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Old Feb 28, 2005, 8:01 AM   #1
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As many of you know, my current kit consists of:

20D, EF-S 17-85mm, EF 70-300mm DO, tripod.

Now I'm very satisfied in general with my "cunningly original purchases" but I do feel they fall slightly short when taking portraits of my little one.

The reason really is that mostly we take photos of her indoors, and sometimes at night. The IS is excellent, but as Mr Saginaw has pointed out it stops camera shake but won't freeze action. So the IS is fine when taking pictures of adults where you can tell them to keep still, but babies won't listen and so lots of shots have motion blur.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a £100 gift voucher recently and have decided that I can spend another £100 this month, so I have up to £200 in total.

My current mix and match shopping list:
1. EF 50mm f1.8 (£80)
2. EF 35mm f2.0 (£200)
3. New Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC (£unknown and not available yet, but surely they must pitch close to the £200 mark.)
4. Canon 420EX flash (£180)
5. Sigma 500 DG ST flash (£100)
6. Sigma 500 DG SUPER (£160)
7. Stofen diffuser (£20)

Keeping in mind the 20D built-in flash, with which I have had quite nice exposures, but I don't like the direct head-on flash, particularly when ambient light is very low.

So it seems I can have one of 3 options for my money:
1. A full-featured flash.
2. A good "standard" lens 30/35mm. (30*1.6 = 48mm)
3. A medium-featured flash AND the 50mm f1.8 portrait lens. (50*1.6=85mm)

A good flashgun is bound to be a sensible long-term investment, and I guess this is currently my favourite option.

I quite like the idea of a fast 30/35mm "standard" lens for documentary style photography, which might be OK in conjunction with the on-board flash because one's not encouraged to get too close with a 50mm equiv. field of view.

Maybe I could have my cake and eat it too by getting the 50mm lens which will be good for portraits AND a flash which will be "good enough" for bounce flash indoors and general photography?


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Old Feb 28, 2005, 9:00 AM   #2
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If it were my money I would buy the lens at the top of this list and not only have the sharpest lens in the class but also have macro capability which you could make use of, like getting two lens for the price of one.







Std. Lenses 50mm
Optical Quality

Sigma AF 2.8 50mm Macro EX
4.65 (4) = outstanding!

(Micro-)Nikkor AF 2.8 60mm
4.63 (4) = outstanding!

Minolta AF 2.8 50mm Macro
4.35 (3) = excellent

Canon EF 2.5 50mm Macro
4.34 (4) = excellent

Nikkor AF 1.8 50mm
4.19 (4) = very-good

Pentax SMC FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited
4.17 (3) = very-good

Pentax SMC F 1.7 50mm
4.13 (3) = very-good

Nikkor AI-S 2.8 45mm
4.00 (2) = very-good

Nikkor AF 1.4 50mm
3.98 (4) = very-good

Canon EF 1.4 50mm USM
3.96 (5) = very-good

Canon EF 1.8 50mm II
3.91 (3) = very-good

Minolta AF 1.4 50mm
3.91 (4) = very-good

Canon EF 1.0 50mm L USM
3.64 (3) = good
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 9:10 AM   #3
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Thanks, but it's f2.8 which is only 1-1.5 stops faster than my 17-85mm.

So although I'm sure it's a nice lens, it's not going to do what I need here: which is capture low-light shots with reasonable shutter speed.
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 9:18 AM   #4
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I'd go for the 50mm f/1.8 (good, cheap, reliable) the Sigma 500 DG Super (Very full featured and powerful... the Canon 420 has a lot less controls) and the Stoffen diffuser, or, as I have, the Promax lumiquest system (has diffuser, 80/20 bouncer, silver, gold, black and white inserts... good buy, very flexible).


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Old Feb 28, 2005, 9:43 AM   #5
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Hmm, unfortunately those two come to £300 which is more than I have available this month. :-)
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 10:38 AM   #6
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peripatetic

Portraits (and photography in general) is all about lighting
I'll suggest to buy the 500DG Super and: http://www.photoflex.com/photoflex/i...uct=litedisc&1
and in smaller format

... who know you could be turning out pictures just like Kalypso in a jiffy! :-)


Also FYI - http://www.webphotoschool.com/Lesson...bes/index.html
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 10:49 AM   #7
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I think you should decide whether using a fast lens (50 1.8 ) or a powerful flash with bounce capabilities is more important. I wouldn't waste the money on the Sigma EF-500 DG ST, because you'll end up buying a DG Super in the future.

Edit: Changed would to wouldn't. But apparently NHL still got the point.
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 10:51 AM   #8
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rob_strain wrote:
Quote:
I would waste the money on the Sigma EF-500 DG ST, because you'll end up buying a DG Super in the future.
... and I agree 100%!!!
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 3:28 PM   #9
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NHL wrote:
Quote:
peripatetic

Portraits (and photography in general) is all about lighting
I'll suggest to buy the 500DG Super and: http://www.photoflex.com/photoflex/i...uct=litedisc&1
and in smaller format

... who know you could be turning out pictures just like Kalypso in a jiffy! :-)


Also FYI - http://www.webphotoschool.com/Lesson...bes/index.html
Right - that's excellent thanks.

And I give up on the DG ST issue! I shall go for the DG SUPER with the Lumiquest Promax thingy.

Kalypso's stuff is technically quite good, not the kind of stuff I want to do, but I reckon I first need to know how to do it like he does before offering up too much criticism.

So that will do for now. I'll see what I can do with the flash and my current lenses before I go lens hunting again.

(Preview of coming threads...

Macro maybe.
Ultra-wide on APS.
Get the 50mm 1.8 anyway.
Standard lens redux.

:-? )

And finally a picture of the inspiration for all this.
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Old Feb 28, 2005, 3:46 PM   #10
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If you are looking at doing more formal portraits you might consider (as some one mentioned) some cheap strobes. I've got about 3 of these AC strobes that just screw into a lightbulb socket. They are rather inexpensive... I mean you can start with one and a reflector... then add stuff as you go... The great thing about digital is you can see the results right away as opposed to when i first start using these stobes with film where you hoped things would look right when you got your pictures back from lab! :lol:

Here's a sample with these cheap strobes from yesterday...

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