Which lens is best for photowalking?
I get asked this question all the time. Which lens to buy for photowalking? Now I don't normally give away trade secrets, but here it is.. Be sure and write this down. It's model number 56-67850..Wait.. I'm of course kidding. :-) The correct answer of course, is it depends on the type of photowalk your embarking on. If your photowalk is taking you through lots of beautiful vistas and landscapes, a nice wide angle lens would be ideal. On the other hand, If your photowalk is taking place in more of a urban setting, then, maybe a longer tele-zoom would suit you better.
For me, I've gotten in the habit of carrying two main lens with me on all photowalks. I carry a Canon 24-105mm f/4, and a Canon 50mm f/1.8. I find that these two lens are usually more than ample to cover most shooting situations.
So let me explain my choices. First off the Canon 24-105mm is what I like to call the perfect all "around-er" camera lens. It's the perfect focal length for general purpose shooting just wide enough on the wide end, and just enough reach on the telephoto side. I used to carry a 24-70mm in my bag, but I always found the 70mm restrictive, I always found myself wanting a little more reach.
Every Canon shooter I know absolutely loves the 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. At least it seems that way. This lens has been a part of a very high number of amateur, enthusiast and professional toolkits. It is a great general purpose lens and it was an especially great value when purchased in various full frame DSLR kits. Everyone needs a "all-a-rounder" general purpose lens and you'll find that these lenses tend to be the most-used lens in the bag.
To be my most-ever-used lens means that the focal length range must be useful for the scenarios you most frequently encounter. Specifically, such a lens will cover what the most shooting conditions. For most people that focal range is 24-70mm. The Canon 24-105mm fits the bill very nicely offering you 24mm on the wide end for landscape photography and just wide enough to work in capturing images in tight places. The extra 35mm on the long end is useful for a wide range of subjects, but especially for portraiture including tightly framed portraits.
The Canon 24-105mm lens is a great choice for all your photojournalistic needs. It is well suited for capturing much of what you will find while photowalking or on vacation and it will not be a burden to take with you.
A feature I find critical to have in a walk-around general purpose lens is image stabilization. Unless I am using a tripod or at least a monopod, I seldom leave home without IS. While image stabilization does not stop subject motion, it allows handholding of the camera in extremely low light situations with still subjects. The image quality difference made by IS is dramatic.
Canon has rated this lens IS system at 4 stops. In other words, an ISO setting 4 stops higher, ISO 1600 instead of ISO 100 or ISO 12800 instead of ISO 800 for example, would be necessary to increase the shutter speed enough to compensate for omission of this system. That difference is huge in terms of image quality.
With a general purpose lens accurate autofocusing is the key to a lens delivering its ultimate image quality. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens focuses very fast and accurate.
Like most of Canon's latest L lenses, the 24-105mm f/4L IS II is weather sealed. Which means if you get caught in a short rain storm you can keep on shooting with confidence knowing your gear is safe.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is one of the best general purpose lenses available. It has an extremely useful range of focal lengths in a very-well constructed body that is ready for professional-duty use. It is nicely sized and has a weight that will not quickly wear you down. The excellent image stabilization system gets the job done. And, it's fast, accurate and AF system will not let you down.
So why carry the Canon 50mm f/1.8?
I'm sure by now, are asking why do I have the 50mm F/1.8 in my bag when the 24-105mm has this focal length covered. The answer is quite simple the nifty fifty as I like to call it, is there for when shooting conditions are in extreme low light. The wide-open aperture that the 50 mm offers allows me to shoot even in the lowest lighting conditions. Plus the added benefit of this lens is it's just a piece of plastic that weighs just ounces and takes up almost no room in my bag and doesn't weigh me down on the photo walk. It's always there just in case.
Most of all, remember photowalking is about the experience, and not about the gear.
So get out and photowalk this weekend!