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Author Topic: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids  (Read 6006 times)

switters

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35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« on: May 05, 2013, 12:11:40 PM »
I have a Canon 5DIII and 24-70 II. I take pictures of my 21-month old daughter exclusively at this point. (I used to do more street, fine art, etc. but don't have time anymore and won't for the foreseeable future.)

I want to add a couple of fast primes for lower light work and shallower depth-of-field. I'm trying to decide between a 35 & 85 and a 50 & 100. My decision will be based on focal length preference, of course, but also on the quality/price/value of lenses available at those focal lengths.

I'm somewhat leaning toward 35 & 85, for a few reasons. First, from what I can tell, the Sigma 35/1.4 is probably the most highly regarded of all of the 35 and 50 autofocus lenses. Second, I like environmental portraiture and tend to shoot quite a bit indoors, so the wider perspective of the 35 might be a better fit there. Third, it seems the portrait options are better at 85 than at 100? The 85L II is legendary, and many agree that the Sigma 85 comes close to it at less than half the price.

On the other hand, 50 is a great focal length for general work and casual portraits, and the 50L has beautiful, creamy bokeh and a nice look. (I actually own the 50L now, and enjoy it.) The Canon 100/2, while not as highly regarded as the Canon 85L or Sigma 85, is still a great lens by most accounts.

I guess this also depends somewhat on my future lens plans. Frankly, the only additional lens I can imagine getting in the future (assuming my subject matter doesn't change) is a telephoto. I would probably either choose the 70-200 IS or the 135L.

Curious to hear if you have any thoughts about this choice? Thanks.

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35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« on: May 05, 2013, 12:11:40 PM »

Dick

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 12:23:52 PM »
35 beats the S___ out of a 50 indoors in my opinion. You can't always get far enough with a 50. Is there even a decent 50 out there? The 50L isn't really sharp at all and the 1.4 is crap too.

85 or 100? I don't really know. I currently use the 100L in that spot, but 2.8 does not really do the trick when you want DOF magic. It's a really good lens anyway though. Very versatile too. The 85L II would be great I guess, but I'd claim it's more a niche lens since it's slow focusing, big & almost a one trick pony. Slow AF does not go too nicely together with kids, but the bokeh definitely is nice.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 12:27:55 PM by Dick »
EOS 5D Mark III + 8-15L + some boring L lenses + a 35mm Sigma...

Shane1.4

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 12:26:54 PM »
I have the sigma 35 1.4 with an 85 1.8 and I couldn't be happier when taking pics of my boys. Though I love the 50 focal length, it sits on the self a lot because the IQ just isn't close. The 135 is my telephoto and it is amazing 
5D Mark III, 6D, 135L, 85 1.8, Sigma 50 1.4 Art, Sigma 35 1.4 Art, 17-40L
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CANONisOK

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 12:33:46 PM »
You mentioned the 135L in your original post. To me, that is a great compliment to your 50L.

With children of a similar age range, I find the 135L to be the perfect lens to capture their more active moments (soccer, walks in the park, festivals, etc.) when you want to focus primarily on them in action. The colors and detail this combo produces are often fantastic straight out of the camera. (With a young two year old and a young four year old, I have little time for twiddling around in LR, DPP, etc.)

When I can find some free time (ha!) I'll try and post a couple of examples.
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 8-15L Fisheye, 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 12:36:02 PM »
You have the zoom lens, buy the focal length that you find yourself using. 
 

Personally, I'd get a 85mm and 135mm, two focal lengths you do not have now, and the classic portrait  focal lengths for 35mm cameras for the past 60 or 70 years.  Even 50mm is a bit wide for portraits, but will do.

switters

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 12:43:29 PM »
You have the zoom lens, buy the focal length that you find yourself using. 
 

Personally, I'd get a 85mm and 135mm, two focal lengths you do not have now, and the classic portrait  focal lengths for 35mm cameras for the past 60 or 70 years.  Even 50mm is a bit wide for portraits, but will do.

I think a 135mm will become more useful as my daughter gets older. Right now, because she's still so young, when I'm with her I'm usually pretty close to her and the 135mm would be too long.

The problem with 24-70 + 85 + 135 is that I wouldn't have a lens suitable for indoor use in tighter spaces.

comsense

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 12:58:36 PM »
You have the zoom lens, buy the focal length that you find yourself using. 
 

