September 20, 2014, 01:55:49 AM

Author Topic: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation  (Read 7294 times)

Act444

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« on: May 04, 2011, 03:45:08 PM »
Hey all,

I just had a quick question. I've used a T2i along with the Tamron 17-50 2.8 VC lens and a 580ex II flash with decent results at parties/receptions (I've since sold the T2i and got a 60D). Only issue is, there are times where I find that 50mm isn't always enough reach, particularly for getting close-ups, etc. On the other hand, I love the 17mm end because I can get whole groups in the frame easily.

Now, I also have the Canon 24-105 f4 lens which I use as a general walkaround lens. I was thinking whether this would work in taking flash photos in near dark situations but I've heard that slower lenses aren't quite as accurate at focusing in low light situations? Anyone tried using the 24-105 in a reception situation with the 60D/Rebel cameras and got good results, no issues with focus, etc.? I'd love to have the extra reach of 105mm if possible. In this case, the 1-stop difference between the 2 lenses isn't really an issue because I'll be shooting at f5.6 with flash anyway.

Not a pro or anything- simply a hobbyist, I'd like to know what you all think. I'd figure if the f4 lenses aren't as reliable in low-light that I might be better off with the 17-50 anyway.

canon rumors FORUM

Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« on: May 04, 2011, 03:45:08 PM »

Hilander

  • Guest
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 06:00:19 PM »
Ok... this can get into a huge debate... but I am a wedding photographer by trade and shoot A LOT of low light scenes.  From my assessment of your post, I would first recommend the Canon 85mm f1.8.  It is very sharp at all apertures and is very fast focusing.  The combination of fast focus, large aperture, and medium length sounds as if this lens would help you tremendously.  So why not the 85mm f1.2L, you ask?  I have used it a dozen or so times, and it is much slower to focus even on my 7D, which has a superior AF system to even my 5DII.
Hope this helps!

Flake

  • Guest
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 06:19:39 PM »
If you have the flash attached you can ask it to project the red focus assist grid, if you don't want to flash you can turn the flash off and have the focus assist still active.  This way the camera should focus in the dark if it really has to.

Cornershot

  • Guest
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 06:40:28 PM »
I'd like to state again for the record that I'd be the first in line for a 2.8 version of the 24-105. It would be big and heavy, but I'd definitely put up with it if it still had as good or better IQ. As it is, I already put up with the weight of the 70-200 2.8 IS.

Act444

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 07:06:04 PM »
Thanks for your comments so far, guys.

Quote
Ok... this can get into a huge debate... but I am a wedding photographer by trade and shoot A LOT of low light scenes.  From my assessment of your post, I would first recommend the Canon 85mm f1.8.  It is very sharp at all apertures and is very fast focusing.  The combination of fast focus, large aperture, and medium length sounds as if this lens would help you tremendously.  So why not the 85mm f1.2L, you ask?  I have used it a dozen or so times, and it is much slower to focus even on my 7D, which has a superior AF system to even my 5DII.
Hope this helps!

I actually used to have the Canon 85mm 1.8 lens (I sold that along with the 70-200 f4 in order to get the f2.8 version), and I decided to try that lens at last year's party. I actually ended up finding it a bit awkward/long on my 1.6x body, so I switched to the Tamron 17-50 and used that for the rest of the evening.

I suppose I should list the lenses I currently have...I would like to use one or more of these, rather than rent/buy another one:

Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (VC version)
Canon 24-105 f4
Canon 70-200 f2.8 (IS version 2)
Canon 35mm f1.4
Canon 70-300 f4-5.6

Ideally I want something I can get group shots with (only the wide end of the 17-50 and 24-105 would allow for that, so that's why I mentioned those two). For this year's event I was thinking of starting off with the 35mm 1.4 to shoot in available light until they turn off the lights and everyone's present, then switch to either the 17-50 (or 24-105 if there is convincing evidence that the slower speed won't affect focusing) and put on the flash unit. The reason why I'd switch out is that 35mm is not long enough to get close-up shots, nor wide enough to get a large group photo- and there is limited space to back up/move around. Also, many times I'm let down by the Tamron's performance "wide open" at f2.8 (lack of sharpness, completely misses focus sometimes in low light) and the 35mm 1.4 stopped down to 2.8 absolutely smokes the Tamron.

