Hello, all my camera gurus! A few times a week I get asked, "whats your go-to lens and which lens do you recommend to get that dreamy look ", Its truly a hard question to answer since I am a lover of such a variety. A lot of my "look" is first done in camera and later in post processing, my editing gives it my final dreamy touch. (If you would like to learn more about my editing I have created several different video tutorials which you can find here My editing videos
Before I go into all the details of whats in the bag let me tell you about the bag and necessities I use while on each photo shoot.
While I dream of a fancy camera bag it is just not practical for me or my back lol I do not pack light so adore my Think tank rolling case which can be found here: Think Tank rolling camera bag
Next is my trusty folded wagon that I usually place my think tank inside of along with my lighting equipment and usually, my clients change of clothing: folded wagon
Then for the worlds, best invention and best $34 I've ever spent comes my pop-up pod! YES, finally a changing room that is completely mobile for all the bizarre locations I shot at which do not have a changing room. This tent is lightweight and folds up just as small as a reflector! BAM total score! Pop-Up-Pod
Whats in the bag?
Of course, I have a 50mm 1.4, Nikon better known as a "Nifty Fifty", while I LOVE this lens I do not use this lens a whole lot outdoors, but I do use it a ton in the studio and for lifestyle sessions. I absolutely love this lens when I am shooting in small areas with limited light. This lens really allows you to get a lot of bang for its buck. Its large aperture f1.4 gives you a very shallow depth of filed, which means beautifully blurred backgrounds. The lens is lightweight and is a great prime lens. Bellow is an example of my 50 mm in use.
Next, I have my beloved 85mm 1.4. I feel this is probably one of my most used lenses! I love my 85 for portraits. It's incredibly sharp even at 1.4 and produces a velvety background. Compared to a lot of my lenses I say its one of my favorites because I am big on still getting in my scenery as well and I fell I do not have to be a million miles away from my subjects. I used this lens for 95% of my photos for many years until I could afford to purchase my others. While it is a bit heavier than my 50mm, it is really light compared to many other of my lense. The three images below were shot with my 85mm.
Next up is the Sigma ART 135mm AKA, "Mrs. Bokehlicious", This is my newest of lens and its the lens I wish I would've purchased before I sold my left kidney for my 200mm f2 ( while that lens is a beast we will get to that one next) I adore this lens, it is fast, sharp and oh so creamy. Yes, you've heard me say that about my 85mm too and while they are both amazing I have to say the compersion and bokeh (in my opinion) are just a tad better for me personally. The only dislike is this lens is heavy while it may feel like a feather compared to the 200mm or 700-200mm but I feel its top heavy even on my body which is a sturdy Nikon d5. If you don't like being far away from your subjects then you may want to consider the 85mm. See the images below to see an example of the 135mm in use.
Next up is the beast, the 200mm f/2 NOT to be confused with the 70-200mm f2.8. This lens without a doubt is one of the best lenses I've ever used, and also one of the most frustrating lenses I've ever used. I have created a "Love/hate relationship with my 200mm lens. Let me explain the good or obvious first, the fore and background blur is smoother than butter, its pure magic. If you have a very steady hand and nail focus easily its quite possible this lens may never come off your camera. Its fast and extremely sharp I love it the most for action shots, the compression is like no other. I will say at first I found it hard myself to use any other lenses. All sounds amazing, right? Well here are some things to consider, this lens is a tank, its pure metal which makes it extremely heavy in fact I have had 2 aperture arms repaired on my Nikon d5 body because of the weight of this lens. If you do not have a steady hand you may find it very difficult to work with. While it has an incredible depth of filed you need to be very careful while shooting at f2 since the DOF is so narrow it is not so forgiving for the slightest movement, nailing focus can be difficult. Last but not least the price tag. It is a very expensive lens and most decided to settle with the 70-200mm f2.8 over this lens which is a great lens as well I recently sold mine since I hadn't used it for some time. The images below are some images shot with the 200mm f2 at f2.
85mm f2.2 lens petzval is a lens I wish I used more but I do not. I love this lens its made out of brass and is an all manual lens. I find it difficult to focus on moving subjects and only use it when I'm feeling extra "artsy" lol apparently that's not very often ha. It has an incredible swirl effect and is for sure an art lens. Check out the two images below to see an example of what this lens is capable of!
24-70mm f2.8 Nikon. Originally I purchased this lens 5000 years ago when I shot weddings lol It was amazing when you need a wide angle that doesn't give you a ton of distortion like many wide angles do. I do not use this lens too much unless I have a great, great distance between my subject verse the background or if I am not worried about having a great DOF. Needless to say, it is a very sharp lens indeed and I would like to push myself to use it more often. The last two images are examples of this lens in use.
In case your wondering about which body I use I use the Nikon d5. I hope this blog post helped answer inquiring minds! I never mind answering questions so please if you have any questions let me know! At the end of the day while having the best equipment out there is very convenient and truly makes my job easier more efficient I will say start off small and really getting to know your gear and what it is capable of. Yes, I have more gear then one needs but it took me 12 years to get to this point. I shot with my 50mm and 85mm for many years before I had any other lens. I built my collection up slowly. Which lens is best for you may not be whats best for me and vice versa. I highly recommend renting a lens for 2 weeks and really making sure your in love with it before making a big investment.