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Author Topic: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help  (Read 9150 times)

jebrady03

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4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:39:44 AM »
I've recently been blessed with the great news that my wife and I are expecting our first child.  After a few days our talks migrated a bit towards video and pictures.  My current setup is:

60D (recent upgrade from the XSi)
60mm macro
15-85 (recent upgrade from the 18-55 that came bundled with the XSi - and sold with it as well)
55-250 (also bundled with the XSi but I kept it and have debated the benefits of going with the 70-300L since this lens isn't used very often - but when it is the pictures are often on once in a lifetime trip)

We're likely adding an HD video camera to the mix as my wife doesn't feel comfortable with the lack of full-time autofocus on the 60D.

Up until now, my primary use has been photographing my pet snakes.  The 15-85 and 60mm macro get that duty.  Secondary use has been any outings/trips (zoos, outdoor events, Australia, Costa Rica, etc.) we embark upon and that's where the 55-250 gets some use.

I'm coming from a realm far different than baby/portrait photography.  One where, in my circles, a deep depth of field is important to showcase an entire snakes body.  I often shoot between f8/f13 with my current lens lineup.  I'm looking forward to having a baby for many reasons but in the photography realm, I'm very excited about challenging myself and pushing my creativity by photographing people instead of scaly critters :)

I'm wondering what might be the best avenue for a lens that will pull heavy-baby-duty (especially indoors).  The 4 options I'm currently considering are:

60mm macro - I'm considering this because I've read a few reviews here and there that the other options I'm considering are best when stopped down to at least f2.8 and that's where this lens starts.  I already have it and am familiar with it - so why change?

50mm 1.8 - I'm considering this because of all of the rave reviews.  A lack of USM concerns me (just how loud is it? Loud enough to attract a baby's attention and ruin a "moment shot" or worse, wake a sleeping baby?) and I'm curious about the trade off of stopping down to increase DOF and the compromise of less light.  Also, is this focal length appropriate for baby shots on a crop sensor camera?

50mm 1.4 - I'm considering this because of the USM and more light gathering than the 50 1.8.  Same concern of stopping down and focal length.

28mm 1.8 - I'm considering this because the focal length/wide angle seems more appropriate for a crop sensor, its 1.8 max aperture, and the USM.

Cost really isn't a concern at this point (baby's not here yet, lol) as I'm okay with the price point of any of these lenses, but value definitely is a concern.  For example, I don't want to spend $100+ on the 50mm 1.8 if the 60mm macro I currently have is just as good of a solution (no value).  On the other hand, I don't mind spending $500+ on the 28mm 1.8 if it's the best solution for the job (great value).  I don't believe I'd like to go too much further than $500 though so something like the 50mm 1.2 would be out of the question.

So, any advice/guidance/experiences?  Are there other lenses I haven't considered and should (either inside the Canon portfolio or out of it)?

Thanks so much!
Jonathan

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4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:39:44 AM »

whatta

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 11:08:51 AM »
give a try also to the sigma 30 1.4. a bit faster than the canon 28 1.8 and said to be sharper. I find the focal lenght very useful. I have the canon 60 2.8 and it is a great lens but not fast enough. For me the fast normal prime has a great value.
Canon 400d | efs 15-85 | efs 60/2.8 | Sigma 30/1.4 | (broken efs 17-85)

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 11:22:14 AM »
Do you have a strobe? A 430EXII or a 580EXII ought to be in your bag for family pictures. Get a good diffuser for on camera use and experiment with it off camera for those occasions when you have time for more creative work.

As far as lenses go, I'd get the 50mm f1.8. It's dirt cheap and you'll never hear it over the baby's screams. :) Seriously, the noise issue is way overstated. It's a nice focal length on a crop body -- allows you to get in a bit closer without hovering over the baby.
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jebrady03

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2011, 11:31:51 AM »
Thank you both for the feedback.

I'll have to look into the Sigma 30 1.4 - definitely sounds intriguing.

And yes, I do have a 430 EXII.  Good thinking there :)

briansquibb

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 11:34:50 AM »
From personal experience I would choose the 50 1.4 over the 50 1/8 if the budget is OK. The bokeh is far better.

whatta

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 11:47:15 AM »
Thank you both for the feedback.
I'll have to look into the Sigma 30 1.4 - definitely sounds intriguing.

have a look:
http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php/topic,2384.0.html
Canon 400d | efs 15-85 | efs 60/2.8 | Sigma 30/1.4 | (broken efs 17-85)

stringfellow1946

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 11:51:13 AM »
I use the EF 50mm F2.5 Macro reputed to be the sharpest of all the canon 50mm lenses.
1DX, 1Dmk4, 1D2N, 8-15 f/4L, 16-35 f/2.8L, 24-70 f/2.8 II L, 24-105 f/4L, 70-200 f/2.8 is II L, 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, 35 f/1.4L, 50 f/2.5 macro, 85 f/1.8, 300 f/4 L.

