I (finally) think I have discovered a favourite lens
This was written in 2015 and time moves on..
Hello! Before reading the post I thought I’d quickly add that a LOT has changed since 2015. Several camera system switches down the line I’m now (2023) happily shooting with the class-leading Sony Mirrorless system – and have gone full-circle back to fast and beautiful full-frame lenses. No matter how fantastic smaller sensor systems are, they just don’t compare to what can be achieved in terms of shallow depth of field from fast, wide-open prime lenses.
After years of shooting with my workhorse Canon L zoom lenses, towards the end of 2014 I finally rediscovered the idea of shooting with Primes. Prior to this, I don’t think a day went by where I wasn’t shooting with the tried and tested combination of my Canon EF24-70 f2.8 L on one 5DMk3 body and a 70-200 f2.8 L on the other.
However… I also don’t think a day went by where I wasn’t annoyed or frustrated with the combination – the zooms are both heavy lenses, and while the flexibility of the 24-70 / 70-200 focal lengths is great it turned out that the vast majority of frames shot with the 24-70 were at around 35mm.
The irony here is that I’ve actually owned a Canon EF35mm f1.4L for a few years, but for the vast majority of that time it’s sat in the camera bag and been all but shunned in favour of the 24-70 f2.8. Sacrilegious perhaps – but both lenses are brilliant, and up until now I think I’ve been assuming that the flexibility offered by a good zoom could outweigh the fluid uninterrupted shooting style possible with primes.
I had the good luck to attend an amazing workshop last year, led by one of the world’s leading wedding photographers – who commented that perhaps 99% of his images are shot with 35mm or 85mm primes. At the time, I’d left my 35mm back at home as usual instead favouring the tried and tested 24-70; and soon realised that it was time for a change!
From that point onwards, the 35mm was reunited with one of my 5DMk3 bodies and I don’t think it’s been removed since.
Didn’t take long to fall back into love with the lens, and after that it’s been firmly attached to a camera without a single break. My 24-70L and 35L have swapped places… the 24-70’s in the bag (and increasingly staying at home) and the 35L’s become my workhorse, teamed up most of the time with my 70-200L on another body.
It’s perfect for nearly everything I shoot – from photos of the kids, to randomness…
… to being the perfect lens for weddings with beautiful bokeh and and ability to produce lovely images in ridiculously low light.
None of this is going to be a surprise to anyone already shooting with primes – but it’s completely changed my shooting style, and I suspect that at some point in 2015 it will be joined by the equally fantastic 85mm L… this might be a bit of an expensive habit!!
Anyone want to buy a 24-70L ?