24-70 f/2.8 L or 35 f/1.4L?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by tem_por, May 21, 2010.

  1. Wondering which lens to get next for my current lineup. I want something great for shooting newborns.
    I currently have 50mm f/1.8, 100mm f/2.8L Macro, 70-200 f/4L IS. Using a crop camera at the moment.
    Any opinions on 24-70 vs 35 for that purpose?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Seems you're lacking on the "under 50 end". Not sure why you're even considering the 35.
     
  3. The 24-70 will cover the 35mm range, plus it goes down even lower to 24mm on a FF which is moderate wide angle. It also covers the longer ranges, which might help your composition, all at a constant f2.8 aperture.

    This is an extremely sharp lens for a zoom, but it's kind of heavy. The other day I took some portrait shots with it and after blowing the prints up to 8X10, I could even see the hairs on the back of my subjects neck. I had to go into Photoshop and actually tone down those images, becuase they were too sharp. The 35mm is even sharper, or so I heard.
     
  4. The 24-70 is more versatile and performs very well. What body do you shoot with?
     
  5. I use a t2i at the moment, will upgrade when new 5d/7d's come out. Probably FF but undecided.
    Thanks for the feedback, all. Since my main focus is newborn photos I wanted something incredibly sharp, and I have been leaning towards the 24-70 purely because it fills a big gap in my range and would be more versatile, as said.

    I guess I have just been wondering if the 35 was any sharper or if it was worth getting over the 24-7 due to being f/1.4.
     
  6. If you want shallow DOF then the prime will be better and it is probably sharper. I shoot the 24-70 and have the 35 F2. I rarely use the 35 F2 as I find the performance difference between the 24 - 70 and 35 F2 is not noticible - my 35 F2 is soft at F2 and needs to be used at F2.8 so there isn't a real world DOF difference. While the F1.4 is obviously a much better lens than the F2 I would suggest the zoom. By the way I find that I use the 16-35 F2.8 II much more than the 24-70 on my 7D but I use the 24-70 a lot on my 5DII and 1DIIN. For my shooting i find the 24-70 not the best range on APS-C (it will be more versitile than a 35mm lens).
     
  7. I would not make my decision based on which is sharper.
     
  8. I think you're in good shape for lenses. I get my best newborn shots with macro, tripod and bounced flash. Newborns don't move and are very easy to photograph, so you can take your time and get things set up for great results by focusing on details.
     
  9. No matter the logic and "science" I would rent a 35mm f/1.4 for $40 for 3 days from www.BorrowLenses.com [plus shipping]. Then I would use that lens on several subjects, and several applications. If you don't love the lens at the end of the first 300 photos during those 3 days, then it's not the lens for you.
    24-70mm f/2.8 will give you variety, but in the right hands the 35mm f/1.4 can do great things. So can the 24-70mm lens, but I would definitely want to try the 35mm f/1.4 first if we're talking portraits.
    And next time you are looking for a lens, I would try the 135mm f/2 in the same way, rent it first, love it, or don't buy it [specifically for portraits again].
    If you're on a budget, your light quality will make the picture, that's where most people need help.
     
  10. Thanks all. I think that's a great idea, actually. I'm going to rent and try before I buy.
    I really appreciate the advice from everyone and I've also added the 16-35 as a possibility.
    Thanks,
    Tem.
     
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thinking ahead assuming you buy a “FF” camera (and keep your APS-C body), the 16 to 35 is a better choice for versatility a full kit than the 24 to 70. I too use my 16 to 35 extensively on the APS-C bodies, but I purposely do not have a 24 to 70 zoom, because with a dual format kit and the 16 – 35 and 70 – 200 combination, the 24 to 70 is all but superfluous, in terms of effective FL coverage.
    Also, I have the 35/2 and the 35L. The 35L is a marvellous lens – but the 24L gets more use from me on the APS-C bodies, as I have a passion for flexibility - although I do frame in camera with a print size in mind – I often shoot a little wider to have the availability of cropping to various aspect ratios later.
    I agree that the 35/2 is “softer at F/2 than at F/2.8”, but it is still reasonably sharp at F/2, well mine is what I term “OK”: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=937138 , and I think it would be “OK” in terms of sharpness to Photograph newborns, if you needed to use it at F/2.
    But the 35L is a whole different kettle of kippers. The point is all the primes mentioned will out- perform all the zooms mentioned when you use F/2.5 and larger – do you need that speed?
    I think the lenses mentioned are all pretty “Sharp” - I agree with Tommy – I would not be making my buying decision upon “the Sharpest” – there are other elements that would make my decision. YMMV.
    WW
     
