I see a lot of people here asking what lens they should get, and several what lenses would you own, but I didn’t see a thread quite like this so I thought I’d start one. Post what you have and why you have it.
I’ve been in the DSLR game since my Rebel XT and have gone through I’d say about a dozen lenses over time, including the none IS kit lens, the nifty fifty, Canon 28-85mm USM ,and Sigma 70-300 APO. After 7 years I’ve pretty much settled down with the following for my 7D:
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 – This is my standard do everything walk around lens. I used the 17-85 for several years and loved it, but found myself renting the 17-55 way too often for weddings so I finally bit the bullet and couldn’t be happier. It’s a perfect lens for weddings, indoor family shots, and general walk around photography. Come car show season, this is the lens glued to my camera. The f/2.8 is just enough to isolate when you need it, and with the higher ISO capabilities of the 7D you can use it indoors without flash and get great results. If I could only have 2 lenses it would be this and the 70-200 4L IS, they both are fantastic to use.
Canon EF 70-200mm 4L IS – This is my lens for hockey and auto racing. Fantastic image quality, the IS is a boon, and it’s plenty fast with enough light which hockey and auto racing have, so the II is out of the question. The lens handles great and is fairly compact. I typically have it with me when I walk the dog. If you like action shots of your dog, this is the lens to have. I keep saying I’m going to give a go at BIF but haven’t done that yet. And I’ll admit, it feels nice owning an L. The results from this lens always make me smile.
Canon EF-S 10-22mm – 95% of the time the 17-55 works just great for wide angle. But when I need to go a little wider, this lens rocks. I’m no landscape photographer by any means, but it’s great for using when going out on walks, and it is fun to use with the dog. However, this lens requires the most thought with composition. It’s really easy to get a fugly shot , especially at 10mm. The 2 axis viewfinder level on the 7D has made my life a lot easier with this lens and now it’s a joy to use. I only wish I had this one when I was back in Europe. It would have been a hoot when going to castles.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 – Great for basketball and is very quick and compact. It’s about the perfect focal length for courtside. When I shoot basketball, this is all I bring. I’ve also used it for portraits but really I mainly use it for indoor sports. By far not my most used lens, but I love it when I need it.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 – My play lens. Had it 4 years ago, front focused like no other, but I missed it so much I just got another one, and a good copy at that. This is the lens I use when I go on walks and try to be creative. It acts like a normal 50 lens on the 7D so it is very versatile and the f1.4 can really isolate the subjects. On paper, there is no way I can justify this lens over the 17-55, but I have a ton of fun with it. This is not a lens for anything that moves fast, as the AF is iffy at best and the 17-55 is just better in those instances. And when I want a perfect shot, I always take 2 and refocus in between shots, because this lens does miss focus at f/1.4. But when it does hit focus the results are amazing, the bokeh and colors are beautiful. I love this lens despite its shortcomings and the only thing that could pry it from my hand would be Canon 30mm f/1.4 USM, which I don’t see ever coming to fruition.