well i took the plunge

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bluewire, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. bluewire macrumors member

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    #1
    I had asked on this board about getting a dslr versus a prosumer super zoom. Most people responded that I might as well get the dSLR since I was looking to get one eventually anyways. Well I pooh poohed that idea and bought a h2 and tinkered with it a for a few days. Was not satisified. Started to mess around with the dSLRs and just fell in love with the xTi.

    So now I have this beautiful camera and a so so kit lens. I have some money in my budget to pick up another lens (maybe 200 or so) so I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on what type of lens I should be looking for. I was looking for a nice prime probably first...but I am new to all of this so any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm doing my photography term refreshing as we speak!

    :)
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #2
    I assume the 200 mentioned is a price (USD) as opposed to a focal length (mm)!

    The 50 f/1.8 is regarded as a good performer and amazing value for money. I don't own one (I bought the f/1.4 instead) but I'd look into that if you want a prime...
     
  3. bluewire thread starter macrumors member

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    #3

    I wish I could afford a 200mm lens right now! :) Yes, thats 200USD.

    How do you like your f1.4? Do you have a photo or two you could share with that lens that I could take a look at?
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #4
    It's awesome! Amazing DOF control, the ability to shoot without flash in pretty low light, the whole lot. At work now so can't post pictures...
     
  5. clintob macrumors 6502

    clintob

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    #5
    I second the 50mm to start, but if you can pony up the extra $100 or so, get the 1.4 instead of the 1.8. I have used both, and the 1.4 runs circles around the 1.8. It's a much better build, higher quality parts, and the bokeh is outstanding. It really holds it's own against my 70-200 f/2.8L (which many consider Canon's best overall lens).

    It's not so relevant as you're learning the camera and getting more into SLR photography, etc. But in general, a word of advice going forward. Always spend your money on lenses rather than bodies. Camera bodies come and go, and frankly with the exception of one or two interesting features here and there, they're basically all the same. People will say what they will about dynamic range and resolution and this and that, but at the end of the day almost all of the pro-sumer dSLR's have about the same image quality as far as the body is concerned. So pony up for L-series (pro) lenses... it's like night and day as compared to the cheaper stuff.

    P.S. Here's a couple of shots with the 50mm f/1.4. Incredible stuff for a lens in that price range. Beautiful DOF.

    Also, just as an fyi - these images will look best in Safari (or by opening them in a color-profiled workflow). FF and IE don't support color profiles so the color and contrast will look washed out in anything other than Safari:

    http://photo.clintbalcom.com/xmas06/pictures/picture-25.jpg
    http://photo.clintbalcom.com/xmas06/pictures/picture-24.jpg
     
  6. coldrain macrumors regular

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    #6
    Back in the days of manual SLR cameras, the standard lens would be a 50mm "prime". Why 50mm? Because 50mm lenses on a 35mm film give the distortion that we are used to with our own eyes (shorter (wide angle)) tends to exaggerate perspective and depth, longer (tele) will shorten distances and flatten perspective).

    Actually the real only "prime" lens for 35mm film is a 50mm lens, but nowadays all single focal point lenses (non-zoom lenses) are referred to as primes.

    35mm^2 + 35mm^2 = 2450... the square root of 2450 =... 49.5mm.
    My impression is that this is the way to determine the correct "standard" lens for a given sensor/film format.

    Your sensor is not 35mm wide, but something like 22mm wide. It is smaller. This often is referred to as "crop factor". The crop factor of your lens is 1.6x.
    So... a 50mm lens will not behave as a standard prime, but as a 50 x 1.6 = 80mm lens. That is a very nice focal range for portraits... the slight tele effect of 80mm is very flattering.

    Now what would be a nice '"standard prime" for your XTi?
    22^2 + 22^2 = 968. square root of 968 = 31.1mm

    This makes the Sigma 30mm f1.4 and the Canon 35mm f2 the best candidates for "standard prime" for your XTi.

