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bkford Feb 14, 2012 12:07 PM

Lens Question
I need help in understanding about a new lens that I just bought and want to know whether or not I made the right decision, while within the window for return if I have made a mistake.

The lens that came with my T3i is an 18-55mm. I was having lots of trouble getting really good casual shots (as opposed to "posed" shots) inside my house, especially in the evening--tried SEVERAL different settings.

A couple of friends recommended that I try
50mm f/1.8 lens

I understand that the new lens is much less wide-angle and that the f-stop is much lower than I can even begin to get the 18-55 (it will only go down to about 4.5).

But what else should I know about the difference in the 50mm that would help me decide whether or not to keep it? For the record, I have really liked the trial shots I have made around the house, and close ups for my blog, etc. I would obviously keep the 18-55 also.


FaithfulPastor Feb 14, 2012 1:10 PM

Hi Barbara,

It would probably help if you could tell us more about what you don't like or what isn't happening in your photos.

Are you shooting with or without using your flash?
Are you shooting moving objects or are your subjects still?

My sister in law was frustrated with her DSLR because on the full automatic setting, the camera uses the lowest possible AF. Thus the photos of her twins resulted in one twin being in focus and one being out of focus. I showed her how to use the AF option in order to increase her depth of field so both boys were in focus. Is it a depth of field problem?

Are your images blurry because of too slow of a shutter when hand holding your camera? (1/200 or faster is recommended when hand holding a camera unless your hands are really steady.

We could ask a bunch of questions and maybe not ask the right one. So talk to us about what's wrong and maybe we can help.

FYI, the 18-55 is not the top of the line lens, but for shooting around the house, it's not a bad lens, provided you have enough light or are using your flash.

Faithfully yours,

bkford Feb 14, 2012 1:45 PM

I'm sorry I can't see how to delete this. I have decided to return the 50mm f/1.8 lens. If someone can chime in with help on getting better indoor photos (not enough light is the culprit), that would be helpful. Is an external flash the possible solution?

bkford Feb 14, 2012 1:48 PM

Oops, I just saw that FP had posted an answer. Sorry. Okay, I have kind of settled into using the P mode for now--the Auto mode was not getting even fair results. So, in the P mode, I have set the ISO to 800, and still use the built-in flash (I realize its limitations). So, the main complaint is that the pictures often look rather cloudy and muddy and not always well-focused. Does this help?

FaithfulPastor Feb 14, 2012 2:16 PM

Try this:

Set your camera on TV mode.
Turn the dial to so that you're shooting at 1/200.

On the side of your camera there's a button that forces the camera to always use the flash. Push that button.

Set your ISO to Auto.

Now, take a few shots for practice and let us know how those turn out.


bkford Feb 14, 2012 2:23 PM

I will do just that. Will have to be tomorrow, probably. Small group tonight, and must make Valentine cupcakes.

bkford Feb 15, 2012 11:08 AM

I am writing down this information and will try, but it will have to be after a few days. Thanks.

JohnG Feb 15, 2012 11:20 AM

An external flash is the best option for indoor photos that are not posed in my experience.
Sometimes there isn't enough light even at f1.8 to freeze subject motion. Sometimes you don't want the shallow depth-of-field (DOF) where much of the image is out of focus.

bkford Feb 17, 2012 9:02 AM

Great pictures--taken with external flash, I assume? I have just ordered one.

Doug Vann Feb 26, 2012 8:40 AM

Yes an external flash will give you much better coverage then the camera mounted flash. When you mentioned that you returned the 50mm lens - not sure if you understand that you are using a crop camera. All Canon cameras are crop cameras except their top of the line 5D2 and 1D models. Crop cameras take the lens focal length and multiply it by 1.6. So the 50mm lens you had then becomes 80mm approx. A little long for most indoor shots. The quality of the results with the 18-55 should be helped with an external flash however this lens might be the worst one available from Canon. When it comes to lenses you pretty much get what you pay for. Most people feel that "auto" never givers good results. I usually shoot in P mode but sometimes switch to Tv or Av depending on the situation. If you shoot in P mode with an external flash... you should get "acceptable" results with the 18-55 lens although they might not be good enough for bigger enlargements.

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