deronsizemore wrote in post #18490666
But I'm generally looking to get kids opening gifts or multiple kids in a group or something of that nature and indoors in the living room that's just not always feasible.
I actually have never seen the canon 35mm F2 IS. That looks like a fantastic alternative to me and at a nice price. Though, like has been mentioned, my 40mm will probably suffice for most any shot I'd using the 35mm for. The Tamron 24-70 seems like the most logical option for me to give me the most flexibility. I have the Tamron 70-300 now and it's a nice lens. I'm seeing a newer looking body style on that one which is around 1100 and then the old body style (international version) for around $650 on amazon. I'd have to look around to see if there's any better pricing out there. I tend to shy away from used lenses as I just never know how they've been treated.
I do have a basic Neewer flash that works well for what it is. I just need to break it out more consistently and use it and get more experience with shooting with it. Seems like a lot of my shots with TTL and the flash just don't quite turn out. I'm sure it's mostly my inexperience with flash. I'm just never sure if I use use TTL and AV mode and roll with it, or get everything set up in manual. Then there's the max shutter speed for the flash which seems to always throw me for a loop. But like I said, it's just lack of experience on my part. Need to sit down and read and experiment.
I use a much older camera, the 5D1, and I use the 35 F2 IS often for exactly this. Groups of family, kids, opening presents, etc. I very often use flash. I also do it with natural light. 35mm is a great way to get in and be part of the fun, and not have to hug a wall some where with a telephoto. You can still get fairly soft environment with fast focal-ratio. And with the wide angle, you can get away with slower shutter speeds. With image stabilization, you can get still moments at even lower shutter speeds.
I had the 40 F2.8 STM and the 35 F2 IS together and frankly, I sold the 40 STM. Several reasons: slow focus, noisy focus, only F2.8 (I expect more from a prime, but the pancake design has limits), and the 35 F2 IS was simply a little wider, faster focal-ratio, blazing fast silent AF, and had 4 stop image stabilization. Pancakes on big cameras don't save space or weight I found. The 35 F2 IS is twice the size and 4 times the price, but better in every way. Plus it has good manual focus for when its really, really dark (which for me is often and I use MF often with it). The only wide prime I'd consider for my purposes beyond the 35mm or would be a 28mm, but there is not an F2 IS for that, so I stay with the 35 F2 IS. 35 at F2 still gives you soft backgrounds without having to be within 1~2 feet of the subject, like you would at 24mm~28mm. I'd go as slow as F2.8 at wider focal length if I it were to gain a zoom (like a 24-70 F2.8 VC).
It certainly isn't about making a professional shoot out of the event. It's about capturing the memories, but perhaps in a more pleasing way than a cellphone shot. I totally get that. That's what a lot of us do. But one thing I find is that a bunch of headshots, like you pointed out, don't really capture the moment. Who knows when or where that was. And that's why you're seeking faster wider glass. 35mm and wider takes you there. Candid captures that are wide are a great way to capture memories. It's like family photojournalism.
Your 5D2 can handle higher ISO just fine. Don't be afraid to crank it up. A flash still does wonders though (bounced).
Dirty example of a birthday with kids at a dark venue with games, playing, running, lots of weird lights, tight quarters, opening presents, etc, and wanting to get a little bit of everything, using a 5D1 and a 35 F2 IS. I went natural light on this one because of the weird blend of the flurescent lights, the game lights, window light, etc, it was all over the place. For me to correct all of it, I'd have to stop out all light, but I didn't want to do that, I wanted the weird mix, because that's what it's like in an arcade and wanted to keep the feel. Normally, I'd shoot with flash.
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My other mainstay for events with kids, family, etc, is to use an ultrawide like the 17-40L or similar. I'd be perfectly content with a 14mm or 15mm prime (on full frame) as a lot of it is done at really wide angles to capture everything involved. For this, I use flash. I'm already going to be around F5.6 because I want everything in focus, and then from there, I just provide the light with bounced ETTL flash off the ceiling or a wall. I don't even have to look through the camera, so I can hold it lower and just fire away, because at 17mm on full frame, everything is virtually in the FOV. The key is the flash.
I very common use these for family fuction, events, birthdays, celebration, etc. Don't want to hug a wall indoor. You want to be part of it all.
35mm F2 IS
If I were to replace those two lenses, it would be with a 24-70 F2.8 VC (Tamron) to get stabilization, F2.8, and the ability to go 24mm and 35mm on one lens. But I'd still always have the flash as an option.