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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 22 Apr 2012 (Sunday) 23:25
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New lens questions

 
SoCal44
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Apr 22, 2012 23:25 |  #1

I read the FAQ's but am still quite confused on what I should be looking for (hoping to at least narrow my search).

A few years back I got the Cannon T1 and a EF-S 18-55mm. I bought it as my wife and I were having our first and we wanted more than a point and shoot. While I've got better with my pics, my overall knowledge is quite rudimentary.

Im looking for a lens (zoom as I think prime wont work for what I want) to get clearer shots of my toddler running around. I dont do landscape shots, 100% portraits, with less than 50% of them being still.

My price range is under 1K (US). Would you mind giving me some pointers? I've looked at the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM with the former being the "faster" lens I would think that would more fit my needs. Also am I just spending too much on a lens for no real benefit (when a say 500$ be just as good for me?).




  
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mattmorgan44
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Apr 23, 2012 00:04 |  #2

I don't know if a new lens will get you "clearer" shots. The 18-55mm lens is sharp and clear, it's downside is its maximum aperture and build quality.

An expensive lens may get you slightly clearer shots but I don't know if it would be noticeable at this stage.

The important question is how is your current lens limiting you?

Are you having trouble in low light? Are your shots blurry because your toddler is running around too fast? Do you know how to get the most from the lens you have? Do you understand the basics- Aperture, ISO, shutter speed? Learning the basics will improve your shots and understanding ISO and shutter speed will get you sharper shots.

Are you seeing a particular problem with your current shots? Such as blur when the toddler is running around?


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kboater
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Apr 23, 2012 00:14 |  #3

mattmorgan44 wrote in post #14311363 (external link)
I don't know if a new lens will get you "clearer" shots. The 18-55mm lens is sharp and clear, it's downside is its maximum aperture and build quality.

An expensive lens may get you slightly clearer shots but I don't know if it would be noticeable at this stage.

The important question is how is your current lens limiting you?

Are you having trouble in low light? Are your shots blurry because your toddler is running around too fast? Do you know how to get the most from the lens you have? Do you understand the basics- Aperture, ISO, shutter speed? Learning the basics will improve your shots and understanding ISO and shutter speed will get you sharper shots.

Are you seeing a particular problem with your current shots? Such as blur when the toddler is running around?

completely agree. when i purchased an expensive lens is when i realized that i really did not know much. I went back and really studied aperture, iso and shutter speed and realized I probably could have gone longer with my kit lens.

being a new parent myself, I am not saying not to buy a new lens, but make sure you really learn the relationship between aperture, iso, and shutter speed and how they relate to and affect one another. Also, for me, a flash was a must

good luck :)




  
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mattmorgan44
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Apr 23, 2012 00:26 |  #4

There are definitely many reasons to buy a new, more expensive lens than the kit lens. But it probably won't be much sharper than the kit. "clearer" can mean many things. Blur (from motion or camera shake), sharpness, noise etc. Need to know where the kit lens is limiting.


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mattmorgan44
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Apr 23, 2012 00:35 |  #5

SoCal44 wrote in post #14311226 (external link)
Im looking for a lens (zoom as I think prime wont work for what I want) to get clearer shots of my toddler running around. I dont do landscape shots, 100% portraits, with less than 50% of them being still.

My price range is under 1K (US). Would you mind giving me some pointers? I've looked at the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM with the former being the "faster" lens I would think that would more fit my needs. Also am I just spending too much on a lens for no real benefit (when a say 500$ be just as good for me?).

A zoom lens would usually suit shooting toddlers better than a prime. The 135mm prime is very long on a crop camera and you would benifit from the versatility of a zoom to keep the toddler in frame. A faster lens may benefit you, however a zoom such as the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS or Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS may be more suitable.


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xarqi
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Apr 23, 2012 00:52 |  #6

Indeed, we need to find out what you mean by "clearer" in order to see if you even need a new lens. The solution may be something as simple as not using a cheap UV filter or making better exposure setting choices. Could you post an example that shows what you would like to improve upon?




  
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kent ­ andersen
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Apr 23, 2012 00:59 |  #7

I would definently recomend a Prime.

The 135L will give you a bether Image Quality in every aspect of quality. Sharpnes, contrast, colours, bokhe will all be bether...

135mm is a good tele on a crop. The advantage with the Tele, is that kids are not always motivated to be taken picture of. The focal length of 135L has given me lots of shots of my Kids when they where in their own play world, becouse I can have more distance to them and f2 gives me the speed needed for sharp pictures.

