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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 22 Feb 2012 (Wednesday) 22:32
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Good lens for family photos?

 
cee22
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Feb 22, 2012 22:32 |  #1

I recently got the t3i and for a while I had the kit lens, but I finally wound up getting the 50mm 1.4 and I love it! It was a good lens to start off my hobby. Now I'm looking for another lens; my primary shots are of my kids and family and my friends' families. I was looking at the 24-70L, but do I really need an L lens if I'm not a professional? Is there a comparable lens? I've heard the 17-55 is good. Also, what settings would you use to shoot a family of 4 to get everyone in focus (how far away to stand, how to get everyone in focus, anything else...also, if I stand too far away at 24mm will there be any distortion?)? You all helped me out with my first question and I appreciate your honesty and opinions, so any help will be appreciated. Thank you!




  
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ejenner
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Feb 22, 2012 23:02 |  #2

IMO, for family shots you don't really need an f2.8. Too easy to mess up and miss focus my just a little and then your L lens is effectively a cheap zoom for the person that is slightly OOF.

Some lighting, however, is almost nearly always essential. A flash with diffuser would be a good starting point here, even if you use it on the camera hotshoe. Forget the inbuilt flash.

Do you 'need' an L? Do you 'need' a T3i? You you want to get the cheapest thing you can get away with? Will you notice a difference with an L? I'm not sure anyone can answer those questions, even if they try. I would say don't get an L just becasue it is an L, but if it has the features you want, it won't be a waste of money. No point in not getting an L just becasue you're not a pro.

Anyway, I would say the 50mm or a 35mm on crop for family 1/2 or full portraits at f5.6 would be most typical for me. At least that's what I settled at being 'non-pro' and not that great at portraits either. I'm sure pros can get 3-5 people in spot-on focus (on the eyes) at f2.8, but I can tell you I can't.

I use my 24-105 (FF or crop) for family shots at f5.6-7 (FL and distance dependent on the room I have - I like to go longer and move back if possible). background becomes a bit more important, but as long as there isn't anything too distracting, I prefer to have it a bit more in focus than risk having someone not sharp. I can always blur and darken the background a bit in PP.

Actually if room was no consideration, I would pretty much use 85-200mm (FF) for all portraits, headshots, family full-body, the lot.

I know it's not your question, but for tight shots, longer FL (at least 85mm on crop) and faster apertures are really useful, and generally get more expensive.

Oh, and maybe you don't need L glass, but I can assure you that the T3i is good enough to 'appreciate' the glass. However, some of the EF-S glass is pretty darn good (likely some is better than some L) and less expensive - that was the whole point in making EF-S lenses. Get the best lens you can afford that meets you needs - that may not be an L even if you can afford one (or it might be).

Hopes this helps a bit, I don't know much about specific EF-S lenses (I bought my lens selection anticipating moving to FF).


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thestone11
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Feb 22, 2012 23:13 |  #3

If you have a little money to spare, getting the L is great. L lens are not only for professional only, lots of hobbyists like them alot. The optics and build quality are top notch with excellent IQ.

I am super happy with my 24-70mm f/2.8 L, it is such a amazing lens for everything. It acts as one of my wedding workhorse as well. It is not hard to manage bigger aperture with group shots, you just have to line them up properly. As long as all the person are on the same focal plane, you are less likely to get some people in focus and some are not situation. F/2.8 is not that hard to manage, the dof is still workable, unlike f/1.2! Just don't line them up like you are doing a battery test haha. Having f/2.8 enables you to shoot at a faster shuttle speed to avoid camera shake, and ofcoz better in low light situation. You mentioned shooting children as well, so quicker the better. F/2.8 is the way to go if you want a zoom.

But ofcoz, lighting is the most important part for family photo. Get yourself a speed light or two, with some simple setup, you should be able to shoot some great shots.


Canon 5D MK II | Fuji X100 | Canon T2i | Canon 100mm macro f/2.8 | Canon 135L f/2 | Canon 50mm f/1.2 L | 17-40mm f/4 L | 24-70mm f/2.8 L | 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM |Canon 430EX II Flash X2 | Pocketwizard TT5 & TT1

  
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mafoo
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Feb 22, 2012 23:50 |  #4

cee22 wrote in post #13948241 (external link)
Also, what settings would you use to shoot a family of 4 to get everyone in focus (how far away to stand, how to get everyone in focus, anything else...also, if I stand too far away at 24mm will there be any distortion?)?

