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Author Topic: Help me choose a lens  (Read 3449 times)

DanielW

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Help me choose a lens
« on: November 20, 2012, 10:01:03 AM »
Hi all,
I could use some advice on choosing my next lens, please.
Although I don't have any expensive gear, a few friends of mine (P&S owners) keep asking me to shoot family events, like their kids' birthday parties (one-eyed man in the land of the blind...). The thing is, I fell (well, I am) very limited with my current gear and avoid the events whenever possible.
The "problem":
- 60D
- 18-135 kit lens
- 50 1.4 lens
- Speedlite 430 EX II
- Manfrotto MKC3-P01 tripod
(Yeah, I know, cheap stuff, but I was not sure when I first started and decided to keep it relatively cheap.)
Since I'm enjoying photography much more than I could anticipate when I bought the camera, I think I could make good use of some better gear now. (And maybe the hobby will turn into a part-time job, who knows?) I'm just not sure if I should keep buying EF-S lenses because I will someday, maybe in 1 or 2 yrs from now, upgrade to FF.
Well, anyway:
- FF now, like a 6D with the 24-105 kit and saving for faster lenses in the future, or
- Save for a while and then go FF (body-only) with a 24-70 2.8 for better motion-stopping possibilities, or
- Canon 10-22 + 24-70 2.8, and keep the 60D for now, or
- Keep the 60D, buy a 17-40 instead of the 10-22, and make do with the 17-40, 50 1.4 (and zooming with my feet) and the kit lens until I decide to take the plunge and go FF?
I'm aware the 10-22 is not a fast lens; does this make it a not-so-good lens for group pics at parties?
Main use would be parties and other events, family (wife!) portraits, and of course taking a bunch of pics of my own kid.
(Please have in mind that I live in Brazil, and it will not be so easy to buy/sell used gear down here as it is in the USA when I go FF; not sure how it works in Europe.)
Thanks in advance!
Daniel

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Help me choose a lens
« on: November 20, 2012, 10:01:03 AM »

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 10:46:36 AM »
I would suggest going FF (6D + 24-105) now rather than later.  The 60D does not have AFMA and you may be at a disadvantage when using fast primes (even your 50 f/1.4).  The 24-105 f/4 and 50 f/1.4 will cover most of your needs.  If you want a fast wide prime (i.e. 35 or 85) later, then it can be added then.  24mm should be wide enough for group portraits.  Any wider, and WA distortion becomes more pronounced for objects near the corners/edges, which is not good for people pics anyway.  The 17-40 is more of a landscape lens, and not for people.

billnelson75

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 10:57:55 AM »
If you plan to go FF at some point, I'd consider a 100mm  prime, there are a few to choose from depending on budget.  Then you can use your 50mm when you don't have a lot of space and the 100 when you do.  Plus both are useable on FF.  I have a bunch of primes, and find them mostsly inconvenient when I'm shooting something big like a building or landscape and I can't zoom out or in.  For people, I think primes are just as easy to use as a zoom.  Plus they keep you from sitting in one place and with a prime you will end up snapping photos as you will keep moving around.  I have found that the longer focal length, which will move you further away from your subject, allows for more "natural" looking spontaneous photos.  Plus you can get some really fast primes for much less money than one of the faster zoom lenses. 

Of course if money is no object, then the 24-70 f2.8 is probably the way to go, but since this isn't something you make a living at, I'm assuming your budget isn't unlimited, and then the prime will be a more affordable way to go, still be usefull with a FF, and without sacrificing IQ. 

If you really want a zoom, and you don't go FF, I think the 18-55 f2.8 is kind of the consensus lens for a cropped sensor.

Also, I'd take your friends up on every offer you get.  Snap hudreds of photos, you will get some keepers, and you will get better every time you do it. 

RLPhoto

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 11:04:27 AM »
A 5D classic would make much better use of your 50mm. They're cheap as chips any way.

rpt

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 11:20:51 AM »
Firstly if you are going in for a FF sometime soon, don't buy any more EF-S lenses.

If you can afford it, go in for a 6D and 24-105. It is a good lens.



7enderbender

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 01:26:56 PM »
Are you sure this is a gear question? If you don't want to shoot other folks events then just don't. You're gear is more than sufficient for most normal circumstances and reasonable expectations. And I'm sure you know how to use it. So maybe just shoot something else and let those folks take care of their own needs and wants.

I'm personally much more relaxed shooting events that I'm not immediately involved with. Shooting stuff like this for friends creates all sorts of conflicts and pressure. I recently helped shoot some wedding stuff for a very good friend. I was actually part of it as best man. So right from the start it was clear that I could only do a few things and that there are no guarantees. I'm still glad I did it because they didn't bother with a professional wedding photographer and wanted everyone to just have a good time right there in that moment. Still glad I got a few decent shots but this is very different from what I would do as an external photographer - paid or unpaid.

So I'm not sure if adding a thousand dollar lens or a different body will solve that for you. There is always better gear. You can go crazy. There will always be the shot where you wish you had had access to medium format or to a Profoto lighting setup and two assistants and a makeup artist. Not to mention the helping hands that carry all that junk for you and load and unload the van...

