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Old Feb 26, 2008, 11:41 PM   #1
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(edited to be a little more clear, last post was at like 1am:P)

Hi all I'm planning on getting a rebel xti but need some help choosing a lens. I've been doing a lot of reading the past few days and here's what I've come up with:

I could go with the kit lens and that would maybe leave me the money for a 50mm 1.4 or 85mm. Looking at photos, I really like what they do. I REALLY like the background blur (er bokeh?) with the 1.4 and how clear they look. Portraits I saw with the 85mm were so soft and pretty too. But would a 50mm act like an 85mm with the 1.6 crop factor on a rebel? Which one would you suggest?

The other route I could go is wait for the 50mm or 85mm, and go with something in the f.2/ 17-55 or 24-70 range?

I'll mostly be taking pictures of my busy 18 month old around the house, park, trips to the zoo and aquarium...that kind of stuff. I'd like something that could do well indoors. But something with some zoom would be nice to capture the expression on his face without me getting to close. If I use my feet to zoom he stops what he's doing and starts fussing cause he wants to try out the camera!It's cute he's a budding photographer, but crying babies aren't great for pictures I'd really like to try out some cool portrait stuff with the 50mm 1.4, if I can get him to sit still. But, don't know if the f.2 zoom would serve me better? I'm new to this so any help would be appreciated!


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Old Feb 27, 2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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For indoors, without flash, you'll definately need a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or better, and better would be good.

As to the choice of the 50/1.4 or the 85/1.8, I'd say that, while the 85mm lens is a good portrait lens for a 35mm film camera, it might be too long for an APS-C dSLR, but since the primary subject is 18 months old, the 85mm lens should do just fine. But only to suppliment a good zoom, not to replace it.

And no one makes an f/2.0 zoom. I think you must be referring to one of the many excellent f/2.8 zooms. They will not give you the bokeh that the 50/1.4 or the 85/1.8 will give you, but you will get some. I have the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and am very happy with it. I use it along with my 50/1.7indoors to take photos of my grandchildren (ages 4 and 1).
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Old Feb 27, 2008, 11:25 AM   #3
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I also have an 18 month old son, so I can relate to the challenge of capturing them.

You're going to find it very challenging if not impossible to take many indoor photos without the use of flash. Your child is not going to hold still for 1/15 of a second for you to be able to get away with a lot of available light photography.

So while wide apertures can be great and they do produce some very nice portrait shots, it just isn't a good solution for 90% of real-life shots with a toddler. I'd say my ratio of flash / no flash is 95/5 indoors. The ratio was a bit different when he was a baby and didn't really move. But now, genereatingfast enough shutter speeds in most indoor situations (house, acquarium whatever) to freeze his movement is not realistic.

And the built-in flash on dslrs is still pretty bad. Not very powerful, still get red-eye and recycle times are very slow.

So, yes a 50mm 1.4 or 85mm 1.8 are great portrait lenses. But your overall photography of your child will benefit much more from a good external flash.

So, my suggestion is - get a good external flash (canon 430ex should be fine) and if you want a wide prime for now get a 50mm 1.8 ($70) then save up for the better prime lens.

But life happens at speeds and in light conditions not conducive to slow shutter speeds w/o flash. You can't always position your child by a window. Sometimes there are none and sometimes you want to take pictures in the evening or at night when there is no sun and not much available light in the house or building you're in.

Some examples from a recent vacation - shots that wide aperture, high iso solutions would not have worked well for:

the benefits of 'fill flash':

Birthday parties, christmas parties - etc. All instances where a good flash can have a dramatic improvement on your photos - and all instances where relying on wide apertures and high ISO will yield poor results.

Dont get me wrong - I love wide apertures. And I use high ISO frequently as I do a lot of low light sports shooting. But there are just too many instances where a wide prime and high ISO aren't good enough - especially with toddlers.
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Old Feb 27, 2008, 10:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help Tcav! I appreciate it.I've been looking at the Tamron 28-75 and 17-50, and not sure which one would better suit me. I'd probably be using the zoom more outside I'm thinking and didn't know if the 28-75 would be a better range for that? But on another forum it was said that it could be too long for use around the house? Whatdo you think? Maybe I should just get a 50mm 1.8 and play with it to see if I want more reach?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"JohnG,Thanks for the flash recommendation I just really love portraits and those two lensesseem like a nice fit for that.Wasn't really thinking of them as a substitute for flash. But you're right I probably should get one sooner rather than later And by the way you have abeautiful little boy.
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