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I was told by a professional photographer to always buy the fastest lens you can afford. I almost never shoot indoors or even in the evening with low light. And if I do do a night shot I use my tripod and everything is cool.
How would I benefit from a fast lens? Faster than say f/4 which is what I'm looking at now. I have heard that primes have better optical quality than a zoom, (I'm looking at zooms) I'm usually outdoors using natural light and shooting landscapes and architecture.
When you get a recommendation for gear, most any purchase, take a long/hard look at the person giving you the advice. What/when/where do they primarily shoot, how long have they been shooting...is their imagery any good, and finally are the subjects they shoot what you shoot or want to shoot.
Your photographic eye, what images you wan't to create...will dictate what gear you may need to buy. While we can't change the laws of light, we can change how we shoot. After forty plus years of shooting and experimenting, my gear purchases aren't much simpler, but that's more wanting the 'shinny new toy' than what might just work better.
I've found the faster, heavier gear is less used, it tends to sit and gather dust; is not shot much. When faster glass is needed I turn to smaller faster primes, otherwise the f4 zooms work fine for my work. For near two decades a slow 24-85 was my most used zoom, now it's an f4 ultra-wide and f4 medium telephoto. Fast primes fill the middle ground; f4 and possibly f5.6 telephotos the rest.
And, I'm still floundering about using Crop vs FF bodies. Full frame for me was always film, with digital it's been crop bodies that produce the majority of my images; FF having been borrowed or rented for short periods only...but that's a discussion for another topic.
With that said, this advice comes from a person with a high-level disability, in my case a spinal cord injury that has mostly left me paralyzed from the neck/shoulders down; my arm strength is not great and I have 'zero' grip.
I chose the 70-200 f4L IS simply because using the f2.8 version would have just been too difficult for any extended shoots; I mostly hand-hold, it's the most freeing way to shoot from a wheel chair. I've not found f4 to be limiting at all, but have seen images the f2.8 produces that I can't duplicate.
Each of us finds our style, buy what you can afford, shoot the heck out of it, exploit every mm and pixel, create what makes you happy or gets your clients to smile and you paid.
I'd not recommend getting a fast lens if it restricts your shooting, the only way to learn/grow is to get out and shoot.
Edited on Sep 10, 2013 at 10:04 AM · View previous versions