Is this reasonable or am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by kate_o'neill, May 11, 2010.

  1. I'm finally ready to purchase a lens or two. Here are the facts:
    • I own a Rebel xTI (since 2006) - I will probably upgrade the body in the not-to-distant future but don't think I'll go full frame for a very long time.
    • My current lenses: 18-55 (non-IS) and 50 1.8
    • The 50 1.8 is on my camera 98% of the time, don't like the 18-55.
    • I'm a mom who likes to take too many pictures of her kids so I need a lens that performs well indoors, I don't love using the flash.
    • I'm scared of zooms, I like how the prime makes me think about the composition, whenever I've used the 18-55, I feel a little overwhelmed about zooming in and out and don't move around too much for different angles, although I do love the wide angle.
    • I love the sharp pics the nifty fifty gives me, I hate that it only happens 50% of the time because of the bad AF.
    • My limit is $1200, if I spend less than that, I'll put the extra aside to save for the next lens or camera upgrade.
    I am really close to biting the bullet on the Canon 28 1.8 (maybe the Sigma 30 1.4?) and a Canon 85 1.8. I feel like I would use the 28 most of the time (indoors) and then the 85 outside at parties and at my son's T-ball games (indoors). I would use the 50 1.8 here and there if needed. I would have a 28 (or 30), 50 and 85 prime.
    I was originally considering the Canon 17-55 but the size of it on my Rebel really makes me nervous. I think I would not grab it as much because of the size and also, as I mentioned above, I'm not really used to zooms.
    I want great photos, when the 50 1.8 performs well, I'm happy with the quality. I would just like consistency.
    Thanks for reading my novel and for any thoughts!
  2. Sounds like you're sold on primes, and your plan sounds reasonable to me. Keep the 18-55 for when you need to go wide.
  3. I use the 28 1.8, 50 1.4 and 85 most of the time and I am very happy with the results. Its a little annoying to always change lenses but they all do balance well on the camera and give L zoom results so I live with it.
  4. Your plan sounds good to me. The 28/1.8, 30/1.4 and 85/1.8 are all generally well regarded lenses. I have the 85/1.8 and love it.
  5. I have the 85 1.8 and it spoils me. I can definitely say it is a good choice. And, when I only have one child playing indoors I can use the 85 1.8 for candid portraits.
    I have the 24 2.8 and I like it for some uses, but for a lot of what I shoot 24 is too wide. I have also found that 2.8 is not always "that" fast indoor if the lighting is low. So, I do sometimes think about the Canon 28 1.8 or the Sigma 30 1.4. Those two seem to be the most commonly chosen fast lenses in that focal range.
    I can't comment on the 50mm's as I don't have one. I don't care for the current options and so have not gotten one.
    With a $1200 budget, you can probably get the 28/30 and the 85 and have enough money left over to get the 430EX flash. This flash is very different in effect from the on-board flash, especially when you bounce it. It has a learning curve, but I am liking the results I'm getting with mine. Of course, that would mean sticking with the 50 1.8, which it sounds like you may not be wanting to do.
    I use these on an XSI, so not too much different from your XTI.
    DS Meador
  6. Hi xti owner , heres what I do i go to the local came shop and for me its murphys camera shop which is a national chain, and i bring my camera 8 gig of memory and take pictures with every lens that im considering to buy and they dont mind a bit then i go home and open up photoshop and see what makes me the most crazy to buy and do that, you can akso rent the lens from them for a weekend very cheaply and then you can really wera it out, you just have to give a deposit and then you get it back the minute you bring the lens back, be sure t take photos inside and out, store lighting can be a bummer.
  7. My favorite setup on my Pentax K7 is a pair of small primes, the 21mm and 70mm Limiteds. One on the camera and one in a pocket. I could probably live happily with just those two lenses.
    So, no, you're not crazy at all.
  8. For a fast, inexpensive and sharp prime I'd suggest the Canon 35mm f2.0: A tiny lens, great fit on 1.6 crop. Still, not sure why you're scared of zooms, LOL. If you overcome the fear, and can afford it, the EF-s (crop body only) Canon 17-55 f2.8 is a fast, high quality "normal zoom". The-Digital-Darkroom is a good site for learning about all the Canon lens.
  9. Sounds like a great kit you're planning. I'd say go ahead, there's no shame in preferring primes (quite the opposite).

