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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 06 Jun 2016 (Monday) 12:38
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Best lens for a large group shot (crop camera)

 
DreDaze
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Jun 06, 2016 22:01 |  #16

pulsar123 wrote in post #18031477 (external link)
I just hope this won't trigger yet another great perspective distortion debate :) .

gonna be hard not to when there's so much wrong in that statement there:lol: but i'm not going to be the one to jump on it...

what's the end goal with the photo? your posted shot doesn't seem all that terrible to me...i'm not sure how much you'd really gain from the 35f2non IS...the 40mm is supposed to be great...and looking at the digital-picture comparison site it looks like it would give you an edge...as long as you have the room to get back away from them...you know, to avoid distortion :)


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Jun 06, 2016 22:42 as a reply to  @ post 18031159 |  #17

Wondering what the unprocessed and uncropped shot looks like?

Are you just asking too much from your gear, especially from a lens that is not known for its noncenter edge contrast and sharpness and it looks like you might have sacrificed some shutter speed for ISO because of the lighting, though some of that might be your post processing.

How much sharpness are you looking for?

I agree with one of the newer STM lenses. 18-55 would be a really cheap way to get a nicely sharp f/5.6 or f/8 lens with AF and IS.


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Jun 06, 2016 23:09 |  #18

pulsar123 wrote in post #18031477 (external link)
I just hope this won't trigger yet another great perspective distortion debate :) .

You should read Skip's tutorial first

https://photography-on-the.net …hread.php?t=672​913&page=1

What you are describing is lens distortion which can be barrel, pincushion, or a mix of the two called mustache.

Ironically the sigma 17-50 at 28mm is just about as good as it gets:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com …=729&CameraComp​=474&FLI=2 (external link)

http://www.the-digital-picture.com …C-OS-HSM-Lens-Review.aspx (external link)

The-Digital-Picture.com wrote:
At 17mm, the Sigma 17-50 exhibits a noticeable bulge-in-the-middle barrel distortion. This distortion smoothly transitions to mild pincushion distortion at 50mm with approximately 25mm being the near-distortion-free transition focal length.

Also:
http://www.photozone.d​e …31-sigma1750f28os?start=1 (external link)

What exactly do you not like about the image you linked to? If someone's face is stretched, exactly whose?


Canon 7D/350D, Σ17-50/2.8 OS, 18-55IS, 24-105/4 L IS, Σ30/1.4 EX, 50/1.8, C50/1.4, 55-250IS, 60/2.8, 70-200/4 L IS, 85/1.8, 100/2.8 IS L, 135/2 L 580EX II, 430EX II * 2, 270EX II.

  
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pulsar123
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Post edited over 2 years ago by pulsar123.
     
Jun 07, 2016 08:28 |  #19

FEChariot wrote in post #18031585 (external link)
You should read Skip's tutorial first

https://photography-on-the.net …hread.php?t=672​913&page=1

What you are describing is lens distortion which can be barrel, pincushion, or a mix of the two called mustache.

It is exactly because of tutorials like this the whole "perspective distortion" debate remains alive. Thank you, but I'll stick to the picture I have in my mind, which is very simple and explains all the facts I have, and as a scientist (my background is astrophysics and cosmology) that's all I need :) .

I did order the new 50mm STM lens, and I am looking forward to getting it. (It's 3-6 weeks wait time on amazon.ca.) From all the tests and comparisons I've seen, it really shines when stopped down to f/5.6 or so. The old 50mm f1.8 is also very good at f/5.6, but what is lacking is an accurate AF, and apparently the new lens fixed that.

My plan is to bring the 50mm with me (along with the Sigma zoom) every time I do group portraits (it's so small and light that it won't be an issue), and if time and space permits I'll use it, if not - will default to using my Sigma zoom.

Don't get me wrong - my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS is a beautiful lens and serves me very well, it's just not up to the task when dealing with large group portraits: one needs much better corner resolution.

Here are two small crops from the unprocessed version of my photo, near the frame center, and closer to (but still fairly far from) the corner:

IMAGE: https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7300/26912097514_161fdd7e0f_o.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/H18w​Zh  (external link) IMG_0325_2 (external link)
IMAGE: https://c3.staticflickr.com/8/7368/27486710946_0f18e5f143_o.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/HSUz​xq  (external link) IMG_0325_1 (external link)

The difference is pretty obvious, isn't it? You can see the perspective effects (head a bit distorted and smaller), but most obviously you see the lack of sharpness in the corner crop. That's what I'm trying to address, and if you believe the http://www.the-digital-picture.com/ (external link) samples I should be able to see a significant improvement with the new 50mm STM lens. We'll see.

