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Author Topic: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?  (Read 5625 times)

Enrico

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Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« on: August 16, 2011, 07:44:41 AM »
Hi all,
I have been a frequent forum reader and visitor the past year and finally took the step to become a member. Now I need your input.

Background
I started off with photography in 2005 with a 350D and the kit lens. Soon i also bought the EF-S 10-22, EF 50/1.8 and a Tamron 28-75/2.8. As I slowly developed my skills I also read all I could regarding photography and started dreaming about better gear… Later on when I almost had decided to go for the rumored 50D I also had my first child. Money was needed elsewhere and I thought, what the heck, try mastering the gear I have and start saving to afford going FF in a few years….

The years have past and here I am with saved monies to spend - waiting on the 5D3 and trying to decide what lenses to get… I have sold every lens except the 50/1.8 when I a while ago thought I would go with only primes… Then I realized how useful a zoom might be...

What do I shoot?
I am now a father of two (1.5 and 4 years). So I mainly document what we do as a family - playing games, traveling, visiting friends, going to the zoo and every now and then a portrait. But more a situational portrait (when wearing something special/ special occasion) than portrait photography if you now what I mean.

I use my photos mainly to through Aperture3 create photobooks. A few books per year and special book for a trip somewhere.

The new camera bag:
If you were me, or if you are yourself…what lenses would you buy? How would you in the best of worlds staff your starting line up :) Budget? Well, sure it is not without limits, but almost.

Personally I tend to change between going only primes (when I browse all amazing images they can produce) and going zooms or somewhere in between. I have used a friend's 70-200/2.8IS II on his 7D when visiting the Zoo, sure it is a great lens and lovely images I got, but boy it is big/heavy and not easy to bring around (when carrying kids etc). I have realized I am lazy and will shoot with what I brought rather than change lens… So it is a matter of creating a bag that will on beforehand cover situations I will encounter. E.g. going to teh Zoo... visting a new town... Visiting the grandparents.... Going on a friends wedding... etc.

My current thoughts on lineup:

1.
EF 24-105/4 L IS
EF 70-300/4-5.6L IS
Sigma 85/1.4 or EF 135/2 L

2.
EF 24-70/2.8 L
EF 70-200/4 L IS
Sigma 85/1.4 or EF 135/2 L

Your thoughts?

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Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« on: August 16, 2011, 07:44:41 AM »

dstppy

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2011, 08:27:45 AM »
Why the Sigma 85mm? 

I have the Canon 85mm 1.8 version and it's exceptional (when I need 85).
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Enrico

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2011, 08:47:45 AM »

I really want a lens that is fast and can produce great draemy bokeh. And to be used for indoor shots / portraits.

I have tried the 85/1.8 and you get alot of bang for the buck, but it is simply not 1.4.

I have been browsing the beast as in Canon 85/1.2 L. Never tried it or the Sigma. But since the common internet-opinion is that the Sigma has faster AF (and is half the price) and I personally can live with the image difference from 1.2 to 1.4 (but not to 1.8) I am leaning towards the Sigma.

Anyone else that would recommend the Canon 85/1.8 or Canon 85/1.2 over the Sigma?

7enderbender

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2011, 09:00:30 AM »
Isn't it fun? Seriously, as somewhat of a gear head I kind of like this aspect of photography - without forgetting about the most important thing which is to go and take pictures and learn how to get better.

I kind of was in a similar position last year. I've been shooting 35mm film since the 80s and have a bag full of nice Canon FD stuff that I acquired over the years. I never went over to the EOS system because I never was a big fan of AF (and honestly, I still am not). So when digital sort of became unavoidable I knew I wanted to keep the "full frame" format and I knew which my most used and favorite lenses had been (not compatible unfortunately...).

So the obvious choice given my budget was the 5DII. No complaints (other than it being an AF camera). With lenses you seem to have a thing for primes which I fully understand. But why is that? I like primes not only for their good performance (not really a big problem with any reasonable lens these days, but primes are still somewhat sharper on average) but mostly because they are faster and offer shallow depth of field.

To me the latter is one of the things that helps with producing nice pictures of, e.g, our kids compared to "snap shots". Yes, good zooms can do that as well to some degree.

With your potential choices I don't think you can go wrong either way. I have the 24-105 because it was a good deal together with the camera. It's very good and very versatile. I go back and forth if I should trade it for the 24-70. In an ideal world it would make sense to have both really.
Then I also got the 50 1.4. It's been my most used and most favorite lens in the FD film world. Optics are the same they have ever been. Unfortunately, the EF version is rather flimsy compared to my old copies. I'm hoping for Canon to come out with new 50mm lenses at some point. I considered the 50L which is much more sturdy of course but also way more expensive - and has some issues as well. So, sitll waiting for the "ideal" fast 50mm here. But the 1.4 takes fabulous pictures.

