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Old Jan 28, 2010, 12:35 AM   #1
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Default What should I buy next for my new Canon T1i?

My wife and I bought our first DSLR (first non point n shoot camera of any kind for that matter) back at the beginning of December. We got the T1i with the 18-55 IS kit lens and got the 55-250 IS lens as a bundle deal for an extra $100 (had a great deal at HH Gregg, of all places, camera with 2 lenses and tax was right at $880, so $800 before tax).
We absolutely love the camera. We got the 50mm f1.8 II lens a couple days before christmas for $99 and it just blows the other two lenses away. It has pretty much stayed on the camera since we got it. We still use the 18-55 from time to time to get some shots when we dont want to be quite so far back from the action as we have to be with the 50mm. Have really not used the 55-250 other than to put it on to see what it would do, just dont really have any need so far for the long zoom.
We pretty much got the camera just to take pictures of our two daughters, 4 years old, and 18 months old. Enough background, on to the question.
My wife has $400 from christmas and she is trying to decide what to buy with it. She is thinking about buying the speedlite 580ex II flash, but isnt sure if the money would be better spent on a different lens, or something else completely. I know the flash would be a huge improvement over the built in flash, but we pretty much try to never use the built in flash, probably because of how bad it is. If we buy an external flash, is it going to be a big enough improvement over the built in that we would actually start using the flash?
Do more advanced photographers generally use a flash, or try to maximize available light conditions and do without?
Is there anything else around that price point that we could get that would be a bigger impact on the overall experience with the camera, or should we just go ahead and get the flash?
Also, if we can get the 580 for about $400, or the 430 for about $250, is the 580 worth the extra price over the 430, or would the 430 be a good enough external flash for amateur usage?
Lastly, I want to go ahead and get some lens filters to put on the lenses to keep them clean, which kind of filter should I get for that purpose? I dont want any special effects like diffusion or tinting or anything, just basically looking for something to keep fingerprints and dust away from my lenses. Most of my shots are indoors under artificial light, if that makes any difference.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 12:43 AM   #2
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by all means for shots of your family. the single best thing to improve your photography is to buy an external flash. and learn to use the bounce flash.

the 430EXII should be more than sufficient, it has full bounce and tilt control and good flash output. then buy some kind of lightsphere, lighdome, flash diffusing cap and learn to bounce flash off the ceiling. its the single best way to improve your indoor photography. and you already have a nice set of lenses to work with.

you really don't need filters to protect your lenses. just keep a rocket blower (rubber squeeze one) to blow off the dust now and again. and if it gets dirtier use a nice clean microfiber cloth.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 12:55 AM   #3
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If you are planning to go with a wireless system the 580 would be the way to go. If you do not see yourself needing such a features pack flash the 430 is an excellent flash, and it is smaller. Other options would be the Metz 48 is is very similar the the 430. It is about 200 dollars at the big camera retailer. It is the one I use with my T1i, and it works great. I would get a 200 dollar flash and put the rest toward lenses or a tripod and other goodies.

Also a remote is a nice little thing to have.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 1:05 AM   #4
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also go to ebay and get the lens hood for your 3 lens, these are the part number that you can search for, for the lenses you have. I recommend getting form a hong kong seller or a US seller. You will pay only 1/10 the price for the canon version and 1/2 the price of an aftermarket at a store. Just allow for the shipping time. At the same time the hood will add protection for the lens.


et 60 for the 55-250mm
ec 60C for the 18-55mm
ES 62 for the 50mm
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 1:44 AM   #5
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A flash would be good, but there is another option for available light work, which is to get a lens that is a little bit wider.

Check out the Canon EF 28mm f1.8 or the Sigma 30mm f1.4. Both are very nice. I find (50*1.6) 80mm equivalent to be too long for most indoor work, but (28*1.6) 45mm equivalent is much more useful.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 1:54 AM   #6
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Actually a 28mm would not be a bad lens for the t1i, If you do get the less expensive flash, you may also want to consider the ef 28mm f2.8 it is about 230 dollars. It is about half the price of the ef 28 1.4 USM. If performs quite well compare to the more expensive 1.4. Kinda the same as the ef 50mm 1.8 vs the ef 50mm 1.4.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 2:07 AM   #7
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available light, i would go with the faster 28 1.8 (of which I own and can attest to being a good performer) or the sigma 30 1.4 for the extra speed.

if you are looking to save money in a wider prime the 35 f2.0 is highly regarded and would give a useful ~55mm focal length.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 5:43 AM   #8
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At 35mm, the kit lens has a maximum aperture of f/4.5. If you took a photo with it at that focal length, a 35mm f/2.0 would let you use a shutter speed that was about 5 times faster. That would definately help with available light shooting. And the wider lenses would be even better.

When you have used the 18-55 kit in situations where you would have liked it to work, what focal lengths have you tried?
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 7:21 AM   #9
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Just looking in one folder, I have the following number of pictures at each focal length:
55mm: 46
50mm: 383 (told you I liked that lens =p )
40-49mm: 57
30-39mm: 62
20-29mm: 66
18mm: 187

So it looks like I am mostly using either the 50mm prime lens, or the 18-55 at or around 18mm. I absolutely love the 50mm f/1.8, I am a huge fan of the thin depth of field. I actually sat 3 can drinks on my ottoman at varying depths and sat there for like 15 minutes taking pictures focusing on different cans just cause I thought it was so cool (yeah, I am a dork).

One thing we are definitely eyeing as a future purchase is the Canon 24-70 L lens, the photographer who has been doing our family pictures and baby pictures uses that lens and we absolutely love her work. It is of course a really big ticket item, so we would have to save all year basically for it. Basically, our camera goodies budget comes from the money my mom gives us for our birthdays and christmas, that is where my wifes $400 is from. At the end of the year we should probably have another $1200-$1500 (not counting the $400 she has now) from our birthdays and christmas. I would probably forgo the $400-$500 lenses and try to save up for the L, unless that is not as good of a lens as I am thinking (based solely on the pictures the photographer has taken, never used it myself).

I am thrilled with all of the feedback so far, thanks and keep it coming!
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 7:27 AM   #10
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With your budget in mine, I would go with the metz 48 flash and the 28mm f2.8. It will be around 430 dollars on line for the 2 items. It will give you the most bang for your dollars. If you do plan on getting the 24-70 L I would skip the more expensive primes.
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