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Old 10-29-2012, 04:07 PM   #16
dmason
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First off, it's spelled "lens".

I'm a pro photographer of 13 years and my reccomendation to you is to buy a fast prime lens, either a 50 or 85mm f1.4 or the like. Despite what Canon's marketing would have you believe, even lenses without that little red "L" are worth owning. My $400 50mm f1.4 sees as much or more use than our studio's 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 2.8L lenses.

Ultimately you will purchase whatever you have your heart set on though, I'm sure.

FWIW when someone is apprenticing for me I won't let them shoot with anything but the 50mm lens for quite some time. Buy at least one fast prime lens!
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmason View Post
First off, it's spelled "lens".

I'm a pro photographer of 13 years and my reccomendation to you is to buy a fast prime lens, either a 50 or 85mm f1.4 or the like. Despite what Canon's marketing would have you believe, even lenses without that little red "L" are worth owning. My $400 50mm f1.4 sees as much or more use than our studio's 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 2.8L lenses.

Ultimately you will purchase whatever you have your heart set on though, I'm sure.

FWIW when someone is apprenticing for me I won't let them shoot with anything but the 50mm lens for quite some time. Buy at least one fast prime lens!
Thanks for the advice dmason, since starting this thread, I've begun spelling it "lens", as I've been corrected on it on three different forums now. Although as has also been pointed out, "lense" is a perfectly correct spelling of the word, just not nearly as commonly used. Kind of like "doughnut" and "donut".

As for your fast prime advice, thanks, I'll definitely look into it. Out of curiosity, what type of professional photography do you do? I've been told that lens and camera suggestions can vary greatly depending on someone's intended uses. I only ask because you mention a studio. I really have no interest in getting into studio, portrait, etc. type photography. Similarly, I get a lot of recommendations by people who are into sports photography, which also does not appeal to me. So would your suggestion of a 50mm prime lense be the same for any photo styles across the board? Or would your advice be dependant on what the person was planning on doing with the camera?
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:59 PM   #18
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LOL thanks for tolerating my (unnecessary) spelling lesson!

The 50mm is considered the standard of all lenses of the 35mm (referring to the size of the capture device - film in the old days or the CMOS sensor of my 5D MkIII) format.

As mentioned earlier your Rebel will crop the image by a factor of 1.6, hence a 50mm lens becomes in effect a 90mm (roughly). This makes it an ideal portrait-length lens. However, the blurred background common to this scenario contributes to a dramatic still life as well as a portrait. Stop the lens down to f8 or even smaller and have plenty of depth of field for scenery shots, too. Compact, light, inexpensive and SHARP, the Canon 50mm f1.4 is an extremely versatile lens for ANY application, which is why I recommend it. It's compact and light dimensions mean it is more likely to actually make it into your motorcycle saddle bag on a regular basis, and it's low price means you won't be afraid to bring it anywhere for fear of breaking or losing it (can't say THAT about a $1k+ L series lens!).

I insist on my apprentices training with it because by eliminating the distraction of "zooming" a lens, one is forced to create an interesting composition by really studying the subject at hand and telling the story with inspiration and emotion and not a technological solution... assuming that makes any sense.

dmason screwed with this post 10-29-2012 at 05:37 PM Reason: Incorrectly labeled the 5D MkIII sensor as a CCD, fixed
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Justav View Post
For situations as you are describing them, I am using the Tamron 18-270 lens (also with a Canon crop DSLR). I consider the image and build quality superior to any of the Canon kit lenses, and value the flexibility and convenience on a trip much over the incremental picture quality I could obtain from heavier, full frame Canon lenses that I also own.
For me, it is all about missed opportunities.

If I want additional choices and want to carry the extra weight, the next ones I end up taking are typically
- EF-S 10-22mm
- EF 50mm/1.4
- EF 135mm/f2L
Tamron lenses are indeed sharp and I have owned or used a few, but they do not have Ultrasonic focusing capability as that is Canon-proprietary technology and their auto-focus performance is dismal by comparison IMO.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by fast4d View Post
L lenses are amazing but HEAVY.

what would you pros use for a carry-around lense? one that you would use if you have to carry your camera for 10 hours?
If I'm being paid? The 70-200 f2.8L IS on one body and the 50 f1.4 or 24-70f2.8L on the other.

For myself on the bike? I throw a Canon 30D with old metal-mount 50mm f1.8 into the tank bag and call it good!
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:48 PM   #21
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Look at Sigma lenses.. Canon makes nice stuff no doubt but so does Sigma.

