Photo Tip #11: Silence the Photo Police (Pt. 4): Shoot with the Best Lenses

In Part Three, I talked about how blurry images can be desirable. Today I will talk about the merits (or lack there of) of sharp lenses. Conventional photography wisdom states that you should always use the best lenses. What is the purpose of shooting with the best lenses? What's the difference between a professional lens and an amateur lens? The two key differences are that professional lenses are sharper (ie. more detail and sharpness – see Part 2 and Part 3) and they can gather more light, which means that you will be able to shoot in lower lighting conditions while keeping your shutter speed high (ie. prevent motion blur); and you have more room to play with your aperture and therefore the depth of field. Having said this, professional lenses are much more expensive than amateur lenses; sometimes as much as an order of magnitude. They are also larger and heavier than a consumer rated lens. The question begs, “Do you really need that much lens?” The answer depends the intended use for your pictures. If you are making posters or billboards or have a commercial use for your images you may need the best lenses on the market. If you are just posting images on Facebook perhaps not.
If you are doing more than posting on Facebook but you can't afford the professional lenses, what can you do? My advice would be to start thinking outside the box and making that soft look a part of your work; make it a part of your style. Why not?

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