  12. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    I hav two grand daughters aged 2 and 3 so i have just traveled your path. And while you get about 9 months of baby laying on a blanket wigglin around. At about 9 months when they start crawling and the walking then are at a DEAD RUN constantly. A zoom would be helpful. FAST AF would be helpful. You won't be doing many baby shots where you need to blur the back ground. They will be laying on it. When they get mobile you'll be lucky just to track fast enough to follow them.
    My advise is to shoot a LOT and stock up on Costco 4X6 paper and the ink of your choice. We have already 4) 100 page albums full of 4X6 prints and a few dozen 8X10's
    And a point to consider if your planning wall display. They become so out of date so fast. Plan on changing the wall display every 3 months. Other wise your guest won't be able to tell what color your walls are painted you will have them covered with prints.
     
  13. I suggest the prime. But for the price of a the zoom lens, you could buy a rolleiflex which, with its huge 6x6 negs, and the wlf, you would likely find better for the job.
     
  14. Tem,
    I have the same lens setup that you have except I also have a 35L 1.4 and I use them for my 40D.
    Although I can't speak for the 24-70L, I can however testify that the 35L is hands down the best purchase in a lens I have made to date. The color and sharpness are pretty outstanding, and the fact that the 35 is actually closer to a 50 on a cropped camera, it stays on my camera most of the time. Also, since the lens is actually a wide angle lens, you can get very close to your subject and then step back if need be. My portraits come out great with this lens. Plus if you like to shoot in low light like I do, you can shoot at f2 and still stay pretty sharp. The bokeh is not butter smooth like the 50 1.4 that I have, but I also don't like my bokeh that smooth. I must tell you that it was very hard for me to find one in a store, and I've heard rumours that it is also hard to find on the internet.
     
  15. Tem,
    I have the same lens setup that you have except I also have a 35L 1.4 and I use them for my 40D.
    Although I can't speak for the 24-70L, I can however testify that the 35L is hands down the best purchase in a lens I have made to date. The color and sharpness are pretty outstanding, and the fact that the 35 is actually closer to a 50 on a cropped camera, it stays on my camera most of the time. Also, since the lens is actually a wide angle lens, you can get very close to your subject and then step back if need be. My portraits come out great with this lens. Plus if you like to shoot in low light like I do, you can shoot at f2 and still stay pretty sharp. The bokeh is not butter smooth like the 50 1.4 that I have, but I also don't like my bokeh that smooth. I must tell you that it was very hard for me to find one in a store, and I've heard rumours that it is also hard to find on the internet.
     
  16. Thanks for the detailed responses everyone, it is more help than I can say. I didn't even think of needing factoring in needing fast AF later on when they're running around (I haven't been, uh, doing this for very long).
    I was pretty wrong in choosing based on sharpest too.
    The reason I was even considering the 35L was because my house has very poor lighting and the 1.4 would probably help a lot, and I would like to try and avoid using my flash if I can.
    This is a hard choice for me, as clueless as I am... I'm thinking the 16-35 or 24-70 would be better choices, since they will do fine for newborn portraits and also be very useful once they start running around due to the extra range (how is the AF speed on these two?)...
    Thanks again everyone, I've been reading your responses over and over so that all the great info will sink into my brain.
     