    So, what do you prefer, a standard lens with the perspective of the human eye, or a lens suited well for portrait photography?

    Primes that are very worthwhile to consider:
    Of course... the EF 50mm f1.8 (very cheap, good optics), EF 50mm f1.4 (better optics and build, bit above your budget), EF 35mm f2 (nice as standard lens, good optics, gives you a less restricted view in living room environments compared to 50mm lenses, bit above your budget).
    And of course the 85mm f1.8... great portrait lens towards the long end of portrait lens range (85 x 1.6 = 136mm). Beautiful optics, bokeh. And above budget.

    Other lenses worth considering around the 200$ price mark:
    Canon EF 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 USM II. Better colour and contrast than your kitlens, fast, silent and accurate USM AF, and extra tele reach.
    Sigma 70-300 APO DG macro. Extends your focal range quite a lot, opening your possibilties. Quite good optically for the price and its lens class, and it gives you an 1:2 macro mode for free.
     
  7. clintob macrumors 6502

    clintob

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    #7
    coldrain's post is very worthwhile reading, and for the most part very accurate. I just wanted to make one point that's a bit contradictory to his/her post.

    The "crop" factor of dSLRs is certainly accurate - no argument there. But what I take exception to is the notion that this crop factor creates a distorted perspective, as this is simply not true.

    The perspective of a 50mm prime, versus a wider lens or tele lens, as to do with the perceived compression or expansion of foreground and background elements. It's got nothing to do with sensor or film size.

    So, in English... if you have an 8x10 print of a photo taken on 35mm film with a 50mm lens, this is what's typically accepted as the closest to what the "human eye" sees. If you were to cut off an inch from every side of the photo, the background that's left still has the same perspective, there's just less of it. The items aren't "compressed" at all - just cut off. This is a MAJOR difference.

    So, if you want a tangible example. Have someone stand in the middle of the street (not with cars coming obviously) and take a photo that shows them from head to toe, but filling the frame, with a 50mm lens. Then take that same shot with a 200mm lens (obviously you'll have to back up a lot). The result is not going to be the same photograph at all. The background elements of the latter will appear "closer" to the subject even though they are not. This is the perspective issue that coldrain was getting at... but cutting off the edges of the 50mm photo wont give the same effect.
     
  8. bluewire thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Wow thanks for the great replies and some example photos! I am literally squirming in my chair...can't wait to hit some wide open spaces and start firing away...

    Unfortuantely, I am tethered to this Dull at work and can't get to my iMac but this gives me a great sense of the depth on the f/1.4. Thanks again.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    With a $200 budget, get a strobe and some kind of light modifiers for it. The built-in strobe can't be moved or aimed and so makes for some ugly shadows A powerfull external strobe will help a lot if you are mostly doing people pictures. A good second lens would be a 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4. $200 would also buy a nice tripod. Which of these to get depends on what kind of work you want to do. I'd say shoot 2,000 frames then decide.
     
  10. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

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    #10
    So perhaps this question has been missed because everyone that has replied is familiar with your previous thread, but:

    What type of photography do you plan to do? What things do you enjoy shooting?

    Now that you have a dSLR, it is not a "one size fits all" camera, and one of the biggest reasons for going to SLR cameras is the flexibility to use just the tool you need for the job. However most of us can't afford all the tools they could possible need, and damn those that can ;-)

    Personally I love shooting sports, live motion, and just about anything else that most people don't see still frame. So I kept the kit 18-55 and bought a 70-200mm f/4.0L.
    I can't say enough about this lens for sports. I shoot for a college paper as well, and when I do I get to use the 70-200 f/2.8L with IS, and it's a sick lens to say the least. But as soon as you get into the light, the only thing that extra $1000 gets you is the DF. However that lens is $550 and out of your budget.