Quote
If you have the flash attached you can ask it to project the red focus assist grid, if you don't want to flash you can turn the flash off and have the focus assist still active.  This way the camera should focus in the dark if it really has to.

If I recall correctly, this is what I used before. It is often dark enough that the red light has to come on to help with focus anyway. I was simply wondering if I used the 24-105 in place of the 17-50, whether the camera would struggle with focus more.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 07:14:06 PM by Act444 »

WarStreet

  • Guest
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 06:27:00 AM »
Act444, this is a totally different proposal which only you can say if it makes sense or not, but I will mention it in case you didn't thought about it.

Currently you are using the 60D and tamron 17-50 2.8 @ 5.6 for this particular situation, and would like at least the same wide framing, and better reach you currently have, and you already have a good collection of FF lenses including the 24-105.

So, if you sell the Tamron, 60D, and add the budget of the new lens you intended to get to improve your current situation, and get a 5DII instead, The 24-105 will act as a 15-66 on your 60D. You get better ISO and can decrease the strength of the flash, get better resolution since you will use all the glass of the FF lenses together of more pixel count. With better resolving power and lower noise, you can crop more too getting more reach, and use the lens wide open if lower noise/lower flash power/shallow DOF is ok for you.

I have read (others with a 5DII might comment on this) the AF ability of the 5DII is very good in low light. The Camera won't use the advantage of the 2.8 with the 24-105, but in no light situation like yours, the help from the flash is needed.

You will loose the articulating screen, and the slightly better FPS, but you might gain in other different situations too with the FF camera and current lens collection.

EDIT: I thought you intended to get a new lens to improve your situation, but seems I was wrong, so what I have mentioned might be an expensive alternative.

« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 07:11:02 AM by WarStreet »

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 14426
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 09:35:07 AM »
I was simply wondering if I used the 24-105 in place of the 17-50, whether the camera would struggle with focus more.

If the AF assist lamp is active, the 24-105mm should focus equivalent to the 17-50mm.  While it's true that the f/4 lens does not activate the high-precision f/2.8-sensitive center AF point, if you're shooting at f/5.6 that won't really matter (in the sense that you'll have a deeper DoF to work with).  If anything, the 24-105mm may focus a little faster, too.

WarStreet is correct about the 5DII in low light.  My 7D outperformed the Rebel T1i that I had previously, but the 5DII can lock focus in light so dim the 7D fails (using the 5DII's center AF point, that is - the peripheral AF points on the 5DII, for lack of a better word, suck).  But the AF assist lamp evens the field.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 09:35:07 AM »

MK5GTI

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 149
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 09:45:25 AM »
if the 24mm of the 24-105L works for you on the wide group shot, why not get the 24-70 2.8 instead?

if you are going with whats suggest above (5D2+24-105L), i would look at Nikon D700 +Nikkor 24-120 F4
you get much better ISO, AF and the +15mm reach. but this option involve selling all your gear which i don't mind if i am in a situation like yours

Act444

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 12:05:02 PM »
Again, thanks for your replies!

If I absolutely needed a full-frame camera I would probably rent one rather than upgrade to one- I personally prefer the extra reach the 1.6x factor on the crop cameras gives me with my telephoto lenses.

Quote
If the AF assist lamp is active, the 24-105mm should focus equivalent to the 17-50mm.  While it's true that the f/4 lens does not activate the high-precision f/2.8-sensitive center AF point, if you're shooting at f/5.6 that won't really matter (in the sense that you'll have a deeper DoF to work with).  If anything, the 24-105mm may focus a little faster, too.

Ah, I see. So I take it the flash assist lamp will help any lens focus equivalently and the max aperture of the lens becomes irrelevant then. What I might do is conduct some experiments shortly before the event to see, but this is promising. Thanks, I appreciate it!