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "The reason I was even considering the 35L was because my house has very poor lighting and the 1.4 would probably help a lot, and I would like to try and avoid using my flash if I can."
    Why (avoid using the Flash)? - if it is because you want soft lighting, then Bounced Flash a little dragging the Shutter to include some Ambient Light in the exposure, can be very effective.
    What Colour are your Ceilings?
    ***
    The F/1.4 is two stops faster - which gives you two more stops Tv (Shutter Speed) but the deficit can be, using the lens at F/1.4 that gives a slimmer DoF (for the same Shooting Distance).
    The shot of the stuffed animal, in the link I included in my first, was taken at about 5ft to 6ft SD.
    With my 35mm the lens at F/2, there is about 6inches DoF, actually a bit less: working the lens at F/1.4 you would have only about 3 or 4 inches DoF . . .
    On the other hand (if you had a zoom) and went to 30mm and shot at F/2.8 you get just over 12 inches DoF which would be nice and safe for a new born and 5 or 6 ft would be a good tight working distance for a full shot of a new baby.
    You could bang in a little bounce flash off the ceiling and let the window ambient highlight the head, or face, for example.
    I am not suggesting you buy any one lens over another, I am just offering suggestions which argue with your “reasons” for buying this lens or that lens – not to be argumentative - but to bring up things to consider, if you have not thought about them, yet.
    Particularly, I see no reason not to use Flash – I have a passion for NOT using Flash if I can get away with it and my business was built in mainly “No Flash Work” – but for nice intimate Baby Shots in dark homes – bounce Flash is easy to achieve and using one Flash Head only, very nice pictures can be made, again YMMV, I am just throwing things out there for your consideration.
    ***
    (how is the AF speed on these two? [16 to 35 and 24 to 70])...
    The AF is more than suitable in both lenses for getting 3year olds playing and scooting about - Shooting Technique and AF Technique will let you down, before AF Function lets you down.
    One AF Technique is Centre Point AF - and AI Servo - and frame the moving subject in the centre, shot with air on both sides and crop for artistic purposes later.
    Also Canon AF works on CONTRAST differences so, (for example) the head is often not the best AF target - the line between dark clothing and the skin on the neck of chest will give a better contrast in low light.
    My preferred Shooting Technique is single shot and prediction, but many use the machine gun approach. Neither is right or wrong and both have advantages. It’s good to develop both techniques, IMO.
    If shooting a spray, I usually only shoot three, even for fast sports.
    For single shot I use the CF (Custom Function) to select the AF to work on the “*” Button which is located on the rear of the camera – I am not sure of the CF Functionality of your Camera.
    WW
     
  18. All of these lenses are great so I don't know if one is better then another its just a matter of taste. I actually had the same decision, with a newborn on the way I considered a 24-70 or 35 1.4 but I ended up going with the 24-70 mainly because 2.8 seems to be my sweet spot even when I use primes. I shoot with a 5D2 so the ISO performance is very good so the versatility of the zoom won me over but I do enjoy using primes. So far I really love the 24-70 but I have not tried the 35 L but from what I hear its an amazing lens and I may get one someday.
    If you have a 50 1.8 see how it does at 1.8., just because the 35 is an L its still just 2/3 of a stop faster so it may not be enough anyway. Sometimes you simply need light so I strongly suggest using flash with a diffuser or bounce if needed. Many people seem to think of flash as a bad thing but its just light. just don't shoot it directly at your subject and you should get some good results with any L lens.
     
  19. it

    it

    24-70 is better for newborns IMO.
     
  20. On an APS-C camera, the 35mm is simply a long 'normal' lens, and even 24mm is only a short 'normal', not a wide angle in the usual sense (equivalent to a 38mm+ on a 5D).
    If you are serious about adding a "full-frame" body in the future, the zoom would be a good option, but it's rather long for the APS-C body like your t2i. On the other hand, the 16-35mm is going to be too short for a full-frame for the uses you say are important to you.
    I'd make the decision about what lens to get based on what you have now and, like Scarlett O'Hara, worry about what to have with a 35mm sensor "tomowwow" when you actually get one. The 7D is a real alternative in the smaller sensor to the 5D. APS-C is not a short-term, short-lived alternative, it is a format in its own right.
     