    Perhaps I said that to say this, I love quality, I expect quality, I'm willing to nickel and dime my way to quality even if it means living without for longer. And I'm a poor college student. That said, I heard a lot of negative things about the kit lens from "pure" photographers. Even after using the 70-200 L glass I have to give the kit lens a few props. For how cheap it is, it has performed far better than I had expected. My next lens was going to be something to replace the kit, perhaps in the 18-70 or 18-125 range, but the reality is I don't need those ranges in a single lens like I thought. So when a had a few twenties sitting around, I bought the 50mm f/1.8 prime, and wow.

    Under the basket at basketball games I almost prefer the 50mm to the to the schools 70-200 f/2.8L IS. There is a huge lack of sexy in the 50mm, but it is still a good lens for its purposes. It is also, as others have said, a great portrait lens.

    But everything depends on your applications. I would be unable to shoot weddings with my gear (no flash right now). My ability to do any portrait work is limited entirely to the 50mm. The majority of indoor venues are impossible for me to shoot because of not having a good flash unit, and not having a fast lens like the 2.8.
    But no matter, because I can shoot what I want to shoot for the time being.

    Cheers on the purchase man. Feel free to ask me any questions or provide sample pictures and I'll do what I can to answer.

    ~Tyler
     
  11. bluewire thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Tyler:

    Principally, I would probably be shooting people and landscapes for the time being. I'm an avid sports nut so I'd like to move into sports photography as well but I'm ill equipped to start that for the time being. I figure maybe around Christmas I can shell out for a telephoto lens...for the time being...getting a nice prime is ideal because I have a 1 month old kid and I'd love to work on getting some great portraits to send to friends and family.

    I'm very much the same way about quality...which is why I'm thinking of busting my budget and getting the 50mm f/1.2

    :)
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #12
    I don't think the f/1.2 has any more "quality" than the f/1.8. It has one more stop but is it better in terms of contrast and sharpness? Also have you ever tried to use a 1.2lens at portrait distance? You will not be able to focus on both the eyes and nose at the same time. It is a specialit's lens. It is a very hard lens to use, but of course you can always shoot it at f/1.8 or f/1.4.

    I'll say agin what I wrote above -- shoot 2,000 frames than decide. No need to rush. Use the kit lens to make some portraits and see if maybe you don't like the 35mm setting more then 50mm. Or maybe you find that 55mm is not enough and you should then buy an 85mm prime.
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #13
    ^^Really?

    I don't know about Canon, but when Nikon's 50 mm f/1.8 is set an aperture of f/1.8, it's sharper than when the Nikon 50 mm f/1.4 is at f/1.4. Most people just buy the 50 mm f/1.8 because it's only 2/3rds stop slower than the f/1.4 version, and because there's no point getting a lens that can shoot only 2/3rds of a stop faster if the photos aren't even sharp at f/1.4.

    Personally, I don't think the purpose of buying the f/1.4 version is "sharpness". I think it's the lens' ability to shoot in lower light conditions that's important. However, the f/1.8 version is good bang for your buck, while the f/1.4 version, at twice the price and only a 2/3 stop advantage, arguably isn't. I bought Nikon's f/1.8 version, with sharpness not being a factor. I just didn't think the difference between f/1.4 and f/1.8 was worth paying 2x the price.

    Is 2/3rds of a stop worth the extra money (double the cost, isn't it?) over the f/1.8 version if it's not sharp at f/1.4? I'm not even sure if it is or not. I'm just advising you to check at www.slrgear.com and read the user reviews and website reviews to see people's responses.
     
  14. coldrain macrumors regular

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    Dec 20, 2006
    #14
    You misunderstand what the crop factor does in relation to photos you take, and maybe even what it is that make wide angle lenses exaggerate distance and perspective, and tele making them flat.

    It is not about cutting edges off the photo at all... if you take an image filling photo of someone with a 16mm lens, you will get to see a huge nose. If you take the same image filling portrait of that person with 35mm lens (on APS-C) you get a "normal" photo of that face. If you take again an image filling photo of that person with a 50mm lens on APS-C, you get a flattering slight tele effect. If you take an image filling portrait shot of that same face with a 600mm lens, you will get a strange photo where perspective seems to be all wrong.