Other lenses suggested here (like 18-55 STM) are at best comparable to my Sigma when stepped down to f/5.6, and are significantly worse (in corner sharpness) than the new 50mm STM lens (according to the-digital-picture.com).

6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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Sibil
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Jun 07, 2016 08:43 |  #20

From the little I understand from the discussion here, I am getting the feeling that perhaps you should consider a longer lens and shooting from further back.




  
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Post edited over 2 years ago by FEChariot. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 07, 2016 09:45 as a reply to  @ pulsar123's post |  #21


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As a scientist, I am sure you wouldn't have a problem with students mixing up potential energy and kinetic energy then...

Notice how the bricks behind his person's head are not at all distorted?

What you have here is a depth of field problem caused by a posing problem. You have like 7 rows of people with only like 4 people in a row in the front and 12 in a row towards the back. If you had them align in rows more neatly, you could have cut the number of rows down to like 5 and you also could have placed them tighter front to back. Right now they are taking up ten steps plus it looks like some of the people in the top row are behind the people on the top step. The number of steps used could have been halved. This would have reduced the distance between the front row where it looks like you picked as the focus point to the back row from what looks like 12 feet down to 6 or 8 feet. Then the back row wouldn't have been so far behind the focus plane and would have looked sharper.

The fact that this person's head is smaller than the person closer in the frame would be due to perspective distortion which could have been fixed a good deal by better group posing as mentioned above however, the claimed distorted look is due to lens distortion, if there were any, but the 17-50 does not really have any lens distortion at 28mm.

Canon 7D/350D, Σ17-50/2.8 OS, 18-55IS, 24-105/4 L IS, Σ30/1.4 EX, 50/1.8, C50/1.4, 55-250IS, 60/2.8, 70-200/4 L IS, 85/1.8, 100/2.8 IS L, 135/2 L 580EX II, 430EX II * 2, 270EX II.

  
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chrisdecotis
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Jun 07, 2016 09:53 |  #22

Are you using autofocus? Are you focusing on people in the front row? Are you standing at the same level as the people at the bottom of the steps? What shutter speed are you using?

I see the lack if sharpness but the distortion isn't obvious to me. For groups like this you should be placing your focus point on someone in one of the middle rows. If it's possible I would try standing on some sort of platform or step ladder so you would be at the same elevation as the middle row of people. And use a higher shutter speed and continuous drive mode to take a burst of pictures to make sure I got one where people weren't moving. I think some of the lack of sharpness could be caused by people moving slightly.




  
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Jun 07, 2016 14:13 |  #23

chrisdecotis wrote in post #18031921 (external link)
Are you using autofocus? Are you focusing on people in the front row? Are you standing at the same level as the people at the bottom of the steps? What shutter speed are you using?

I see the lack if sharpness but the distortion isn't obvious to me. For groups like this you should be placing your focus point on someone in one of the middle rows. If it's possible I would try standing on some sort of platform or step ladder so you would be at the same elevation as the middle row of people. And use a higher shutter speed and continuous drive mode to take a burst of pictures to make sure I got one where people weren't moving. I think some of the lack of sharpness could be caused by people moving slightly.

Thanks, lots of good points here. Improper focusing is definitely a possibility here (I tend to focus at the front row for speed when in a crunch), using Live View contrast detect AF, as I know I can't trust the Sigma phase-detect AF for critical shots. But I think I have a fairly convincing case of the Sigma's corners being always not great. For example, I had landscape shots at f/11 of a vista kilometers away (so no DoF issues here), and still corners were unacceptably soft.

I always do multiple shots for photos like this, and they all have the same corner sharpness issue. The crowd was in the shadow and I used my 580EX flash for fill in, hence the exposure 1/250s, but in my experience 1/250s should be perfectly fine for static people shots, especially at such large distance, so I don't think people movements were a factor here.

Regarding distortion - I was wrong about the FL, now I checked and the shot was made at FL=33mm (53mm FF equivalent), so the effect should be very small indeed. But my main point was about sharpness, not distortion.


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Post edited over 2 years ago by TeamSpeed. (4 edits in all)
     
Jun 07, 2016 14:41 |  #24

More light = faster shutter and smaller aperture.... = less motion blur and more DOF

Now that I have picked up 2 AD360 lights, my group shots will be better lit, using my 580EXII for back fill. I agree, that looks like a DOF issue. Shooting at 30-ish mm, at f8 at about 10' back focused on the front row means you only have about 6' in reasonable focus toward the back. That only allows for perhaps 3 rows of people. I put focus on the middle of the pack if I can, when I do these.

This is not a large group, but they are 3 people deep, and quite a bit of space for each row. :)

I had to shoot at f7 (was on FF though, using the 24-70) for this, so more rows would require a smaller aperture, but then more light. Going wider would also increase my DOF though, so I would be able to juggle focal length with aperture.

