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Ask the Photo Instructors: What Lens Should I Buy?

April 4, 2011 IADT General, IADT Tampa, Photography 0 Comments

Our second “Ask the Instructors” post is a question for Win Wolloff, adjunct professional photography instructor at IADT-Tampa.

Q. I am planning to buy some new equipment - what should I buy?

A. As a teacher, I am often sought out by young photographers for advice on equipment purchases. Since camera bodies change so quickly, I often focus my advice on things that will be long-term equipment, like lenses.

Lens choice is a personal thing, and as photographers gain experience, each of us can decide based on our unique needs which of the more-exotic lenses we need or want. But in my opinion, there are two lenses that almost every professional photographer should own. More than 90% of the images we make can be made with these two lenses, and a talented image-maker with good business sense can make a good living without ever owning another lens.

These are 1) a wide to short tele zoom in the 24-70 range and 2) a longer lens such as 70-200. Both of them should have a maximum aperture of f2.8 and that aperture should be consistent throughout the zoom range.

Both Nikon and Canon offer lenses in these focal lengths. These are professional lenses and as such are not cheap, coming in at about $1,200 for the shorter lens and $1,500-$1,900 for the 70-200 (depending on the bells and whistles, such as IS). The thing to keep in mind is the fact that once purchased, these lenses will be money makers for a very long time, making the cost of ownership very low in the long run.

Fast enough to be considered "Fast Glass," capable of capturing images under a variety of light conditions and able to produce images of professional sharpness, these lenses can find a place in every professional’s bag.



Win Wolloff Win Wolloff has more than 40 years’ experience as a professional photographer. He holds photographic craftsman and master photographer degrees from the Professional Photographers of America and is also a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

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