The 60D and the 50 1.4 alone should be good for some nice quality portraits and candids.
5DII - 50L - 135L - 200 2.8L - 24-105 - 580EXII - 430EXII - FD 500/8 - AE1-p - bag full of FD lenses

Jay Khaos

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 01:45:03 PM »
For family get-together photos, I'd probably prefer using your 60D with 50 1.4... much lighter, dont need billboard-worthy resolution, your livelihood isnt dependent on missing one super important photo that can't be retaken...

Are you willing to spend more money and carry around a 2-3 times as heavy rig for the sake of faster AF, zoom convenience, GPS and Wifi? then 6D and 24-105 L might be good... Id rather put the 50mm 1.4 on a 5d3 than spend the extra $900 (USD) on the 24-105... thats just my preference though. 

By the way, the 6D kit will include the new 24-70mm f4 IS, right?  Not 24-105.  Even at a discount in the kit, the kit would probably be nearly as expensive as the 5dmkiii body by then.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 01:47:06 PM by Jay Khaos »
5DIII | 85mm f1.2L • 70-200mm f2.8L IS II • 50mm f1.8 II

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 01:45:03 PM »

skullyspice

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 02:13:30 PM »
I think the 6D 24-105 combo will be a good choice. I just got the 5D3 along with that lens because at the time it was very cheap with the kit. It probably wouldnt have been near the top of my lens wishlist but the price made me get it. turns out I love love love that lens. super sharp, great color. and I dont think the F/4 will be an issue since you will have the high iso range on the 6D.
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Marsu42

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 02:57:14 PM »
Great, our favorite topic - spending other people's money :->

Although I don't have any expensive gear, a few friends of mine (P&S owners) keep asking me to shoot family events, like their kids' birthday parties (one-eyed man in the land of the blind...).

Your buddies seem to think the same - why buy gear for thousands of $$$ if we can talk someone else into it :-p

The "problem":
- 60D
- 18-135 kit lens
- 50 1.4 lens
- Speedlite 430 EX II

Cheap?!? Imho this is decent mid-range gear, maybe except for the lens. This should be absolutely sufficient for what you describe if you can handle the gear and don't want to do life-size prints. A ff camera with a thinner depth of field would even be more challenging...

- Keep the 60D, buy a 17-40 instead of the 10-22, and make do with the 17-40, 50 1.4 (and zooming with my feet) and the kit lens until I decide to take the plunge and go FF?

That would be my advice, actually I'm just out to get a 17-40 for my 60d myself and use it there until I grab a ff body.

Please: don't let yourself be talked into buying gear you cannot handle (yet!).

When I bought my 60d 2 years ago I thought about the 5d2, but I now know that it would have been wasted on me with my experience then. Just keep using the 60d with ef lenses until you maxed it out and really know that the limit is the camera and not your experience, and only then go get a new body. By that time, that'll be the 6d mk2 or 5d mk4 - and you'll have saved a lot of money and skipped piling up mediocre high-iq shots.

But it's your money, and Canon depends on people buying high end gear to feel more secure :->

dhofmann

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 04:42:02 PM »
The only way you are limited with your current gear is that you don't have a lens that goes very wide. So the 10-22mm would be useful.

Your 18-135mm lens isn't very sharp. I'd replace it with the 15-85, plus one of the 70-200mm lenses with image stabilization (the ones without aren't very sharp).

If you do bounce flash, and you've tried different flash modifiers and gels, and you are able to shoot with the flash off the camera, then you've got your lighting needs covered.

It's been six years, thousands of photos, and a new APS-C camera since my first one, and I still don't see a compelling need to switch to FF. Composition, lighting, technique, good lenses, and Lightroom give me everything I need.
t2i

DanielW

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 05:08:34 PM »
Wow, lots of great pieces of advice!

@ Random Orbits
Sounds good to me! I was even considering getting only the 24-105 lens now and then buy some FF body later. The only thing that bothered me was that it's not so fast, but who wants a shallow DoF for group portraits anyway?

@ billnelson75
Yes, that's an option, too, sticking with primes only. I've considered the new 35 f/2 or the Sigma 35 f/1.4 for having a true ~50 mm, since the 50 f/1.4 is oftentimes a tad too narrow on my 60D. Maybe one 24-105 and a fast 28 or 35 prime for shallow DoF when needed, considering my 18-135 should be enough for WA for now.

@ RLPhoto
Wish I'd bought it used as my first camera, since I don't care about video anyway. (I've just checked at Amazon, they won't ship a used one to Brazil because of some policies.)

@ rpt
Agreed. The 24-105, with or without a FF camera, seems to be the better choice.

@ 7enderbender
I don't mind so much shooting other folks' events by now because there's really no big pressure, but since I'm getting a few keepers now and then, expectations are slowly increasing (and hopefully will continue to do so, reflecting technique improvements). I think everyone that begins to shoot and study goes through this, "wow, I loved it! You MUST shoot my girl's birthday party!" Guess I fear not having the right tools and taking lousy pics... (About 2 mo ago I shot a friend's daughter birthday in a large room with a really low, dark wooden ceiling... Oh, what a high-ISO, straight-on-the face flash nightmare trying to avoid blur on those little quick hands...)

