10. Yuneisy who said, “My go to lens would be my 50mm 1.2L ! ♥”