Overheard in a Camera Shop: A Special Kind of Canon Lens

Customer: Hi, I am looking for a Canon lens.
Shopkeeper: Certainly, which one specifically or what’s the purpose?
Customer: I am looking for a lens that can shoot pictures with sharp foreground objects and sharp background objects.
Shopkeeper: Right, you mean a lens that is good for close-ups and landscape?
Customer: Well, not exactly, I want a lens to shoot pictures that everything is in not blurry, especially not those blurry backgrounds with people.
Shopkeeper: Hmm?
Customer: Should I buy the 70-200 2.8 IS II? What do you think I should buy?
Shopkeeper: I think you should buy a photography book first.

The shopkeeper proceeded to show the customer a photography book, but he decided to leave.

Thanks akechi!

  • Maarten in ‘t Groen

    I would suggest a fisheye.. works as requested by the client!

  • Glyn

    Should have sold him a pinhole lens!

  • Glyn

    Should have sold him a pinhole lens!

  • nerdgod

    Uhhhh… Wouldn’t that obviously be a Canon 10-22mm HSM?

  • Hburger

    Harsh…! Any lens can do that when stepped down and focused at a certain point.

  • Tleeds

    Yea no kidding…. snarky shopkeeper should have given his customer a quick education that any lens can achieve “deep focus” and then determined what kind of image the customer was looking to achieve. If the person was asking about a 70-200L then they probably would have bought whatever L lens the shop keeper suggested…

  • TristanHall

    This is why I got out of retail. Some of the things you hear or are asked and you would be amazed how often its people who should know better and have studied photography.

  • Anonymous

    I think the shop keeper probably could have explained it in a minute without trying to sell a book, though the “customer” needed to start from a book. But if this really happened, I’d say it’s commendable of him/her for not trying to sell a lens anyway. But most decent lenses do pretty well when set to hyperfocal, probably even a kit lens would do a nice job.

  • Bob

    I think that expensive lens is a perfect solution for him. I would have told him, “The more expensive the lens, the more things will be in focus.” Cha-ching!

  • Davidtamburophoto

    Reason why I refuse to go into camera stores. These arrogant pricks get off on situations like this.

  • Salz

    Customer: Should I buy the 70-200 2.8 IS II? What do you think I should buy?

    Me: Well Sir, that’s a pretty good choice. But you should also consider the EF 2x III extender, especially for low light situations. And Sir, you really should check out the new EOS-1Ds Mark III. This camera is a beat! Every single pixel it shots is crisp as fuqq!

  • Lonewolfe 13

    As a guy who works in a camera store let me tell you, you would be surprised how many people come in like that. I had a “professional” wedding photographer come in who wanted to know what the “18-55mm” meant on her favorite lens….

  • M. Kenneth Petruzzi

    I would have taken out two fine lenses, one prime, say a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, and one zoom lens, put them on a fine DX format DSLR, and showed the customer how to press the depth-of-field preview button while focusing on both short and long scenes.

    Then I would have coached the customer from there, based on the customer’s responses and questions. After all, knowledge doesn’t make you superior; it just makes you the same jerk or great person you always were, but with some knowledge.


  • RI

    maybe the guy wanted a tilt shift lense?

  • Salz

    Maybe you should show him a good compact camera (e.g. Canon G). No blurry backgrounds with people, everything is sharp because of the small sensor. The customer will save some money and the G’s are fine cameras.

  • Chung Dha Lam

    Non fisheye 14mm or 15mm would had done the job well with infinity at 1 meters everything beyond be in focus.

  • M. Kenneth Petruzzi

    Replied to wrong post. Please delete…

  • M. Kenneth Petruzzi

    Another good suggestion… Still, the fact that he wanted the lens, and had a brand and configuration in mind, suggests he may already own a DSLR or SLR. Plus, for those who have never used DOF preview, and don’t know that DOF is 1/3 in front of, and 2/3 behind the focal point, the experience can prove revelatory. :)


  • Seshan

    Going into a camera shop to ask what lens you need means.
    A: You don’t now enough about photography and should learn.
    B: You are too stupid to use Google.
    C: All of the above.

  • Matt

    You, sir, are dick. Get off your high horse.

