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Author Topic: Lens of toddler stills and video  (Read 1428 times)

roka

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Lens of toddler stills and video
« on: May 21, 2012, 09:16:59 PM »
Requirement:
Capture moving toddler stills and video indoors in evening or low-light with a 5DMk3 and no external flash.

Context:
Please ignore: lens IQ, colour rnedition, bokeh.
Please consider: lens f-stop, AF speed, MF handling/feedback where applicable.

Questions:
1. Did you find the current EF 24-70L f/2.8 (set ~50mm) fast enough for this?
2. Did you find the need for a (say) EF 50 f/1.4 necessary?
3. Is increasing the ISO (now possible on 5DMk3) a workable option. Why not?
4. Is opting for a Zeiss ZE 50 f/1.4 and resorting to MF/practice a workable option (to the EF 50 f/1.4)?

I realize that handling this in person will sort me out, but i'm trying to guage what folks found/settled on over time and in hindsight. Specifically, if holding out for the EF 24-70L f/2.8 II will suffice or pursuing the ZE 50 f/1.4 still makes sense...assuming i get on with it.

Thanks for your response.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 09:19:04 PM by roka »

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Lens of toddler stills and video
« on: May 21, 2012, 09:16:59 PM »

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 10:20:08 PM »
I don't find f/2.8 fast enough for low light indoor situations without flash.  f/1.4 works a lot better because it's 4x faster.  For young subjects that tend to move a bit even trying to be "still", I try to keep the shutter speed faster than 1/100 at 50mm, which results in ISOs around 1600-3200 with a couple room lamps on.  This works OK as long as it's one subject; with multiple subjects you need the flash to increase DOF significantly.  YMMV depending on how much ambient light your rooms have.

I would not recommend using MF-only lenses wide open on toddlers because they are always moving.  Increasing ISO can help freeze motion, but you lose detail to noise and noise reduction.  It's a trade between noise/NR and motion blur.

sleepnever

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 01:34:49 AM »
I've got a 24-70 f/2.8L on my Canon T2i and an indoor setting, especially in the evenings, its not quite fast enough. Now, on a 5D mk3 it might be, I dunno. A buddy of mine has the 35mm f/1.4L on his T2i to capture his 2yr old and that glass is FAST and the IQ is amazing. DoF is thin, but I've seen photos on Xmas Eve with no flash that are just amazing, lit only by a lamp or two and xmas tree lights. I would love this lens.
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PeterJ

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 02:49:23 AM »
I've only got a 5D2 but depending on your style of photography you'll probably find anything much faster than f/2.8 has too shallow DOF, especially if you want to capture them playing with toys / pets etc. Any particular reason for wanting to avoid flash? If it's a normal sized room there should be plenty of choices for bounce flash.

I don't do much video but that's less likely to be a problem with the lower shutter speeds. Personally I'd find using MF too slow but guess that depends on how good you are at it, remembering the 5D3 doesn't have a replaceable focus screen.

Hillsilly

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 04:50:57 AM »
Any particular reason for wanting to avoid flash? If it's a normal sized room there should be plenty of choices for bounce flash.

Has anyone used the 320EX with the built in LED light for similar indoor videos?  Is that an option worth considering?
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elflord

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 06:59:27 AM »
Quick summary: if you use the 24-70II, you will want to use a flash. You could bump the ISO a couple of stops but this seriously degrades image quality and defeats the purpose of using a lens like the 24-70 -- you're basically using 5-6k worth of gear to get inferior results to a Rebel with a 50mm f/1.8 and a flash.

I would recommend considering a flash even if you do get a prime lens. If you don't use a flash, shoot raw for nighttime shots (you will get better results if you tweak the white balance of the raw files). Especially for nighttime shots, it will provide more natural (less yellow) lighting, and provide you with an additional light source that you have direct control over. 

As others have pointed out, there are some cases where a flash really helps (you need more depth of field, or you are trying to stop action). For best results, you want all options on the table (fast glass and a flash).

Questions:
1. Did you find the current EF 24-70L f/2.8 (set ~50mm) fast enough for this?

No, for stills I often want a faster lens indoors (unless I'm using a flash). For video on the other hand f/1.4 is too shallow dof for anything moving.

Quote
2. Did you find the need for a (say) EF 50 f/1.4 necessary?

You could get by with a slower lens but it's not optimal.

Quote
3. Is increasing the ISO (now possible on 5DMk3) a workable option. Why not?

I have the 5DII, not the 5DIII. Even at f/1.4 it wants to step all the way up to ISO 3200 for indoor shots (there's a 6400 setting that I never use)

The 5DIII will let you increase the ISO further, but at the expense of degraded performance. Even though ISO goes 4 stops higher than the 5DIII, image quality isn't 4 stops better.

Quote
4. Is opting for a Zeiss ZE 50 f/1.4 and resorting to MF/practice a workable option (to the EF 50 f/1.4)?

