My Lenses

I often get asked about the gear that I use – especially which lenses I use for some of the shots that I post on social media.
Lenses are one of the biggest investments you will make in your photography. Camera bodies will come and go, but your glass can stay with you for years, so buying quality lenses is worth the cost.
That being said, I’ve gotten plenty of great photos using basic kit-lens quality glass. It really is about using your gear to its fullest potential, and the best way to do that is to shoot a LOT while also studying the technical aspects of photography.
My current lenses are a Canon 70-200mm f4L IS, a Tamron 28-75mm 2.8, and a Canon 50mm 1.8 (nifty fifty, plastic fantastic, etc…).
When I upgraded to a full-frame camera body I couldn’t use my Canon EF-S 10-22mm, so I’m still lacking a nice wide-angle lens. That will probably be my next lens purchase (although I really want a fisheye too!)
My favorite out of these has got to be the 70-200. I really love the quality of the images that I get with this lens and the 200mm reach is a necessity since I’m often shooting from across the stage. I’d love the 2.8 version, but at $1,000 cheaper the 4.0 does a great job. My Canon 6D has great high-ISO performance so I can compensate for the 4.0 by cranking the ISO a bit. The majority of my favorite live shots have been taken with this lens.
The Tamron 28-75 is also a great lens. I was a bit hesitant about getting a third-party lens, but my local camera shop guy actually talked me into this lens (and out of a more expensive Canon). I use this lens when I want to get more of the stage and venue in a shot. I try to get a “bow” shot from behind the drum kit at the end of shows and this is the lens I use for that. I shoot for a local LED company and this is the lens I go to for the full stage shots that they use on their website.
The lowly Canon 50mm 1.8 is probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck lenses you can get. They sell new for around $110 US (I found mine in a pawnshop for 60 bucks). It’s plastic and the autofocus can be a bit pokey, but I’ve gotten razor-sharp images with this thing. This is a fun lens to put on the camera and go out walking with. It’s small and unassuming (unlike the 70-200) and the fixed focal length forces you to think about composition more since you can’t zoom. You ‘zoom with your feet’ as they say. I’ll occasionally shoot live with this one, but not as much as the other two.
A wide-angle, a fisheye, a macro, and maybe a longer zoom (300 or 400) are on my wish list, but for now these 3 lenses are doing a great job for me! All three of these are listed over on my “Gear I Love” page here.
Thanks for stopping by!

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About John Zocco

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