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Which lens should I get?

by Robb Davidson

May 15, 2013





So, these three are my “main” prime go-to lenses.  I also have the 14 2.8, but for this blog post’s purpose, I’ll just stick with these three for the examples.  Often, people are looking around to find the best lens to get for their needs.  In any case, whatever. Basic rule of thumb when shooting portraits or images that you want to “keep as true as possible” you want to use a tighter lens.  When you’re outside, keep that in mind that you can always back up and get stellar results.  There’s also a happy medium to hit on staying close enough to your subject, solar flares, and wind resistance.  I’ll show you the same exact shot and how far I had to back up to get it.  HILARIOUS getting these shots.


Here’s with the 35 1.4:


With this, it’s obvious you can see the distortion, the background is still showing actual STUFF, and isn’t really the most ideal lens for doing Erik justice.  This is how close I can be, however:

The almighty 85 1.2:

I know I know. I said the longest lens is best. I know. Shut it.  This is not only my fav lens to crush the background, but it’s the happy medium of allowing you a good focal length inside and outside, but still getting you little to no distortion.  And yeah, you do need to back up a little to get a full length shot.  Most of my headshots I’m about half the distance to just crop at their belly button. Yeah, the button.

With the 135 2.0:

This lens is pretty radical is quite cheaper than the 85.  I think the 85 is around 2400 or so, and the 130 is just over a grand. SOOOooo yeah.  What stinks is that the 135 F stop STARTS at 2.0, and the 85 really starts to SHINE at 2.0.  Sooo yeah. Anyway, this is a great lens when you can’t or don’t want to get near people. Whatever, it’s not my problem if you’re scared, pick accordingly.  I for one don’t feel the need to ever be this far away from my subject:

Here are the three shots side by side:





Make a comment.


  • Traci Manges says:

    I would go with the 85 even with the heavier price tag, the picture taken with that lens just "pops" where as the other ones something is just missing.

  • robbdavidson says:

    You’re absolutely right Traci. That is why I will always be an advocate for that lens!

  • Jon Merkel says:

    I have the 135 and have used the 85 quite a lot. Apart from image quality and price there are other things to consider. Focusing on the 85 is SUPER slow when compared to the 135, and if you into Manuel focusing for things like free-lensing the 85 can't work without the electronics. The 135 is also capable of using a 1.4 adapter bringing it to 2.8, so it becomes a great sharp lens choice over the 70-200 when needed with just a few hundred bucks. The 85 is a jewel and tends to be used sparingly…it is pretty though.

  • Sure, the 85 is certainly slower, which sometimes I need to do on shoots. It's not for sports, that's for sure. It kinda forces me to take my time just a hair longer, and make sure things are set. Same argument can even be made with using film over digital…you are more methodical in each shot instead of just firing away all trigger happy. So in that case, take forever to focus, just nail the shot and eat all the yumminess it produces.

  • Jiho Park says:

    I own them all, but I love my 24 1.4 the most!

  • Really?? 24 huh. I always felt that was too wide for me. Unless I wanted a non person image like a room shot then I snag the 14. What do you like to use it most for?

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