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Old Oct 22, 2006, 5:33 AM   #1
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Please advise. Brought home newborns last week and wanting to capture this amazing time in theirs (and our) lives. Love the 30d for quick pictures as that ever so elusive smile may be missed with point and shoots, etc.

But, just not feeling like I'm getting tack sharp, extremely clear shots with either my kit lens (understood here) or my 50mm prime (cheap version). Most pictures to date have been in fairly well lit NICU (overhead flourescent lights).

What lens would I get the most bang for my buck with? For this time in our lives, I'm not scared to get a single purpose lens. This will be a closeup and portrait type lens for many years to come.

Please keep in mind, 90% of shots are, or can be, taken within a matter of just a few feet. Also, learning more and more about photography in this real-world setting, I DO MUCH MORE ENJOY the depth of field and isolation I get with the cheap little $90 50mm prime. But again, just not tack sharp.

Please advise on this and any other setting info you might see of benefit. Finally, back at home, lighting will be more of an issue as 80% of shots will be taken in nursery with single lamp, LOW LIGHT.

Thanks.
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 7:03 AM   #2
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There's another thread not too long ago on this same subject...
1. The 50mm f/1.8 is a full frame (i.e. generally not as sharp as a 'digital lens ' only)
2. At wide open it's not going to be sharp as when closed down to f/5.6 for example
See the MTF below:
http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...0_18/index.htm
http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...0_28/index.htm

The perceived sharpness is also a function of contrast/brightness :idea:
Try f/1.8 in dim light vs f/1.8 outdoor in good light -> Lighting is key to any photography... (i.e. the issue @ hand is not the lens)
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 9:44 AM   #3
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Do you have a flash other than the on camera flash?
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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Sounds like this is this your first dslr. :-)
All digitals have a Anti-Alasing filter in front of the sensor that makes the images look slightly soft or foggy.
Most every image that come out of one needs a touch of unsharp in photoshop to get rid of the fog and make it look crisp. :idea:

Point&Shoots generally did this funciton for you figuring you don't know what you are doing :G


If you are really after another lens, without going into the costs of L Zooms, I'd suggest maybe the 85mm 1.8.

Actually here is a table I made for someone else looking for quality short zooms

Canon
24-70 F2.8 L USM ~1250$us
28-70 F2.8 L USM ~1965$us

Sigma
24-60 F2.8 EX dg ~536$us
24-70 F2.8 EX dg ~536$us
28-70 F2.8 EX dg ~402$us

Tamron
28-75 F2.8 XR Di ~536$us

Tokina
28-70mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro ~250$us
28-80mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro ~470$us
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 12:03 PM   #5
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This image was taken with the Tamron 28-70 F2.8 Xr Di from the table above

Camera Parameters: ISO 3200, F2.8, 1/30sec, 28mm, Av, auto-white, hand-held.
Photoshop:
NeatImage to cleanup the ISO 3200
Defog action (just an unsharp)
Clone out person kneeling in main walkway.
Convert to LAB and sharpen the L channel, Gausian blur the AB channels.
Resize for web
Add step border
Convert to SRGB
Drop to 8bit mode and save as JPG.

Sounds like a lot but the whole process only takes a few minutes.
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 7:32 PM   #6
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Thanks all. If I'm reading your replies correctly, my lenses are okay?!? I thought both were considered okay, average at best. Bought the $90 50mm prime fully expecting to get a better prime later. Would I not see sharper images with the $250-350 primes??? It's really just settings and user? Not quite ready to plunk big bucks for a fuller range zoom. Just want a very specific lens for closeups of newborns well through toddler years in the $350 or less range.

If so, which I find hard to believe, the good news is that I've got the images and they can be sharpened up later according to your posts. I'll not sweat it.

Also from your replies... Issue clearly is the low light in the room. Can't bring myself to use the flash unless in brighter times of day. Just shocks the boys too much. Slightly premature twins that have been home for less than a week. Breaks my heart to see them jump. Not worth the pictures.

So, higher ISO. I've been using 200 in middle of day near window. 800 in middle of day in darker parts of the room. 800 near lamplight in darker parts of day and 1600 in darkest conditions.

For those still following, I really like the pics from the hospital NICU where there was better constant lighting. Love the subject isolation I get from the prime. As always, thanks for this and all previous help for this newbie just anxious to learn the hobby and capture my favorite life events. Love this site!!!
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 8:04 PM   #7
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pagerboy,
if you can teach me something about flash, especially something not so shocking as the camera's built-in flash, I'm all ears.
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 8:30 PM   #8
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I've been reading http://www.planetneil.com/faq/flash-faq.htmlbecause I know that on-camera flash is not enough.

You cannot bounce and make the light softer.
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 8:55 PM   #9
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To help with your current lenses.

First activate highspeed mode on your 30D, this lets you select ISO 3200.
On your 30D it is Custom Function 8 (ISO Expansion), set it to 1 (on), ISO 3200 then shows up as ISO H when you select it.

Then grab a copy of neatimage from http://www.neatimage.com/download.html
It is an uncrippled demo that is freeware for home use. It will cleanup the artifacts caused by using very high ISO's.

In Photoshop run a unsharp filter with the following parms on the images.
Amount 20%
Radius 60pixels
Threshold 0

This will remove the foggy look of images staight out of the camera.

The on-camera flash is extremly anemic, if it is bothering the subjects I would not be looking at a higher powered flash bounced or otherwise until they are older.

If you can locate a copy of "Understanding Exposure", it is a good book on getting you up to speed on this topic and it is not a difficult read.
http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-...150546?ie=UTF8



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Old Oct 22, 2006, 9:02 PM   #10
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Isn't it possible to adjust the flash intensity? I can on my camera therefore on an $$ flash I'm sure there is an option.
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