My top 3 lenses…

All these lenses are ones I’ve loved using and would recommend.

3) In third place is the Nikon 70-300 f4-5.6 AF-S G.  It’s the longest lens I’ve used, equalling 450mm on my Nikon D5000. Great for shots of a distant subject, or for some nice macro work, as the lens focuses surprisingly close. My two favourite shots with this lens are a passenger jet landing in the sunset at Heathrow airport, and this delicate image of a swan.

(image courtesy of

2) Second place is the Canon EF 35mm f2.0. I used this lens on a digital SLR with a crop factor, making it a 50mm f2 in practice. Cheap and incredibly sharp, it had several weak points – notably coping very poorly with flare – but gave me some lovely images. This shot of some daffodils is my favourite.

(image courtesy of

1) In the top spot is one of the first lenses I ever bought, and one that changed the way I viewed the world. The Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM lens.

(image courtesy of

The Canon 50mm f1.4 introduced me to big apertures and out of focus backgrounds. My favourite image is impossibly hard to pick, so I’ll include two. The first is of my cat and shows off the depth and clarity this lens can create in a shot. The second is a shot from one of the first weddings I photographed. The lens enabled me to shoot in the almost non existent light and I was lucky to capture a lovely moment…


About David Charlwood

I am a professional photographer, specialising in weddings, working across the UK, based in the South East. View all posts by David Charlwood

5 responses to “My top 3 lenses…

  • Amy

    Between the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and the Canon 50mm f1.4 – How much difference is there between the two lenses? Would you say it’s worth the extra money to purchase the f/1.4 over the f/1.8?

  • David Charlwood

    The f1.4 gives you an extra stop and has better corner sharpness, colour rendition and resistance to flare. The biggest difference is that the 1.4 has USM focusing, which is faster and much more accurate. The 1.4 also has prettier out of focus areas.

    I think it is worth the extra money, if you don’t mind the extra. The 1.8 is still one of the best value lenses though.

  • Amy

    Thanks! I was always curious about the difference between them… Before I purchased the 1.8 those were the two lenses I was deciding between. In the end money is what decided my course. I still love the lens I bought, but I must say the 1.8 does fight me on focusing sometimes so having a faster more accurate lens would be nice!

    You picked three great lenses!

  • tysonrobichaudphotography

    Hi David and Amy. I wanted to add that arguably the “biggest” difference between the EF 50mm f/1.8 and the 2/3 stop faster 50mm f/1.4 is the build and mount. On the f/1.8, the entire lens body and mount is plastic while the f/1.4 is metal. Either lens is capable of great images, but I’ve seen quite a few of the f/1.8 lenses in pieces after a bump or drop. The 1.4 model is also not without its faults. The extending/rotating front barrel is subject to bumps which can kill the AF motor. There are current rumors that there is a 50 f/1.4 II model in the works which should hopefully address some of these issues. Also look to the Sigma 50 f/1.4 as it is a better performer than the canon currently from most accounts.



  • David Charlwood

    Tyson, you are right about the build quality, although I do note rate the 1.4 highly either – my focusing broke within 6 months of serious pro. use. The Sigma 1.4 is sharper and has nicer bokeh, but there have been some quality control issues with it I believe. Great if you get a nice copy though.

    Thanks for the thoughts. Keep in touch!

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