For video -- you will need to manual focus either way, so a manual focus lens is probably better (focus ring will have a longer throw which will make it easier to manually focus)

For stills -- I've used my EF mount lens wide open manual focus on a micro 4/3 camera to take pictures of a toddler. You will get a lot of missed shots, but you don't need a 100% hit rate. You have something that pros have very little of -- time with your subject. It really depends on whether you enjoy the challenge or find it frustrating.

If you do use a manual focus lens, you will probably want to replace the focusing screen (something which can't be done yet) -- the viewfinder will give you f/2.8 depth of field,  leaving you dependent on the focus confirm beep to determine that you're in focus if you're shooting wide open.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 07:05:00 AM by elflord »

7enderbender

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 09:43:40 AM »
Requirement:
Capture moving toddler stills and video indoors in evening or low-light with a 5DMk3 and no external flash.

Context:
Please ignore: lens IQ, colour rnedition, bokeh.
Please consider: lens f-stop, AF speed, MF handling/feedback where applicable.

Questions:
1. Did you find the current EF 24-70L f/2.8 (set ~50mm) fast enough for this?
2. Did you find the need for a (say) EF 50 f/1.4 necessary?
3. Is increasing the ISO (now possible on 5DMk3) a workable option. Why not?
4. Is opting for a Zeiss ZE 50 f/1.4 and resorting to MF/practice a workable option (to the EF 50 f/1.4)?

I realize that handling this in person will sort me out, but i'm trying to guage what folks found/settled on over time and in hindsight. Specifically, if holding out for the EF 24-70L f/2.8 II will suffice or pursuing the ZE 50 f/1.4 still makes sense...assuming i get on with it.

Thanks for your response.


Here's my 2 cents: for video I prefer a regular video camera for this purpose. They're build for this kind of stuff and work really well. For photos of the very little ones fast 50mm lenses worked best for me. Once they start moving, especially outside I found longer lenses to be useful. Everything else depends on if you like zooms or primes or both. The 24-70 will certainly work. Even the 24-105 is great even in low(ish) light. But having any of the fast 50s is absolutely necessary in my book. With that it comes down to preference and budget. None of them is "perfect". The 1.8 is better than nothing and even for being a cheap plastic lens still a nice addition for any zoom you may buy. The EF 1.4. is great optically but has build issues. The Zeiss is MF (nothing wring with that per se, but may make it a bit tricky with a "modern" DSLR especially in low light) and may not always be the sharpest compared to others. The 50L is expensive and still seems to have a few issues. So take your pick.
5DII - 50L - 135L - 200 2.8L - 24-105 - 580EXII - 430EXII - FD 500/8 - AE1-p - bag full of FD lenses

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 09:43:40 AM »

superotaku78

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 10:30:53 AM »
I use a Sigma 50mm 1.4 and the 24-105L on my 5D Mk2 for my 20 month old daughter.  Indoors the Sigma is awesome, although needs some pretty spot on focusing if you have it in the 1.4-2.0 range.  I almost always use a bounced 430EXII to help light her face due to the fact my house has a lot of darker areas.  Personally I find that if a flash is used properly it looks natural and gives you more flexibility when chasing a little one around.  The 24-105L has a nice range for outdoor shots and keeps up with the kids, plus it's pretty light.  It can also be used for the indoor stuff where you want a wider angle, but a flash makes it much more useful in this environment.   
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 10:32:31 AM by superotaku78 »

robbymack

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 02:43:26 PM »
Why no flash?  A good external flash is about the first thing I recommend to new photographers.  Especially now when you can pick up a 430exii for a few $$$.  Just learn to bounce it (later learn to gel it) and don't worry about f stops, ISO, or prime lenses.   

Since you say you don't want to use flash I'll second the comments above that f2.8 is not fast enough IMHO to freeze action in low light without going to ISO 6400 and above, especially with little ones (I have a 9mo old, speaking from experience).  You need a good prime vs a zoom for that.  For the budget friendly, you can't go wrong with a 50 1.8.  But other slightly more expensive options like the 50 1.4, 28 1.8, or even 85 1.8, the latter maybe a bit long, all are quite adequate.  The sigma 50 1.4 or 85 1.4 gets nice reviews as well.  Of course you could also go L and get a 24, 35, 50, or 85L, but since you are asking the question I'm assuming you're not a pro, so the benefits of the added costs of L Prime's would be suspect at best for your use hence I wonder why you want to spend the dough on a Ziess?  With a 5dIII you'll get very clean images at iso 3200/6400 and probably 12800 especially if these are just for personal consumption.  In fact my favorite photo of my munchkin is at 6400 on a t3i which is 2 stops higher than what I think the acceptable high ISO is for that particular camera model but I like it and other than family/friends no one else is going to see it. 

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Re: Lens of toddler stills and video
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 02:43:26 PM »