american dream follow-up: how much does that lens cost?

posted in gear, strictly business at May 04, 2011

Wow. I never anticipated that my post about The Photography Business and the American Dream would be by far my most-read and most commented upon post ever. I guess it struck a chord with the photography community that’s more used to reading hype, fluff, and sales pitches to buy stuff.  It gives me hope because prior to this, my most read posts were ones about gear.

That’s the one big irony – no matter how much I can make the argument that it’s not about gear, everyone loves to read about it!  I’ll include myself in that category, since I love gear as much as the next photographer.  So with gear in mind, I thought I would write this post as a brief coda to the American Dream post.


This is the Canon 85mm f1.2 L II.  It costs $2,200 at Adorama or B&H.

This is the Canon 85mm f1.8.  It costs $419 at Adorama or B&H.

What’s the difference?  The 1.2L gives you some extra light if you’re shooting in the dark.  It will also give you a dof a millimeter thin if that’s what you’re looking for.  I’ve never had a need for either.  At ISO 1600 or 3200 shooting at f2.0 on my 85mm f1.8 gives me everything I need, even when shooting a dark reception.

As far as sharpness, the lenses are evenly matched.  Google the MTF curves and I think you might even see the 1.8 has a slight edge over the 1.2, not that you’d ever see the difference in a real print.

The one big and meaningful difference (other than the price) is that the 1.8 focuses far faster than the 1.2. Oh, and it’s much smaller and lighter too.  Faster focus + lighter weight is much more important to me than f1.2.  I’d rather own the f1.8 even if the f1.2 were the same price!

Okay, now let’s do some math.

$2,200 – $419 = $1,781 (the difference in price between the two lenses before sales tax)

placed in an investment that returned 8%, that $1,781 is worth $17,922 30 years later.

So that 85mm f1.2L II costs $17,922 + the original $2,200 = $20,122.

That, my friends, is how much that fancy lens will cost you.

You can keep the extra $20,000 and get a lens that is just as sharp, focuses faster, and is smaller/lighter by buying the 85 1.8.  I guarantee you that your clients will never know the difference.  Smart decisions like this – when multiplied by the hundreds of decisions you’ll make over your career – will increase your odds of living the American Dream.

I’m not saying you’re a dumbass if you buy the 85 1.2.  Just don’t kid yourself.  That lens purchase is a $419 investment and $1,781 in discretionary spending. If you’re meeting your savings goals and simply want to spend the money as a luxury purchase, sure go for it. Personally, I’d rather buy the 1.8 and put $1,781 in my kids’ college savings plans.

Some images with the el-cheapo 85mm f1.8:



Please keep these blog posts coming! All you have to do is shop by clicking on the advertisements below. It won’t cost you a penny more to shop that way, but it will provide me with a small commission that enables me to spend time working on new blog posts. Thanks!


    WOW!!!! Thank you so much for this, I was looking at the 100mm also and trying to figure out the difference in cost and was it really worth it. So you just help me answer my question that it's not!! Thanks for keeping it REAL! (May 04, 2011 | 09:03pm)

  • R. J. Kern
    Twitter: Kernphoto

    When you're an amateur and have worked hard, the luxury purchase far exceeds the price of gold. When you're pinching pennies as a pro, there's the difference. #keepyourdayjob (May 04, 2011 | 09:11pm)

  • Jason

    Can you point me to what I can invest in for 8% return on the next thirty years? :) (May 04, 2011 | 11:16pm)

  • Mike

    Great post. I have an alternate take on it. So instead of spending $2,200 on the f/1.2, you drop $419 for the f/1.8. That leaves $1,781, with which you could some or all of the following: Hire a sales/speaking/presentation coach Buy large prints and other product samples Buy a kick-ass head-to-toes outfit to wear when meeting new clients Hire a professional web designer Buy a backup body (more important than any one lens) Take a continuing-education class or two Go on vacation (May 05, 2011 | 08:49am)

