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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #1
kendi4
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Default Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

I am new to this Forum and finding that the type of camera you have makes a difference on which lens is most compatible. I have a T1i (pretty new at this photography hobby) and the kit lens (which I don't like much) and the 50mm f/1.8 lens (which is the only one I use). I like the 50 1.8, but need something sharper and more reliable with the auto focus...many pics seem to turn out slightly blurred or a little fuzzy.

I primarily shoot pics of children/babies and families/couples, so portraits, with the occasional scenery shots. Please help me decide which lens to get based on my camera and subjects. I have been researching this for weeks and can't seem to make up my mind.

Oh, and I am on a budget - preferably under $700. Thanks!
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #2
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

What aperture are you normally shooting at? I find the 50mm to be as sharp and accurate as anything else for portraiture of still subjects if you stop down to f2.5+. If you are shooting at f1.8-2 all the time, then the 50mm is a very inconsistent lens in my opinion (And I have owned several copies of this lens)

With a $700 budget, I would probably say grab used copies of the Sigma 30mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8 for children's portraiture. Both of those are excellent. If that goes over budget, replace the 30mm f1.4 with the Canon 35mm f2.
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #3
kendi4
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

I recently figured out that the 1.8 or 2.0 settings aren't great and since I have increased the aperture, my photos have been better. But what about upgrading from 50mm 1.8 to the 50mm 1.4?

Also, I find the distance I need to be away from my child with the 1.8 to be ok, but I wouldn't want to have to go back much further. If I got an 85mm, wouldn't I have to stand back even further?
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #4
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

The 50mm is a good length but it was a little long indoors for my T1i & 7D. However, outdoors, the 50mm f/1.8 or 1.4 and 85mm f/1.8 excel. When I had my 35mm, it was on my camera much more than the 50mm. With your kit lens, do you find yourself towards the 55mm end more or the 18mm? That should give you an indication of what focal length to get.
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #5
tkbslc
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

Yes, for the same framing you would be 70% farther away with the 85mm. That can be a pro or a con depending on how you shoot. That is kind of why I suggested a 30mm and an 85. The 30mm is great for looser framing or close quarters and group shots and the 85 is better for tight portraits or from shooting at a distance giving the kid a little room to be natural. Also, due to having to stand back a little with the 85, you get some background compression that can make your subjects pop really well. Your 50 is also pretty nice, though. I've owned all 3 and while the 50mm f1.8 is not as consistent, it is certainly very capable and a great focal length.

The 50mm f1.4 has noticeably better focusing than the f1.8 and smoother looking blur. If you really love the 50mm length, that might be a good purchase.

I don't know if this is helpful, but here are shots with the 85 and 30mm lenses:

85 @ 2.5:


30mm @ f2
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Last edited by tkbslc : 9th of October 2010 (Sat) at 14:43.
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #6
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

In my opinion, it really depends on how you define portraits, either as the traditional sit down head and shoulders kind of stuff or just a photograph of people.

Also when you say that the photos you take with the 50mm f/1.8 is "fuzzy" is often more about user error regarding how DOF works and proper focusing techniques than technical issue. Getting a 50mm f/1.4 won't solve your problem as the DOF is even more narrow and the gain in sharpness would be minimal except when you're looking at photos 100%
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #7
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

I shoot with the T1i, and use my 50 1.8 quite a bit! Make sure you are only using the center focal point of the camera. Try this with you 50mm: Set the camera to AV mode and set the f-stop to 4.0. Make sure the center focal point is the only one that lights up when you lock focus. Take a few shots and see how sharp thos turn out!
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #8
kendi4
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

These tips are very helpful. Thanks everyone! This is absolutely the best photography site.

About focusing only with the center dot...if you don't want the subject in the middle of the shot, then do you focus in the center and then move the camera over? Does that work?

Today I tried to manual focus a little and it seems to work ok. To define "portraits" I am basically taking pics of people, not the standard portraits of head to shoulders, for example. My one year old is constantly moving around and he is who I shoot the most.
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #9
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kendi4 View Post
These tips are very helpful. Thanks everyone! This is absolutely the best photography site.

About focusing only with the center dot...if you don't want the subject in the middle of the shot, then do you focus in the center and then move the camera over? Does that work?
This will work if you hold the shutter half way after focus lock, and then re-compose the shot! You can choose, rather quickly, which focal point you want before the shot! So you could place your child in the lower left field of frame, and then choose the lower left focal point! Read, read, read your manual!! It helped me leaps and bounds to understand my first DLSR!
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Old 9th of October 2010 (Sat)   #10
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Default Re: Best portrait lens for Canon T1i?

When I had my T2i, I really liked the 50mm focal length. so, IMO any of the canon lenses between 50-100 would work really well on crop for portraits.
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