I considered the f4 70-200 zooms but then went with the 200 2.8L II prime. Fast, affordable, exceptional lens. I noticed that I had used my old 70-210 mostly at the longer end so the decision made sense to me. YMMV. Great lens by the way for active little kids...

That being said - another favorite was always the 135 prime. So the 135L is next on my list. Other nice to haves: 85 1.8, 100L macro, and a wide angle prime or zoom. But that is not that important and I kind of feel that I may rent those as needed. Not to forget: speedlights. One of the great things about modern DSLRs is the stuff you can do with flash. That's my main learning area at the moment and can get expensive quickly...

Good luck and have fun.
5DII - 50L - 135L - 200 2.8L - 24-105 - 580EXII - 430EXII - FD 500/8 - AE1-p - bag full of FD lenses

Enrico

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2011, 09:21:56 AM »

Thanks alot for your reply.

I agree that this is a very funny aspect of photograhy and I try to get the most out of the research and planning part before I buy whatever lenses I will decide on. Because then the nex and even funnier part begins - taking photos :)

The 200/2.8 II is also an option. However, when haveing used longer lenses and framing my kids and I have felt a need for a zoom. The kids sort of run to quick and also when at the zoo or on holiday trip there is always the situation of something happening just beside you and then the lack of 70-199 becomes very obvious.


acoll123

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2011, 09:56:06 AM »
I am in a similar situation to you. I am not a professional (anymore, I shot for the AP in college) and I now have 4 kids under 10. I started with a 7D, a 16-35 /2.8 and a 70-200/2.8.
The kids play sports - basketball, soccer, baseball and gymnastics. Outside of a 1 Series camera I don't think you can get a more versatile action combination than the 7D and the 70-200.
I also occasionally take individual family portraits using the 70-200 and on a tripod for groups - great bokeh in the background and super sharp.
For indoor family events and landscapes - the 16-35 is perfect, relatively fast and great for group shots. I used it as my walk-around lens at Disney last fall.
If I could only have two lenses - those would be the two I would pick.

Last Fall, I picked up a white box 24-105 /f4.0 IS and a 5Dmk 2. That combination has become my new everyday walk-around kit. I also picked up 50 /1.2 for the gap between the 16-35 and 7-200. Great for low light situations without flash. I also use it with a 2x extension tube for macro work.

Enrico

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2011, 11:15:43 AM »

On which camera do you use the 70-200/2.8 II IS the most? That lens is still an option for me... bet again, it is heavy :)

When I used it on the friend's 7D it felt like an akward range - and I assume it feels more correct on the 5D2. Or?

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2011, 11:15:43 AM »

Picsfor

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2011, 11:41:42 AM »
If you're looking at a 5D2 (or the much fabled 5D3) then getting the 24-105 L at the same time is a no brainer - because you save loads on the kit deal.

It is a great carry around lens - and more than happily meets most of the family record requirements.
It too have a 70-200, but really only ever use it at the long end, so would agree on the 200 f2.8L prime.
that said, i am looking at th3 70-300 L for use in sports and wildlife, cos it gets good reviews and is compact to carry around.

I've tried the 85 f1.2 and didn't like it. Much preferred the f1.8, which is more than enough for the 85mm.
50mm f1.8 - for me, is almost a must...

steven63

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2011, 11:41:51 AM »
Listing how you would use the gear (family - playing games, traveling, visiting friends, going to the zoo and every now and then a portrait. But more a situational portrait (when wearing something special/ special occasion) than portrait photography if you now what I mean.) I would think you'll be doing alot of indoor shooting?

Then I'd say your #2 list is better.  The 24-70 2.8L is a magnificent lense and is fast enough for shooting indoors.  The 70-200 4.0L (IS or not) is a good all-round lense for shooting outdoors at the zoo and what have you.  The change I would make is to swap out the sigma 85 1.4 for a Canon 50mm 1.2L.  85mm might be a bit long for indoors (on a crop sensor) or trying to shoot more than one person.  But the 50mm 1.2L is very fast and I find the focal length suited fine for indoor usage - especially if I am not shooting with more than one person in the frame.  Plus, the bokeh it gives at those fast apertures is really great if you want to take that 'portrait.'

The drawback with the 24-70 and the 50mm is that they are heavy lenses.

Just my two cents.

