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Author Topic: Yet another "what lens?" question  (Read 5638 times)

DianeK

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Yet another "what lens?" question
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:14:51 PM »
Current set up: 60D (yes, I regret not getting the 7D ::)) with 10-22, 15-85, 100 macro, 70-300L.  Main interests are wildlife, birds, landscape, macro so happy with my lens collection.  Problem: I am now viewed as "the photographer" in the family so am expected to get general family shots plus we have 2 fast-moving grandkids.  Nothing in my lenses is good for indoor/lowlight photos or videos.  Was going to ditch the 15-85 and get the 17-55 which on the used market should cost me a net of $300. But, now the rumors of the new primes 24 and 28 have me second-guessing.  Adding one of these for the "family" situations would cost me $800 rather than $300 because I would need to keep the 15-85.  Any thoughts to share out there??
Diane

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Yet another "what lens?" question
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:14:51 PM »

ksuweh

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 12:24:51 PM »
I own a 7D & a 17-55. I am very pleased with the 17-55! Image quality is VERY good!! I would say that it is L quality optics. Even at f/2.8 I still find myself bumping the ISO up to an undesirably high range fairly often. I also own a 35 L & that lens is just an AMAZING lens!!! Attached to a APS-C crop-body it is equivalent to a 56mm on a FF. So, it is a good normal focal length lens, it just lacks the versatility of the zoom.
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bvukich

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 12:27:08 PM »
Unless you're shooting video, the 28/1.8 is probably a better choice than the 28/2.8IS, and you can use the money saved to get a 430EX II which will also make the fabulous but slow 15-85 usable inside.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 12:36:07 PM »
I have the 17-55mm, and it's an excellent lens.  But, f/2.8 indoors with ambient home lighting usually means ISO 3200 or even higher.  While ISO 3200 is fine on my 5DII, I prefer not to go that high on my 7D. 

Definitely get a 430EX II if you don't have an external flash - you can bounce that off the ceiling for nice lighting.

As for lenses, I'd consider a fast prime.  The new 24/28 primes aren't fast, I'd absolutely take the 17-55mm over either of those.  The 24mm f/1.4L II would be ideal, but it's expensive.  You might consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, but since the 60D lacks AF Microadjustment, I'd recommend buying the Sigma (or any fast prime) from somewhere you can easily return it, and test the AF performance right when you get the lens.
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jwong

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 01:27:23 PM »
Agree with those that recommend getting the flash first.  Fast primes are great when shooting single subjects but multiple subjects is hard because DOF is so thin.  If you are doing more group shots, flash is really the only way to go.

I also agree with ksuweh that the 35L is great for indoors.  That has replaced the 17-55 as the lens of choice for my low-light indoor shots.  I've found that the 35L focuses more consistently than the 50 f/1.4 that I had tested from a friend.

DJL329

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 01:30:53 PM »
Unless you're shooting video, the 28/1.8 is probably a better choice than the 28/2.8IS, and you can use the money saved to get a 430EX II which will also make the fabulous but slow 15-85 usable inside.


+1 for the EF 28mm f/1.8.  It's small and fast.  Here's a shot I did of a friend's daughter, as she rolled across the floor.  No flash; the room was lit only by sunlight.


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dhofmann

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 02:16:05 PM »
I don't think I would replace the 15-85 with the 17-55, and here's why: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=398&Camera=474&Sample=0&FLI=3&API=0&LensComp=675&CameraComp=474&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=2&APIComp=0

To summarize, at 35mm focal length, the 15-85 is much sharper wide open (f/4.5) than the 17-55 (f/2.8). You have to stop down the 17-55 to f/4 to get the same sharpness, but then it's only 1/3 of a stop faster. And you lose 2mm at the short end and 30mm at the long end. So the 17-55 is just not a very useful lens.

The other issue with getting a faster lens is that focusing becomes more difficult.

I agree with the other suggestions to get a flash like the 430 EX II, and learn how to use its swivel and tilt, and use a CTO gel when in the presence of tungsten lighting, and try different flash modifiers.
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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 02:16:05 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 02:51:51 PM »
I agree with the other suggestions to get a flash like the 430 EX II, and learn how to use its swivel and tilt

Better than that: Get *two* flashes, one on or next to your camera for bounce, one for soft directional light. The picture of the girl from DJL329 looks very nice - but it had sunlight (directional and ambient) - you can simulate this indoor/lowlight with two flashes. And you can give one remote flash to one of your children, and they can run around lighting the scene from different angles :-)

bvukich

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 03:02:50 PM »
And you can give one remote flash to one of your children, and they can run around lighting the scene from different angles :-)

Funny you mention that.  My kids are very amused by off camera flash.  The other day I set up for low key portraits, and let them hold the flash themselves. They had a blast posing and putting the flash at different locations, angles etc.

Marsu42

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 03:32:01 PM »
My kids are very amused by off camera flash.