  • Mamadosein Ofi


    This made me Laugh Out Loud :D

  • Salz

    I guess you can help me:
    A couple of weeks ago I bought a Panasonic GF1 w/ its kit zoom. Nice cam. It’s exactly the cam I was looking for. I’m wearing glasses so I was tired to work w/ viewfinders.

    Now I’m gonna sell my Canon 500D w/ the 50/1,8. I do not shot portaits that often but I’m looking for a replacement. There are a bunch of good lenses available for the GF1. What’s your opinion? Which one should I buy:
    Lumix G 20/1,7 (a lil’ too short for a portrait lense, I know, but the AF works)
    Samsung NX 30mm 2.0 Pancake (30mm are fine because of the 2x crop factor, but this lense isn’t that fast)
    Voigtländer Nokton 50/0,95 (A beast! 10 times cheaper than the legendary Leica Noctilux and you don’t even need an adaptor – but no AF)

  • Number07

    I to work at a camera store and you would be amazed at what you hear from a customer. We get customers that get mad when you can’t provide what they had read about on a blog. They will not even listen to why something will or will not work. The person that said “Reason why I refuse to go into camera stores. These arrogant pricks get off on situations like this.” Get a life. They are there and to make a living. My guess is your one of the many that think a camera store is just a showroom for the internet. My guess is you come in and waste a sales persons time. Maybe at one time when you where learning about cameras you killed a good amount of time asking questions. Then one day the salesperson didn’t want to talk to you anymore because you never bought anything. The people that work behind the counter work hard to try and keep up to date on the photography trends and to help people get a camera or lens or what ever to make better pictures. They have to deal with customers at every level of photography. But at one time I’m sure they where helpful. Show some class and maybe buy something from a local store. Keep you money at home.

  • Nathan Swan

    Increase your aperture and bump up your ISO = Less “blurriness”.

  • John Lam

    Just give him a wide len and ask him to stick in ∞ when taking photo and he will get everything in focus

  • Anonymous

    f16-f22 and use hyperfocal distance. Any lens will do.

  • Kodak PlaySport

    that Shopkeeper,, should have sold any.. esp,, any lens can do that when stepped down and focused at a certain point.

  • Jimmy Gunawan

    Without reading all the comments and reactions of the post, I think camera shop keeper should be more friendly, understanding and helpful. This is business we are talking about, not being “I know better than you” kind of bullshit.

    Based on my experience in Australia, most of the time, camera shop keepers tend to really pisses me off. Firstly, their attitude. Secondly, their lack of knowledge. Thirdly, they lie about price and availability.

    Photographers: amateur, semi or professional, should be treated with respect by camera shop staff. We are after all the one with money.

  • Meester

    “get off”? Morons like this ruin my day/life.

    If you want an education then tell me that when you get to the counter and I’ll be more than happy to oblige, but people just come up, throw five different photography concepts at you with one question, and expect you to get a box from the warehouse with a magical lens in it that will take the best pictures ever.

    It’s all about communication.

  • Meester

    The following conversation did not go well. Every time the sales person said “Scheimpflug” the customer replied “Bless you”.

  • Fastactingrelief

    The Voigtländer.

    Honestly though, the Panasonic 20mm(40mm equivalent) is pretty good for pictures of people, and it has autofocus. This would be my first choice within a reasonable budget.

    You can’t really go wrong with either lens.

    …I don’t think the Samsung will mount as the NX system isn’t Micro 4/3. The three lenses you are looking at are all more “normal” lenses than “portrait” lenses. You could go a little longer if you’re hoping to do more formal portraits. Olympus is rumored to be coming out with a line of pro series lenses this year, so maybe we’ll see a fast Micro 4/3 portrait lens in the next 9 months.

    For people here calling the camera store employee in the comic a jerk, the above question is more along the line of how you should approach purchasing a lens. Salz has done some research, he knows a couple of different options(and is aware of the basic priciples), and he just wants some feedback/validation.

  • Yocopoco_mayoco

    A shopkeeper is there to service the customer, not to blame him. A few explanations could have been enough.

  • Big T

    Jeezus guys. Wanna make a customer AND the shopkeeper happy? Sell him the lens he wants and throw in the damned book! LOL