    I can also heartily underwrite the advice to look at a good flash before looking for a new body, there's still a lot of life left in your XTi, and a good flash will really make a difference.
  10. You can get great pictures with an external flash like the 430EX, if you know how to use it. (You'll need a few accessories to get the most out of it.) And with the added light, you can stop down the lens so that getting everything perfectly in focus isn't so important as it is at f/1.8.
  11. Primes are great and I like your choices. If you're on a budget, don't completely rule out the underrated 28mm 2.8. At 2.8 it's very sharp and the price is very reasonable. The 85mm 1.8 is a great bargain lens as well.
  12. Thanks everyone! I'm feeling more confident about my decision!
    Mendel, "scared" was probably the wrong term, lol. I think I'm tainted from the bad kit zoom I had. :)
  13. One more response for you...unfortunately, jsut an "Agree with the above"...I have the 28 1.8 and the 50 1.8. THey both get a lot of use on my camera. I also would agree a 430EX would be a good addition as well.
  14. For $1200 you can buy all three primes.
    There's just the matter of choosing between
    28/1.8 - Sigma 30/1.4
    50/1.4 - Sigma 50/1.4
    I lean towards Sigmas here, more modern designs (especially when you compare the 50s) and more optimized towards f1.4-2 which you will be using a lot it seems. Of course you can keep the 50/1.8 but I'd say Sigma will be a lot better and it's worth the price if you like the focal length.
    28/1.8 (or 35/2) would be a no brainer if you shot also film and/or were moving to 35mm digital but as that is not the case then Sigma makes sense.
    Either 85/1.8 or 100/2 will be great.
    28/2.8 is a nice lens, but only nice I'd say. For the price you could consider replacing your kit zoom with a used Tamron 17-50/2.8.
  15. I agree with comments on the 85/ should have a red ring around it.
  16. Hi Kate. I see you are having problems with AF. It might be useful to try and resolve these, and there are many tips in this forum about improving this. In short, use the centre spot in one shot mode for the most accurate focus. You can also experiment with shifting focus off the shutter button to the * button.
    As regards lenses good advice is offered above. Your kit zoom is a bit of a bummer, it would turn anybody doing portraits to distraction. I have replaced mine with a Tamron 17-50 2.8 XR. These cast around $400 for the non IS version, just a thought.
  17. I like Canon's 35/2 on my 40D (same sensor size as your XTi). That said, I think Jim Henderson's advice (after decoding) is right on. If you tried a "good" zoom it might dispel the feelings you have garnered for your 18-55 lens. I have the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and it works great as an indoor zoom. It's cheap to boot so you could get that and a couple of the primes you mentioned and still get change back.
  18. Given what you're already reasonably happy with, you're not crazy or at least not in this regard. Lots of people made do with a normal lens alone and produced some outstanding results.
    I will only point out that the EF 35mm f/2 is a comparative bargain, and nearly as fast as the 28mm you're considering. I use mine a lot.
  19. I love primes as well, but do own a couple of zooms. I have the 50mm f1.8 and the 85mm f1.8 and love them both. The 85mm gives amazing bokeh when I want close shots of my daughters face or a profile. It's also great if you go to indoor performances (ballet, music performances, kids activities) where an inside flash isn't allowed. I've been looking at the Sigma 24mm f1.8 (which is just a little over a 35mm on a canon crop body). I tell you what though if I had 1200.00 to spend on just one lens i'd be snapping me up a 35mm f1.4. or look at the 35mm f2 still leaves enough for the 85mm