    Key is, do not thing about cutting edges off a photo, but understand that for the same photo you have to get further and further away from the subject with increasing focal length, and it is this distance that makes the difference in perspective.

    So yes, a 50mm on APS-C does get to have the slight tele effect as portrait lens, like 80mm would have on full frame. Because 50mm on APS-C makes you need to have a bigger distance to your subject than that 50mm lens would on a full frame SLR.

    And to abstract about the 50mm lenses:

    The Canon EF 50mm f1.4 is a better lens than the Nikon 50mm f1.4, and than the Canon Ef 50mm f1.8. The Nikon 50mm f1.8 is better than the Nikon 50mm f1.4 and the Canon 50mm f1.8. So yes, the 50mm f1.4 from Canon is sharper than the f1.8 version.

    This is why people who actually know what they are doing test Nikon cameras with the Nikon 50mm f1.8, and the Canon cameras with the Canon 50mm f1.4. That is what they do on dpreview for instance.
     
  15. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #15
    I have a 20D with a 1.6X crop factor sensor. If I buy a 50mm lense does that make it a 50*1.6 = 80mm lense?

    The crop factor thingy has always been something that I didn't quite dig, all I know is I get some extra zoom for free but it is a pain in the arse getting wide angle lenses :rolleyes:
     
  16. coldrain macrumors regular

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    #16
    Yes, you basically get a 80mm lens in comparison to a full frame 35mm SLR.
    Including the slight tele effect in portraits. The only thing that would be a bit different is the depth of field compared to a 80mm lens on full frame.
     
  17. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #17
    So to paraphrase it. I will kind of get the 80mm (on FF) zoom effect, but only the bokeh of a 50mm (on FF)?
     
  18. coldrain macrumors regular

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    #18
    bokeh is not the same or even related to depth of field directly. Bokeh is used to describe how smooth out of focus areas look... whether they are very soft or not, whether the depth of field is very small or quite deep.

    You dont exactly get the same depth of field either with a 50mm on APS-C and on full frame at the same distance to the subject, because depth of field gets less when you magnify a photo... it is quite complex ;)
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    I just read SLRgear's review. The Canon 50 mm f/1.4 wide-open isn't nearly as good as the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 is wide-open, but that's according to them. I'll trust the numerous user reviews at other sites. Many people seem to complain about softness at f/1.4 with the Canon. I personally don't care, as I wouldn't expect perfection at f/1.4 or f/1.8 anyway.
     
  20. coldrain macrumors regular

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    #20
    The f1.4 is sharper at 1.4 than the f1.8 at 1.8.
    What is more, the F1.4 is a LOT sharper at 1.8 than the f1.8 at 1.8.

    Just about EVERYONE who has used and owned both will tell you the exact same thing. Because it is just that way.

    Here is how they perform:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/canon_50_18/index.htm
    [​IMG]
    http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/canon_50_14/index.htm
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    I look at the corner sharpness as well. The 50 mm f/1.4 is downright awful in the corners at f/1.4

    And tell that to the people at SLRGear. Neither are sharp wide-open. The 50 mm f/1.8 is sharp in the centre (near the "1" region in the blur graph along the centre, which is quite good from SLRGear's methods) but isn't in the corners, while the 50 mm f/1.4 has a weird profile at f/1.4 and isn't even as sharp in the centre according to them. This is opposed to what Photozone.de says, which gives a bit of an edge along the centre when shooting wide-open.

    Anyway, don't make your opinions sound so definite, and maybe you won't get into so many arguments. I think many people can disagree with you, and both of you may be right in some way. I'm not saying you're wrong. I haven't used the lens. However, it's not "just that way", like you said.

    And the difference between SLRGear's assessment and Photozone.de's sharpness details along the centre of the lens (excluding the corner sharpness) is one reason I have always said you can't really trust lens reviews as being definite. The graphs are pretty, though.
     