I carry a Sigma 11-17 F2.8, Sigma 17-50 f2.8 and a "cheapie" Sigma 18-200 for a nice all purppose lens.. the 17-50mm is on the majority of the time.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmason View Post
LOL thanks for tolerating my (unnecessary) spelling lesson!

The 50mm is considered the standard of all lenses of the 35mm (referring to the size of the capture device - film in the old days or the CMOS sensor of my 5D MkIII) format.

As mentioned earlier your Rebel will crop the image by a factor of 1.6, hence a 50mm lens becomes in effect a 90mm (roughly). This makes it an ideal portrait-length lens. However, the blurred background common to this scenario contributes to a dramatic still life as well as a portrait. Stop the lens down to f8 or even smaller and have plenty of depth of field for scenery shots, too. Compact, light, inexpensive and SHARP, the Canon 50mm f1.4 is an extremely versatile lens for ANY application, which is why I recommend it. It's compact and light dimensions mean it is more likely to actually make it into your motorcycle saddle bag on a regular basis, and it's low price means you won't be afraid to bring it anywhere for fear of breaking or losing it (can't say THAT about a $1k+ L series lens!).

I insist on my apprentices training with it because by eliminating the distraction of "zooming" a lens, one is forced to create an interesting composition by really studying the subject at hand and telling the story with inspiration and emotion and not a technological solution... assuming that makes any sense.
Thanks again! I really appreciate the explanation, and it makes sense. Just what I need...another option to consider. All joking aside, whether I go the prime lens route or not, it is very helpful to at least make a more informed decision.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:27 AM   #23
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No disrespect to anyone but avoid Sigma IMO. It has neither the sharpness of Tamron nor the focus capabilities of Canon. The worst of both worlds, in my opinion.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #24
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Keep in mind you where looking for a lens for moto photography. Can't beat a zoom for that. I agree will what dmason says about primes and third party manufactures. "L" lenses are easy to sell and they keep there value.

The problem with primes and motorcycles is space and security. Do you have a good place to lock the lenses that you are not going to carry with you? Or do you want to carry them with you all the time?

The 50 f1.4 or even the 50 f1.8 would be great for low light shots. It would be a 80mm on a full frame which is a good length. Back in the film days I used a 35mm and 85mm as standard lenses way more over a 50mm. The problem with it is where you would be shooting very low light is where you would want something on the wide side. Like campsite at night with the fire and stars. You could get a 28 f1.8 that would be around 45mm, but I find 28mm useless on full frame.

It sound like other than moto photography you haven't found what you like to take photos of. Not that that is a bad thing. Go through your photos and see what focal length your pictures are shot at. With your kit lens do you keep thinking I wish it was wider or longer? That will tell you what focal length you need.

If you think you might go to full frame avoid EF-S lenses other than the 10-22, it's the only way to get wide on a crop body.

And what works for one person may be all wrong for another. I like to shoot wide, but can't afford full frame. I get all caught up in the crop factor (I'm at 1.3) and think it is not wide enough. In the end of the day you look though the viewfinder and make due with what you have. Usually the only time you miss shots is because you don't have the long focal length lenses, unless you have very deep pockets for 600mm or 800mm you're going to miss those.

Don't over think it and have fun. I think you know what lenses will work for you.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:49 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by fast4d View Post
L lenses are amazing but HEAVY.

what would you pros use for a carry-around lense? one that you would use if you have to carry your camera for 10 hours?
Pretty much every pro will carry a medium wide-tele zoom and almost always it will be a f2.8. The farther you get away from the standard or what your eye sees which is about a 45mm the more the shot becomes about the lens and the less it becomes about the subject. It's one reason why someone like Mary Ellen Mark will always shoot with a 35mm (equivalent) because it ensures that the photo isn't about lens. It can be fun to shoot photos with big telephotos or really wide angles but people who depend on them (or overdone HDR or Photoshop or...) to make interesting photos are making up for weak composition, lighting, story telling, timing or exposure.

One thing to debunk is the whole myth of "prime" lenses being sharper. They're not. Sometimes they can be but it really depends on the series of the lens you're talking about. Unless you have a very specific need like a tilt-shift or a super fast lens like a 24 f1.4 or 50 f1.2 you're far better off with the zoom. All pros use zooms. Photo geeks compare lens charts of primes while we make money shooting with zooms. As an aside my 24-70 Canon zoom is sharper than both my ultra fast primes and all my tilt lenses and I'll only use the primes when I absolutely have to as I hate having to fix the files from those lenses. The whole "primes are sharper" nonsense is a hold over from 20 years ago when zooms weren't quite as good.

