On the Importance of a Good Lens


Glass (Part One) – OnTakingPictures Photographer Bill Wadman has a post out talking about the importance of lenses.

From Bill:

“OK, listen up. The most important component of your camera is the lens. If there is a place to spend the money, it’s on the glass. I’d take a 5 year old 20D with a good lens over a top of the line 1Ds MkIII with a crappy lens any day of the week. I can’t tell you the number of people I see who have this all wrong. Last year at the Grand Canyon, I saw a girl with a high-end Gitzo tripod, 5D body, and some crappy consumer level zoom lens on the front. Honestly, I almost pushed her over the edge.”

Bill knows his stuff. He is one of the best portrait shooters around today. A lot of people ask me what camera to buy all the time. My answers always come back with a camera body *and* a lens. Kit lenses suck. If you’re going to spend dough on a Digital SLR, do yourself a favor and at a minimum buy a cheap 50mm prime to go with it.

My favorite lens personally is the Canon 135mm f/2 telephoto.

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  1. andie says:

    i preach about good glass all the time!!! it is worth every penny…I’d rather have my 3 L lenses and 50 crap lenses!

  2. Dude! That’s why I stick with my Nikon D40, and keep getting better and better lenses.

    Maybe someday, I’ll upgrade to a D200 or D300, but for now, I’m saving up for the nice glass!

  3. Greg Furry says:

    You have to see it to believe it. My Fedex guy just dropped of a new Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8G ED today.

    Just looking at the pix in the LCD of my D300 I swear they look better than my 18-200.

    People ask me all the time what to get. I say the same thing. Spend the dough on the lens. You will have them longer than the body.

    Anyone want to buy a Nikkor 18-200 so I can pay for my new lens when my Visa bill comes 😉

  4. TranceMist says:

    Watching Scoble’s “Photowalking with Thomas Hawk” a while back, you got me to have a serious look at primes (I had none then).

    I’ve gotten a number of really nice ones since and am really glad I did. I love them.

    Thanks again.

  5. farrell says:

    Agreed. Good glass is critical.

    And if you spend the money for good lenses, I’d go the extra $3 and get a lens cleaning cloth… 🙂

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    And if you spend the money for good lenses, I’d go the extra $3 and get a lens cleaning cloth… 🙂

    actually I mostly just use my tshirt, but that’s must me 😉

  7. At least I have the 50mm f/1.8 II. I hope you don’t kick me next time we photowalk and I switch to the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.


  8. William Beem says:

    Ain’t that the truth. I have some nice glass, but chose not to take it on my trip to SF this week, instead opting for my consumer level Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. Don’t get me wrong, I like the convenience of this lens.

    Right after cleaning it before going out to shoot the Seal Rocks by the Cliff House, the front element literally fell out and smacked on the floor. Flimsy build quality ruined my plans for that trip.

  9. PickP39 says:

    I used the L-lenses for my Canon Digital Camear.I like it because it give me the high quality pictures.