Please guys, help me choose an additional lens!

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by karina_z, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. Hi guys, I have earned some money with my first jobs (weddings) So now i want to buy a new lens as a gift to myself ( I have around 1200€ to spend- app around 1500$) Ofcourse I dont have to spend all of the money, but i will if needed. So, the problem is that i cant choose, since its very hard earned money :p
    So, my kit is: 85mm f1.8; 70-200mm is, 17-40mm f4; 24-105mm (all canon)
    1. I was thinking about Canon 50mm 1.2 (but after reading some reviews on the net, I found out that 85mm comes out sharper and gives nicer bokeh). However every time I see a photo on flickr with great DOF/gorgeous bokeh, it's always a 50mm 1.2 or 1.4! I guess i want a lens which i can always carry with me (light weight) and just take snapshots of e.g. my lunch in cafe, or flowers in the shadow or inside portraits etc (so i want to take pictures at closer range and with lower lights, 50mm 1.2 is better right? BUT I have read that this lens actually works at its best only at f1.8-2, so should i stick with my 85mm?)
    2. I was thinking on buying a macro lens, since i have none. So, Canon 60mm, 100mm or 180mm macro?haha... Well I want to take close-ups of mushrooms, flowers, eyes, products, cats etc. Well i already have a 70-200mm lens(with an extender), so i don't know if 180mm makes a lot of difference? since i obviously don't want similar lenses. So about 60mm and 100mm. Well i was thinking does 50mm 1.2 varies a lot from a 60mm macro? Maybe i can use 60mm macro for 50mm 1.2 purposes as well? So then it would be definitely a valuable addition. Or is 100mm better?
    3. Maybe an other alternative, something I haven't come across and I am really missing? Perhaps a good addition for wedding photography? (e.g. low light inside parties?)
    I am really lost, so i need your help guys! I am just a beginner and know little about technical side, however my talent/creativity does bring customers. So please help me, I would really appreciate it!
    cheers, Karina
     
  2. For "snapshots" you'll likely not use f/1.2 or f/1.4--the focus depth will be so razor thin, you'll likely miss focus. Unless you need the shorter focal length or you're not happy with the bokeh you get shooting portraits with your 85mm (highly unlikely, but I guess it's possible) then I'd stick with what you have.
    I have the 60mm Macro and it is razor sharp. Very nice lens and moderately fast at f/2.8. But there are two things I'll say about it. As a non-macro lens, I don't use it very often. I will take portraits with it, but I also have a 24-105 and it's just way more convenient to use a zoom the rest of the time--I'll take the slower aperture almost all of the time, but you may need more speed. Secondly, as a macro lens it is very nice but working distance is SHORT! If you plan to shoot macro and you need working distance (like shooting bugs) then definitely look at the 100 or 180. As a combo macro/portrait lens on an APS-C camera the 60mm is probably perfect. Perhaps extension tubes with your 85mm may be just as good at macro? I don't know; I don't use them and I don't own an 85mm.
    I hate to talk anyone out of feeding their equipment desires because new stuff is fun, but it doesn't really sound like you need anything. I would suggest that if you're wondering if you'd like to own another lens, rent it instead and see if it's something you think you'll use. If anything, you might use something like a 24-70 f/2.8 in your business. Faster than the 24-105 but still a zoom--good for your low light parties if you don't mind spending that much money.
     
  3. A few questions right off the bat:
    What camera are you using?
    Is your 70-200mm f/2.8 or f/4?
    Do you have (good) flashes?
    If your 70-200mm is an f/4, you may consider selling and buying an f/2.8 IS. The f/4 is a fine lens, but if you do weddings often, the extra stop will be very useful indoors. You may also consider the same thing with your 24-105mm; the 24-70mm f/2.8L would give you a stop of light as well (good for weddings) but it doesn't have IS. That's something you have to weigh yourself, f/2.8 vs IS. If you don't have any flashes, I'd suggest a 580EX II or a 430EX II or both. The 580 can be used to trigger a 430 off camera. Being able to control light with flashes can a lot of times improve photos more than any lens could. And with regards to the 50mm, I'd go with the 1.4 version as the IQ is great and the 1.2 costs much more. The 1.2 isn't really necessary for most people. And finally, don't be in a rush to spend your money. If you're lost or confused, just wait awhile and let the lens come to you. When you "need" a specific lens, you'll know it. If you don't know which lens to get, chances are you don't need any of them. And if weddings is something you're interested it doing, you may also consider a 2nd body. A used 40D goes for about $500 and would be a great 2nd camera. WIth this you would have a lot less lens changes, saving you time and energy and making you less likely to miss a shot while you would be changing lenses. For example keep the 24-105mm on one body and the 85mm f/1.8 on the other. One for all around, and the other for low light/great bokeh. Well I hope I didn't muddy up the waters even worse, but the bottom line is, that's a lot of money to spend, think about it awhile and don't do anything too spontaneous. You'll know when its time to get something and what to get.
     
