« on: July 30, 2013, 02:23:53 PM »
Note: This post is part rant, part food for thought. Comment as you see fit, but I have no questions to be answered or advice to be given at this time.
I currently shoot with mostly L's, including the 70-200 f/4 L, 17-40 f/4 L, and the 135 f/2 L. I also have a 50 f/1.4 in the stable. I'm considering rounding out my prime collection with a 35, 85, and possibly a wide at some point in the future. The 85L and 35L produce some impressive images, many seen right here in the CRF. Then, I look at images produced with their non-L counterparts, the 85 f/1.8, and the 35 f/2. Many stunning images to be had there as well. So with a 2-3x difference in price, what's the difference? Build quality, for one, as well as that extra stop or two of light. Better glass. Better sharpness when shot wide open, not to mention better bokeh quality. There is indeed a difference, and I'm not going to pretend there isn't.
But that's not to say that the non-L 85 and 35 primes are poor lenses. They can help meet your photographic needs without sacrificing image quality on a noticeable scale. If I can't put an 85mm f/1.8 on my 5DmkII and get a really good portrait...it's not the equipment's fault. And if I can't get good images with that lens, moving up to the L isn't going to help me out, either.
I've scrimped, saved, and made deals along the way to get the setup that I've got right now. I like to joke that I drive an Old Lady's car so that I can shoot with a Big Boy's camera. And there's some truth to it.
So, I could scrimp, save, and make deals so that I can get an 85L and 35L in that bag in the future. It might take me a few years. And in the end, I would have some incredibly awesome glass. Or, I could eat beans and rice tonight, and then rice and beans tomorrow night, and afford the non-L lenses in a matter of a few months. That's that much more time I could spend shooting with those lenses. Time I could be getting great images and putting them to work for me. That's worth something.
I know that there are opinions on both sides of the issue. Those are just the things I'm wrestling with right now.
Get out there and shoot something meaningful today.