A few things here....

the human eye sees things in the same perspective as a 50mm lens. If you shoot wider then that, you will change the perspective, in usually a less desirable way. I would not recommend 24mm if you can get away with it, If you can shoot with 50mm or longer, and stand back, I think you will like the results better.

Also, due to how you asked the second question, it leads me to think you have not learned the relationship between apature and dept of field. While stepping back is a way to increase the amount of depth in focus, a much better way to deal with it, is with a smaller apature, like f5.6 or something.

Here is a good depth of field calculator, that you can play with and see how everything changes:

http://www.dofmaster.c​om/dofjs.html (external link)

Most people (including me) prefer the shallowest depth of field posable, while keeping the subject you are shooting in focus. It's a balancing act, but at least you can take 20 shots, and not worry about it. :)


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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mafoo
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Feb 22, 2012 23:52 |  #5

Oh, and I am by no means a pro, and doubt I will ever be skilled enough to become one, however I own two L lenses.

The L lens stands for Luxury, not Pro ;). If you want sharper images, they are a great way to go if they are within your budget.


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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Frugal
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Feb 23, 2012 00:23 as a reply to  @ mafoo's post |  #6

the human eye sees things in the same perspective as a 50mm lens. If you shoot wider then that, you will change the perspective, in usually a less desirable way. I would not recommend 24mm if you can get away with it, If you can shoot with 50mm or longer, and stand back, I think you will like the results better.

Really????? By that reasoning 50mm is the only FL you should ever use. The OP has a crop, so that's an equivalent FOV to an 80mm on FF. He'll be standing a long way away for group shots.


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cee22
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Feb 23, 2012 00:52 |  #7

Also, due to how you asked the second question, it leads me to think you have not learned the relationship between apature and dept of field. While stepping back is a way to increase the amount of depth in focus, a much better way to deal with it, is with a smaller apature, like f5.6 or something.

I know the relationship between aperture and depth of field, but I don't know much about the 24-70 lens, and I wasn't sure if the aperture was fixed at 2.8, so since I wasn't sure if I could adjust it, I wanted to know how far away I would need to stand to shoot. Also, I was originally worried about distortion (from standing too far away and shooting at 24mm), but since 24mm is more like 30something on a crop, I'm not sure if I need to worry much. Would I?? Thank you for the depth of field calculator! I'm going to play around with it right now.

Thank you for all of your advice; I appreciate it! You guys always give me so much to think about. I like that.

I like the idea of a 35mm. Do people shoot a lot of group shots on a 35? I don't know, I have a fondness for primes I guess!

Really?? By that reasoning 50mm is the only FL you should ever use. The OP has a crop, so that's an equivalent FOV to an 80mm on FF. He'll be standing a long way away for group shots.

Ahhh yes, I had the same thought. I bought my lens from a 'mom and pop shop' and one of the girls working there told me the same thing about the 50 (that it was the same focal length that the human eye sees), and while that may be true (I'd never really thought about it), in my head I was thinking "but I have a crop..." it's a little long!




  
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thestone11
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Feb 23, 2012 01:07 |  #8

cee22 wrote in post #13948852 (external link)
I know the relationship between aperture and depth of field, but I don't know much about the 24-70 lens, and I wasn't sure if the aperture was fixed at 2.8, so since I wasn't sure if I could adjust it, I wanted to know how far away I would need to stand to shoot. Also, I was originally worried about distortion (from standing too far away and shooting at 24mm), but since 24mm is more like 30something on a crop, I'm not sure if I need to worry much. Would I?? Thank you for the depth of field calculator! I'm going to play around with it right now.

Thank you for all of your advice; I appreciate it! You guys always give me so much to think about. I like that.

I like the idea of a 35mm. Do people shoot a lot of group shots on a 35? I don't know, I have a fondness for primes I guess!

Ahhh yes, I had the same thought. I bought my lens from a 'mom and pop shop' and one of the girls working there told me the same thing about the 50 (that it was the same focal length that the human eye sees), and while that may be true (I'd never really thought about it), in my head I was thinking "but I have a crop..." it's a little long!

I think you should read and learn more about photography before spending money on expensive lens. A constant aperture lens like the 24-70mm doesn't mean the aperture is fixed at f/2.8. It means the max aperture is f/2.8 but since it is a constant aperature lens, it means it can shoot wide open at f/2.8 at all the focal range, so from 24-70mm for the 24-70L. But at anytime, you still can control your aperture to stop it down.


