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Old Dec 21, 2010, 4:29 PM   #1
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Default Shopping for lenses w/eye towards low light

I am looking for any advice folks might have on lenses for my 50D. I have the kit 18-200 and love the versatility but itís only really good for well lit applications (f/3.5-5.6). Since I shoot a fair amount either indoors or at music clubs, I am looking for a couple of lenses that would be faster and better quality. I have borrowed a 24-105 f4.0 L - good reach but too slow. Iím typically in small to mid-sized clubs with varying access to proximity Ė sometimes Iím right in front of them, sometimes Iím farther away. I am planning on getting the 50mm 1.4 but am also looking at the EF 85 f/1.8 USM and the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. I need something thatís going to give me some good wide angle effect but also need to get closer if Iím farther away. The other lens I am seriously looking at is the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. Iím a little concerned that even 2.8 isnít fast enough. So my goal is to buy 2-3 of these lenses for a variety of uses but I also want to solve my club shooting problem. Any thoughts on these lenses or suggestions for others? Thanks in advance. - David

EF 85 f/1.8 USM
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
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Old Dec 21, 2010, 4:50 PM   #2
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On 50D...

28 f1.8 + 85 f1.8.
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 8:23 AM   #3
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There are many ways to approach this, a wide aperture isnt always the right answer. If you are getting close with a wide aperture lens the DOF is going to be razor thin with the lens wide open meaning you wont have very much in focus. If your sticking with the 50D I would go longer to shoot wide open so you can have more in focus. The other alternative is to upgrade camera bodies to a newer model with better high ISO capabilities.
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 8:53 AM   #4
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I've been looking for an affordable fast lens setup, hoping to find one before I spring for the 17-55mm f2.8

The EF35mm f2 looks like it performs well based on the review from SLRgear.com
The EF50mm f1.8 is inexpensive and works for video, but I find it a hair too tight for my purposes.
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 8:56 AM   #5
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Justin - I probably don't know enough about this but a high ISO is what I'm trying to get away from. The 50D has a very high ISO capability but the grain is unbearable, to me anyway. That being said, I have also been trying to freeze motion which means I'm typically shooting at 1/100 on the low end to 1/160 on the high. I probably need to be down closer to 1/30 or so but then I get too much movement. As of now, digitally anyway, the fastest lens I've used has been the f/4L 24-105 and it's too slow at 1600 ISO. I'm even considering the 85 f/1.2L - talk about your razor thin DOF. Thanks for your help. This forum is awesome. - David
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 9:12 AM   #6
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Let me be a bit more specific.
The 50D doenst perform as well at high ISO as newer models. The wife has a 50D that I borrow from time to time and you are correct in saying the the high ISO capability of the 50D stops around 1600, yes you can set it higher but the images become very noisey! The newer models operate well and produce better images at higher ISO. My MKIV performs very well up to ISO 6400 and is marginal to 12800 which is a far cry from 1600. Im not suggesting getting a MKIV but its what I own for comparison. There are other bodes that perform better at high ISO than the 50D that wont quite break the bank as much as MKIV. 60D, 7D, 5DII are excellent high ISO performers. I would go with a 85 1.8 and a 7D over a 50D and 85 1.2 for your specific purpose any day and you will come out cheaper!
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Old Dec 22, 2010, 9:13 AM   #7
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Ok, if you used a 24-105mm f/4L at 1600 ISO and got 1/30 shutter speeds, an aperture of f/2.8 would get you 1/60, and with an aperture of f/2.0 you would get 1/125, which is what you're looking for.

An aperture of f/1.4 would let you use 1/250, and f/1.2 would let you use 1/320.

I don't think f/2.8 will get you what you want, so all you're left with is primes. An f/1.8 prime stopped down to f/2.0 should do ok. Anything larger will cost a lot more, and probably wouldn't buy you much.
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Old Jan 4, 2011, 12:49 PM   #8
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Thanks, guys. This is really helpful. Over the holidays I've been researching a new body and am now thinking I may take the plunge into the full frame world. My tentative plan is to buy the 5D Mark II. For lenses I can probably only afford 2 and am leaning toward the 24-70 f/2.8L and maybe the 135 f/2.0L (and 50 f/1.4 if I can swing it). Another possiblility would be to get the 70-200 f/2.8L for my longer lens. Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Feb 4, 2011, 10:43 AM   #9
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FF is the world to go for if you dont shoot wildlife. If you dont need the reach, 5D is the camera to own.

For 5D i found the 24-105 the perfect match.

Since you need faster lens you can either pick the 24-70 or the 16-35. 16-35 gives a little scope for creativity making 16mm a lot wider.

Based on affordablity i would say 24-70 and a faster prime like 50mm F1.4 for now.

Or a 50mm F1.8 and a 85mm F1.8 prime.
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Old Feb 13, 2011, 11:10 AM   #10
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Thanks, nymph. Just got the 24-70 and love it! The 50mm 1.4 is next on my list. The 5D going to have to wait, but I'll get there eventually. When I do, I'll probably get the 135 f/2.0 as well. I'll need something to replace the 70mm reach. I've used the 24-105 and like it but it's a little too slow for a lot of what I do, but I do know it's a great lens. Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. - DT
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