  • Michelle

    Hehe, you sound like my dad (in a good but rather practical way)! I'm all for buying a new backdrop, new blanket, new lens etc and he always says to me "the client won't notice and they won't spend any more money". But i do get my way sometimes! (May 05, 2011 | 10:59am)

  • Alexio

    I love your post and you're right on about spending wisely. Then what about Bokeh quality? 85mm f1.4 has better Bokeh effect than f1.8, or so I think (May 05, 2011 | 11:40am)

  • admin

    @Mike: Good ideas! I'll add: - make a contribution to your IRA - add to your "home downpayment" fund - decorate your meeting space - buy 3 years of gym membership - have RPL develop/scan 89 rolls of film - buy a 27" NEC color-critical desktop monitor w/SpectraviewII calibrator - buy a Mamiya AFDiii medium format camera w/80mm lens! - get a massage every week for half a year - have a cleaning service clean your house 15 times (so you don't have to!) (May 05, 2011 | 05:15pm)

  • Michael
    Twitter: ExpatriateGames

    Hi Lawrence, love your site... I've been an interloper here for a while now but this is my first time leaving a note. I agree with MOST of what your saying and for MOST photographers it's an easy choice to go with the 1.8. One thing you fail to mention or take into consideration is build quality. For some photographers, say photojournalist or documentary photographers who often shoot in uncertain conditions, this can be a huge consideration. Weatherproofing on the 1.2L is top-notch AND it will stand up to the accidental and inevitable knocks much better than the 1.8. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the related article too. It really is about finding niches and is much more than just *the shot*. Not sure I can see the 30 year investment argument either but I do hope I'm still around and taking photographs in 30 years! Wishing you continued success! (May 05, 2011 | 09:58pm)

  • Emily Lapish
    Twitter: redleafphoto

    I just came upon your site today. I absolutely love what you have to say. Please keep the sanity coming! (May 06, 2011 | 09:39am)

  • Doug Pyper
    Twitter: pyperphoto

    What you say here is so true. I have this favourite little lens I use a lot, especially when travleing. It's a Nikon 24-85 F3.5-4.5. (under $500) Did some quality tests against my Nikon 24-70 F2,8 (about $2000). There was little difference in sharpness and quality. Of course the build was not great (plastic), but it is also much smaller and lighter. This is great for portability, and also draws less attention when travelling and shooting in places like South America, where equipment theft can be a problem. This lens is no longer in production, and don't confuse it with the newer 24-85 F2.8-4. This lens is not near as good...very soft and contrast is poor.. They probably quit making the former, because it was so much better than the latter, which is slightly more expensive. You can find it used if you're lucky. Recently purchased one from Adorama. I'll conclude by saying all cheap lenses are not good, but some are very very good. Do your research. Probably the worst lens Nikon ever made was the 24-120mm , mid-range price...and total crap. Worst lens Nikon as EVER manufactured. (May 06, 2011 | 02:30pm)

  • Guenther

    Very interesting. Could you let me know where I can get an 8% investment return ? (May 07, 2011 | 12:23pm)

  • admin

    Just Google "historical investment returns" and you'll find the returns by asset class. It's not hard. (May 07, 2011 | 03:56pm)

  • Matt Adcock

    I agree...we own one 1.2, what a beast and slooow to focus. I love it, but will not buy anymore of them. We do own several of the 1.8's and use them like MAD, love em. (May 09, 2011 | 06:53am)

  • Robert Gabriel

    There isn't a similar option in Nikon world. :( (May 09, 2011 | 07:32am)

  • admin

    @Robert: Sure there is, the Nikon 85mm f1.8D. $489 at B&H. Compare this to the $1,800 Nikon 85mm f1.4G. (May 09, 2011 | 08:55am)

  • Robert Gabriel

    Yes, I know that lens. But IMHO it isn't as good as its Canon equivalent. (May 09, 2011 | 09:54am)