  4. with regard to Mark's comment about extension tubes, I'll add this:
    I've used ext. tubes on my 70-200mm with amazing results. They are a great and cheap alternaive to a macro lens and the image quality is great since there is no glass in them, they are just spacers to decrease the minimum focusing distance on a conventional lens. I would suggest starting with these and if macro becomes something you want to pursue further, then you could drop the money on an expensive macro lens.
     
  5. Hi, thanks a lot! Those are very helpful advises! I have an Eos5dMark2, so its full frame. Indeed i might try first to shoot macro with my 70-200 & extender (using proper light and tripod, to see how it will come out) Otherwise I might rent a 100mm one.
    About the 50mm one, I am still not sure. I still doubt there would be a lot of difference with my 85mm, maybe a 35mm f1.4 is a better choice? Yeah now that I mentioned it, wouldn't it be a great lens to shoot in bars/restaurants (food&people) and at weddings? or is my 17-40mm f4 equally good?
    Yes you are right, if I am doubting, i must wait with buying. And I will, I guess I will buy it as a Christmas gift to myself (so that gives me about 2months to think). But I still want some kind of goal that I would have in mind, until I come up with something better.
    Btw having a second body is indeed a great idea. I will look into it, plus my dad has one somewhere, maybe i can have it, since he never uses it.
     
  6. Oh and btw Nathan, i do have a good flash, I just dont know how to use it! I 've read manuals and tutorials, but after a while i just gave it up (I like to shoot very quick and waiting for the flash to recharge just drove me nuts) that is why f is so important to me :)
     
  7. The 50 1.4 makes a great snapshot lens because its really small, light and easy to handle and you can get away without using flash. I would suggest that or maybe the 35 2.0 which is even smaller for casual photography.
     
  8. Karina, the 24-70/2.8 L is a staple wedding lens, but you already have the 24-105 and seem to have a preference for primes. The 24-70 does have better bokeh than the 24-105, though.
    I would recommend that you pick up either a 35/1.4 L or a 135/2 L, depending on which of these focal lengths you envision yourself using more. I would have recommended the 85/1.2 L (which is my favourite prime), but you already have the very fine 85/1.8. I personally would think that the 135 would be well suited for most wedding work, but the 35 (or the 24/1.4 L) would be useful for group shots. The 50/1.4 is also a very fine lens, so good in fact that I would never consider buying the much, much more expensive 50/1.2 L.
     
  9. Just so you know, the 60mm macro is an EF-S mount and will not fit your 5D. Only EF lenses will fit. As for the flash, it would be beneficial to learn how to use it and good flashes should recharge pretty fast. If it doesn't regenerate fast enough, the batteries may be drained. As for the lens suggestion, only you can make that choice, but I will say in regards to the 17-40mm vs the 35mm f/1.4L; the 17-40mm is a great lens, but the 35mm L is the one lens that I have heard from numerous others that has a bit of "magic" to it. I've never used it, but I'm sure the 35 prime would perform better than the 17-40mm.
     
  10. My 2 cents would be the 50mm 1.4 and the 100mm macro IS L. The 50 is one of the best walk around lens and very lightweight. I own the 100mm non L macro lens and it is great. i just saw and took some test shots with the 100mm L macro and it is phenomenal. I can 't wait to upgrade.
     
  11. If it's for fun and expanding creative horizons, the TS-E 24mm rates top in my book. $1800 for the new II version. On a crop sensor like the 7D, 24mm makes it only slightly wider than "normal", and very shootable for a surprising number of subjects. It might be a bit wide on full frame to warrant the sweeping recommendation I give it on crop frame, but can be just what you're looking for.
    The 100mm f/2.8 IS and 50mm f/1.4 are the staid staple primes. It's tough to recommend a 50mm prime when many lens bags already cover that focal length a few times over in zooms. This is not the case, however, with the 24-105 that you have. While that's still a good lens, I don't like the bokeh at all. You'll find the 50/1.4 is extremely sharp at f/2.8 and smaller, and a slightly dreamy, soft focus at f/1.4. Its bokeh is creamy and legendary, at least for anything even close to the price. The macro, is recommended for the obvious reasons, especially its sharpness and contrast.
    As has already been mentioned, you can never have too many flashes. Maybe a pair of 580-EXii and an ST-E2 ($1000, http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Wireles...3B8O/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1288591040&sr=8-4) will spark some creative juices?
    Last, maybe the best accessory for you right now is a used 7D body. I already mentioned crop frame advantages with the TS-E 24. The 50/1.4 is a wonderful length for portraits (but no more so than your 85/1.8), and the 70-200 just became a 110-320mm. One other big advantage is the 7D's popup remotely triggers 580- and 430 EX-ii flashes. Alas, the new 60D doesn't have this feature, which I feel is the real difference between it and the 7D.
     
  12. If I had to choose between 50/1.4 and the 100 L macro the macro wins 9 times out of 10.

    The 50 is fine but I dislike it's build and minimum focus distance.