  20. With most canon primes the longer they get the better they get. The 85 1.8 is spectacular the 50 1.4 gives amazing results if you can live with the crappy autofocus and the 28 1.8 is good but not outstanding but mechanically its just like the 85. But nothing crazy at all in your thinking but you do have a lousy zoom. I find I use primes more but there are times I just need a zoom, maybe upgrade to the new 18-55 with IS for the times when you do want a zoom or just wait until you upgrade your camera to get it in the kit.
  21. As tommy says the 85 F1.8 and 50 F1.4 are two of the better non L series EOS primes - the 85 F1.8 is probably the better lens of the two ( it is probably the best non-L series prime TS-E lenses excluded). You may also want to consider the 35 F2 or Sigma 30 F1.4. I have the Canon and it is not a bad lens - better than the 28 F1.8 which I decided not to own.
  22. Hi Kate,
    I got the Canon 28 f/1.8 USM for the exact reason you did. Indoor, no-flash photography. The 1.8 is great, the USM focuses fast and the pix come out sharp on my XTi and it's almost a standard 50mm equivalent.
    Got mine second hand at around $500. It's on my camera most of the time.
  23. Noone has mentioned Tamron's 17-50/2.8 yet. I think most would agree that it's a considerable upgrade from your kit lens. If you pair it with, say, either a 28/1.8 or a 35/2, and a 85/1.8 added on top, you will have a superb kit.
  24. Hi Kate. I love spending other people's money. Here is what I recommend you buy. Prices are from After listing stuff and their prices, I will explain a couple of things about what I've listed.
    Sigma 30mm/1.4 (includes hood) $440
    Step-Down Ring 62mm-58mm $ 8 (for the Sigma 30mm/1.4 lens)
    Canon 85mm/1.8 $380
    Canon ET-65 Hood for 85mm $ 24
    Step-Up Ring 52mm-58mm $ 7 (for your current 50mm/1.8 lens)
    58mm Rubber Hood $ 5 (for your current 50mm/1.8 lens)
    Tamron 58mm Lens Cap $ 7 (for your current 50mm/1.8 lens)
    Hoya 58mm Pro1 Circ. Pol. Filter $ 89
    Canon 430EXII Flash $250
    Total $1210
    You can also save some money by buying the lenses and flash used.
    By buying all these things, you will have a great three lens kit standardized on one 58mm filter size. The only filter you need these days withdigital is a circular polarizing filter. Also, as others have pointed out, once you learn to use a swivel/bounce flash like the 430EXII, you will no longer 'hate' flash, even if you still prefer completely natural light. Flash outdoors (with a dialed-down flash exposure compensation) is also often a good idea.
    I also agree with the other poster who said keep your 18-55 zoom for your wide angle needs. However, your next purchase should be to upgrade your 18-55 non-IS to the 18-55 IS model. I never had the non-IS model but the IS model is supposed to be much better. It also uses 58mm filters. I used to have (and liked) the Tamron 17-50mm/2.8 (non-IS) zoom,but it will kill your standardization on 58mm filters.
    Finally, you can aim to upgrade the Canon 50mm/1.8 to the Canon 50mm/1.4. That also sticks with the 58mm filter size. Note that the Sigma 50mm/1.4 that someone suggested may be a little better optically, but it is a huge, heavy, more expensive lens. I do like my Sigma 30mm/1.4 lens and use it with the 62-58mm step-down ring on a Canon APS-C crop camera with no problem from vignetting due to the step-down ring.
    I hope this helps. Sorry it was such a long post.
  25. I used to zoom but currently I use a 24/50/100 set up most often.