Personally, I'd get a 85mm and 135mm, two focal lengths you do not have now, and the classic portrait  focal lengths for 35mm cameras for the past 60 or 70 years.  Even 50mm is a bit wide for portraits, but will do.
+1
35 mm is least useful for kids (I hardly remember ever using it), irrespective of what it blows out and where.
50 mm still finds a decent use. I would go with 85/135, since you have a zoom. 50 f/1.8 is pretty good on 5DIII. It's so cheap that you can decide for yourself if you like this FL. I have got some good tips from CR but can't fathom why 50 f/1.4 or push & pull zooms get bad rap here (something to do with trolling). To me it's the best general purpose lens with good IQ. And, despite endless posts about why 50 f/1.2 is designed to provide good bokeh by compromising sharpness, people still believe that it's a flaw of the lens. Myths, biases, and myths...So, my bias is to skip 35 and buy/try 50/85/135 to figure out your bias. I have all FLs and my order of usage for kids is
1. 50 mm
2. 135 mm
3. 85 mm
And it includes indoor as well as outdoor use

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 12:58:36 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 12:59:15 PM »
The problem with 24-70 + 85 + 135 is that I wouldn't have a lens suitable for indoor use in tighter spaces.

You have the 24-70 II.  I do have the 35L - and I haven't used it indoors since getting the 24-70 II.

I think a 135mm will become more useful as my daughter gets older. Right now, because she's still so young, when I'm with her I'm usually pretty close to her and the 135mm would be too long.

When my daughter was ~2, I was using the 85/1.2L II on a 7D and it was great for portraits.  The 135L on FF is equivalent to that, and when I got a 5DII, I also got the 135L.  Of your two options, I'd say 35 + 85, but I'd pick 85 + 135 over that.
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Eli

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 01:11:47 PM »
If you already have the 50L and enjoy it, just keep it and add the 135, or the 85.

J.R.

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2013, 01:17:32 PM »
Is the AF of the 85mm 1.2 II fast enough to shoot kids who are almost always on the move
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Andy_Hodapp

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2013, 01:32:33 PM »
I have a Sigma 105mm macro, I've used it for some portrait work with kids, When you're shooting at that length of lens, really fast apature isn't as important as it is with say a 35 or 50, you can still get great dof even when shooting partially stopped down. 

This was shot with my 105 on my T1i crop a while ago, shooting full frame the dof will be even shallower as you can stand closer to your subject.




Exposure   0.001 sec (1/800)
Aperture   f/3.5
Focal Length   105 mm
ISO Speed   400
Canon 5D MKII, Canon 17-40mm F/4L, Canon 50mm 1.8 II, Helios 44M-4 58mm F/2, Sigma 105mm EX DG Macro F/2.8, Canon 200mm F/2.8L, Yongnuo YN-560 II

drjlo

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 01:42:36 PM »
Although I own and love all my L primes, 35L, 50L, 85L II, 135L, if I wanted maximum specialness, I reach for the 85L.  If you plan just a bit ahead, I don't find 85 too long on full frame indoors at all.  Sure Sigma 85 f/1.4 will be "close," but for that last 5%, there is nothing for portraiture than 85L at f/1.2 IMO.  Below is indoors at f/1.2, available light. 


EOSD1995 by drjlo1, on Flickr
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 02:02:30 PM by drjlo »

Dylan777

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 01:55:40 PM »
Is the AF of the 85mm 1.2 II fast enough to shoot kids who are almost always on the move

I asked same question few days ago. Many owners claimed is ok on 1D X, has higher voltages than 5D III. Others owners seem not happy with AF speed, howver, very happy with IQ. I'm not sure I want 85L II, since my kids are quite active.
Body: 1DX -- 5D III
Zoom: 24-70L II -- 70-200L f2.8 IS II
Prime: 40mm -- 85L II -- 135L -- 400L f2.8 IS II

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 01:55:40 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2013, 02:05:16 PM »
I'm not sure I want 85L II, since my kids are quite active.


So are mine.  But even active kids stop to smell the flowers...


EOS 5D Mark II, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM @ 1/60 s, f/1.8, ISO 400


EOS 5D Mark II, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM @ 1/320 s, f/2.2, ISO 100


EOS 7D, EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, 1/250 s, f/2.2, ISO 100
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switters

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2013, 02:12:31 PM »
I'll definitely have to think more about this. First step, maybe I should see if I can get by with the 24-70 II indoors. I do have a 430 EX flash I sometimes use with a "black foamie thing" (as recommended here: http://neilvn.com/tangents/about/black-foamie-thing/), but frankly I don't like the extra bulk of flash.

The other question is whether I can live with a max aperture of 2.8 between 24-70mm from a depth of field perspective. In Justin's review of the Sigma 35/1.4 on this site, he says "The fast aperture and shallow depth of field will capture special moments with amazing clarity while isolating distracting backgrounds." I wouldn't have that ability with the 24-70.

That said, maybe the solution is to go with the 35 & 85 right now, since those are the focal lengths I think I'll use most, and get the 135 later. The 50 & 100 might not make as much sense if I plan to get the 135 eventually.

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Re: 35 & 85 or 50 & 100 for photographing kids
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2013, 02:12:31 PM »