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Jun 07, 2016 17:26 |  #25

As a long time owner of the 17-50 OS, I'll be the first to admit the corner performance isn't great, but it works well for me since I am not a landscape guy who needs that. If you want to keep the functionality of a zoom the 18-35/1.8 is the best option available and the 17-55/2.8 would be my second pick.


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Jun 07, 2016 17:46 |  #26

Thanks everyone for feedback! I'll have to experiment more with proper focus point placement with group photos. But I'm sure my new lens, 50mm STM, will be fun to work with. In addition to group shots, it sounds like a great addition to my basement studio, where I typically shoot at the short end of my 70-200 f4L, and there is not enough space for full height adult portraits (maximum 3/4). The 50mm should do a good job there, between f5.6 and f8 on my crop camera.


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Jun 07, 2016 17:55 |  #27

TBH, I dont think your focus is off, the sigma just isnt that sharp on far edges. Look at the "Togo Salmon" sign, it looks way back and in focus. My guess is that your 50 will blow away the sigma once stopped down, but since you're stopping down, just go to F8 to be sure.


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Post edited over 1 year ago by pulsar123. (4 edits in all)
     
Jul 13, 2016 11:19 |  #28

I finally got my new lens - Canon 50mm f1.8 STM, and just did some test shots to compare my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS (using 50mm FL) IQ with that of the Canon 50mm STM lens. I used a landscape setting (so effectively infinite distance), at shorter distances the results might be different (to be tested). All the usual precautions: a steady tripod, mirror lock, timer delay, using Live View (contrast detect) AF for better accuracy.

So here are 100% crops from the centre and an extreme corner, on my Canon 50D camera:

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8642/28005178840_3b312b50f8_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/JEHR​Z3  (external link) Sharpness comparison: Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS vs Canon 50mm f1.8 STM (external link) by First Last (external link), on Flickr

I do see the Canon 50mm STM advantage over the Sigma lens, both in terms of sharpness and microcontrast. (For both lenses the best overall aperture proved to be f8, so that's what I'm using here.) But I think the Sigma's issue here is not as pronounced as what I reported earlier, at the start of this thread. That could be because of the shorter FL (~30mm) used on the Sigma and/or shorter subject distance. I can test both factors later.

Overall I am happy with the new lens addition - it does perform quite a bit better than the Sigma; its corners are almost as good as the centre, around f8, making it a great choice for shots where sharpness is required across the whole frame (landscape; group shots). And it is so small and light (and very cheap - got it for 98$ US here in Canada) that it is perfectly fine to always carry it with me. BTW I got a third party lens hood for the Canon 50mm STM lens - only 2$ with free shipping on ebay, but seems to be an exact replica of Canon's ES-68.

6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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ed ­ rader
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Jul 13, 2016 17:23 |  #29

man just take the picture with what you have. it isn't rocket science :-P


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Post edited over 1 year ago by pulsar123. (8 edits in all)
     
Aug 04, 2016 11:12 |  #30

I finally found the time to do a comparison test at the typical group photo distances (~20m).

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8690/28764293305_39fbda3b87_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/KPNw​gt  (external link) Canon 50mm STM vs. Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS (external link)

Here are the details:

Shots were made at a typical group photo distance (~20m for 50mm, ~12m for 30mm), at the sharpest overall f-number (f/8). Sigma lens was used at 50mm and 30mm focal lengths. I corrected vignetting and CA in PP, but didn't correct geometric distortions. All shots were normalized to have exactly the same exposure and colors at the center.

As one can see, the new Canon 50mm STM lens has a comparable sharpness to Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS at the frame's center, but is obviously sharper at the corner. (Open the link to see the image at 100%.) One can also see rather pronounced geometric distortions on the Sigma (meaning one will loose even more sharpness when correcting these distortions in PP), whereas the Canon lens is practically free of such distortions.

A side note: The Sigma lens is quite a bit warmer than the Canon lens, and a bit "pinkier" (the white balance adjustment for the Sigma in ACR is -350 K, +4).

Another side note: The Sigma's "50mm" is 8.5% wider than the Canon's 50mm - not sure who is more accurate here.

Conclusion: Canon 50mm STM is a very nice group photo lens on APS-C, very sharp from the center to corners and with very little geometric distortions, substantially better than Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS lens. And as my earlier infinity test demonstrated (the link (external link)), the Canon's new lens is also better for landscape photos. And given the extremely low cost and size/weight of the new Canon's lens, it makes a perfect sense to get one even if you have a fast f2.8 standard zoom.

6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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Best lens for a large group shot (crop camera)
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