Upgrading from P&S to Canon EOS T2i... what lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BrynnFlynn, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. BrynnFlynn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    #1
    So, I'm upgrading from a POS Sanyo from Walmart (shudder) to either a Panasonic Lumix LX-5, or a Canon EOS T2i. The jury is still out on whether I want to make the leap to DSLR, but my question is if I get the DSLR, what lens should I get to do the best low-light pictures possible?

    Background--I have a quilting blog, which would be the main destination for my photos. This means the majority of my pictures are going to be indoors, with poor lighting at best. I also take a large number of photos at quilt shows, with the same issue. The problem with the quilt shows is that flash is generally not allowed in any way shape or form, due to the potential for damage to the fabrics.

    What would be a good lens for the Canon, given these needs? I'm going to get the bundle from Amazon that comes with the 18-55mm lens as a general use lens, but I'm curious what you would suggest for a low-light lens.
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    The stock lens should be fine on longer exposures provided you keep it still enough.
     
  3. pit29 macrumors 6502a

    pit29

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    #3
    You could also consider an 50mm f1.8 lens, which would be a great option for low-light shooting if price is an issue. Not sure whether 50mm may be a bit tight though...
     
  4. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #4
    ^^^

    What he said...maybe a 35 or 28mm if the 50's a bit tight..
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #5
    How much are you willing to spend? I'd say the EF-s 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM would probably suit your usage but it's pretty pricey.
     
  6. BrynnFlynn thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 23, 2009
    #6
    o.o Not that much, but thank you! I'm a very amateur photographer, I'm mostly looking for a camera that will last me forever. I had the P&S for years and years, and I really want a camera that is high enough quality to serve my very undemanding needs for quite some time. I think I will start with the basic lens that comes with the bundle on Amazon, and then once I have enough stashed away I'll get the 50mm f1.8 lens.

    Thank you for your help! Now to go find some online tutorials on how to use these confounded devices.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Jul 24, 2002
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    London
    #7
    Invest in lenses rather than the camera then (which given your choice rather than a 60D or even 7D it seems you are). Lenses you keep and the hold their value. The actual camera body will rapidly become worth very little and you can always upgrade latter and keep the lenses you have invested in. The best lens with the cheapest body will normally produce better results than the cheapest lens with the best/most expensive body.
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    Jul 24, 2006
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    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #8
    As a beginner you won't see any difference. Learn with the stock lens and decide if you need to upgrade later. Throwing money at something you know little about does not make you an expert over night.
     
  9. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    Maryland
    #9
    Best budget lens would be the Canon 50mm 1.8 as it's around $90 new and cheaper at other places from time to time.

    If budget is not an issue then perhaps the 17-55 lens which is around $1200 I think. It's a f/2.8 which will work well in low light conditions. It's probably the best EF-S lens available (aside from the 10-22) for crop bodies.

    If budget is not even the slightest bit of a concern for you then perhaps a Canon 24mm or 35mm L lens. Those are around $1500 (maybe more).
     
  10. duky macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2007
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    North Carolina
    #10
    Do this. It's expensive but you can get to a cheaper price by buying used and it will last very long. The 1.8 is poor build quality though good glass and is $300 for a single zoom. The 17-55 is far more versatile as it is light enough for use as a walkaround, low enough fstop for low light and portraits with bokeh. And since it can replace your kits lens you could sell that off and get an extra discount. You should really think about this esp since you intend to keep the camera so long
     
  11. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

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    Apr 1, 2008
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    Scotland
    #11
    As someone new to DSLR I'd stick with the kit lens for a good few months until you understand the camera and have a grasp of the basics around shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

    Once you've got that (probably from playing in Auto or P mode) start getting used to AV and TV modes.

    At that point think about some more glass. By then you'll know whether its for you, in which case buy the best you can (as mentioned above, the EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 is about the best crop walkabout lens) or start on some of the cheaper, but good quality options like the EF 50mm F/1.8 or for something a bit longer a EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6)

    I started on a T1i about 2 years ago and really got the bug. Just treated myself to a 5D MkII and a 24-105L :D
     
  12. jabbott, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012

    jabbott macrumors 6502

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    Nov 23, 2009
    #12
    I own a Canon T2i and have taken lots of photos of my grandmother's quilts before. Here are my recommendations for lens, techniques and other equipment which help... your mileage may vary:

