We asked four pro photographers what their go to glass is.
GABE ROGEL: Sports Photographer
Living in Driggs, ID, at the base of the Tetons, Rogel is never far from mountains and mountain sports. His passions for skiing and climbing led to a thriving sports photo career, with clients around the world. As a sports photographer, Gabe Rogel looks for durability and utility in his lenses, and by “utility” he means a wide range of focal lengths and light weight. Unlike most action shooters, this mountain-sports specialist often has to hike up and down cold, snow-covered peaks to reach his subjects. Because of that, the weight of his lenses—and his entire kit—is a top consideration.
Gabe’s Favorite Lenses:
CANON EF 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6L IS USM
“This is my workhorse,” says Rogel. “Between Canon’s 15mm fisheye and this lens, I can fit almost all the focal lengths I need in one small, lightweight backpack. The best feature of the zoom is obvious: Its massive 10.7X zoom range. I don’t know of any other lens that’s this sharp with this much range.”
His only issue with Canon’s 28–300mm? Its speed, which he finds frustrating in low light. Image stabilization, though, makes low-light shooting a little easier, especially when panning. “Its price tag was financially hard to take,” adds Rogel, “but its versatility easily justifies the cost.”
CANON EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
Rogel packs this lens ($646, street) for its ultrawide-angle of view. “I absolutely love the way it captures both the subject and a large portion of the background. My clients seem to like it as well, because I sell more images taken with the fisheye than I do with glass costing thousands more.”
He also likes the way it converts up to a 19.5mm on his Canon EOS-1D bodies, with their 1.3X lens conversion factors. “When I first went digital, I complained about the lens conversion factors with wide angles. With this fisheye, though, I’ve grown to love it, because it knocks down the fisheye effect perfectly, leaving a superwide-angle image that isn’t too wide or distorted.”
He also likes this fisheye’s sharpness, f/2.8 speed, price, and size. “Small and light is a big bonus in the mountains,” he says.
CANON EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USM
This is Rogel’s go-to zoom ($2,270, street) in low light. The 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 IS mentioned above is just too slow in many situations, especially at the long end of the zoom range.
“This lens lets in an amazing amount of light, is tack sharp, and has great color and contrast,” says Rogel. “I also prefer its responsive, twist-ring zoom action over the sliding barrel, push-pull zoom of the 28–300mm.”
Used in this Shot: Canon EF 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6L IS USM
For subjects like skiing, climbing, mountain biking and portraits, this is Gabe Rogel’s favorite piece of glass. He likes it for everything, in fact, except for low-light, early-morning or late-afternoon shooting. “My pack, before I found this lens, was much heavier,” says Rogel. “I carried three lenses to cover subjects that I can now handle with just this one.”
Nikon AF-S 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR Zoom-Nikkor ($980, street) A full-frame zoom with VR II image stabilization, the lens focuses—silently—to a tight 18 inches at all focal lengths, is internal focusing, and weighs only 1 pound, 12 ounces.
Sigma 18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 DC OS HSM ($480, street) A digital-only lens with an impressive 13.8X zoom range, it features on-board stabilization and 1:3.4 maximum subject magnification for close-ups.
Sony DT 18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 ($580, street)Compact and light, this APS-C all-in-one lens offers a 14X zoom range and converts up to a 27–375mm on most Sony bodies. With sharp, low-dispersion glass and an internal-focusing design, the lens weighs in at under a pound.
Tamron 18–270mm f/3.5–6.3 Di II VC PZD ($560, street)With an industry-leading 15X zoom range, Tamron’s flagship all-in-one APS-C optic is the independent’s first with an ultrasonic PZD focusing motor. Also weighing less than a pound, it offers on-board vibration control.