L lenses are their top of the line Pro series lenses, they are made for the full frame cameras, like the 5DmkII and the 1D. If you have the 7D or the T2i you are not using all the glass. You also get a 1.6x factor on the power so it is really a 38mm-170mm. Personally I would get a wider lens (if you have 7D or T2i) 10mm lenses on those cameras give you a nice wide angle. I also prefer 2.8 lenses, which are more expensive for the L series.
Really for this type of question you have to tell us what camera you have and what your plans are. If you are needing the high end for outside sports that is one thing, if shooting indoor in cramped areas that is another.
But that is a great lens. The question is goes it meet your particular needs?
Yeah that's a pretty wide range. I'd suggest a wide zoom and long zoom and some primes in between. That gives you more options and better quality. Any good film DP will tell you there's no one lens that's perfect for everything...
I have the Canon 5D.
I am creating food and cooking videos for the web. I will be shooting mid section up sinterview shots of talent which I would like a shallow depth of field. I will also be shooting close up shots of food which I would also like a shallow dof. The restaurant is typical natural lighting but we will be lighing most of the time. Would love some thoughts on lenses for this toye of work. Mid level budget
Definitely the 50mm 1.4 would be a huge help for pleasing portraits in relatively low light. Also some macro lenses for the food closeups maybe the 60mm f2.8. And a wide angle zoom such as the 17-55 2.8. Try to get zooms with constant apertures- that way you won't be forced to change the exposure when you zoom within a shot if you're wide open. Really really depends on the budget, your lighting needs and photographic compositional needs.
For the 5D you have to get L series lenses, that is a full 35mm sensor, non-L will vignette on you.
So on that camera it is a good wide angle to CU lens. The question will be how close can you focus (the distance from the food/subject to the camera) at 105mm. Is that going to give you a close enough shoot on the food. Normally stuff like that you need a marco lens. To me this is where the DSLR suffers, it is more like a film shoot, where you stop and change to the lens that is needed for that shot. If you are running through the show and not wanting to stop and set up camera, I'm not sure that a DSLR is the right choice for this. If you want to do it this way I would have a second body with a macro lens ready for the close up shots. A 7D with a 105 or 180 macro would work wonders.
this is a 4x lenses and like Noah said it is pushing the range for a still camera but it is a good lens. There is just no "This lens will do it all."
I shoot food and yet I don't own a macro lens, there are two styles of food imagery, shallow depth of field and large dof, it's often important to show the environment the food is in, such as serving dishes etc.
I guess I'm old school and shoot everything manual and light my shots, so I use a 70-200 and 50mm amongst others. I also use extension tubes to reduce the minimum focal distance, I have a 3 ring set from Kenko and use them with all my lenses for close ups and still life shots.
Rather than zooming I prefer to use a slider or dolly to give either a fly by or zoom in style of shot.
As far as macro is concerned, I agree with Norman. I shoot a lot of food and I hardly ever use macro (although it can be really cool for little cut shots or title screens). I recommend getting a set of macro filters for your primary lens and trying it out first. It wont be as clean as a real macro lens, but it will give you an opportunity to play and learn. Hell, for the web it will probably look great.
Depends on what your subject matter is, I have the canon 50mm f1.4 and a Nikkor 24mm f2.8 this covers a lot of what I need to do.
I understand the thinking that the 35mm is an equivalent to a 50mm on a full frame 35mm camera, but most of the time I can step backwards with a 50mm and it also becomes a nice portrait lens as well. There is also quite a price difference between the two lenses.