Eagle Eye

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 11:51:20 AM »
+1 for the 24-105mm f/4L IS.  I would add a 70-200mm f/4L IS to that.  As for a prime, if you're going to go with just one, I'd do something wider than an 85mm or 135mm.  I have the 135 f/2L and the 85mm f/1.8, but the prime that lives on my camera is the 50mm f/1.2L.  I just find the 50mm to be a nice balance for most scenes, and it's a relatively compact and easy to handle lens.  On several occasions, it's been the only lens I've taken with me on shoots.  These three lenses on a full frame camera would deliver a lot of capability while keeping your bag relatively light and portable.  Add a wide prime and a telephoto prime down the road and you'd be golden.

I use to have f/2.8 zooms but sold them to buy even faster primes.  When I had some bank to spare for zooms again, I went the f/4 route.  If I need something for low light or shallow depth of field, I have a couple super-fast primes within reach. 
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acoll123

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2011, 11:58:48 AM »

On which camera do you use the 70-200/2.8 II IS the most? That lens is still an option for me... bet again, it is heavy :)

When I used it on the friend's 7D it felt like an akward range - and I assume it feels more correct on the 5D2. Or?

Now that I have the 5D2, I use it most of the time for every situation except sports/action/wildlfe. IMO, the 7D and 70-200 really can't be beat except by a 1DMK4 for action. I think I would prefer the 70-200 over the 70-300 because it is faster and if you use it on a 5Dmk2 you have a lot of resolution to use for cropping that makes up for the shorter length of 200 versus 300.

As I said earlier with the 5Dmk2, I walk around most often with the 24-105. It would be perfect if it were a 2.8 but I am sure if that were the case, it would be close in weight to the 70-200 . . .

The 70-200 is a big lens I won't argue that. I use a black rapid "sniper" strap on my cameras which allows for the camera and lens to hang off my shoulder at my side instead of around my neck. It makes it a lot less obtrusive/easier to walk around with. I sometimes take the 70-200/5Dmk2 with me on short bike rides through the park with the kids and lock the strap so the camera sits at my back out of the way.

If you got a 5Dmk2 or 3 the 24-105 could take the place of the 16-35 I recommended earlier and as a bonus, you wouldn't have the gap between 35-70 requiring you to get a 50.

Enrico

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2011, 01:17:12 PM »
Thanks again for all replys, you really got me thinking it over again.

First of all, lenses will be used on a full frame. Either 1D or 5D (depending on prices and launch dates, yeah, and rumors...) Btw, sorry for looong posts. But it is helping me helping myself if you understand, kind of like talking to yourself at the shrink I assume...

Let's cut lenses in another way.

Zoo/Kids playing outdoors/kids sports:
EF 100-400 L
EF 70-300/4-5.6 L IS
EF 70-200/4 L IS
EF 70-200/2.8 II L IS
EF 300/4 L IS
EF 400/5.6 L
EF 200/2.8 II


Portraits
EF 135/2 L
Sigma 85/1.4
EF 85/1.2 L
EF 50/1.2 L (? or too wide on FF?)

Indoor events/dinners/x-mas/kids in the bath etc
Sigma 85/1.4
EF 85/1.2 L
EF 50/1.2 L
and
EF 35/1.4 L

daily walkaround / tourist in city X etc
EF 24-105/4 L IS
EF 24-70/2.8

The combinations are so many...

Let's put together a new list and see how you can help me improve it.

#3

EF 300/4 L IS - outdoor and kids playing and Zoo, I will live with the fact that shots will be missed

EF 24-105/4 L IS - daily walkaround, outdoors and from time to time indoors if light allows

EF 35/1.4 L - indoor in bad light, ie parties, dinners etc

Sigma 85/1.4 - portrait

Suggestions?
- Skip the 300 and go for 70-200 IS 4 or 2.8 ?

- Skip the 300 and go for 100-400 or 400/5.6 instead?

- Skip the 85 AND 35 and get the 50/1.2 instead?

- Skip the sigma and go canon 85/1.2?

Even if I had the money to buy them all (which I don't btw) I wouldn't... I simply want 3-4 lenses that I slowly will learn to use and get most out of. Hopefully they will cover my range and use and allow me to in most cases bring perhaps two lenses but not swap them all the time.

I must admit my experience in the longer focal length are almost none. Here I lack most knowledge. I really can't say whether 200, 300 or 400 would be enough... Yes, I can rent them. And surely will some day, but now I want the tips and ideas from your guys :)

If you have a 200 mm, how often do you think you should have had a 300 or a 400?
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 01:48:41 PM by Enrico »

papa-razzi

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2011, 03:31:29 PM »
I have spent far more time than would like to admit wresting with the same kinds of choices.  Here is what I have learned.  You have to start by looking at what you shoot.  Don't start with the lens.  The second thing I learned is that practice shooting with a particular lens will determine what will work or not.  Reading about it, etc. only gets you so far.  There is no substitute for the actual shooting experience with a lens.

