What Lenses Would You Pick, If You Could Only Choose Three?

This week’s Tog-Talk podcast pits me against student and now assistant course instructor, Tracey Clarkson (no relation to Jeremy!) as we talk about (amongst other things) which three lenses would we choose, if we could only keep three.

So, for the rest of our lives, we should only be allowed to keep our three favourite lenses.

It’s a big ask to limit myself to such a small handful.  Interestingly, I found it fairly easy to pick my top two favourite pieces of glass, the third was a lot more difficult.  As I examine my choices, I am mindful that I picked them for the type of image they create, the look or ‘feel’ they give to a photograph.

I haven’t picked any lens because it was the ‘sensible’ choice.  I picked, what to me, are the sexiest lenses in my bag.

In hindsight, I am surprised I didn’t go for the best lens I ever had, the Canon 200mm f/2 (below).  Without doubt in my mind, the best outdoor portrait lens that money could buy (and you could buy a lot of lenses for the price of that bad boy).

I say ‘outdoor’ lens, because it was too big to use in most studios.  I had used it indoors on a few corporate shoots though.  It’s an excellent lens for photographing people at the microphone, giving speeches and presentations.  It’s easy to capture the action from way back back in the room, far enough away to not intimidate the person on the stage.  The f/2 maximum aperture was ideal for working in the low light conditions I often found myself in.

Sadly, during the lockdown, it was one of the casualties of Covid.  Because we were closed for so log, our reserves were getting low, and together with a number of other lenses and a couple of camera bodies, it had to be sold.

What would you pick?

It would be easy to say that the perfect lens would be something like a 10mm – 300mm f/2 zoom, if you had the choice.

I reality, although technically-speaking, such a lens might be possible to make, the the diameter of the front glass would be massive (10+ inches in diameter?) and the cost… Jeeze, it might be cheaper to buy a new Tesla!


New beginners’ series starts next week

This episode of Tog-Talk also includes a discussion about the forthcoming podcast series I will be aiming at new photographers.

10 episodes dealing with some of the basic fundamentals of photography; from aperture to ISO, from shooting modes to getting the right exposure.  The plan is to nail each episode in about 10-12 mins, short bite-size chunks, not-too-technical and squarely aimed at those who are just picking up the camera for the first time.

I’ve already recorded the first two episodes, and keeping them short has proved a challenge.  The first episode, which looks at the digital camera is closer to 20 mins in length, but the following episode on the Aperture, is much better, coming out around 12mins.

However it eventually pans out, these will all be shorter than the normal Tog-Talk average, which is around 45 mins in length.

You can listen by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.


Hampshire School of Photography (HSP)

Hampshire School of Photography is based in Fleet, Hampshire, on the border with Berkshire and Surrey.

Its wide ranging curriculum teaches photography to enthusiasts at all levels – from complete beginners and advanced amateurs, through to those who want to go professional.

It does this through workshops and year-long courses that provide solid foundations in (amongst other things): photography theory, composition, portrait & landscape photography, working with flash, macro photography and editing in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Some of our courses go even deeper… to stretch students with challenging assignments, forcing them out of their comfort zones.

Founder of HSP, Kevin Ahronson, also offers private mentoring to a small number of people each year, as his busy schedule allows.

Check out our website for more information about courses, all of which are run at our training centre.

Website: hampshirephotoschool.com

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Kevin Ahronson

Kevin is a full-time professional photographer and has been teaching photography since 2009. He founded the Hampshire School of Photography where he runs photography workshops and gives one to one mentoring to photographers at all levels, from complete beginners through to those who want to turn professional

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