Getting the best lens you can afford apply to hobbyists as well?

As a person that likes to share good advice when I see it I wanted to post a recent question with a great answer posted on one of the photography community boards I peruse.

A person asked:

Getting the best lens you can afford apply to hobbyists as well?

Thoughts? I’m looking to get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, but I am pretty new to photography and and rocking the t3i kit with kit lens, 50mm f/1.8 at the moment. Just want to splurge on something, and have heard good things such as resell value, etc.

Poster “The Solitaire” responded with a great bit of advice:

Resell value shouldn´t really be the first thing on your mind when setting out to buy such a lens.

Things I always consider are:

1) What will I use the lens for?
2) Can I get similar results for less money?
3) Am I willing to take the lens every time I take my camera?
4) How often will I have it on my camera?
5) Could it be worth it having this lens permanently on a 2nd camera?

It might be worth having a look at questions 2 and 5 first. If 2 is a definite no and 5 a definite yes, by all means order one yesterday.

If 2 is a yes and 5 a no, have a look into alternatives before spending this much cash on a piece of glass that outclasses the rest of your gear this dramatically.

If 2 and 5 are maybes, start with one and go through all the questions. Then have a look at the price and decide.

For me going through these 5 questions for every lens I owned allowed me to sell 4 lenses and keep 5.
From the 5 I take 4 wherever I go.
With those 4 lenses in my bag I am now at the point where the next level in convenience is owning another D300 body so I do not need to switch lenses as often so I can shoot more and think less.

For Canon users I would advise to try and get hold of a used 100mm f2 first. They are often not that expensive and fill up the same gap in your camera bag. Weighs less and you could spend the remaining money on other items you might need (flash, remotes, tripod, good quality bag etc.)

If at some point you find the 100mm slows you down it´s time to consider whether or not you now need that 70-200.

I hope this advice helps you next time you think you may need to pick up a new lens.

Thanks for reading.

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