For those pictures where the kid is not aware of you taking pictures, 135L is the perfect choice. I also use this lens at wedding, parties, concerts to get portraits of people without having them pose for me.

Two other Primes I would recomend is canon 50mm 1.8... wich is an extremly good lens for the price. Sigma 30mm 1.4 is also a lens that would be very benificial when photographing todler.

To get a "clearer" picture, Post Prosessing is youre best friend. The easiest and safest way of bringing more "pop" into the picture, is to adjust colour value. I use Gimp and there it is named Value. Just klick youre way through the program untill you see a histogram. Gimp is an open source program that is free. If you use Photoshop or Lightroom it is named something else. Anyhow, it is a box/tool where you see the histogram. Below the histogram you will se three triangles. One on the left, one in the middle and one at the right side. Just push those on the left and right towards the middle. Not much but just until it touch the first pixel (black point on the histogram), you will discover that the colours are getting stronger... and the picture becomes more brighter. It is a way to improve the picture alot, with less risk of ruining the picture.


Living in Austria, I am so glad that there is stuff like Gimp out there...
I am a happy giver, so if you find any misspelling in my text, you can keep them... :)
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mattmorgan44
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Apr 23, 2012 01:07 |  #8

kent andersen wrote in post #14311500 (external link)
I would definently recomend a Prime.

The 135L will give you a bether Image Quality in every aspect of quality. Sharpnes, contrast, colours, bokhe will all be bether...

I am quite surprised by this reccommendation. While a telephoto prime may suit you better for photos of your kids, it would generally be the exception rather than the rule. In most cases a zoom with at least some ability to go wide will be much more useful than a telephoto prime.

There are many zoom lenses that are so close to the quality of a prime that the OP would not benefit from the difference at this stage.

kent andersen wrote in post #14311500 (external link)
135mm is a good tele on a crop. The advantage with the Tele, is that kids are not always motivated to be taken picture of. The focal length of 135L has given me lots of shots of my Kids when they where in their own play world, becouse I can have more distance to them and f2 gives me the speed needed for sharp pictures.

For those pictures where the kid is not aware of you taking pictures, 135L is the perfect choice. I also use this lens at wedding, parties, concerts to get portraits of people without having them pose for me.

Some people like to work at a distance, others like to work closer. But indoors there is often not enough room to back up for 135mm on a crop.

It sounds like the OP is going to replace his kit lens with this lens. A telephoto may be a good option if the OP had a wider lens already, but if he was to go with using just the 135mm he will miss a lot of shots. This is why we he needs to find where his current lens is letting him down. The prime may be a good lens for those special shots when there is enough room to back up, but for the rest of the time with a kid running around indoors, a general purpose zoom would be much more useful.


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kent ­ andersen
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Apr 23, 2012 01:23 |  #9

Any sugestion here is subjectiv. Wich lens that are the best for the OP is something that only he can find out. All of us can only tell him why it was good for us personaly. For me it was perfect, and I have 3 Kids and shoot todlers for my friends.

Iff he want bether image quality, then 135L is definently a big step forward in image quality. That lens is one of the best lenses from Canon. But if it is the best for him, well, only he can say afther he has bought it.


Living in Austria, I am so glad that there is stuff like Gimp out there...
I am a happy giver, so if you find any misspelling in my text, you can keep them... :)
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/41388512@N05/ (external link)

  
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kin2son
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Apr 23, 2012 01:45 |  #10
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kent andersen wrote in post #14311500 (external link)
I would definently recomend a Prime.

I would definitely NOT recommend a prime for beginners with fast moving kids.

I have a 14 months old daughter who runs around all the time. So what happened to my 135L? Sold and funded the 70-200mkII which imo is a lot better for the task.

I did get some great shots with the 135L when I had it. But it's frustrating at times as she stops and runs unpredictably.

OP - Get Sigma 17-50 OS + 430exII. Versatile and good for both indoor and outdoor.

After that, look into the 70-200 variant depending on your budget.


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Snydremark
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Apr 23, 2012 01:51 |  #11

xarqi wrote in post #14311479 (external link)
Indeed, we need to find out what you mean by "clearer" in order to see if you even need a new lens. The solution may be something as simple as not using a cheap UV filter or making better exposure setting choices. Could you post an example that shows what you would like to improve upon?