    Depending on your preferences you can vary in qualty.

    My take would be: used 24/2.8, a 50/1.8 and a new 100/2.8L IS macro.

    I must confess however that I'm considering a FF for wide and standard. (currently trying out a roll of film in my old
  26. Maybe you don't like zooms b/c the 18-55mm isn't all that great. I'd get a 24-70mm f/2.8L. The f/2.8 should allow you to shoot in fairly well lit indoor scenes and the zoom gives you versatility. Other than that, the 85mm f/1.8 would be my choice.
  27. Hi Kate
    I'm gonna go the other way on this. I'd say buy a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. Why? First because it will remove the taint of your old non-IS kit lens. Second is because it will do more toward meeting all of your needs than a bucket full of primes.
    The very thought that you were considering the Canon 17-55 points out the wisdom of this move: The Tammy is lighter, so it's more Rebel-Friendly and it costs way less. My guess is that you'll almost never feel the need to take it off your camera.
  28. Hi Kate,

    Your lens choices are very sensible, and perfect for what you aim to do. Since you are planning to shoot indoors without using flash, I would (echoing an earlier comment) recommend the Sigma over the Canon because of its newer design.
    Do you notice the poor AF at all apertures or just wide open? It may be an issue with your camera or it may simply be due to shallow depth of field at maximum aperture. This is something that will plague you with any fast lens.
  29. I had the 28 1.8 for my 40D and it was ok not great. It really wanted to be stopped down to 2.8 or smaller to get acceptable results. Good news is that it's a great "normal" focal length on your APS-C camera. I would second the post that mentioned the 430EX speedlite. It will take your indoor photography to the next level if you use it right. I use a Fong lightsphere on my 430EX and 5D and get awesome lighting for shots of my baby indoors and outdoors. If you don't mind the added weight of the flash then I'd strongly recommend it.
  30. I loved all of the responses! Thanks so much!
    I made the purchase. It's the 28 1.8, the 85 1.8 and I bought the 18-55 IS to update my kit lens. I think I'm only going to use the zoom for when I need that really wide angle. It's such a great deal from what I've read. I really wanted the Tamron 17-50 2.8 but that was pushing the budget and by buying the 18-55 I feel like I won't feel guilty upgrading in the future since I didn't pay a ton on this zoom.
    We'll see - the only thing I'm not 100% sure about is the Canon 28 1.8 over the Sigma 30 1.4. I made the decision though and I'll try out the Canon when I get it to see if I love it! I'm excited. :)
    Thanks again!
  31. I have the canon 85 1.8 and it is a wonderful lens. I use it when I photograph people and can not say enough good things about it.
    I also have a manual focus 28 2.0 and enjoy it for wider angles. I find it relatively easy to focus the 28 2.0 by hand, especially if I stop the lens down. A used manual focus lens is very inexpensive and a way to try the focal length. I think I paid about $30 for it.
    Here is an example of the manual focus 28 2.0.
  32. Kate I think you made a great choice. Don't listen to all the bad reviews of the 28. Many people rip on this lens based on what they read on the web and not from actual experience. I tested mine against my 17-40 and 24-105 and I could not see a difference in real world examples. If you look at those test charts hard enough you wont by anything. Its a really fun compact lens that focuses fast, I just avoid using it wide open, I notice if I stop down to just 2.0 or 2.2 its much sharper. Its even more fun on full frame ( the sigma will not work on full frame ).
    The 85 is excellent and I hear the new 18-55 is much better then the old version and will come in handy when you need a decent zoom that will give you some wide angle coverage.
    Enjoy your new lenses and post some shots when you can.
  33. Hi Kate,
    I would have to agree that you made some good choices. As previously state, real world applications differ from theoritical models. Just shoot and enjoy. :)
    I own the 28 f/1.8, the 50 f/1.8, the 85 f/1.8 and the 100 f/2.8 macro. The focus is really great in low light on the 85. The 28 focuses similarly for me. I thought the 28 was a bad purchase at first but I have grown to enjoy it. It is sharp at multiple apertures and easy to focus on my XTI.
  34. I have and love the Sigma 30 1.4, it does a decent job in low light. I used it during a concert cruise and it produced some nice pictures.
    The thing I've found about indoor light is that even though a lens is fast, you may have to crank up the ISO and/or go with a slow shutter speed to avoid the flash, which can lead to disappointing photos of children (and can risk camera shake, if you are using a telephoto). Unless it's not permitted or impossible, I'll use flash indoors now, as needed, with a nice diffuser to soften. Fast shutter, ISO 100, and a range of available apertures make for better photos than being stuck with a lens wide open and super shallow depth of field just to avoid underexposed images.

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