Useless to get a canon 50 1.4 ???

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by CATinHAWAII, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. CATinHAWAII macrumors member

    CATinHAWAII

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Location:
    --== Hawaii ! ==--
    #1
    i have a 24-70 canon 2.8, and was wondering if i should get the
    canon 50mm 1.4?

    my wife does not mind taking pictures at parties and such, but does not want to get blinded from the flash... and even though i use the 580EX, and tilt it upward, she still gets upset at me...

    i guess i was wondering if i could get slightly better "off the cuff" shots, even in uneven lighting at parties and such...

    as far as clarity, from what i read, it would be not much of a step up?
    as far as taking pictures at parties and such at night, would it be *alot* better? or just marginally better? neither one has the IS, so would just be the aperture and the speed (sensitivity ? right) of the "film"....

    or would it help to get some kind of "diffuser"???

    ok, looking for help:confused:... christmas parties are just around the corner...:eek:
     
  2. steeveage macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    #2
    The large aperture primes are great for exactly this situation. I have a 35mm f/1.4L along w/ my 17-55mm f/2.8 IS (on a 40D), and the 35mm has worked out really well for parties where you don't want to lug a flash around. I have found that I do need to bump the ISO up a bit, however, to get a good enough shutterspeed.

    You're still going to have problems with properly lit faces, however, in dark rooms. Nevertheless I'd recommend it.
     
  3. kman79 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    #3
    Don't own a Canon, but in my opinion a 50 1.4 is almost necessary in anyone's kit bag. You can get away with so many shots you wouldn't have been able to get, even if you were to have a 2.8 lens on hand. This is especially handy indoors at parties. Don't have any pictures at the moment to show you, all of my pictures are on an external at home. I'll post some when I get home if I remember, but in my opinion, go for it.
     
  4. rt_brained macrumors 6502a

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    Creativille
    #4
    Are you asking if it would be better to get the f/1.4 in the hope that you can gain a stop, ditch your 580EX, and use available light instead? Or are you hoping to drop the 580EX and use the pop-up flash instead?

    Problem here is that you're asking a loaded question.

    Will the 1.4 allow you to shoot with less light? Yes. Do I recommend you have the f/1.4 in your quiver? Absolutely. Would I swap it out in a low light situation specifically to leave the 580EX behind? No. Not unless I knew I could ABSOLUTELY control the available light.

    Every lighting situation is different. In a 'typical' house party, all of the lights are on, so you have light coming from multiple directions. As day moves to night, the color temperature is changing. You could easily have a combination of outside daylight, incandescent room light and flourescent kitchen light all at the same time—and halogen lighting from recessed cans overhead. You just can't control this kind of light, and results are all over the board because your subjects are varying distances from the various available light sources. For that reason alone I'd want to stick to the 580EX in order to keep results consistent. And it's far more adjustable than your pop-up flash.

    Additionally, what you gain in a 1+ stop with the f/1.4 versus the f/2.8, you lose in depth of field (when each lens is shot wide open obviously). Unless our subjects sit still for your photos, you risk losing focus. Group shots shot at f/1.4 are going to be impossible. Invariably, one person will be in focus, while the others will not, unless they are lined up on the same vertical plane.

    The general rule is that fixed focus lenses are sharper than zooms. As a fixed focus lens, the f/1.4 should give you better results generally than your 28-40 zoom. Mind you, not everyone can tell the difference.

    Honestly, light and composition are bigger factors in photography than lenses are. From a purely photographic standpoint, in your situation, I don't see a reasonable argument for getting the f/1.4, as it's not a 1:1 tradeoff. If the argument is more about appeasing your wife and getting rid of the big flash, well, I'll leave that up to you.
     
  5. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
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    TX
    #5
    How big are the rooms you usually photograph in? Do you move from room to room, or just stay in one?

    An expensive solution to this problem is similar to what pro sports photographers use (that's my bias, btw). Put a strobe on a lightstand in the corner, aimed at the ceiling, and fire it with a pair of pocketwizards. The strobe provides light but isn't as annoying as the bracket-flash setup can be.