@ Jay Khaos
I've considered going whole hog with the 5D3 and think of what next later, but I guess it's just too much of a camera for me right now.

@ skullyspice
Guess I like it better now (esp considering the price) than the 24-70 2.8! :)
Indeed, I have my 50 1.4 for shallow DoF, so f/4 should me more than enough.

@ Marsu42
LOL
In fact, I do have a few friends who own greenbox-stuck-dSLRs, but I'm the only one who seems to care about quality and direction of light and bouncing the flash... :)
About the "cheap" thing... Well, to be honest I was a little embarrassed when writing this post, because most folks here seem to own at least a 5D_ camera and a whole bunch of $1,000+ L lenses...
You're right, a FF + thin DoF would help with my kid but not with events/group shots. Some f/4 L lens (be it the 24-105 or the 17-40) seems to be more than enough for me and "keepable" when going FF, since I can't justify spending tons of money on a 24-70 2.8 and I already have a fast prime.

@ dhofmann
I definitely agree. Sure there are lots of good options and good answers for my "problem", and I even consider buying an EF-S 17-55 2.8 and later an EF 85 1.8. I just wanted to start buying only lenses compatible with FF cameras, since I may upgrade in the future and would have then a hard time to decide what to do with my APS-C "kit" other than just keep it as a backup. Like you, I really don't need to go FF right now; maybe never... :)

Thanks a lot everyone!

For now I've decided to keep the 60D and go with one of these:
- 17-40 + 50 1.4 + 85 1.8 (and sell the 18-135)
- 24-105 + 50 1.4 (and keep the 18-135 for WA needs, and sell it when I go FF)
- 17-55 2.8 + 50 1.4 + 85 1.8 (and sell the 18-135, and stick with APS-C)
(Why is it never easy?)

Any thoughts?
Thanks! :)

Marsu42

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 05:37:03 PM »
About the "cheap" thing... Well, to be honest I was a little embarrassed when writing this post, because most folks here seem to own at least a 5D_ camera and a whole bunch of $1,000+ L lenses...

Sounded like that, but this (nice) forum is heavily biased towards L lenses and ff (or 7d for wildlife), most regular posters wouldn't use a crop camera as a doorstopper. Just cross-post your question to a more general photog forum where people use Rebels and think the 60d is overkill...

You're right, a FF + thin DoF would help with my kid but not with events/group shots.

Another issue often confused is "how thin is a thin dof" ... depending on your focal length and the distance to your object f4 can be extremely thin - and even with your kids you probably want to have the eyes and nose in focus at the same time :-p ... I'd like to stop down much further often but cannot due to the iso noise, that's the main reason I'm going ff.

For now I've decided to keep the 60D and go with one of these:
- 17-40 + 50 1.4 + 85 1.8 (and sell the 18-135)
- 24-105 + 50 1.4 (and keep the 18-135 for WA needs, and sell it when I go FF)
- 17-55 2.8 + 50 1.4 + 85 1.8 (and sell the 18-135, and stick with APS-C)

For ef: Only you can answer how often you need a wide or ultrawide angle (look at the statistics of your shots so far on the wide and far end, it's easy in Lightroom and there are other apps around to calculate the stats). And only you know how many lenses you are ok to carry around and change them when needed.

For ef-s: I think the 17-55/2.8 is overpriced and I wouldn't pay that much for a non-sealed ef-s lens, and if you aren't set on f2.8 (and you aren't looking at the 17-40 option) then look at the very good but cheaper ef-s 15-85, too.

DanielW

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 06:38:13 PM »
Thanks, you've been extremely helpful!
Can't wait to read your thoughts after using the 17-40 on the 60D!

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 06:38:13 PM »

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 06:46:21 PM »
Thanks a lot everyone!

For now I've decided to keep the 60D and go with one of these:
- 17-40 + 50 1.4 + 85 1.8 (and sell the 18-135)
- 24-105 + 50 1.4 (and keep the 18-135 for WA needs, and sell it when I go FF)
- 17-55 2.8 + 50 1.4 + 85 1.8 (and sell the 18-135, and stick with APS-C)
(Why is it never easy?)

Any thoughts?
Thanks! :)

I vote for option 3:  17-55.  f/4 lenses are not great on APS-C because APS-C already has a larger DOF to start with (sensor size), and you can't push the ISO as much as with FF.  The 24-105 also makes more economic sense as part of a kit, unless you can get one close to the kit value.

Marsu42

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 07:48:40 PM »
Thanks, you've been extremely helpful!
Can't wait to read your thoughts after using the 17-40 on the 60D!

:-) Well, I can tell you right now it'll be great because until now I've been using a broken 1990s 28-105usm (gold ring) that is only so-so sharp @f8 on digital, even on crop. That's the good thing about my gear - there's lot of room for improvement w/o paying $10000+, so I'll try to keep my expenses in line with my abilities.

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Re: Help me choose a lens
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 07:48:40 PM »