My main lens is a beauty! It is a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 and takes fantastic photos - very sharp. The more experienced I became the more I understood what other lenses I might want to add to my collection. I got a lighter weight Canon 24-85mm f3.5 for travelling. It is easier to hold and carry around on a day long hike, for example, or pack for a trip to Europe. The drawback is that the optics are not as good.
This spring I felt ready to invest in another lens. Did I want a wide angle or a longer lens? Because I wanted to actually touch, pick up and look through the lens I took my camera and I went off to shop at the biggest camera store in my area: Hunts in Melrose. I have been looking on line and I know that lenses can be thousands of dollars! So I was looking for the best lens that I could afford. I took into consideration several things: focal length, speed (this refers to the maximum aperture diameter or minimum f number of the lens), optics, image stabilization and ease of handling. Luckily I was helped by a very knowledgeable person and he showed me a used Canon lens 70-200mm f4.0 with very good optics for a great price. The pluses were the price, the focal length and the optics. The minuses were the speed and lack of image stabilization. I bought it.
I have been having a lot of fun with it in two situations. First, I can be further away from a scene and still zoom in. I had not realized how limiting my other lens was. Now, between the two lenses, I have the the choice of focal lengths from 24mm to 200mm! Second, I can really blur the background and/or foreground when I'm doing macro and portrait photography with the longer focal lengths. The images above are examples of the first situation. My next blog entry will highlight macro photography. The only thing I regret is the lack of image stabilization. My advice is to buy lenses with image stabilization.