This; plus, understand that "faster" for aperture does NOT equate to faster AF performance. One is a measure of how much light it will let in (and therefore allow a higher shutter speed) and the other is how quickly the lens can grab and maintain focus.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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Craign
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Apr 23, 2012 08:39 |  #12

A lens that will zoom to 200mm (or longer) is great for photographing kids playing outside. That focal length allows the photographer to sit in one spot and follow the child. It also allows enough space so the child is likely to act natural and not be silly like some children are when near a camera. It is also useful for photographing camera shy children.

The consensus "bang-for-the-buck" lens seems to be the Canon 55-250mm lens (no personal experience.) I love my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens for photographing small children in my family. It has been great since they were toddlers and is extremely useful now that the oldest is playing youth soccer.

The big question then becomes money. The 55-250 lens is well under your budget. Another option would be a 70-300mm lens from Canon or various third party companies priced above and below $500.

My personal experience should you consider a Canon 70-200mm lens:
-I don't need IS when photographing children. They are considered a sporting event and treated as such in the camera settings. I actually don't remember when IS has ever been needed.
-f/2.8 is seldom, if ever, used because of low light. When conditions become too dark for f/4.0 it is too dark for f/2.8, too.
-f/2.8 is used to blur distracting background.

Recommendation: (1) The best of the Canon 70-200mm lenses variations where the cost can be justified.
(2) The Canon 55-250mm lens and save your money for something else. This becomes number 1 if you don't have a good flash for inside needs.


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mattmorgan44
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Apr 23, 2012 11:11 |  #13

kent andersen wrote in post #14311563 (external link)
Any sugestion here is subjectiv. Wich lens that are the best for the OP is something that only he can find out. All of us can only tell him why it was good for us personaly. For me it was perfect, and I have 3 Kids and shoot todlers for my friends.

I agree with all of that. But it still doesn't mean that this is good advice..

kent andersen wrote in post #14311500 (external link)
I would definently recomend a Prime.

If you reccommend a lens to a beginner you should give him advice that's best for him. In this case if all your doing is telling what worked best for you, you should make that clear straight away.

kent andersen wrote in post #14311500 (external link)
The 135L will give you a bether Image Quality in every aspect of quality. Sharpnes, contrast, colours, bokhe will all be bether...

135mm is a good tele on a crop.

If a beginner asks for advice on his first non-kit lens and he gets 5 replies telling him we need more info, and one reply saying get the 135mm prime, he may just go and get the 135mm. For his needs, it is highly unlikely it is the best option. I have tried to photograph kids running around numerous times with my 100mm prime on full frame- much, much shorter than 135mm on crop, and even I found it very difficult to consistently frame the children correctly. Indoors and in a small backyard.

We need more information before giving a good reccommendation. However for the majority of beginners, I would second the Sigma 17-50 OS and 430ex flash being a great suggestion for a first non-kit lens.


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SoCal44
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Hatchling
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Apr 23, 2012 11:30 |  #14

Thank you all for the replies.

What I mean by clearer is the blur. Right now when I try to take pictures of the little monkey I'll get 1 out of every 6-7 to come out crisp with the others just fuzzy/blurry.

Yes I do need to learn a lot more about the setup. The search for a new lens was from other friends who have the same basic Costco box I do and say a "better" lens helped make their shots cleaner (no blur).

I'd say that its a 70/30 split of my shots being outdoors vs indoors. I do have a flash which made a big improvement in the indoor stills, but sometimes I still miss then running around shots. What I am hoping to find is if I get a <insert type> lens I will be able to take more shots of my toddler as he's running around finding trouble but still have good portability (so yes maybe the 135mm is too big).

edit: I do not have a UV filter on




  
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nccb
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Apr 23, 2012 11:52 |  #15

SoCal44 - a bunch of things could be going on here. Is the whole image blurry (camera shake) or just the subject, your "little monkey" (subject motion). Are you missing focus or recomposing after focus lock (i.e. is something behind or in front of him in focus instead)? What exposure mode are you in (auto, aperture priority, shutter speed priority)? What focus mode are you using (one shot, AI servo)?

My generic answer for a nicer lens would be get a sigma 17-50mm or Canon 17-55mm. But I got plenty of good pictures of moving kids with the kit lens before I upgraded, so maybe it's just one of the things above that you should look into.

Can you post any sample pics?


5D3 | 24-105mm L | 85mm 1.8

  
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