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Old Oct 12, 2009, 8:08 PM   #1
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Default Indoor Lens for T1i

I'm a very novice user, and usually take pictures of my family, indoors.

I recently purchased the T1i + Lens Kit. I'm fairly happy with the IQ of the kit lens for outdoor pictures, or when I'm willing to use the flash indoors. But with very young kids, I don't use the flash unless I have no choice.

I find myself shooting at a 25-35 focal length. I'm interested in the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM. Is this a decent lens for indoor work? Since my 18-55 IS is generally at f/4.5 (at 25mm), will I notice a significant low light difference going to the f/1.8 lens?

One thing that has me concerned is the lack of IS in this lens. Is that an issue?

I'm trying to shy away from EF-S lenses just in case I upgrade to a full size body at a later time.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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The real issue you're going to encounter is that you may have difficulty getting fast enough shutter speeds indoors with artificial light and no flash - even with an f1.8 lens. Such lenses are great when you've got windows and daylight coming in and people are relatively still. But when you're dealing with normal household lighting in the evening with no sunlight you may be looking at 1/30 or 1/15 shutter speeds. Slight head movements will show as blur without flash. So, 1.8 lenses are great when you can count on your subject staying still or you have the aid of sunlight. When you can't then flash is the only reliable alternative. In general, I love available light photography. And, shooting a lot of indoor sports I do a lot of low light work - but with lighting better than you find in a house. When kids are involved, 99% of the time I use an external/bounced flash because I just can't rely on them staying motionless for 1/15 of a second. I do like to break out my 85mm 1.8 when I know the opportunity for a good available light shot exists. But that's the exception rather than the rule. I just caution that if you buy a 35mm 1.8 type lens you may end up still being disappointed that shots have motion blur - and IS does nothing to compensate for the fact your subject moved their head slightly.

You also need to be aware that such wide apertures make for narrow depth-of-field. Which makes it very difficult to have more than one subject in focus if they're not posing for you.
Some examples taken with bounced flash. In all instances these shots would not be possible with 1.8 lens (slow shutter speeds due to insufficient light or need for greater DOF than 1.8 would allow).
















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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:31 PM   #3
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nice images and advice john.

i own the 28 1.8. so i can speak to this lens specifically. i find it to be a nice "normal" lens on a crop body. it has usm, so it focus's fast and accurate, built nicely. its not at its sharpest wide-open, but its still quite good.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 12:16 AM   #4
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I agree with John you need a Flash. Bounce or Defuse the light. Your going to want to take your portraits at more like 5.6 or F8 for the reasons John mentioned.

If your search Flash recommendation Forums you will find a lot of info. 3 party flashes have to reverse engineer Flash and Lens protocols, so sometimes they have to be updated. You want as much flash power as you can afford for bouncing and defusing light. You can not go wrong with the flashes below. I have the 530 DG and I am very happy with it.

Cannon 430EX 580EX II $230 and $425
Metz AF48 or AF58 Around $230 and $400
Sigma 530 DG Around $230
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 3:27 AM   #5
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There are unquestionably times when you need flash.

But it is also possible to use available light indoors with a fast lens, and the 28mm f1.8 is one of my favourite Canon lenses with a crop camera.

It gives a fantastic 45mm equivalent view, the focus is fast and quiet, the build quality is good, it is reasonably sharp in the centre wide open and stopped down gets very crisp even at the corners by 2.8.

Highly recommended.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 9:15 AM   #6
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Thanks for a great discussion of low light level shooting. JohnG raises some very valid and important issues about slow shutter speeds and working with active children.

Using bounced and diffused flash is very effective, and it works well to overcome slow shutter speeds and to even out the lighting in your photo. In my opinion, I find that bounced and diffused flash is always a dependable and reliable light sounce, that produces no harsh shadows.

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Old Oct 13, 2009, 9:23 AM   #7
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Great information guys, thanks.

It sounds like bounce flash is something that could work. A flash going off in the face of a 1 week old is fairly disturbing, so it may be a decent compromise.

Are the external flashes, like the 430EX, a significant upgrade over the built in flash? I've seen references that the T1i flash is better than the older integrated ones.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rijndael View Post
Are the external flashes, like the 430EX, a significant upgrade over the built in flash? I've seen references that the T1i flash is better than the older integrated ones.
Absolutely. Much more powerful - bouncable and faster to recharge. The power really comes into play when you diffuse the light (using an omnibounce or lightsphere flash attachment) and/or when you bounce the flash.

With such a young baby I would also encourage a wide aperture lens for lots of portrait opportunities - but that is a different focal length. I would suggest 50mm or 85mm 1.8 for your camera. The 50mm 1.8 for around $100 is a great way to get started without a huge $$$ investment. IMO the wider primes are better for environmental portraiture. But for the first year or so, IMO, most portrait shots of the baby will be very tight.
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 12:05 PM   #9
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I'd also consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens. Here's a comparison with the Canon 28mm f/1.8:

http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/28v30


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Old Oct 13, 2009, 3:41 PM   #10
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In my experience babies and small children generally are not bothered by flash at all.

The parents get all worked up and angry, but the little ones just blink and remain completely unperturbed.

Also, as I've mentioned before, children really don't move very fast if you are using a DSLR camera. Racing cars move fast, birds in flight, or dogs running, or olympic athletes. Toddlers lurch about a bit, but any ordinary DSLR can easily cope with the speed they move, so using a fast lens isn't something to be too scared of.

Quote:
I'd also consider the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens. Here's a comparison with the Canon 28mm f/1.8:

http://www.pbase.com/lightrules/28v30
Mmm, but spend a bit of time looking at images from both. I remain thoroughly unconvinced by Sigma lenses, even though I have only owned one Sigma EX lens I was very unimpressed with it. The colour rendition is very yellow to my eye, which gives a sickly cast to caucasian skin tones. I also think the AF is noticably slower and far less accurate than the Canon USM. Being slightly sharper on a test bench is no help if the lens can't focus properly. I also am not generally impressed with the Sigma rendering. YMMV of course, some people think they are great.
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Last edited by peripatetic; Oct 13, 2009 at 3:46 PM.
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