  • Ed

    LOL! Laurence, I just love your posts! You know what? You made me save about $2,000. I was about to go out and buy the new 70-200 IS II (although I own v.1 --- but you know... better IS, better sharpness). I owe you a good belgian beer :) (May 10, 2011 | 07:26am)

  • Josh Kline
    Twitter: jkprod

    You nailed it, I have been saying the same thing for years about the Canon primes. The 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8 are great lenses, there is no need to buy the L series versions of those lenses. 8% is a very reasonable rate of return historically. It is worth pointing out that overall lenses are pretty decent investments as gear goes. Generally you can resell quality lenses for 80% + of the purchase price some lenses even grow in value especially if they are discontinued. I always tell my 2nd shooters that spending on good lenses is better than chasing new cameras. (May 10, 2011 | 09:17am)

  • David Moore
    Twitter: santafephoto

    Laurence, are you the angel on my shoulder sent to talk me down from buying that 85mm f1.2? A couple of things to bear in mind - if you absolutely have to have a mad expensive lens for a shoot, then rent it. Also, remember that old saying, 'The quickest way to make money as a photographer is to sell your gear.'. (May 10, 2011 | 03:46pm)

  • Anahy

    Well said! Thanks for sharing! I don't think it's about gear either but I enjoy reading about those people that can treat themselves to all this expensive stuff. :-p (May 12, 2011 | 11:47am)


    Hey Laurence! I stumbled on your site and have been reading these budget and investment related posts with great interest. I have been using a P&S (Fuji s5700, my first cam) for the last couple of years and I think I need "real" lenses to continue learning. My hobby budget is quite limited, as I am in college in Europe, working part time to support myself. I have read a LOT of what I should buy, and I came to the conclusion that I should buy a used 1 to 3 year old Sony or Pentax model. Built-in IS -> cheaper lenses and so. I guess you probably haven't payed that much attention to purchases in such a low budget, but I would LOVE some feedback on this, ¡Saludos!' (May 13, 2011 | 10:30am)

  • admin

    @IAMBROKE: I don't have any experience with Pentax or Sony, but I can tell you that it doesn't matter. ANY modern dslr will give you great results, certainly enough for serious amateur or even professional work. (May 13, 2011 | 03:16pm)

  • J.R.
    Twitter: JR_Nelson

    @I.AM.BROKE: If you're looking at used Sony/Pentax stuff, I really urge you to consider the K-x. For the price, quality, etc. it's a phenomenal camera. You can probably find a reasonable deal on a used one, too. (May 13, 2011 | 06:27pm)

  • Photography and the American Dream

    [...] Laurence Kim wrote an interesting article titled “The Photography Business and the American Dream” in which he takes a look at the economics of doing photography as a career, coming to the [...] (May 13, 2011 | 07:26pm)

  • Abhimanyu Ghoshal
    Twitter: aghoshal

    Great post! I'd also like to add that since you only really need extra lenses during assignments, you could just as well rent them instead of making a purchase. You do, however, need to arm yourself with the skills to use those lenses when the time comes. I know photographers who own an array of lenses they never use and also one who rents the best lenses he needs for each assignment. Here in Bangalore, India, one can rent a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (costing $2499) for $13 a day (including having it delivered to you and picked up when you're done). Guess who's getting more bang for their buck? (May 13, 2011 | 08:20pm)

  • photography » Blog Archive » Photography and the American Dream

    [...] Laurence Kim wrote an engaging essay patrician “The Photography Business and a American Dream” in that he takes a demeanour during a economics of doing photography as a career, entrance to a [...] (May 13, 2011 | 10:45pm)

  • american » Blog Archive » Photography and the American Dream

    [...] Laurence Kim wrote an engaging essay patrician “The Photography Business and a American Dream” in that he takes a demeanour during a economics of doing photography as a career, entrance to a [...] (May 14, 2011 | 12:06am)