For each shooting situation ask yourself -  are your subjects moving (you have young children, so yes, quite fast), how close are you to your subjects (in a small yard, sitting in the stands at a sporting event, or on the sidelines of youth soccer), will your subjects distance from you vary while shooting, what are the lighting conditions you will face, can you use flash, do you want to shoot in close or get a wide perspective of the whole scene, etc.

For example, I wanted to take pictures of my 7 year old son's soccer.  I thought long range zoom.  I ended up realizing I was a lot closer to the action than I thought - right on the sidelines.  Also I wanted a fairly good zoom range - sometimes he was quite close, other times at the other end of the field.  I tried a 55-250 zoom at first - it was too fast and the focus couldn't keep up with the action.  I ended up with the 24-105 and that works perfect.

I take pictures of my Daughter's HS volleyball.  I'm reasonably close to the court, but need fast shutter to freeze the action in low light.  I purchased an 85 f/1.8 and a 50 f/1.4.  Again, I could get close enough for both those to work and that was the most affordable option for very fast lenses.

Ask yourself how much you shoot a particular type of shot/event and is it worth getting a lens that exactly fits that, or should you compromise with something that fits more than one type of shot.

I think every kit needs a standard range zoom that is reasonably fast.  On a FF I would go with the 24-70 f/2.8 (or wait for the IS version if that ever happens) or 24-105 f/4 depending on how fast you want.  With moving kids I suggest a zoom vs. prime - they just move too fast.

You are on the right track, but be prepared to sell a lens or two as you try and find the best lens lineup for what you shoot.  That is why it is best to get good canon lenses - you don't lose when you sell them, so there isn't much of a penalty if you decide you don't want to keep something you purchased.
6D | 7D  | EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM | EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM | EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM |
EF 35mm f/2 | EF 50mm f/1.4 | EF 85mm f/1.8

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2011, 03:31:29 PM »

papa-razzi

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2011, 03:36:59 PM »
I tried a 55-250 zoom at first - it was too fast and the focus couldn't keep up with the action.  I ended up with the 24-105 and that works perfect.

Sorry, it wasn't too fast, it was too long, even at 55mm (for when he was down at my end of the field)
6D | 7D  | EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM | EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM | EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM |
EF 35mm f/2 | EF 50mm f/1.4 | EF 85mm f/1.8

Enrico

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2011, 04:18:32 PM »

Papa-razzi, thanks for your insightful answer. I think you are spot on, it will of course require me to use the lenses before I can actually determine what will work out and not. Furthermore, the kids will grow and so will my shooting abilities as I get new gear... what suits me now might not be what I want in 3 years.

I have spent more time thinking on this now (after posting in the forum and reading all of your great answers) and I also had a look through the shots from this year. It looks like I am pretty much all over the place in terms of focal length and lenses. There is also a clear difference of regular "that's a nice building in this town", "oh, look at the kids now, this requires a picture" and when I have changed lens to my 50/1.8 (best and most bokeh in my current line up) for "portrait session".

As the walk around lens (which has been Tamron 28-75/2.8) I have avoided 2. due to shallow DOF and you tend to want both kids sharp most of the time. This tells me the 24-105/4 IS should do it. Less weight than the 24-70/2.8 and an extra 35mm, which on FF at that focallength actually makes a whole lot of difference.

Since the 50/1.8 has been my main portrait lens so far on a crop, the Sigma 85/1.4 on a FF seems like a perfect fit. I am used to the focal length and it will not be too long for indoors (as the 135/2 would have been).
The option of course would be the 50/1.2 but it does feel short as a portrait lens on a FF.

Finally, as a tele lens. The 70-300/4-5.6 L IS seems to be the best compromise in terms of weight, size, reach and IQ. No it's not a 2.8... but my guess(!) at this moment is that the 70-300 will mainly be used when I want reach rather than when taking portraits. IE 5.6 should blur enough for those needs. Otherwise just get the 85/1.4.

#4.
EF 24-105/4 IS
EF 70-300/4-5.6 IS
Sigma 85/1.4

and on the wish list:
EF 35/1.4

That would be a start.... who knows. I might find myself shooting at only 300 in a few months time.... then there are other options on what to buy...

(As weird as it might seem, it wasn't until papa-razzi's post it occured to me I can sell the lenses :) I have been so focused on buying something to keep for a very long time... stupid me... ;) )

 

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Re: Hello and What to put in my camera bag to come?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2011, 04:18:32 PM »