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CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 7:33 AM

Zoom for candid kid pictures - T1i
I just graduated from a Panasonic DMC-FZ28 to a Canon T1i. I have the kit lens. I am an amateur photographer with no aims (or finances) to be anything but a good amateur. That said, I take pictures almost everyday.

I already miss the zoom feature of the Panasonic! I have read most of the other recent posts on lenses and get the need to use the kit lens for awhile and to learn composition - but your legs cannot take you to the middle of the pool for your kid's swim lesson. Or if you want the "real" picture where your kid does not give you the cheesey grin (b/c you are not in their face with the camera), but you are able to fill the frame with their face. Or the toddler who is walking towards you and you need some distance between you and the toddler to compose the shot (I said I am an amateur), but you want the close-up.

I cannot spend a lot of money, but want something that will go the distance in terms of growing with my family and being useful for vacation shots too. So what lens?

CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 8:06 AM

Let me add -- I asked about a zoom, but if something short of a zoom fits the bill for me, please suggest it -- I am not tied to a zoom, just need something that allows me some distance from the subject, but does allows tight face shots as well as action shots (swining in the park, swim lessons) from a distance and is more than the kit lens.

TCav Nov 15, 2009 8:35 AM

Can you go through the photos you've taken with your FZ28 to see the focal length you've used for those? That will help to determine what lens would suit your shooting style.

JohnG Nov 15, 2009 8:35 AM

Cynthia - what is your budget? There are always options.

Some things, however, are more difficult than others. Taking a photo of your child on a swing is pretty easy, equipment wise:

Or just filling the frame with your child's face

Walking outdoors isn't a problem either.

Now - walking indoors you'll need to use flash. An external flash produces better results than the built-in.

Swim lessons are different. If they're outdoors, that's no problem at all. Indoors - again an external flash is your best bet. At an indoor pool with consumer grade lenses (f5.6 aperture) you're going to have difficulty getting a decent shot. And if you're 40 feet away you may find the built in flash just isn't powerful enough.

So, let's start with your budget. What is it?

CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 9:26 AM

I am going to get the external flash (the 430ex). Amount to spend on a lens in addition to the kit lens - I guess up to $500 range.

Again, it does not have be a zoom per se, but I want to be able to be some distance from the subject.

I will look at the focal lengths on my Panasonic.

CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 9:27 AM

John G - what did you use for those two shots (for learning purposes)!

CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 9:41 AM

I went through some of the shots on the Panasonic that I liked b/c I took them from a distance but they were "close-up" shots and interestingly, my focal lengths are mainly under 50 mm (30.5 mm was one of the farther away close-up shots). Only one was over 50 mm. So does that mean I just have to learn the kit lens a lot better?

CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 9:51 AM

Okay, one more observation - I just took some pictures of my daughter and I may just be doing something wrong or may be lazy, but to get a shot that was "filled with her" and tight, I had to get up fairly close to her using the kit lens. At 6 ft away, I could not fill the frame with just her. At 4 feet I could. I would like to be beyond 6 feet away and be able to get a close-up of a face.

Does that help?

JohnG Nov 15, 2009 9:55 AM


Originally Posted by CynthiaK (Post 1019673)
I went through some of the shots on the Panasonic that I liked b/c I took them from a distance but they were "close-up" shots and interestingly, my focal lengths are mainly under 50 mm (30.5 mm was one of the farther away close-up shots). Only one was over 50 mm. So does that mean I just have to learn the kit lens a lot better?

OK. 50mm on your panasonic is NOT the same thing as 50mm on your T1i. a 50mm lens on your T1i is like having an 80mm lens on a full-frame camera. 50mm on your panasonic is like a 280mm lens on a full frame camera. 30mm on your panasonic is equivelent to 168mm on a full-frame or on your 1.6 crop t1i that's a 105mm lens.

One obvious suggestion is the Canon 55-250mm lens for $250. You're in a tricky area of lenses. Canon has the fantastic 70-200 f4 but it's $600. It's a pro quality lens and one of the best bargains on the market. But you see the big price jump over the 55-250.

JohnG Nov 15, 2009 9:56 AM

Oh, my shots were taken with the Canon 24-105

CynthiaK Nov 15, 2009 11:23 AM

So if I spend a little more on the 70-200 mm it will be worth it? I noticed the less expensive version does not have IS - I assume that is okay for my purposes (who am I kidding, I cannot spend $1000+ even if it isnt)!

An add-on question: for the speedlite, do I need to get a bounce diffuser?

JohnG Nov 15, 2009 11:54 AM

The 70-200 f4 is a fantastic lens. The IS version is even sharper but that doesn't mean the non-IS version is bad by any stretch. You will also very much appreciate how much faster & more accurate it is to focus than the 55-250 or 70-300

However, it is a pro-grade lens built with metal not plastic. I would strongly recommend finding a local camera shop that has one in stock so you can put one on your camera. It's going to be larger/heavier than anything you're used to.

All-in-all, if the size/weight isn't an issue and you can afford it you will be thrilled with what the 70-200 f4 can do for you. But, the 55-250 does a good job too. And, it's smaller/lighter than the 70-200.

Everyone is different - I prefer the build quality of metal lenses and I prefer the performance benefits of the L quality (or Sigma EX quality) lenses. But others don't like the weight and still others get wonderful photographs with the consumer grade lenses.

As for the speedlight, I prefer using an omnibounce attachment. Costs like $18 and does a nice job of softening up the light as well as aiding diffusing it even in a bounce situation. There are other attachments which produce better results (gary fong lightsphere for one or lumiquest) but they're bulkier. And, since you can't always bounce the flash then the simple omnibounce helps you out with a softened direct flash.

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