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 11:51:13 AM »

Flake

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2011, 12:27:02 PM »
Just to second the flash/strobe reccomend, the one camera flash is not good, and a proper one will open a whole new world of possibilies.

If you really want a lens then go for the 17 - 55 f/2.8 IS  Babies are quite still a lot of the time, especially when they're sleeping, other than that they're either feeding pooing or crying, none of which makes the kind of photos parents want!  6 months on & it's a different story, but the superb f/2.8 is going to be a flexible zoom that's as good as it's going to get.

thepancakeman

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2011, 12:30:55 PM »
These options are great for the first 6 months or so, but once the kid starts moving trying to catch (and frame) them with sneaker zoom can be a real challenge. 

branden

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2011, 12:41:31 PM »
jebrady03 -- with what you have, I do not see you getting much more value from a 50mm lens, even if it's 2 stops faster. Your 60mm macro lens also happens to be right in the sweet spot for portraiture, and f/2.8 is plenty fast for that, especially when using the flash.

What I believe you'll find most useful is a fast 28mm or 24mm lens. The slight wide angle field-of-view from these focal lengths on the 60D is great counterpart to the 60mm lens's longer length. Here's a baby photo I took two days ago at 24mm on a crop-frame camera, with the on-body flash providing fill light (the child is 12 months):


neuroanatomist

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2011, 12:52:47 PM »
I really like the 85/1.8 on a crop body for portraits, indoors and out (you many need a 3-stop ND filter outdoors).  It's fast and gives great OOF blur. 


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unfocused

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 01:25:07 PM »
Oops. I first posted this on the wrong thread.

I get the assignment of shooting my grandkids for birth announcements, birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. Some samples of what you can do with simple equipment. For babies, the simpler the better.

These were all shot either with the 15-85 (which you already own), some may have been with the 55-250 zoom (which you also own).



Outside, on a warm day. Natural light (open shade)



Also outside. Natural light.

Don't forget toes and fingers. They are a cliche but you have to have them. Natural light 15-85mm.





This was a single, off camera strobe and umbrella.


When they get older, stuff like this gets easier. Can't remember if this is the 15-85, the 55-250mm or the 100mm f2.8 macro. Doesn't really matter. Just got on the ground to get to their level and used a longer focal length to keep some distance. Outside, local park, natural light.



My best advice: don't worry about equipment. The advantage that you have over a studio photographer is that you are with the kids almost all the time. You know them, so it's easier to set up shots where they will be comfortable. And, easier for you to anticipate their actions (sometimes). What you can capture, that no hired photographer can, are the little moments that give quality and meaning to life.

BTW: I really want to see some pictures of the baby and the snakes together. :)
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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 01:33:53 PM »
Although a wide aperture lens is needed for very low light images, a 60D which does not have focus micro adjust to tweak the lens AF when wide open might be a disappoiintment.  The shallow depth of field at f/1.4 needs a very accurate lens AF adjustment, and the Sigma is noted for inaccuracy, even the 35mm L often benefirs from being tweaked to the actual camera body.

You might check the Canon Refurbs, they have 7D's onsale today at $1155 while they last.  All of their bodies and lenses are 15% off starting today.(no coupon needed)

http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_10051_260463_-1

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 01:33:53 PM »

Leopard Lupus

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2011, 01:41:25 PM »
Out of your 4 lenses, I would HIGHLY recommend the Canon 50mm f/1.4.
The build quality and image quality is quite possibly the best bang for your buck I have seen come from Canon, even thought the f/1.8 version is tempting, it is terribly cheap plastic (including the mount)!
I have shot with the 50mm f/1.4 on my 5D mk ll as well as the 60D. You'll be looking at an 80mm lens due to the 1.6 factor, but I find that length comfortable when shooting fast moving subjects to give them plenty of room.
Congrats on the newcomer!

wickidwombat

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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2011, 05:33:10 PM »
Although a wide aperture lens is needed for very low light images, a 60D which does not have focus micro adjust to tweak the lens AF when wide open might be a disappoiintment.  The shallow depth of field at f/1.4 needs a very accurate lens AF adjustment, and the Sigma is noted for inaccuracy, even the 35mm L often benefirs from being tweaked to the actual camera body.

You might check the Canon Refurbs, they have 7D's onsale today at $1155 while they last.  All of their bodies and lenses are 15% off starting today.(no coupon needed)

http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_10051_260463_-1
I second that definately if you have a 60D stick with genuine canon lenses AND test the lens out in store to make sure its not focusing off back or forward because you cant adjust it in camera
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Re: 4 lens conundrum - could use some help
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2011, 05:33:10 PM »