If you're doing landscapes or sports the 70-200 would make a great second lens but if you want one good lens get the 24-105 and upgrade your camera to a full frame chip. A used 5D MkII and a 24-105 can do anything you want and you won't outgrow it.

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Old 10-30-2012, 03:51 PM   #26
dmason
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I respectfully disagree. I regularly use my 50mm f1.4 on high paying commercial projects because I feel it is sharper than my 24-70 f2.8L. YMMV but the opinion that primes are sharper cannot be written off as simply a holdover from the past. There are those of us reaffirming the belief every day.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:08 PM   #27
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I'm no pro photographer, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
My pro video experience with Canon lenses that cost six figures doesn't really apply here.
I have however went through a phase of carrying a 5DII for a couple of years while living off my bike in between gigs, buying and selling a bunch of Canon lenses throughout that time. I always felt like (wide) zooms are like DS tires, there was always some compromise there I didn't like but dealt with it for the perceived convenience. I carried around a 70-200L for a while too and never really used it.

Camera lens recommendations are indeed like tires to the ADV world, we all have different takes on it all, and for the most part nobody is wrong. You just have to try things out for yourself to see what works or doesn't. Buying used lenses makes that easy and affordable to change it up.

I took a hard look through thousands of my photos to see what focal length I was shooting at most, turns out 30-40mm was the average so I sold the 24-70 and bought a 35L.
For me and my A.D.D. I found that shooting with only one focal length worked great in my travels, and I feel my overall photography improved when I started to shoot only primes and ditched the big heavy L zooms. Zooming with my feet and taking a little more time to compose my shots instead of a quick zoom, click and move on approach. Around the same time I was getting tired of lugging around a big pelican case on my bike to facilitate big lenses.

35mm on a full frame body does 90% of what I like, and since I'm not a pro needing all the resolution to fulfill the needs of my clients and with the excellent resolution of the 5DII, the files allowed me to really crop (zoom) in if need be, my 35 was really like having a 35, 50, or even a 85mm lens when I factored in cropping for my own personal use of the photos. No Canon L zoom looked as good as the 35mm when shooting at 35mm to me.
The 35 1.4L was hands down my favorite Canon lens, and I still shoot primarily with that focal length all the time, though not with a Canon.

I also carried for a time 20mm USM lens for some wide shots I wanted to take, great lens, not too pricey (compared to L glass) and pretty small to pack.

I believe that shooting primes can help someone improve their photography, and even the cheap Canon primes will give you a fast lens, take up little space, and take nice photos.

Happy shooting!
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:32 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Lost Rider View Post
I believe that shooting primes can help someone improve their photography...
That is very true and maybe the very best reason to shoot with primes. Especially a 28 or 35 which force you to get closer and therefore engage your subject. Good advice!

Gregor
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:01 AM   #29
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As said earlier, I prefer primes. There is something about moving your feet rather than zooming that makes you more interactive––connected to the space and subject––and it will show in your work. It's hard to explain so I'm not going to waste many words trying, but it's sort of like the difference between typing a letter on a word processor or sending email vs. a handwritten letter. A prime has it's own character that is revealed through subtle ways when shot by someone who is in tune. Access to apertures greater than f2.0 is part of this magic too.

35mm is my normal on full-frame. Perhaps a 50mm would be nice but it would be a rare occasion that it would get used. I have a Leica M6 and 35mm is the only lens that's ever been on it. For DSLR, nearly everything I need is covered between the Canon 35mm f1.4 and the 85mm f1.2. These two pieces of glass are about as close to perfection as you're going to get in this format. And I'm not talking about test chart geekiness––I mean in terms of shooting. They release your creativity in a way that goes beyond rational explanation. Those who only shoot zooms won't understand, may deny it even exists, but it's to me it's undeniable. A flow kind of thing.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:22 AM   #30
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For a "one lens only" and a "cover all possibilities" rig, I'd go with a Tamron 18-270mm It won't be as clear as a "Cannon L" but it will give you clear pics and will cover the "portrait" and the "zoom" pics.

I have a Nikon, and I opted for the 18-55mm which came with the kit and added a Sigma 70-300 Macro lens. I'm pretty much OK with the rig, but I find it bulky and I find myself rarely changing the 18-55 as it takes time to switch between them and sometimes I miss the photo because I have the wrong lens on...
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