Canon 5D MK II | Fuji X100 | Canon T2i | Canon 100mm macro f/2.8 | Canon 135L f/2 | Canon 50mm f/1.2 L | 17-40mm f/4 L | 24-70mm f/2.8 L | 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM |Canon 430EX II Flash X2 | Pocketwizard TT5 & TT1

  
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cee22
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Feb 23, 2012 01:13 |  #9

^^ohhh I see....that makes sense. Obviously since the 50 1.4 doesn't mean it's fixed at 1.4, the same makes sense for the 24-70. Thanks!

I think you should read and learn more about photography before spending money on expensive lens

Will do.




  
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mrwalker
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Feb 23, 2012 02:33 |  #10

mafoo wrote in post #13948591 (external link)
the human eye sees things in the same perspective as a 50mm lens. If you shoot wider then that, you will change the perspective, in usually a less desirable way. I would not recommend 24mm if you can get away with it, If you can shoot with 50mm or longer, and stand back, I think you will like the results better.

Not really the same 'perspective' but rather the same 'angle of view' as the 50mm lens (on a full-frame) i.e. 46 degrees (diagonal angle of view).

But I'm not sure I really believe that any more. For example, women are supposed to have a wider field of view than men, around 90 degrees total (45 degrees each side) so a 24mm on a full-frame would be a better fit.

So maybe the old 50mm equivalence was proposed by men with "tunnel-vision" :-)

OK, OT, getting off...


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David ­ C
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Feb 23, 2012 02:35 |  #11

There are many very good lenses out there that are not quite "as good" as the L series. But before investing in that additional expense, my recommendation would be to become thoroughly familiar and comfortable with your current equipment. That way you will know when it is the equipment (lens) that is holding back your advancement and not just experience.

A camera "normal" focal length lens yields approximately the same angle of view as the human eye and is not a fixed length just as all humans do not have the same eye dimensions. A crop size normal lens is about 28 to 33 mm. A full frame sensor or 35mm film normal lens is about 50 to 55mm.

Typically a portrait lens has a focal length about 1.5 times the normal lens for a given size negative or sensor to avoid distortion effects. Thus the 1.5x suggests a 45-55mm lens is about portrait length for a crop, and a 75 to 90mm lens would be about portrait length for a full frame. Note these are approximate lengths, not absolute numbers.

Your 50mm lens hits about perfect portrait length for a crop camera. But as you drop below the normal lens length, the distortion effect gradually become less tolerable to a paying customer. I might suggest trying a series of shots at multiple focal lengths (zoom works great for this) to determine what lengths work for you in the available space of your "studio" area.




  
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mafoo
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Feb 23, 2012 06:45 |  #12

Frugal wrote in post #13948731 (external link)
Really????? By that reasoning 50mm is the only FL you should ever use. The OP has a crop, so that's an equivalent FOV to an 80mm on FF. He'll be standing a long way away for group shots.

So add the word equivalent, or remove the word lens. :)


-Jeremy
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mafoo
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Feb 23, 2012 06:50 |  #13

mrwalker wrote in post #13949152 (external link)
Not really the same 'perspective' but rather the same 'angle of view' as the 50mm lens (on a full-frame) i.e. 46 degrees (diagonal angle of view).

But I'm not sure I really believe that any more. For example, women are supposed to have a wider field of view than men, around 90 degrees total (45 degrees each side) so a 24mm on a full-frame would be a better fit.

Not sure why field of view matters. That's just how much someone can see, not what it looks like.

Here is an awesome example, of why you should step back a bit.

https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1132820


-Jeremy
5D Mk II | SL1 | 24-105 f4.0L IS | 70-200 f2.8L IS | S35 1.4 | 40 2.8 Pancake | Samyang 14 2.8 | 430EX II

  
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Sirrith
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Feb 23, 2012 06:52 |  #14

OP, if you like primes, look into the sigma 30 1.4, not too expensive, very good IQ, great focal length.


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Feb 23, 2012 06:56 |  #15

ejenner wrote in post #13948382 (external link)
Some lighting, however, is almost nearly always essential. A flash with diffuser would be a good starting point here, even if you use it on the camera hotshoe. Forget the inbuilt flash.

eeeewwww.....


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Good lens for family photos?
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