  • chris

    While I generally agree with what you're saying, generalizing is never a good idea. You mentioned in a previous post about 'not having a recognizable style' and suggesting folks use 'common' lenses is one reason. Want to differentiate yourself from the soccer mom or old school guy? Then get a 1.2 and learn to shoot ports at 1.2. I sell an image from it every time I use it. 100% sales rate - that is called ROI and it matters. Build quality as another mentioned (and you responded) always makes me laugh. I've never every known anyone to wear out a lens. And every lens will break if dropped. Having been an auto tech for years I know the value of good tools (vs cheap, common ones) the advantages of owning the specialty tools. The 1.2 (and lenses like it) are specialty tools - and not everyone needs them. Sports shooters certainly not. But that's just common sense - use the right tool for the job. You stated that a $5000 pro body won't earn a dime more than a $2500 one is often true, but not if you're shooting in the rain/snow/arctic or the like. Again, you're generalizing and never mention how to choose the right tool for the job. (May 14, 2011 | 10:37am)

  • Kmuzu

    It's just like paint - you can spend 50 dollars for a tube of professional paint or a two dollars for craft paint .. but once it's on the canvas .. no one knows the difference. (May 14, 2011 | 11:04am)

  • admin

    Yeah, if I were shooting in the arctic I might want a pro body, but I doubt many portrait/wedding shooters (the target audience for this blog) shoot portraits in the arctic! (May 14, 2011 | 12:11pm)

  • Bogdan

    @Chris. In nikon's world Laurence is right : the D700 will do just fine in just about any situation the D3 does. It includes the Arctic as well ( Now the truth is I tried shooting weddings (once) with a 16-85 and it did not work well at all. For general photography that lens is fine (and it proudly serves as my father in law main lens) but in fast light changing conditions at a wedding the lack of a constant aperture and a relative dark overall wide aperture make both the exposure and AF systems struggle. F2.8 zooms are not cheap but they are indispensable for this kind of work IMHO. Just my two cents... (May 15, 2011 | 12:39am)

  • alex kent
    Twitter: alxknt

    re: Alexio if you're asking about 'bokeh quality', you're missing the point. all of that stuff is gearhead bullshit. if the only problem with your picture is that the appearance of the blur could be slightly prettier (in a way that very very few people can discern) you may be the best photographer that ever lived. (May 15, 2011 | 02:07am)

  • alex kent
    Twitter: alxknt

    re: Chris the low-end plastic bodied Canon lenses definitely wear out. by 3 years and 10,000 frames there is enough play in the barrel to make focus inconsistent. perhaps all your friends use pro lenses ? (May 15, 2011 | 02:11am)

  • Leica M9-P, Even Smaller Cameras and the Photography Business and the American Dream | DailyCameraRumors

    [...] Apps for Iphone, worth a read, and here some spectacular examples of ocean life photography, and Laurence Kim finally deconstructs the Canon 85 f/1.2 L [...] (May 16, 2011 | 06:42am)

  • hho generator

    This is one of the best post I have ever read, I would love to read more in future. Keep up the good work. (May 18, 2011 | 02:53pm)

  • Jenn Sawtelle

    LOVE this post and your blog! Makes me feel much better about the decision I already made. Here's a question: I own the 50mm 1.8. I keep flirting with an upgrade to the 1.4 because the image clarity seems much better (I rented one). I think you have the 1.4, if I recall. Wise investment to upgrade or should I just stick with my 1.8? (May 21, 2011 | 09:21am)

  • admin

    @Jenn: sorry I've never tried the 1.8. (May 21, 2011 | 11:25am)

  • Guenther Schwermer

    Thank,s a lot for your kind investment advise (May 23, 2011 | 09:10am)

  • Dave Perris

    Caught this post just as I was trying to pick from the Nikon 1.8 85mm and the 1.4 at over four times the price. As most of my clients can't seem to tell the difference between an image with basic corrections and one I spend fifteen minutes retouching I think I've decided to economize. I'd love the fast lens myself, but in the end it's a business and I'd rather go on holiday with the money I save. Appreciated your American Dream post, it's all true. Unfortunately I don't have the Gordon Gekko gene, so am doomed to remain a poor photographer with a c*** pension plan. (May 26, 2011 | 03:27pm)

  • Giovanni B.