    That said I'm leaning towards a Zeiss 50/2 Makro Planar. Mind you, it's manual focus and "only" f2.

    Have fun choosing, and remember waiting is an option as is selling after a wrong choice.
     
  13. For macro, I can only recommend the 100 mm f/2.8L IS USM. Razor sharp, nice bokeh. Diffraction is not an issue until f/32 when the image becomes just slightly softer. I love this lens.
     
  14. Karina,
    Congratulations on making some money from your photography! And, Welcome to Photo.net!
    Having read your questions, and reviewed a couple of times, and reading the entire thread, my 02. worth is this, . . . "although worth nothing!"
    If you're doing Wedding Photography (you indicate that's where you made the extra money) then you definately would "gain the most" by learning how to use your Flash. It's just a matter of time before you run up against a lighting situation where you will need more than just large aperture lenses!
    Maybe the "pair of 580-EXii and an ST-E2 ($1000 US) or 580EX II or a 430EX II or both. The 580 can be used to trigger a 430 off camera." as indicated by Nathan & Michael is the best investment of that hard earned money!
     
  15. Sorry for the double post!
     
  16. As for picking a prime to shoot in bars and such. The key is to pick the right focal length, the one that works for you. Try going to a bar with your 24-105 taped at 35 mm, your camera's iso cranked up as high as possible. Try taping it to 50 mm. See which you like the best.
    50 mm is the "standard lens" look. 50/1.2 costs a whole lot more money than the 50/1.4 and only gives you a third stop more light. There are other bards to consider as well (Zeiss, Sigma). 35 mm gives you tat Leica look. You'll have to be comfortable with shoving a lens very close to someone's face.
     
  17. I think few lenses have the high fun-to-cost ratio of a Zenitar 16mm diagonal fisheye. I recommend it because it's a cheap little reward you can buy yourself. Maybe you can save the rest of your money for when you really need it.
     
  18. ... or addressing your particular needs, how about a set of Kenko extension tubes for macro photography? You can also start building your small flash capabilities. Check out the strobist blog. Also see here for how you can modify a bunch of Vivitar 285 strobes for off-shoe lighting. Lighting has a pretty high fun-to-cost ratio too.
     
  19. You haven't mentioned any backup body. I would prioritize on getting that. I would agree with the others advocating for you learning to use flash. You can only avoid it for so long and if you find yourself in a pinch where it's your only way out, then you'll be in trouble.... In my opinion, have another crack at using flash, at least for now. Look for Neil van Niekerk's excellent discussions on creative use of flash. You have a decent setup for weddings. Canon's 50mm f/2.5 macro may well serve as a good, pocket size portrait and macro lens which would also serve you well for photos of "...lunch in cafe, or flowers in the shadow..." It is very sharp, from what I have read.
     
  20. I have not read all the responses from the others but I can tell you the following. I own the 50MM 1.2L and if I had to buy it again I would. The lens is very heavy but worth carrying around. The bokeh it produces is just phenomenal! So sharp too. I also own the macro 100mm 2.8L IS. Amazing piece of glass. Big upgrade from the previous version.
    Lastly...looking at your kit I would go for the 50mm 1.2L to use as my main portrait lens.
     
  21. "So, my kit is: 85mm f1.8; 70-200mm is, 17-40mm f4; 24-105mm (all canon)"
    It looks like you got everything covered from 17-200mm. You probably just need to get the 50mm f1.4 as a walkaround lens although it is a little long on cropped sensor camera and maybe a 580 EX II flash.
     
  22. To confuse you more, you miss a wide angle prime lens, such as 24mm f1.4 II. This wide angle lens allows to have very close working distance. Imagine this is a macro lens with wide angle capability so you can also capacity the environment of the subject , such as a wedding ring ! The range of your existing lenses are all overlapping which means you are wasting money. If Canon 24mm f1.4 is too expensive, well, how about a Leica R 60mm f2.8 macro which renders fantastic color that you will not find from Canon unless you raise the saturation in PS. Also how about Nikon AIS 35mm f1.4 with artistic distorted bokeh at f1.4 or AIS 28mm f2.8 which superb macro capability... don't worry of the manual lenses, you will not know.... you will gain something when lossing the AF.
     
  23. To confuse you more, you miss a wide angle prime lens, such as 24mm f1.4 II. This wide angle lens allows to have very close working distance. Imagine this is a macro lens with wide angle capability so you can also capacity the environment of the subject , such as a wedding ring ! The range of your existing lenses are all overlapping which means you are wasting money. If Canon 24mm f1.4 is too expensive, well, how about a Leica R 60mm f2.8 macro which renders fantastic color that you will not find from Canon unless you raise the saturation in PS. Also how about Nikon AIS 35mm f1.4 with artistic distorted bokeh at f1.4 or AIS 28mm f2.8 which superb macro capability... don't worry of the manual lenses, you will not know.... you will gain something when lossing the AF.
     

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