The Occasional Shippment

Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.

Constant Aperture (Two Down; Ten to Go)


I’m a fan of bokeh – that beautiful blur that enables photographers to separate the subject of a photograph from everything around it. To get that, though, it takes a really large aperture on the lens (and the larger the aperture, the smaller the number). The aperture on my everyday 18-135mm lens, though, was a variable aperture with the typical range of 3.5 – 5.6. That was great for a starter lens, but I found that it wasn’t nearly wide enough to get the effect I wanted, and the variable nature meant that the more I zoomed, the smaller my minimum aperture. Boo.

While I did have a 50mm 1.4, the lack of a zoom on that lens kept it in my closet most of the time.

What I wanted was a good lens with a decent zoom that had a constant aperture, but I struggled for months over which one to buy. I had been renting the Canon EFS 17-55 2.8 for various shoots, but it had too many drawbacks to justify the $1000+ price tag (despite the fact that I had been saving up). I discovered that Sigma made a comparable one, so I tried that one out. But it honestly just felt cheap. It was noisy, the focus ring spun when the lens was in auto focus mode, and though it was less expensive than the Canon version, I couldn’t justify that price, either.

Nearly driving everyone around me crazy and hounding my photog friends to find out what they use, I finally settled on the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L. Though it lacks image stabilization, the wide aperture allows me to shoot at higher shutter speeds.

I rented that one for a weekend, shot some pictures in the house and in our yard, and I was immediately sold. Here are a few images from that lens test:

However, the madness didn’t end there. With my several visits to the local photography store, I sheepishly asked to see the mother of all Canon lenses – the 70-200mm f2.8L IS. It was big. It was beautiful. It was FAST. If it is possible to fall in love with an inanimate object, I think I did that day. It’s not super practical for my every day needs, but I convinced myself that I needed a really good zoom lens, and now was as good a time as any. The lens was on special, I had saved up hundreds in gift cars on Amazon (starting well before Christmas). So, I pulled the trigger.

Date accomplished: 3/3/12

Here’s a recap of where I am with my list of 12 Things in 2012:

1. Get back into rock climbing.
2. Buy a constant aperture lens.
3. Start playing guitar again.
4. Learn to make edamame.
5. Launch ArtisanShipp website.
6. Renew passport.
7. Learn Italian.
8. Start charging for photography sessions
9. Make that special scarf.
10. Go to Houston.
11. Enter photography contest.
12. Go to Italy.

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2012 by in 12 Things in 2012, Photography and tagged , , , , .

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