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Author Topic: Canon EOS 600D body, and a canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, product photography??  (Read 3853 times)

sway74

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Hi there,

I'm looking at buying a canon EOS 600D body. I will be using the camera mainly for indoors studio product photography. Furniture, sideboards/chest of drawers etc...

A friend of mine who is a photographer suggested the canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 lens to get. I was just wondering if this lens would be suitable for my needs??

Many thanks for any advice given.

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neuroanatomist

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IMO, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is the best general purpose lens for an APS-C camera.  It will work fine for your stated needs.  You could also consider the EF-S 15-85mm - that's an excellent outdoor walkaround lens, usually less suitable indoors because of the slower aperture, meaning you often need flash.  But products don't move, so slow shutter speeds aren't a problem.

What you will absolutely need for product photos is a good, stable tripod and a remote release (cable release or IR remote).  For studio use, the weight of the tripod isn't a real issue, consider something like a this Manfrotto kit, which includes legs and a good ballhead.
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unfocused

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The EF-S f2.8 is one of the two best general purpose EF-S (crop frame) lenses available. The 15-85mm being the other.

It comes down to a choice between speed of the lens and range of the zoom (and price). My guess is that for the product photography you are describing, either would work. The f2.8 will give you a little more control over depth of field; the 15-85mm will give you more flexibility at the long end to foreshorten the products, which can be a more appealing look, especially on smaller products.
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sway74

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Thanks guys for your input. The photos are going to be used on my website, but also need to be good quality, if requested for a magazine..

neuroanatomist

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For the products, either lens will do, as unfocused states.  The 15-85mm has a closer minimum focus distance, and that combined with a longer focal length mean higher maximum magnification, so the 15-85mm is better for smaller products (the advantage is really for much smaller products than you mention, things like coins/pens/etc.).

The other consideration is distortion - the 17-55mm has less barrel distortion at the wide end, meaning straighter lines.  From that perspective, it's a better choice for furniture.  But, that only applies at the wide end - by 20mm or so, the distortion is gone from both lenses, so if you have room to back up, it's not an issue.

Basically, I'd suggest making your decision based on other things you want to shoot - the 17-55mm will be better for portaits and shooting moving subjects in low light, the 15-85mm will give a broader focal range which is useful for landscapes and general shooting in good light.  The 15-85mm is also substantially cheaper, so if budget is an issue, I'd definitely take the 15-85m plus a good tripod over the 17-55mm plus a cheap tripod (which isn't any better than no tripod at all).
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bigblue1ca

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For studio use, the weight of the tripod isn't a real issue, consider something like a this Manfrotto kit, which includes legs and a good ballhead.

One of my tripods is the one Neuro highlighted here and I like it.  It's not the lightest or smallest tripod in the world by any means, but it's solid and smooth to use.  The biggest thing I like about it is it's good for tall shooters, in that you don't have to bend down to look at the view finder.

sway74

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I'll definately be looking into that tripod as well!

With the furniture product photography, i will have to get a few close up shots of door handles, etc. I like what i'm hearing about the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. I will need to get a few close up shots of door handles, etc, will this lense be ok to use for that?

Cheers..

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neuroanatomist

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With the furniture product photography, i will have to get a few close up shots of door handles, etc. I like what i'm hearing about the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. I will need to get a few close up shots of door handles, etc, will this lense be ok to use for that?

Yes, it will be fine for that.  At 55mm and the minimum focus distance (~14"), you'll frame an area of approximately 5.4"x3.6".
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albron00

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I own both lenses. Personally I prefer 17-55.  You should take under consideration as well that EF-S 17-55mm is heavier then EF-S 15-85mm ( 645g vs 575g ).

s66

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In a long past I've used the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 on a 20D to do product pictures.
It's a great lens, was one of the lenses I felt a pain when I sold it when I went FF (to a 5DmkII). No doubt it's one of the better EF-S lenses around. Only question is indeed size of products (or details of products): if they get too small, you really want a macro lens.

For the rest: lots of diffuse light, white background (you mentioned web use) and a tripod + cable release.
Also find the setting -if a 600D can do it- to lock up the mirror. On a 20D that meant 2 presses to get a picture (one to lock the mirror and one to take the picture), so it slows you down, but it gives sharper pictures, esp. if your tripod isn't the most stable in the world [like I had].

Tijn

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Re: Canon EOS 600D body, and a canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, product photography??
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 06:58:27 PM »
Before anyone forgets, isn't shallow DOF nice for product photography? For 'pop'? That'd be another plus for the 17-55.

s66

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Re: Canon EOS 600D body, and a canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, product photography??
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 07:39:08 PM »
Before anyone forgets, isn't shallow DOF nice for product photography? For 'pop'? That'd be another plus for the 17-55.
Backgrounds for web and product use are typically cut away, so having them out of focus can help, but it's not essential IMHO, a uniform color that closely matches your eventual replaced background (to avoid e.g. a background still shining through translucent parts) is more important for the end result IMHO.
I've never found shallow DoF pictures got much traction with marketeers, they want all of the product to be in focus and will get rid of all backgrounds.

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Re: Canon EOS 600D body, and a canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8, product photography??
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 07:39:08 PM »