  22. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

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    #22
    Welcome to the wonderful world of SLR photography or the botomless sinkhole of cash, depending on which way you look at it. :D :rolleyes:

    I would wait until you can save up a few more bucks for a new lens. Enjoy your new camera, and work with the kit lens for now. I assume (not necessarily correctly) since this is your first dSLR that you don't have a ton of SLR photography expirience. Play with all the settings, shoot all different kinds of stuff. Just experiment and have fun. Remember, pressing the shutter button is FREE (unlike the film days). Plus you can critique yourself instantly.

    If you really want a decent lens now, I would without a doubt get the 50 f/1.8. It's far bellow your budget, so hold on to that cash for a decent telephoto. The downside is that this focal length is already covered by the kit lens, but the prime will be MUCH faster. It is a lens that ends up in almost every Canon photographer's kit in the end. Congrats on your new Canon!
     
  23. snap58 macrumors 6502

    snap58

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    #23
    Is that true? I thought 35 mm film frame was 36x24 and 36^2 + 24^2 = 1872. Sq Root = 43.2, which is the size of the image circle you would need to cover the frame?

    Do any 35mm format cameras have an image circle that is 49 mm, (except for Canon) I don't think the lens mounts are that large? Could be I've been wrong all these years?
     
  24. coldrain macrumors regular

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    Dec 20, 2006
    #24
    I don't understand you at all. And you do not seem to understand my earlier post at all.

    No one is talking about 49mm image circles.

    Just because the film is not as high as it is wide, does not mean that you calculate a lens differently. You make a lens round, not egg shaped. That is why you calculate with 35mm. And 35mm film really is not 36mm.

    I am talking about focal lengths, and you bring up image circle? They have like NO bearing on eachother...
     
  25. coldrain macrumors regular

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    #25
    To be frank, corner sharpness is really the LAST thing that is important for what a 50mm lens will be used for. You should know that in portrait photos corner sharpness is not very important, ESPECIALLY in such shallow depth of field photos if you would actually use f1.4.

    Fact is, the f1.4 is sharper and better than the f1.8, and what you claim, that many say the f1.4 is soft, is just not true.
    I know MANY people with a 50mm f1.4, and no one complains it is soft.
    And besides, SLRgear comfirms this, they even state that the lens is TACK sharp over most of its aperture range.

    And that SLRgear doesn't know how to reliably test lenses is not my problem. And maybe they had a damaged copy, if their copy was unsharp in the center.
    But photozone.de actually does quite a good and careful job, and their findings most of the times match the results from the german photomagazine ColorFoto.
    The fact that both photozone and ColorFoto come to the same assessments most of the time does show that photozone's test results are reliable.

    Their conclusion on the 50mm f1.4:
    "The EF 50mm f/1.4 USM showed an almost flawless performance during the lab- and field-tests both in terms of optical and mechanical quality. If I had to list a few negative points it would be vignetting and low contrast at f/1.4. So if you're looking for a lens in this class the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a great option."

    I do not know about you, but in reality you would not use f1.4 very often. And the lens is a very good lens, and very attractive for portrait photography. And in portrait photography, who cares about softer edges when you would actually be using f1.4! You subject is in the center.

    Here a 200% crop of the Canon 50mm f1.4 on the edge (not the corner) on s 5D fullframe(!!). At f8 i believe.
    [​IMG]
    And here a 200% crop from the Nikon 50mm f1.4 on APS-C (D200).
    [​IMG]
    http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/co...o-Head-Review-/Performance--Image-Quality.htm

    This shows the 50mm f1.4 Canon to perform well compared to the Nikon version... both in sharpness on its extreme edge (it was full frame) and in CA.

    And if you actually care to read what real users have to say about it, you would know it is a very good lens. If you shift through the "reviews" on fredmiranda for instance, and discard the worthless "reviews", you will find it to be a very well liked lens.
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=29&sort=7&cat=2&page=3

    All in all it is very safe to say that the 50mm f1.4 lens from Canon is a very much loved lens, and where you get from that often people complain on how soft it is is a mystery to me.
     

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