Actually, at last year's event I was using a Rebel T2i with the Tamron 17-50, so it's possible that the 60D may be a little bit better on that front. Already, in good light I'm noticing a better focus hit rate with the 60D than with the T2i (it's slight, but BELIEVE ME it makes a difference), so who knows.

Quote
WarStreet is correct about the 5DII in low light.  My 7D outperformed the Rebel T1i that I had previously, but the 5DII can lock focus in light so dim the 7D fails (using the 5DII's center AF point, that is - the peripheral AF points on the 5DII, for lack of a better word, suck).  But the AF assist lamp evens the field.

Interesting...

Quote
if the 24mm of the 24-105L works for you on the wide group shot, why not get the 24-70 2.8 instead?

I was initially thinking of getting the 24-70, but ultimately the lack of IS on that lens drove me towards the 24-105. I figured the loss of a stop could be made up with IS, since I wasn't planning on stopping action with it (it's also lighter, has more reach, and therefore is better as a general walkaround). At the time I was looking for a step up from the 18-55 stock lens.

If ever a 24-70 IS came out, though...(come on canon, you can do it  :D)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 12:07:21 PM by Act444 »

Act444

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2011, 06:08:51 PM »
Just decided to trade in 17-50 for Canon 17-55 :) Wow, what a difference. Fast, accurate AF, moderately sharp picture at 2.8...should have done this a while ago!

KBX500

  • Guest
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2011, 11:50:23 PM »
Just decided to trade in 17-50 for Canon 17-55 :) Wow, what a difference. Fast, accurate AF, moderately sharp picture at 2.8...should have done this a while ago!

Congrats on a good choice - it really is a great lens. Besides the construction quality, which is actually pretty good, it is every bit the equal of many L lenses and better than some, at least on a crop body.

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 14426
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2011, 02:07:26 PM »
Agreed - good choice.  IMO, the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is the best general purpose zoom lens for a 1.6x crop body.

(The 17-55mm) is every bit the equal of many L lenses and better than some, at least on a crop body.

It's optically better than the 4 'comparable' L-series zooms that are usually considered for similar use (16-35, 17-40, 24-70, 24-105), if you're talking about using them on a 1.6x crop body. 
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

Act444

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2011, 03:01:34 AM »
I find that it's in line with my 24-105 in terms of quality- very good. Exactly what I wanted.

I don't intend on replacing my 24-105 with this, however, for general walkaround use...the 24-105 has a better feel and greater reach which is more useful to me outdoors - I used the "old" 17-50 mainly indoors for events (it was my 2nd most frequently used lens, behind the 24-105), and the 17-55 will now assume that role. Can't wait to put it to some good use next week!

Thanks again for your comments- I know I took a completely different route than what was suggested, haha- but I'm confident it was the right move. Not that the extra 5mm gets me the reach I would have liked, but definitely will be nice to have a 2.8 lens that I can actually use AT 2.8 with confidence. In many ways that's even better.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2011, 03:01:34 AM »

Act444

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2011, 12:49:51 PM »
I just would like to say that after more extensive use of the 17-55, it's really growing on me...wonder why I didn't do this earlier!

At first I was somewhat underwhelmed with the quality, but after looking at last year's photos taken w/the Tamron and carefully comparing, I realized my percentage of tack-sharp photos this year is significantly higher. The 17-50 was a good lens but a lot of the photos had that "slightly soft" look in comparison even at 5.6. Also prefer the colors- more natural, as opposed to a slight yellow tint.

And the combination of f2.8 and IS is unbeatable. Hand-held night shots and portraits? no problem.

The only thing that could be improved is the sealing. Stuff seems to get on it/inside it a lot easier than all of my other lenses. And I suppose the 17-55 shows more purple fringing than the 17-50 did, sometimes a lot more depending on the lighting. But overall I still like it and think it was absolutely worth the trade-in.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 12:53:35 PM by Act444 »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Better lens for use in reception/dark room situation
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2011, 12:49:51 PM »