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Old Oct 24, 2010, 8:25 PM   #81
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... It's strange, because people say the 1.2/1.4 is a "low light" lens, but it sounds like just about the only thing you can do with that aperture in low light is take pictures of paintings or other shallow objects -- or if you want the mysterious effect of a part of someone's face coming out of the darkness.
They are excellent low-light lenses. They are also very good portrait lenses. But what you want is a low-light portrait lens. A large aperture is going to get you a shallow depth of field, but with a 50/1.4 wide open, the subject must be 9 feet away for you to get a 6 inch DoF (about the distance from the tip of a person's nose to the time of their ear.)

If you want to get low-light shots, get a large aperture lens. If you want to take head shots, get a medium telephoto. If you want to do both, get the 85/1.8 that shoturtle mentioned. But you'll still need to stop down to get a good head shot. Either that or be 13 feet away.
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Old Oct 24, 2010, 8:26 PM   #82
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yeah, is pretty inexpensive 90-95 dollars. Not a huge investment.
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Old Oct 24, 2010, 8:39 PM   #83
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They are excellent low-light lenses. They are also very good portrait lenses. But what you want is a low-light portrait lens. A large aperture is going to get you a shallow depth of field, but with a 50/1.4 wide open, the subject must be 9 feet away for you to get a 6 inch DoF (about the distance from the tip of a person's nose to the time of their ear.)

If you want to get low-light shots, get a large aperture lens. If you want to take head shots, get a medium telephoto. If you want to do both, get the 85/1.8 that shoturtle mentioned. But you'll still need to stop down to get a good head shot. Either that or be 13 feet away.
OK, just so I'm clear: In addition to shallow subjects, an aperture wider than 1.8 is useful in low light primarily for taking pictures from a distance of four yards away or more. Is that right? For example, a scene at late dusk of villagers milling about at a distance of 30 feet away -- for this I would want the widest aperture possible?

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Old Oct 25, 2010, 1:43 AM   #84
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Very shallow DOF in a portrait can be pleasing, and sometimes (even usually) in those situations sharpness is absolutely not important. But a 50mm lens is not a headshot lens, even for head and shoulders you need to be fairly close in.

Absolutely the best thing about ultra-fast lenses is shooting in the latter circumstance you mention. But of course for that once again I would want a wider angle.

I'm with Tcav on this one, go for the Tamron 60mm Macro. Are you serious about using a filter mounted add-on for your Macro shots? Why not a bit of tape and the bottom of a soft-drink bottle?

Also, honestly I am finding it weird that you are going all that way and to amazing surroundings and you will be mostly doing headshot portraits. I would definitely be working at a wider angle.
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 1:52 AM   #85
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yes with the 85mm you will need to stop down to 2.8 ro 3.5 for a head shot if you are close. At 1.8 the dof will be a problem getting the whole face infocus.

This head shot was taken at 3 to 4 feet at 1.8. Way to much dof issues.
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 1:57 AM   #86
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I'm going to make a final recommendation:

60D + Tamron 60mm f2 + Canon 17-55 f2.8 + 70-300 L.

When you get your 5D3 (eventually) if you keep the 60D you will need lenses suited to it, and if you sell it you can sell the lenses at the same time!

If I were going along as a photographer (you don't have a vacancy do you?) I would take a 5D2, 35 L, 100L Macro. (Plus an SX30 for things I couldn't get close to.) On a crop body I'd take the 24L and 100 L Macro. Keeping it simple makes me take better photos. :-)
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 2:17 AM   #87
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I'll go a slightly different route the peripatetic,

I would go with the 50d or 60d, and since you are going to be like me getting a 5d3 in 2012 when it is finally out.

Get the 85mm 1.8, the 70-300 for now with the 500D close up lens. And the 15-85mm. I would recommend keeping a crop body. So you only have 1 dedicate crop lens, and the reset is interchangeable between the two cameras. Also the 50 1.8 is cheap and can be useful. This would be a good setup for now, and get you on track with a lens lineup for FF camera.

When I get my 5d3, mainly for the added low light image quality. I will still keep a rebel or a 60D crop body. Having 480mm of reach is nice with a 70-300mm lens, and 640mm with a 100-400mm lens. That added reach will be useful even when you have a crop camera.
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 5:20 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yohy View Post
OK, just so I'm clear: In addition to shallow subjects, an aperture wider than 1.8 is useful in low light primarily for taking pictures from a distance of four yards away or more. Is that right? For example, a scene at late dusk of villagers milling about at a distance of 30 feet away -- for this I would want the widest aperture possible?
I was with you right up to the end.

You never want the widest aperture possible. But if you need to use a wide aperture in order to use a faster shutter speed (to prevent motion blur) or a lower ISO (to limit image noise), then a large aperture lens will let you.

At a distance of 30 feet, an 85mm lens with an aperture of f/1.8 will still only give you a DoF of about 30 inches. This is the kind of DoF you can expect from an 85/1.8 wide open:

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Old Oct 25, 2010, 8:53 AM   #89
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Fantastic suggestions and comments! Thanks! And thanks for the photo demonstratives -- those always help. I'll have to mull this over some more.

Is the 70-300 L going to come out in time?!?
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 8:56 AM   #90
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I would skip the 70-300L and get the 100-400L when you get the 5d3. The 5d3 will most likely be package with the 24-105L. And if you go with the 100-400L the ranges mix in nicely. And the 100-400L is most likely going to be updated next year.

But the 70-300L should be out soon. If not it will be in the stores by jan 2011.
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