Just a few hours before we left for Europe I sent Kelli Nicole a message asking her to help me decide which lenses to take with me to Europe. She helped me narrow it down to the 135mm 2.0, 45mm 2.8 Tilt Shift (rented from Borrow Lenses), 35 mm 1.4, and 16-35 2.8. Here is how I used what I took, and what I’ll do differently next time we go to Europe. You won’t find any zoom lenses (well other than the 16-35) on this list because I’m a prime lover. If you want a zoom lens for travel I’d probably recommend something around the 24-70 range.
I dragged this lens all over Europe and used it one time, in the church at the ceremony, and ended up keeping like 3 pictures I took with it. Worth it if my SIL’s photographer sucks, but based on the way I saw him shooting and the equipment I think that won’t be the case. I would only recommend taking a long lens like this if you will be in places where you can’t get close to your subject (and really, if you’re going to be doing lots of photography like that you will usually want a zoom) or if you think you’d do some stalkarazzi style photos where you take pictures of people on the street and such. I really want to be this type of person but I’m too scared.
I rented this in hopes that the high volume of picture taking I was going to be doing would teach me how this lens works, specifically in regards to portraits, and though I feel like I have a better grip on it I don’t think it’s for me. I’ve had it for 3 weeks and hardly used it, I just don’t feel like I’m using it very purposefully, and so my images end up looking really gimmicky. It’s technically a lens for shooting architecture, which makes sense in a place like Vienna with so many beautiful buildings, but I never used it that way because I don’t know how.
The lens is difficult to use because it has no auto-focus, which normally means I can’t hand it over to anyone to take a picture of me with it, but That Husband ended up enjoying the challenge of finding the right focus!
My advice if you rent this lens is to shoot at f/4.0 or above and plan on shooting a lot.
Though I only used it a few days during the trip, I’m glad I had it, and when I sell it (I really will sell it like I promised myself I would when I bought the 35 1.4. I mean, I probably will. Most likely.) I will rent it for trips like this because there are certain situations where it works so well.
Inside of this ultra hip restaurant called Palmenhaus.
Ultra wide angle shots of the landscape (this was at the gates of Schonbrunn).
And inside the reception hall where the wedding was held (great for dancing shots and self-portraits as well!)
I’d say 95% of my photos from this wedding were taken with this lens.
Photographs of our food (if you’ve read my vacation recaps before you know I love taking pictures of the food we eat!)
Landscape style shots.
Half landscape/half portrait shots.
(Also if anyone can explain why Pinocchio is sitting on a giant chair with a smoking cigarette behind him I would really appreciate it).
It was great for photojournalistic style shots at the wedding, except for the times when I wanted to get close to the action and the paid photographer was hovering as well. I didn’t want to ever be in his way so I stayed a bit farther than I would have for a lot of my shots.
And the 35 is what we used for the shots of That Husband and I together!
For our next trip, I plan on taking the 16-35 2.8, 35 1.4, and 50 1.2. I definitely missed the 50 1.2 and its ability to come in close for portraits without any distortion.