    - If you are photographing quilts in a small room, you will need a super wide angle lens to capture an entire quilt when using a crop camera such as the T2i. I used a 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for large quilts and a 24-70mm f/2.8L for the smaller ones. Using the 10-22 is tricky because you can get fairly strong rectilinear distortion and chromatic aberration near the edges. I would only use that lens when necessary... otherwise I would use the 24-70 at the shorter end. You can substitute the 24-70 with other general purpose zoom lenses, including the kit lens, and still get good results. The 50mm lens recommended above is great for low light but is too zoomed in to capture a whole quilt unless you have a large room.
    - Use a tripod. This allows you to take longer exposures even if the lighting is poor, and will allow you to carefully frame each shot to minimize distortion.
    - Use direct lighting pointed at the quilt, otherwise side illumination will cause the wrinkles in the fabric which will cast shadows. Here is where a flash would help if you decide to use one. Depending on the lens, the built-in flash may not work well or at all. There are many other flash options to consider. Uniform lighting of the entire quilt is the end goal, and it can be tricky to achieve.
    - Set the ISO speed to 100 and use a tripod to deal with the longer shutter times. It's worth it for better photo quality. If lighting is really poor and the exposures are long enough that you are getting hot pixels, you can safely go up to ISO 400 on the T2i before it becomes noticeably noisy (in my opinion). That will increase your shutter speed by 4x.
    - Use a remote shutter release, or set the camera to have a two second delay before taking each shot. This will mitigate vibration imparted by depressing the shutter button, and result in sharper photos. Mirror lock-up is another option to consider to reduce vibration.
    - Don't use the widest aperture on the lens to compensate for low lighting. The resulting plane of focus will often be narrow enough that you can end up with parts of the quilt in focus and other areas that are somewhat out of focus. If you are trying to get the whole quilt in focus, always use a tripod and position the lens to be as orthogonal to the quilt as possible (quite tricky to do!), and set the lens to f/5+ to get a good combination of depth of field and sharpness. Also keep in mind that the T2i has a diffraction limited aperture of f/6.3 so any greater f-number will start to reduce photo sharpness.
    - Use a gray card and shoot in RAW mode so that you can correct the white balance.

    Best of luck with your quilt photography! If I can elaborate on any of the above, let me know.
     
  13. padmasana macrumors member

    padmasana

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    #13
    The Sigma 17-50 2.8 for Canon is just simply a superb lens and considerably less expensive than the Canon 17-55. The image stabilization on both of them give you the ability to shoot in rather dim environments.
    Low, low light? I love the Canon 24 f1.4 L but it is costly.
     
  14. BrynnFlynn thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 23, 2009
    #14
    Wow, thank you Jabbot! Didn't think I'd find someone with so much pinpoint experience in the matter, but I really appreciate your thoughts. I will definitely be bookmarking this thread to go back to once I get my DSLR legs underneath me. I'm very interested in learning about photography (like I need another hobby :rolleyes:), and I'm sure I'll be able to put your advice to good use soon!
     
  15. jabbott macrumors 6502

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    Nov 23, 2009
    #15
  16. SAdProZ macrumors 6502

    SAdProZ

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #16
    Don't get the kit lens

    I highly recommend you NOT get the kit lens, and wait until you can get both a Canon Rebel body and a lens with good glass, and with a wide aperture (a small number, like f/1.4, f/1.8 or f/2.8).

    This is what I have: Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 on sale at Amazon for $594.00 and it's a great lens, wayyyyy better than the kit lens. The pictures come out great. If you want to save money buy just the body and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 for around $99. It's great for portraits, it's fast—meaning it will be great for indoors at a wide aperture (the kit lens is awful for indoors photography), and it prime lens means you can't zoom, so you'll have to move your feet to get closer or farther from your subject (this trains your photographer's composition—zoom makes some people lazy).
     
  17. cr2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #17
    Not the lens but ...

    1 -- If you are doing indoor shooting then think of lightbox. It will surely improve quality. You can check videos on youtube for some examples.

    2 -- Get a whitebalance card -- check "whitebal" on google / amazon.

    3 -- Upgrade to Aperture 3

    4 -- shoot in Raw.

    Hope it helps.
     
  18. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    #18
    I have to say, if you have a tripod, then there is nothing wrong with using the kit lens. Take a look at the night shot's in my gallery, and look at what others have done with kit lens on Flicker and you'll see that it isn't a bad lens. Optically, I'd rate it better than the older, mid-range Canon lenses I have.
     

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