The PHOX Planner blog

What’s in our camera bag?

Our Top 4 camera lens choices …

With so much choice when thinking what equipment you need to get started, we thought we’d give you a quick run through of some of the lenses in our camera bag we use when shooting professionally. Both of us shoot with a Canon 5D body and between us we have a huge range of lenses, both zoom and prime. I’m going to run through our favourite Top 4 lens types by focal length – this collection will cover most of your general needs.

camera bag essentials
  1. Standard zoom – Standard zoom lenses cover most eventualities for day-to-day shooting. When you are starting out your DSLR or mirrorless camera will likely come with a standard zoom, something in the range of 18-55mm. This is ok, but you’d be better foregoing the kit lens and investing a little more into a better general zoom lens. You’ll use this lens a lot, it’s a workhorse , so it pays to have a good one! You can get better image quality, a wider maximum aperture and a longer zoom range with something like Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. This lens has a fast f/2.8 aperture that remains constant throughout the entire zoom range – this is it’s star feature! It’s fairly heavy compared to the basic kit lens, but the additional glass provides greater sharpness and enhanced bokeh. You will never regret having this lens in your kit and will always be assured this guy has your back!
  2. A Portrait Prime Lens – most pro photographers agree that the best portrait lens is an 85mm prime lens. It’s the first choice for many portrait photographers because of the way it can make your subject look in the final image. It produces a flattering perspective that is very pleasing to the eye so it’s great for headshots, bridal portraits and family shoots.  The 85mm is a moderate telephoto focal length so it also enables a comfortable working distance between you and your subject so they can feel comfortable and not too in the spotlight, but it still allows you as the photographer to get close enough to engage and give direction. Be warned -this lens is heavy, and you’ll notice it if you’re shooting all day!
  3. A Standard Prime lens – The 50mm lens, often known as the ‘nifty fifty’, is a great low-cost wide-aperture lens for low light shooting and lovely bokeh. Having a 50mm lens in your kit & camera bag, is a reliable steady Eddy. With a focal length that’s almost equivalent to what the human eye can see, this lens can capture a natural medium perspective that’s great for all sorts of photography, a sure-fire solid foundation to your collection.
  4. A Wide-Angle Zoom – this lens will give you the big picture and a nice wide shot when you are trying to maximise what the eye can see in one image – perfect for landscapes, interiors, and even weddings when you want to cover a large area of action! Canon has a couple of great options including the 16-35mm or the 17-40mm. Whilst the wide-angle lens is ideal for maximising more into your compositions, they can also be used creatively to exaggerate perspectives, receding the background while dramatically separating a subject in the foreground. This is a great lens to have fun with and use in unexpected situations as well as the classic wide shots.

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