Before we get started...
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So it seems that a lot of you are loving your 50mm lens! (Okay some of you opted for the 35mm fixed lens instead, and it is also a fantabulous choice for a first lens that gives you a bit more room!) The nifty fifty is a wonderful lens to learn how to use your camera and it's a lens that if quite forgiving and one that you won't likely outgrow. It's a lens that I go back to again and again and could never imagine not having and using it! If you're looking to get a lens beyond the kit lens your camera came with a 50mm or 35mm fixed lens, that's one that has no zoom, is where to start.
It seems many of you have been bitten by the photography bug, see photography in your life for a while. If you have a 50mm or 35mm and you are ready to take the next step, keep reading. The next inevitable question always comes up.
Over on the Q&A the next question has come up more than once!
Emily asks... so would love to know-- i have 1 prime lens-- 50 mm 1.8 love him. after a 50mm, what lens would you suggest? i'm mainly taking pics of my kids, friends, family. 35 or 85?
Anonymous asks... What lens should you get after the nifty fifty?
Christina asks... My first and only lens is the 50, which I purchased a year ago. I love it. Its versatile, incredibly sharp, and I couldn't bare to ever part with it. My photography skills have dramatically grown this past year with that lens, and I know its time for 50 to have a friend. The question is: which one? I have had a few suggestions, such as 70 - 200, 24-70, and 85. Who do you think would make the best addition to my camera bag?
Well you see this is a TOUGH question! I think there are likely as many "right" answers to this question as there are lenses! Yes, I recommend the 50mm (or 35mm) first. But after that I simply do not have a clear cut answer! And I think it depends on what you take photos of, how much you want to invest, and where you see yourself going in your photography journey.
Here a couple things to consider before you start investing your hard-earned money. If photography is going to be a long-term hobby or if you see yourself making some money with it, then you will likely upgrade and change camera bodies as the years pass. But unlike your camera, your lenses can last much longer and work on many different camera bodies. About 3 years ago I finally retired my 50mm lens that I had had for over 20 years and had used on 3 different cameras. So in my opinion it's worth it to spend a bit more money on lenses since they can be with you a long while. Shhhhh, don't tell Papa I said that! I'm still trying to convince him that photography is a cheap hobby since we don't have to buy and process film anymore! Not sure he's buying what I'm selling though.
I do recommended spending more money initially for better quality lenses, rather than upgrading later on. Buying 2 lenses is always more expensive than buying one. My second lens, the 24-70mm listed below was actually worth more than the camera I first put it on. But I knew that I would be keeping and using it for the long haul. 5 years later, it's still one of my favorite work horses.
I recommend buying Canon and Nikon brand lenses. They hold their value better than off brands and re-sale is much easier.
If you foresee upgrading your camera body someday, I recommend buying a lens that can be used not only on your current camera body but also on a future body.
So here are a few lenses, all of which I have experience with and recommend. Because I tend to keep lenses for a LONG time, and as mentioned I'd rather buy a nicer lens then upgrade later, you'll find that they aren't cheap. I'm sorry. Perhaps the budget keeper of your family should leave the room now... before you click on any of the links below.
20mm f/2.8 is a great landscape lens. If you're traveling and want to get the whole sweeping vista, the inside of a cathedral, or something big, you're going to need a wide lens.
85mm f/1.8 is a fabulous portrait lens. But unless you want to take closeups all the time, you'll need quite a bit of space to use it. The sharpness of this lens, even at this reasonable price, knocked my socks off!
|Taken with my 85mm|
If money is no object consider these. (Ya, 'cause that's the problem I'm always having!)
24-70 f/2.8 After my 50mm lens, this was my next lens baby. She's a work horse, good in low light and works in a variety of settings. Some people think she's kinda heavy. I agree and I kinda liked that about her!
|Taken with a 24-70 at 58mm|
16-35 f/2.8 (instead of the 17-40 f/4 listed above) For all the same reasons as the 17-40 above, but it's better in low light and considerably sharper. This is the lens I use for landscape photography and when I'm on vacation to get the whole setting. After years of researching wide angle lenses and agonizing this is my most recent lens purchase, and I've been having a lot of fun with it!
|Taken with a 16-35mm f/2.8 at 31mm|
|Taken with a 70-200 f/2.8 at 200mm|
Okay I know that there are other wonderful lenses out there. But these are the ones that I have experience with and the ones I recommend. I've linked Canon versions of these lenses but Nikon has very similar versions of most all of these as well.