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Author Topic: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?  (Read 3400 times)

justin2099

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A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« on: February 07, 2012, 08:13:39 AM »
Hello,

I've looked throughout the forum and couldn't find any help so I thought that I would just post my question. Thanks in advance for any help!

I'm a painter who often uses photographs to work from. I just got a new Canon camera with a APS-C sensor (60D) and now I am trying to find a great lens to capture a lot of detail in low light situations and sharp enough to capture a lot of detail in the surrounding environment.  I have experimented some with the 50mm f/1.4 but I'm not sure that it is the absolute best for this situation.

I also understand that I might just need to get a really good flash/continuous lighting set up in order to achieve what I want. If so, could anyone suggest a proper gear set up?

My budget is pretty much wide open and I'm simply looking for the best gear that I can get so if you have any suggestions, thank you for your time!

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A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« on: February 07, 2012, 08:13:39 AM »

bainsybike

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2012, 11:39:34 AM »
If you want good background detail, you're going to need depth of field, and therefore a small aperture. I don't think that's compatible with low light situations if the main subject is anything that moves, so you're going to need light.

Since you're not trying to blur the background, I don't think you're looking for a classic portrait lens. I would suggest a good general purpose zoom, like the EF-S 17-55 or the 24-105 F4, depending on how wide you want to go.   

Jamesy

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2012, 12:09:13 PM »
Depending on how far your subject is fro the background, a fast prime such as the 50 1.4 may not be your best choice. As the last poster mentioned, you may need to hold more depth of field which would put you into F5.6, F8.0 or greater. Many lenses shine in these apertures. I agree that a 17-55 or 24-105 may be the glass for you - I have a 17-55 and it is a fantastic all around lens on a crop body.

vlim

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2012, 12:15:35 PM »
I'm thinking about the 100mm macro f/2.8 L IS ; it could be a good answer in my opinion.

Take a look at this deep and detailed review :

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-100mm-f-2.8-L-IS-USM-Macro-Lens-Review.aspx

Jamesy

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2012, 12:27:46 PM »
Justin2099, It is impossible to know which glass is right without knowing the desired FOV you require for your needs. Was the 50 1.4 to narrow a FOV for you? Too wide? What was the issue with it?

bvukich

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 01:06:47 PM »
Since you are just taking a picture to paint from, I would suggest taking two pictures.  The portrait, and a second one of the background.  Then either work from the two pictures for the painting, or compost them if you like.

bainsybike

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 02:31:09 PM »
Another thought - if you have a good lighting setup, a decent small-sensor point and shoot (G12, S100, etc) will give you sharp pictures with all the depth of field you need at a fraction of the cost of a lens.

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 02:31:09 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 02:41:35 PM »
Since your budget is wide open, look at FF bodies and sell the 60D.  A 5D MK II is much better in low light, and get a 17mm TS-E lens or get a 24mm L or 35mm L.

justin2099

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 03:36:13 PM »
Depending on how far your subject is fro the background, a fast prime such as the 50 1.4 may not be your best choice. As the last poster mentioned, you may need to hold more depth of field which would put you into F5.6, F8.0 or greater. Many lenses shine in these apertures. I agree that a 17-55 or 24-105 may be the glass for you - I have a 17-55 and it is a fantastic all around lens on a crop body.

Thanks for the advice. Luckily, there is a really nice camera store not far from my apartment. I visited it yesterday and tested out both of the lenses that you suggested. I gravitated toward the 24-105 and it seems like it would work perfectly for what I am wanting to do. Thanks again!

Since your budget is wide open, look at FF bodies and sell the 60D.  A 5D MK II is much better in low light, and get a 17mm TS-E lens or get a 24mm L or 35mm L.

I actually got to check out a FF body camera yesterday at the camera store in my town and I really enjoyed it a lot. I can definitely see how it could be better than the 60D. After doing additional research on the Canon products and talking with the people at the store, I think it could really excel for what I'm wanting to do. Since the 60D was new and was still in the time frame of being able to return it for a refund, I did. I think for the time being I will continue to use my old rebel and simply upgrade when the 5D MK III is available. Thanks for the suggest, I really appreciate it.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 03:37:47 PM by justin2099 »

briansquibb

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2012, 03:41:50 PM »
You might consider a TS-E 24 mm lens. This may seem an unconventional choice but as well as being a superb wide angle lens it also has a variable DOF feature which may suit.

If the objects just need more light then perhaps a tripod might suit, using a low iso and long shutter speed. Also use of HDR or focus stacking are no cost options that might help meet your requirements

Brian

D.Sim

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 06:59:15 AM »
You might consider a TS-E 24 mm lens. This may seem an unconventional choice but as well as being a superb wide angle lens it also has a variable DOF feature which may suit.

If the objects just need more light then perhaps a tripod might suit, using a low iso and long shutter speed. Also use of HDR or focus stacking are no cost options that might help meet your requirements

Brian

I agree with brian here... the tilt shift would be useful for your uses - correct for the tilt if you need to, which can then transfer onto paintings. Also, the tripod on a long shutter speed will work better. A fast lens wouldn't be great for what you're after - it is good for portraits though, so if you're aiming to shoot a person, WITH the background... but in which case i might have misunderstood your needs?

CatfishSoupFTW

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 10:33:15 AM »
FF or APSC i wouldnt really see it as such a big deal when it comes to JUST shooting pictures, but if you have the money a 5DmrkII/III would be fine if you have the money. TSE lenses would prob be your best best imo, after reading what other users have suggested. TSE lenses are great for architectural correction so it doesnt look like the buildings are falling back.  looking at their options, i only see F4, 3.5 and 2.8 . 2.8 would give you that nice dramatic DOF but i have a feeling those lenses were made a while back, and the newer L series ones would be sharper. unless the old ones are still great. but even F3.5 would give you decent bokeh plus a decent slow exposure.

if you want to add flash and stuff you can always get just a 580exII or 430. (the 430 doesnt have the bouncing card -_-) or you can get some better set ups, soft boxes, etc. the possibility are endless really.
5DmrkII, 40D, 24-105 F4L, 50mm 1.8, 17-85, 70-300

briansquibb

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 01:56:44 PM »
The TS-E 90 is a good lens and secondhand (relatively) cheap.

I buy most of my lens second hand- it is a good budget option

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Re: A good low light- environmental portrait lens?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 01:56:44 PM »