    Makes me think. Thanks. (May 27, 2011 | 03:53am)

  • max

    Totally concur! That lens is way overpriced... And I read somewhere that the 1.2 setting isnt really gathering that more light than a 1.8 but the body is secretly boosting ISO. (May 27, 2011 | 10:46am)

  • Sara Frances

    From the photojournalist girl side of lens cost/weight etc., the 85MM 1.8 is a steal! A sleeper of great quality. And if you carry everything you need for 10 hours on your person, the weight is as big a factor around your waist as it is in speed of moving 1/2 the amount of glass to grab focus. If I had to wait the time it takes the 1.2 lens to focus, my subject would be long gone! And did we mention that the heavy lenses take more battery power? The same thing goes for the Æ’4 vs. Æ’2.8 in the ever popular 70-200 zoom. Both are stabilized, but the Æ’4 is lighter, more handleable, cheaper. Why buy something more expensive when you give up nothing with the cheaper lens? (May 27, 2011 | 02:47pm)

  • brec

    I don't know how it works in the u.s., but my guess is that you can't keep all the money you make. Some money of your profit after your spendings has to be paid to taxes. You can buy a cheap lens and give money to the government or spend more money on gear and pay less taxes. It doesn't work 1:1 that's for sure. But it has to be taken in accounting that you have to spend money for your business. You will come to a point where you have to decide how much money you allow yourself to take out of your business and keep for yourself, pay the taxes for it, etc. and how much money you put in again. (May 30, 2011 | 12:40am)

  • daniel aaron sprague

    haha, this is awesome. Photographers do love their toys. I think I heard a collective *palm to forehead* from everyone who just bought one. Oh and to Jenn S. I used to have the 50 1.8 and the 1.4 is miles ahead of the 1.8! It is a great lens. daniel. (May 30, 2011 | 05:02am)

  • admin

    @Brec: flushing a dollar down the toilet to save 50 cents is not a long term strategy for financial success. (May 30, 2011 | 11:30am)

  • brec

    @laurence kim maybe it's different where you pay your taxes. comparing the purchase of equipment without taking anything in accounting like longevity (pro vs. am gear) or the net. amount of money excluding tax reduction and come up with 30yrs at 8% is unrealistic at least. (May 30, 2011 | 12:30pm)

  • admin

    @brec: Agree to disagree. (May 30, 2011 | 02:54pm)

  • Pamela

    You're the bomb! Seriously..wish I'd found you sooner. Tried to comment on the American dream post but comments closed. Wanted to say TX you! You're real, articulate and accurate...and a breath of fresh air! I'm following up by email. (May 31, 2011 | 07:30pm)

  • Ryan Weber
    Twitter: radiantphoto

    Great biz posts, and I totally concur with your line of thinking! I'll add too that I buy our company's lenses used on Ebay, shoot them off to Canon for a tune-up, use them for a bit and then resell them online for about what we paid initially. Like cars, they lose value as soon as you use them, so let someone else take the equity hit and buy them used. We essentially "rent" them for the time we need them. Same with monitors, some studio gear, and office gear (cabinets, desks, etc). Tons of hobby shooters are liquidating very nice and nearly unused gear at great prices. Get your biz debt-free, pile up some cash for rough times and unbeatable used equipment deals, set up Ebay notifications and Craigslist RSS feeds for the gear you're looking for. Then when it pops up, you can afford to hop on the opportunity. Keep up the biz posts, great stuff. (June 01, 2011 | 12:23pm)

