I Wanna Buy A Lens - But Which One?
A desire for strong drink, friend...
But moving right along, there is a sensible, scientific, do-able answer to the dilemma that this client is facing - the question of finding out what they really want. And we can help them solve it in a weekend.
If the client has a Nikon, Canon, or Fujifilm camera they should repair to the Rental Department here at Camera Electronic and hire out a wide-ranging zoom lens for two days. If they do not have one of these camera bodies they should add it to the hire contract - it won't matter which brand they choose as they are all good makers but they should get an APS-C body to accompany the lens.
Right. Set the camera for a reasonably high ISO - all the cameras will stand 800 ISO and will probably go to 1600 easily. Set the thing to shoot sRGB and a medium fine jpeg. Put in a 16 GB card and get started.
Shoot what you want to shoot, where you want to shoot it. Whatever you conceive as your special interest should get first priority but add something else as well - something that you don't normally do. Shoot a lot. Use the lens at any focal length. Shoot in all conditions of light. When the weekend is finished, bring the camera back...in good condition, I might add...and head for your computer with that 16 GB card.
Have a look at the programs in your computer that deal with jpegs and see if they will report the EXIF data that is there in the card. I know that Silkypix 6 does and Aperture 3 does, and I suspect that the Adobe products do too, if you know which button to push. Load that card.
Look at the pictures. Look at that ones that you like. Are they successful? If you like them, they are...Now look at the EXIF data. The ones you liked are taken with the focal length that applies to you - that's how YOU see the world. That's the focal length that works for your eyes.
It might be that you see in a range of views - maybe the whole 18-300 spectrum. Well and good - then that is the lens for you. If you are mostly seeing at 85mm or 35mm, that is the view that best expresses you - and you can get prime lenses that will do this with less distortion and more light transmission.
Is your arm sore and tired? That big lens was too big for you - choose a smaller range or lighter lens.
Is every blessed picture too dark? Consider getting a lens with a wider maximum aperture.
If everything is too restricted, consider getting a wider angle and conversely, if everything is always too far away, consider a longer dedicated telephoto lens. Prepare yourself in that case for a financial and physical shock - long is dear and heavy.
In any case, you have conducted a scientific experiment on yourself and can make the best judgement for you - without reading the internet pundits or the advertising sites. You can, as the surgeon said...suture self.