When I finally decided to enter the world of digital SLR cameras, I purchased a modest Canon Rebel XT, and for the most part, made the best of the EF-S 17-85mm IS lens. I later even added an EF 70-200mm f/4L lens that I coveted for months. Alas, my whole kit was stolen one day, and I had to start rebuilding it again.

Before I even purchased my next camera (which will end up being a used Canon 20D), I decided on the lens. It was going to be the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens, mainly because I could not find a bad review of the lens. Everything about it was appealing – the huge maximum aperture, the focal length, relatively small size and light weight… It’s not a zoom, but if I could have only one lens, I knew it would be that one. Since then, my 85 is always with me, it has become my go-to lens for portraits and closeups, and it especially shined on my Yosemite trip last June (see this, this and this).

Sword in Sheath

Yet, I wanted to find a non-portrait photo to illustrate this post, so I decided to go with one of the first shots I made with the lens. The next day after it came to my doorstep, I brought the lens to the Dallas Museum of Art, and took a photo of this really cool piece. It’s a sheath ornament, made of leather, animal tusks, pearls and imagination. The picture is weird as hell, but I liked it so much I used it for a set of my “moo cards”.

I heard that Nikon just released a 85mm f/1.4 lens. Although it costs a four digit amount, I’m sure it’s spectacular. Canon’s next step up from my f/1.8 is the EF 85mm f/1.2L, which is very expensive, very heavy, and not easy to use well wide open. So, 1.4 would be a great compromise, but until Canon comes up with something like that, I’ll hold on to the one I have. It’s been good to me.