  21. wnw

    wnw

    You need to be careful shooting any sort of portrait with lenses under 'standard' - i.e. 50mm at full frame. You'll get distortions of features and noses will look bigger and faces fatter or wider. This applies to any zoom set at less than 50mm on full frame.
    The Canon 50mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8 are excellent lenses, they are light and so make shooting alot easier while bending down as you'll inevitably do with children and they are cheap. The 1.2 and 1.4 versions are alot more money but expensive and will be overkill as you'll invariably end up doing post production work to get rid of snotty noses, blotches and clogged eyes (Totally Rad Retouch Pro plugin for PS is superb for this).
    Lens crop of 1.6x will make these lenses 80mm and 135mm respectively, both excellent lengths for newborns and tight portraits.
    I have used the 24-70 f2.8 for years and love it but I'd not consider it for newborns or tight-in portraits (head and shoulders) for the reasons given above. The 70-200mm f2.8 is much better for this but more than likely far too heavy for practical use in what it is you want to do.
    The above are my humble opinions only and experiences from use of these lenses.
    00WWJ2-246299584.jpg
     
  22. wnw

    wnw

    This is a tighter shot 70-200mm f.28 on Canon 5DII at 140mm - note the lack of distortion on the facial features.
    00WWJ4-246299684.jpg
     
  23. Thanks everyone, can't say that enough. Sorry for the slow reply but the weekend means rare internet usage.
    I'm a little overwhelmed with the options regarding my lens next choice, but I will take some of the advice here and focus on the fact that I have a crop camera, and choose a lens based on that. If I upgrade to FF in the future, I will deal with my choices then. But for now I will try to choose the best lens I can for newborns on a crop camera.
    I'll also look into using my flash because I will probably have no choice, and I can use it off camera too which might help some. Oh, and I have white ceilings.
    To Neil, maybe you can clear this up for me. If for my needs I need minimum of 50mm+ (FF) on my crop, why is the 24-70 not worth looking at? is it because not 'all' of the range on it would be suitable for me? Sorry for the newbie question, just want to understand.
    I'll stick with what I have and see what I can do with it, and for now will research other lens options for my needs.. maybe an 85 would be an option. Anyway, thank you all again, I truly appreciate the help. I will get there.
     
  24. For a crop sensored camera and someone who is not a full time professional I would strongly recommed the Canon 17-40 F4L. I shoot a lot of portrait work and never get a chance to open up to F2.8. For portratits I am around 5.6 - 8.0 shutter 1/200 or slower and almost always using either multiple Canon 580 EX off camera or Alien Bee AB800's with small softbox or umbrella. I love natural lighting, but when shooting people controlling the ratio's is everything. I seldom use my 70-200 in studio because i prefer to be in close to my subject where i can make contact or communicate without yeling across the room.
    If you must go longer a great alternative to the 24-70 is the Tamron 28-75 F2.8. This lens is only about $600 and in my opinion is equal to the 24-70 in image quality. It is NOT equal in build quality but does have a 5 year warranty and takes pictures just as sharp as my Canon 50 1.8.
     
  25. I own the 24-70 f/2.8L and I have rented the 35 f/1.4L
    Personally, I love the 35 f/1.4L II and the client I shot for also loved the pictures produced by that lens. If you shoot low light situations(in particular events and weddings) and do not want to be pushing your ISO up, and using as little flash as possible then the 35 f/1.4 L II is for you. From what I understand the 35mm f/1.4 is one of the sharpest lens when shot wide open. I believe it because I was shooting wide open at 1.4 and all my pics were sharp.
    If someone told me I had to shoot a wedding or event, and I had to pick between the 24-70 f/2.8L and the 35mm f/1.4L then I would go with the 35mm f/1.4L. If you have gotten the oppurtinity to shot with the 35 f/1.4 you will understand what all the fuss is about over this lens.
     
  26. wnw

    wnw

    Hi Tem
    Yes, the lower range of 24-50 on that lens (24-70mm) isn't really suitable for tight shots of people or babies (full face or face and neck/part shoulders). You'll get some distortion of the features. This is assuming you will shoot on a full frame camera. It won't be so much of a problem if you are shooting 1.4x or 1.6x
    All the best
     

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