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Old Feb 17, 2010, 7:58 PM   #1
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Default First lens for my first dslr

The kit lens for the T2i is the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens.

I understand the f-stop rating and the zoom capability, but what exactly does the EF-S indicate?

What type of photography is that lens designed for?

Will the aperature allow sufficient depth of field for landscape shots? Shallow dof for the fuzzy-background shots?

Is there a better lens to start with before spending serious cash?

Thanks for the patience with these rookie questions!

Jim
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 8:04 PM   #2
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Jim-

It indicates that it is a lens designed for the APS-C imager utilized by your camera. Lens are designed to cover the area of specific imagers.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 8:09 PM   #3
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The EF-s tells you it is for crop bodies canon eos only. It will not fit on a full frame or film slr.

The kit lens is a pretty sharp lens, good for general photography. Pretty wide for landscapes and buildings and a candid moments.

It will not be able to give you the bokum effect I think you are looking for. That will need a much wider aperture. If you are looking for a inexpensive lens for portraits the EF 50mm MKII 1.8 will give you the bokum effect.

For the money no, it is a pretty decent lens. You can move up to the new EF-s 15-85 or the new 18-135 but they are way more expensive. Add at least 700-400 dollars to the full MSRP of the T2i when it comes out for the body at 800 dollars respectively. But neither will give you the shallow dof you are looking for with a 3.5 as it's widest aperture at 15mm and 18mm respectively.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 8:48 PM   #4
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It will not be able to give you the bokum effect I think you are looking for. That will need a much wider aperture. If you are looking for a inexpensive lens for portraits the EF 50mm MKII 1.8 will give you the bokum effect.

For the money no, it is a pretty decent lens. You can move up to the new EF-s 15-85 or the new 18-135 but they are way more expensive. Add at least 700-400 dollars to the full MSRP of the T2i when it comes out for the body at 800 dollars respectively. But neither will give you the shallow dof you are looking for with a 3.5 as it's widest aperture at 15mm and 18mm respectively.
Not entirely true. Blurred background is not created by wide aperture alone, although it is a big help. You can also achieve this effect by increasing the subject to background distance and/or by using longer focal lengths while reducing your distance from the subject. You can achieve blurred backgrounds at f8 by using these techniques. I rarely use lenses wide open for portraits because the DOF is too shallow, (leaving some of the subject out of focus) and because lenses are typically soft wide open. You also have to consider that shooting wide open may be impossible in outdoors as there is just too much light resulting in overexposure.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 9:00 PM   #5
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That is true, but I generally use primes, and have not had to much issue with 2 to 2.8 shooting outside. I just took a whole series of outdoor picture with a ef 28mm 1.8 pretty much at 1.8 the whole time on a sunny day. The T1i will shoot at 1/4000 which helped allot.

But in tight confines the bigger aperture will be able to achive the bokum, where you can not get enough separation between the subject and the background.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 9:17 PM   #6
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Jim

This is what RJ was talking about. I used the 250mm lens at 250 to get close to my subject and had 3/4 of a mile separation to the back ground. To achieve the bokem on this shot with f5.6. You do not need that kind of distance. But you will need a good separation between the subject and background.
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 3:51 AM   #7
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rjseeney is right, there are 3 main areas to getting a shallow depth of field (dof).

Focal length - the longer the lens the shallower the dof.
Aperture - the wider the aperture (lower f number) the shallower the dof.
Distance from camera to subject - the closer to the camera the shallower the dof.

Then as you want a fuzzy background getting it as far from the subject as possible is key.

Rather than doing an abstract with a long lens or very small subject I thought it best to use something similar to your consideration.

I'm sorry to say today's model is me (big, fat and hairy as I am - unshaven and bed hair hence the hat) as there is no one else to use. I'm thinking of putting together sample shots with my fiancee for all possible situations so I can use them... much nicer on the eye.

These were taken a moment ago with a 7D and Canon 50mm f1.8 lens. The background is about 4m behind me and the camera probably 2 or 2.5m in front. The first shots are at f5.6 so with the 55mm f5.6 option on the lens you are considering the blur will be very slightly more (as we've seen from the above, a longer focal length the shallower the dof). The 2nd two shots are at f1.8 so you can see the difference being made. The problem for me was trying to get myself in focus with such a shallow dof on the 2nd set.

In each set there is the full photo reduced for web and also a 100% crop so you can see pixel detial.

To give you an idea how this looks with a 'normal' person, I'm 6'6" tall so you can get even more of a regular Joe in or bring them closer to the camera for the same framing thus getting a shallower dof still.

Basically, I wanted you to see you can get a certain amount of the "fuzzy-background" shots you are thinking of even with the kit lens (which is a good all round lens btw) and in the future you can add other options to give even more creative shooting, such as the 50mm f1.8.

All lenses allow you to 'stop down' to get the wide dof you want for landscape so no worries there.

Just while I was finishing I thought it might be good to see a closer shot still at 50mm f5.6 where the background is much more out of focus. This will hopefully help illustrate the effect of reducing the subject to camera distance. I didn't bother with a 100% crop as I think you can see enough from this photo.

I hope that helps.
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 5:13 AM   #8
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But in tight confines the bigger aperture will be able to achive the bokum, where you can not get enough separation between the subject and the background.
Not trying to be the spelling police, but the correct term is Bokeh, and it refers to the quality of the out of focus background. It is not technically a style or type of shot, it is a measurement (although there is no chart, gauge or unit, and is usually just described as good or bad or just ok) All lenses are able to create out of focus backgrounds and thus create bokeh. Not all lenses are capable of creating a pleasing out of focus background, although bokeh is quite subjective and you will get differing opinions of what is good or bad. Typically the smoother the background looks, the better.
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 6:19 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for taking the time to explain these things to me. Mark and Shoturtle - you are kind for taking the time to produce some example photos.

In trying to squeeze all this into my rookie mind, I come up with this-
-The kit lens is a good place to start for what amounts to my 'snapshot' aspirations with a creative flair- capable of the Bokeh effect under certain conditions, but also capable of portraits and landscapes (dare I call it the crescent wrench of lenses?).
-Open the aperature, work with the distance from camera to subject and subject to background to alter the Bokeh effect.
-Look at other lenses once I've found the limits of my kit lens.

Thanks again!

Jim
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 7:50 AM   #10
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Not trying to be the spelling police, but the correct term is Bokeh, and it refers to the quality of the out of focus background. It is not technically a style or type of shot, it is a measurement (although there is no chart, gauge or unit, and is usually just described as good or bad or just ok) All lenses are able to create out of focus backgrounds and thus create bokeh. Not all lenses are capable of creating a pleasing out of focus background, although bokeh is quite subjective and you will get differing opinions of what is good or bad. Typically the smoother the background looks, the better.
Not a problem, I am a horrible speller if I do not use spell check.
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