    Again, relatively expensive. The PWs will probably be around ~$200 in addition to the lightstand.
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    Instead of tilting it up, try firing it straight up- if that appeases the wife and makes the shots you'll still get generally better shots than pure ambient light in most places. If you've got the ISO headroom, also try bringing the power level down so the flash off the ceiling is just for fill, if you can bring in some of the ambient light you'll find the flash less harsh in the results as well as people's eyes. A high-ISO shot with the shutter dragging if necessary to get the ambient environment with some low-power fill should produce superior results to even a bouced flash where the flash is the key light.

    (See the planetneil links in the D40 clear picture thread.)

    "Better" is in the eye of the beholder- but bad lighting is bad lighting. If you're shooting for memories of parties, then all-ambient may be the right way to go. If you're shooting to make good images, the more you control the light, the better your results.
     
  7. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #7
    Going from f/2.8 to f/1.4 is a not a one stop difference; the full-stops go 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, etc (they are powers of root 2). So going from f/2.8 to f/1.4 is 2 full stops difference; that is, you can shoot in one quarter of the available light at f/1.4 vs. f/2.8

    True, but only if you have enough light to stop motion. Two stops is a LOT of light to miss out on, especially if you don't want to use a flash.


    I disagree.

    I say: get the 50 f/1.4. It does a different job than the 24-70 f/2.8L does; it's tack sharp when stopped down past f/2.0, and allows you to get shots in very low light and yet avoid increasing ISO sensitivity to the point that noise creeps in.

    I always recommend fast primes. Zooms are great (and the 24-70 is a great zoom), but you can never replace the value of a fast prime.
     
  8. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #8
    Again, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, not 50mm. Unless you have a full frame body.
     
  9. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Yes; this is another good option for 1.6x crop sensor bodies. 50mm is long for an indoor lens on a 1.6x body (though it's still a great portrait lens).
     
  10. CATinHAWAII thread starter macrumors member

    CATinHAWAII

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    Aug 21, 2007
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    #10
    wow! some great things to think about... :rolleyes:

    i think i have to try take some pictures at home testing which
    would be the more useful 30mm or 50mm, the Christmas parties coming
    up would be in a hall, but i usually take the kids sitting on Santa's lap, and also the candid shots, which is the ones that my wife does not want me
    to go blinding her or other folks,,, the kids/santa usually have good light on them, as we set it up that way, with a Christmas tree in the background, so maybe i could still use the flash there, and either the 30mm or the 50mm for candid shots... i'll be doing some test shots in the next couple of days....

    thanks for all the great comments!!!!:)
     
  11. rouxeny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #11
    I have a 50/1.4 you can borrow for a few days if you'd like. Personally, I love it, very sharp, nice bright viewfinder with it, great narrow DOF and obviously very nice in low-light situations.

    I live in town.
     
  12. CATinHAWAII thread starter macrumors member

    CATinHAWAII

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
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    #12
    that's very kind of you. I'd like to take you up on the offer , can i get back to you on that still?

    our christmas party is coming up on the 16th, in Kailua... maybe i could pick up lens on the 15th (i'm off that day,) and return the next morning? i have to work the afternoon shift on the 16th, 17th, and 18th,,, but friday eve i get off at 5PM...
     
  13. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #13
    I went with the 50/1.8. I needed it for similar situations to you and I don't necessarily expect to get amazing photographs, more documentation of events. For me, the price difference between the 1.8 and 1.4 was way to big to be worthwhile. The bokeh on the 1.8 is not nearly as nice (and having a light source in the frame looks pretty bad), but knowing this, I just frame my shots accordingly.
     
  14. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #14
    Sure. I'll send you a PM with my contact info.
     
  15. CATinHAWAII thread starter macrumors member

    CATinHAWAII

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    Aug 21, 2007
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    #15
    thanks... im gonna borrow one here shortly, and then i can make up my mind...
     
  16. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #16
    When there is a chance to pick up a wide aperture prime I say go get it.

    I think a wide aperture 50mm is a must have for any camera rig.
     

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