Well, it's not hard to imagine for me: *I* am amused by off camera flash, too :-) ... and it's really nice to vary the same (macro) object with different directional flash angles / fec values

smirkypants

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 04:53:10 PM »
Another vote for the 17-55/2.8. I have a collection of faster glass but I wouldn't recommend going much wider than 2.8 for fast moving kids. At more open than 2.0, it's really easy to get the focus wrong on a fast-moving, relatively close object. If, for instance, you're 10 feet away with a 50mm at 1.4 on your 60D, your depth of field is just a few inches and if you catch a hand or something in front of a kid moving fast, your shot it ruined.

Plus, the bigger the aperture, the more important micro-adjustment becomes and your 60D won't let you adjust for the peculiarities of your lens.

Get the 17-55/2.8.

wickidwombat

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 07:13:30 PM »
I have the 17-55mm, and it's an excellent lens.  But, f/2.8 indoors with ambient home lighting usually means ISO 3200 or even higher.  While ISO 3200 is fine on my 5DII, I prefer not to go that high on my 7D. 

Definitely get a 430EX II if you don't have an external flash - you can bounce that off the ceiling for nice lighting.

As for lenses, I'd consider a fast prime.  The new 24/28 primes aren't fast, I'd absolutely take the 17-55mm over either of those.  The 24mm f/1.4L II would be ideal, but it's expensive.  You might consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, but since the 60D lacks AF Microadjustment, I'd recommend buying the Sigma (or any fast prime) from somewhere you can easily return it, and test the AF performance right when you get the lens.
I just got my 85mm 1.4 back from sigma the shop sent it back twice until it came back and they were happy with it. they said all sigma do is plud the lens in and do a software calibration within the lens AF . It is pretty good now i still need to do my own AF microadjust but it definately wont be anywhere near as front focusing as it was before. knowing this that IF you get a copy with focus issues its not a big deal to get it sent in and recalibrated. I highly recommend the 85 f1.4 from sigma.
definately agree if you buy a sigma get it from a good store that will do all the leg work sending it back for adjustment.
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DianeK

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 07:45:48 PM »
Wow, I was out all day today and just checked in.  Thanks for all the replies. 

Ya know, I do have 2 430EXII's and pocket wizards so stills really are not a problem if I get off my behind and set things up ;) ;).

So I guess really that boils my concern down to video indoor situations (dear hubby always wants video of the grandkids) where flash is not going to help me and I am not about to get into a full lighting package.

Sooo, I'm sensing a split between the new primes I referenced and the 17-55 in opinions here.  If I zero-in on best for indoor video (assuming I will actually set up my flashes for stills), does this modify anyone's opinion here?

Lastly, I am oh so aware of the 60D's shortcoming regarding lack of AFMA  :'( :'( and will only buy used or new locally so I can assess any back or front focusing issues.  Waiting to snap up a used 7D when the new 5DIII gets announced.

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 07:45:48 PM »

PixelReaper

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 10:04:14 PM »
I own a 7D & a 17-55. I am very pleased with the 17-55! Image quality is VERY good!! I would say that it is L quality optics. Even at f/2.8 I still find myself bumping the ISO up to an undesirably high range fairly often. I also own a 35 L & that lens is just an AMAZING lens!!! Attached to a APS-C crop-body it is equivalent to a 56mm on a FF. So, it is a good normal focal length lens, it just lacks the versatility of the zoom.

+1 35L

I had the 60D and 17-55, and I returned it and bought the 5DII kit with the 24-105 kit + 35L.  The cost difference was about $1800 but it was the best choice I ever made.

The 35 L is a low light machine and it is sharp at 1.4,  tack sharp at f/2.0 and alien sharp at 2.8. 

I have the 17-55mm, and it's an excellent lens.  But, f/2.8 indoors with ambient home lighting usually means ISO 3200 or even higher.  While ISO 3200 is fine on my 5DII, I prefer not to go that high on my 7D. 

Definitely get a 430EX II if you don't have an external flash - you can bounce that off the ceiling for nice lighting.

As for lenses, I'd consider a fast prime.  The new 24/28 primes aren't fast, I'd absolutely take the 17-55mm over either of those.  The 24mm f/1.4L II would be ideal, but it's expensive.  You might consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, but since the 60D lacks AF Microadjustment, I'd recommend buying the Sigma (or any fast prime) from somewhere you can easily return it, and test the AF performance right when you get the lens.

I too had the 17-55 and as neuro mentioned I had to jack the ISO up on my 60D too high to really stop my kid's action.  The 35l is great on my FF but it is a little tighter on the 1.6 crop.  you might also consider the 24 1.4 L II.  not quite as sharp as the 35 L, but would give you a similar angle on the crop body
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DianeK

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 10:46:51 PM »
To dhofmann: Thank you for that link.  I've always liked my 15-85, this has confirmed for me to keep it.

Now another gnarly issue has raised it's head.  The primes being recommended here are both pricey and non-IS.  From my reading, I've been lead to believe that IS is really very desirable for video, which is why I was thinking about the soon to be released 24 or 28.  But, they are only 2.8, not 1.4 and I'm assuming that most posters here think that 2.8 on a crop is too slow for indoor ambient light.  I have set the upper limit on ISO at 1600 on my 60D because of noise and strive to shoot no higher than 400ISO if I can.  Hmmm, more to think about...
Diane

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Re: Yet another "what lens?" question
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 10:46:51 PM »