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Choosing the best lens for the job: a photographer's guide


If you are anything like me, choosing a lens for your photography can be somewhat overwhelming (okay, maybe more than somewhat).

With all the varieties and options available, it might be confusing to know which will suit your needs the best. Being a visual person, I needed to test out various lenses on my own to determine the different looks they will achieve in various circumstances. Let me start off by stating that this comparison was only an attempt to see differences in focal lengths in the various lenses tested, not to compare lens varieties and optics (though that might make for a great future blog post). All of these comparisons were performed on a Nikon D600 full frame camera. If you typically shoot with a cropped/DX camera , take into consideration that the results will be slightly different. I also did not apply any presets and the only post-processing I did was a little sharpening; just so you can see the color variations in each lens. Ok, let's begin. Shall we.........???

The first comparison I did was mainly to note the differences in cropping when standing in the same location.

I was standing about 20 feet from my subject the entire time; note how the cropping changes with each lens. two-blooms-lens-distance-co

For my next test, I wanted to keep my subject in the same amount of frame to compare the distinctions between each lens (bokeh and focal length).

I tried to keep my subject in the exact spot on the frame, but it's obvious my camera shifted slightly during a few of the photos due to a squirmy toddler. focal-length-comparison  

The last thing I wanted to test out was the differences in close up head shots.

I knew that shorter lenses created distortion, but I wanted to see a side by side visual that showed just how much distortion I would get.   two-blooms-lens-comparison-   Now that you have seen the differences in focal lengths and how much impact they add to the photo, I hope this will be helpful when it comes to making your next lens purchase!

In case you are wondering, here's a list of the lenses used for my test in this post:

35mm 2D 50mm 1.8D 85mm 1.8D 70-200mm 2.8G  

Out of all the lenses in this demonstration, which is your favorite and which is your "go-to" lens for portraits?

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  • I LOVE the 70mm-200mm best……

  • I wonder if instead of “with a cropped/FX camera” you really meant “with a cropped/DX camera”

  • Thanks for sharing!!!!!
    Would love to see the different lenses with a group of people ;)

    Sam Blanco

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