  • Second Best is Good Enough. | planet shapton

    [...] for better results (for another, terrific take on this, check out Laurence Kim’s article here. He has some really good advice as well as some nice samples from the Canon 85mm f1.8, another [...] (June 03, 2011 | 11:46am)

  • Serge
    Twitter: serge_durand

    Thank you for your article. I was thinking before n read it that expensive lenses were similar to expensive tennis racket: you look like an idiot when you buy it and when you can't serve properly (read: shoot). But your article puts the emphasis on another dimension, that is the ROI of the purchase. I do have that fabulous 85mm f/1.8 and i am glad i didn't put more money on the table for the 1.2. I like as well the clear distinction you make between an investment and a gift to yourself. Thank you (June 05, 2011 | 04:38am)

  • Guenther Schwermer

    Had in mind selling my Nikon 135mm f/ 2.0 DC lens for more Canon gear. But I think it will stay in my bag. (June 05, 2011 | 12:33pm)

  • Fotograf Osnabrück

    if you want to produce result different from consumer shooters, you need fast lenses (June 06, 2011 | 04:32pm)

  • Dominic Alkins
    Twitter: dominic.allkins

    Hey Laurence. Great post (+ the American Dream post). I bought the 85mm 1.8 after reading the following quote on Ken Rockwell's site: "The only things the five-times as expensive Canon 85mm f/1.2L II does better is lighten your wallet, fatten the weight hanging around your neck and it's a little sharper in the far corners, full frame, wide open. The f/1.8 focuses much faster and easier, and is an all-around more satisfying lens than the f/1.2. The f/1.2 is for weird things like astronomy where you absolutely, positively need f/1.2." I love it as a lens. Light, quick, sharp. The following was taken with it: (June 14, 2011 | 08:29am)

  • David

    I've decided to stop eating 3 meals a day and just eat 2 meals day - that way I can contribute $10 a day towards my savings ! (June 27, 2011 | 06:27am)

  • Yohan Maltais

    I'm not a big fan of "1.2 poeple" always putting their gear before their art. How many time I heard: I love my 85 1.2, it's so sharp and blabla. I think it.s why there's no 1.2 at Nikon. I've done amazing photo with a 35 1.8 and I'm not sure I'll have done better with the 35 1.4. I'll never buy the Nikon 85 1.8D but will consider the next generation the G version. But you must agree that these fast expensive lenses are gorgeous! (June 29, 2011 | 04:11pm)

  • Second Best is Good Enough |

    [...] made for better results (for another, terrific take on this, check out Laurence Kim’s article here. He has some really good advice as well as some nice samples from the Canon 85mm f1.8, another [...] (July 08, 2011 | 12:20pm)

  • happiness = maui + my family + 9 rolls of Ektar 100 | Laurence Kim Photographer

    [...] MaryBeth and I renewed our vows in 2009.  My camera for this trip was my Canon 1V with 35mm and 85mm lenses plus 9 rolls of Kodak Ektar 100.  Wow – Ektar is just a wonderful film:  sharp, [...] (August 15, 2011 | 06:13pm)

  • Han Thon | Singapore Wedding Photographer

    Frickin' awesome post---just like your "The Photography Business and the American Dream". Finally, someone comes out and say it. Couldn't have said it better myself. You are a smart photographer---something I have to learn. Keep the blog posts coming. (October 13, 2011 | 03:54am)

  • Dawei Ye

    Whilst there are pros to the 85 f/1.8 over the 85 f/1.2L II, let's not delude ourselves that one would need to be mad to purchase the 85 f/1.2L II - it is a great lens, and is one of Canon's most well known and flagship lenses for a reason. So what if it costs me so or so over my lifetime? That's the price I choose to pay. Hell, I could spend every day drinking nothing but water and eating only the very basic foods I require to continue living. I could probably save $200,000 over my lifetime. But I choose not to. I am happy to spend my money on better tasting food because it brings me more utility, happiness and well being, even if the it's discretionary, non financial wastage. The same goes for the 85 f/1.2LII. I have photos that could not have been taken by a 85 f/1.8 lens without a substantial increase in noise or DOF or other qualitative aspect. To me, that is worth the additional cost. If it's so much about money, why use a DSLR in the first place? Just use your iPhone as a camera and save even more $$$ (November 20, 2011 | 03:54am)

