There’s not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me what type of camera I use. Or what lenses I use. Honestly it depends on the situation. It depends on the look I’m going for, or how much available light I’ll have. I have about 6 lenses and a couple of camera bodies, but I really only use a few of the lenses and one camera body because of the disparity in quality. It’s a personal preference, the average person probably wouldn’t see the difference in quality, especially in photos viewed online. But since some of my shots are printed relatively large scale I opt for the camera with a bigger and better sensor, and the lenses with the better glass. So for everyone that’s been wondering, here’s the goods. (I’m not going to go into specs since you can find those on the Canon website. I will however describe when and why I would use each of these items. I’ve also included the retail price of each item. I’m sure you can find it for cheaper on eBay, I just don’t personally trust my electronics to 3rd party salesmen.)
1. Canon 5D Mark II Body only (no lens): $2300
The 5D Mark II has a HUGE sensor which means the clarity on the images it takes is second to none. The 24-105mm lens they try to make you buy with it, is cool if you’ll be shooting a lot of daytime events. For low light the f4.0-f5.6 just won’t cut it. So, save yourself $500 and get the body only.
2. Battery grip: $300
To be honest the battery grip is for aesthetics. It’s not necessary per se. It does help with balancing the camera for vertical shots, and it does double your battery space, but do you NEED it? No. Your pictures will be JUST as amazing without it. You’ll just need to change your batteries in half the time I would.
3. 50mm f1.8 lens: $150
This is by far the least expensive lens I own, and it’s the one I shoot with the most. It’s a prime lens which means it has a fixed focal length. In laymen’s terms, “it doesn’t zoom”. The f1.8 gives you AMAZING “bokeh” or depth of field. Again, in laymen’s terms, stuff in the foreground is really crisp, the stuff in the background is REALLY blurred. This is an AMAZING portrait lens. If you’re not a Canon person they have comparable lenses for Nikon and Sony at just about the same price point, and it’s a MUST HAVE. The only draw back to this lens is it takes FOREVER to autofocus sometimes. I’ve found that this typically happens in lower light scenarios so it’s not ideal for photos at concerts or parties, but I’ve made it work, so it’s not impossible. However, if you’ll be using this lens primarily for video, this will probably be the only lens you’ll need to buy. This thing is AMAZING with video and the simplicity of the focus ring. It makes EVERYONE feel like Scorsese.
4. 100mm f2.8 Macro lens: $650
This lens is pretty cool because since it’s a macro it requires less space to focus, making it a perfect detail shot lens. This too is a prime lens. I use it for our product shots where I want a very small portion of the image to be in focus. The glass on this lens is amazing, so the images are REALLY crisp. I’ve used this lens to shoot insects, to plants, to hats, dew on a flower. It’s captured everything with pristine clarity. It also makes a great portrait lens with a little practice.
5. 16-35mm f2.8 Wide Angle: $1600
This is THE concert lens. The wide angle on this lens only works on camera bodies with a full frame such as the 5D. You can still use this lens on a smaller cropped sensor like the T1i or T2i, but you won’t get the full effect that you’ll get on the 5D or 7D. This lens at times feels like a fish-eye. The drawback to this lens is, when zoomed all the way out, anything on the left and right edges will be distorted. You can get some really cool effects with this lens, but it’s not the most flattering portrait lens. This lens will make anyone on the edges look 100lbs more than what they really weigh, and if you turn the lens vertical, the figure’s head will stretch in the most grotesque of ways. Unsightly. The red line around the end of the lens means it’s a L series lens. Pro model. EXPENSIVE.
6. 64GB Compact Flash 400x: $180
Of course, Jeremy took this