My favorite lens

Lots of people ask me what my favorite lens is. That is a very different question from “what lens do you use the most”? To answer the last question first; my most used lens is my 24mm tilt shift lens. I estimate that 50% of the images I make are done with my trusty 24mm TSE! I have written extensively about why I love tilt shift lenses so I won’t rehash my love affair here.

But what is my favorite lens???? Ah, it has to be my Canon 135mm f2.0L lens. Now here is a Canon lens that is legendary in sharpness and is small, fast, and light. It focuses close for great portraits but leaves plenty of working distance between the photographer and the subject. The 85mm 1.2L does not focus as close and and takes in too much background for my tastes.  And the bokehon this 135 mm lens is absolutely amazing. The way out-of-focus areas contrast with the tack focus is primo! Makes me all swoony just thinking about it!

I use this lens all the time for portraits, street photography, and my work with dogs. I actually sold my 70-200mm f2.8L and replaced it with the 135mm. The latter is so small and compact and fast focusing compared to the big zoom that I readily gave up the convenience of zooming for the advantages of close focus and superb bokeh.


This is a photo of Jeff from Klondike Ventures. Look at that tack sharp face but how the background melts away! By the way, if you have ever wanted to try running a dog sled team, this is the place to do it. Jeff and his wife Jill run a great dog sled tour company out of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Highly recommended!!


4 Responses to “My favorite lens”

  1. Darwin, that TS 24mm must be awesome with the movements that a large format camera has. Although, it doesn’t seem like 24mm is super wide, I have seen that you stitch images together. It would be nice if the new 17mm TS could accept filters.

  2. Darwin,

    First I love you work and this blog. I was wondering if you had considered purchasing the new (and supposedly improved) Canon 24 TSE lens and possibly the 17mm TSE? I would think the 17mm without being able to accept Grduated ND and other filters would not be very useful for landscape work. What are your thoughts?

  3. My favorite lens is the 135 L also. I was surprised to read that it was your favorite as I assumed the 24 tilt shift would be your choice. I have admired your work for years btw and am delighted to have found this blog. I have been enjoying your work at the time catchers site.

  4. Tareq Alhamrani Says:

    I like 135L too, but my favorite lens is 24-70, 16-35 is same favorite lens as well.

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