  • admin

    @ Dawei: We don't disagree. It's all about choices. You choose to buy the lens because the pleasure you derive from the lens is worth the cost and the foregone wealth down the road. The point of this post is not to tell you that the 85L isn't worth it, it's to make sure that - as business owners - photographers should understand the true cost of any purchase before they make a purchasing decision. In other words, be smart! (November 20, 2011 | 09:52am)

  • Carey Moulton

    maybe it has not been said as yet but there are many high quality dividend stocks that yield 8% or higher, if you are making money off a lens and can recoup the price in 1 year or 2, then it's a sound investment, otherwise for amateurs, the advice seems quite sound, (November 20, 2011 | 04:18pm)

  • Joey

    Although the less expensive lens has the advantage of faster autofocus, the original post neglects a few details. First, the L lens, in offering the extra stop of light, serves a benefit to those who really do need the difference between 1/125 and 1/250 shutter speeds (for walking subjects during wedding processionals). Second, purple fringing wide open occurs with both lenses but is worse on the 85 f/1.8. The image quality artifacts dissipate with stopping down, but at f/1.8 on the L lens it is already stopped down and the fringing is negligible. Last and one of the most significant differences: the L lens handles flare much better (the f1.8 version is extremely prone to flare, even with the lens hood attached). This results in better overall contrast in many lighting situations. I am not aware of any specific situation outside of fast-moving subjects where the f/1.8 lens would be a better tool than the L lens, although the less expensive model in almost all categories is a better value. That has always been the case, and only those who really need the extra advantages of the more expensive lens should buy the L variant. I think the estimate of accrued losses is a very long stretch on realism since most of us are not so lucky with investments. However, to the person making more money with the L lens because it did things the f/1.8 version could not do, perhaps they are making a profit on the L lens that they can put toward similar investments. I have owned both, and currently still own the 85L II. It is not a perfect lens - I have never found a perfect lens - but I find it useful in my work as a wedding photographer. (November 21, 2011 | 07:35am)

  • John Clark

    Same can be said about eating steak v eating sausages ... (November 22, 2011 | 11:23am)

  • Bill Brown

    This argument is specious. You make a big number by claiming that you'd invest for 30 years, then you talk about putting the money in your child's college fund - if it's going to take 30 years for your child to get to college, then you have bigger problems than the cost of a lens :) I have both lenses, and I use the 1.2 more often. I also have no children, and a full-time job that pays for my camera habit :) (December 29, 2011 | 11:20pm)

  • admin

    @BillBrown: You're missing the entire point of the article - which is that for photographers that want to live the American Dream and successfully fund college, retirement, that dream house, or whatever - the decisions you make today will have significant consequences years down the road. So you spend $1,800 instead of $400 for a lens, what's the big deal? You make 3x times that on a single job. Who cares? Well, if you make decisions like that all the time, it will make a massive difference to your future finances. Just run the math. (December 30, 2011 | 07:30am)

  • Harrogate Wedding Photographer
    Twitter: smudgedphoto

    Great article, can't believe I've only just found it. I'm certainly looking at better ways to create a sustainable income as I move over into full time photography. It's all well and good earning 3k a wedding, but that can't all be farted back into equipment. Wise investments are key, I also think (whilst it is on it's arse at the moment) microstock is a good pastime for wedding/portrait photographers to build a little relief into the quieter periods. (March 12, 2012 | 06:24am)

  • Trevorb

    Excellent article, I really hope I can keep this mindset my entire life and not just with photography. Thanks again! (March 28, 2012 | 03:37pm)