Book, and a Lens

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by Trepidati0n, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Just picked up a Canon T6s for our trip to India which we just did. Got it with the standard 18-135 lens which was great for the trip but won't be good for the next event...kids opening presents in "lower light". The high F number of the 18-135 lens is already showing its limit and almost forces the need for a flash (kids don't sit still for longer exposure).

    Any recommendation for a good low light lens? Some in the F1.8 or better is a target. Have a budget of ~$200 but will spend more if makes senses

    Second..there is the book most of you keep recommending on the basics of photography. usually it is a link from Amazon and the book isn't that expensive. I would really like to get off the "full auto" modes if possible and I think it should help.
     
  2. jamsomito

    jamsomito 2[H]4U

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    Book: understanding exposure, I believe. http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Edition-Photographs/dp/0817439390

    As for lenses, you probably want to consider the canon 50mm f/1.8 here: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8-Camera-Lens/dp/B00007E7JU

    This is a fantastic beginner lens with best bang for buck I've ever seen. Both the revision 2 and 3 are good, 3 being marginally better but marginally more expensive too. Just note that indoors for gift opening, you'll probably have to sit a ways back as its pretty "zoomed in" (long focal length) on a crop sensor camera. Its almost equivalent to an 85mm portrait lens on a full frame camera. In my experience, a typical home has VERY low light levels, even with all the room lights on, so that low f number is really what you're looking for. Unfortunately you will need to sacrifice something if you're on a budget though, like a narrower focal length, image quality, or auto focus. Other examples of lenses:

    If you need something wider, canon makes a 24mm f/2.8 pancake for pretty cheap, but optics are okay, and it doesn't let in as much light as the 50/1.8. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00NI...non+24+2.8&dpPl=1&dpID=31c4+af6K-L&ref=plSrch

    Samyang/Rokinon (same company I believe) makes some fantastic wider angle, big aperture lenses for a good price, but they're all manual focus. They're a bit above your budget though, at around $3-500.

    You can always buy used as well, and there are a lot of strong advocates for that on this forum and others. If you find a particular lens in your budget you're interested in, you can always post it here and we will let you know what we think of it. One of my favorite resources is Christopher Frost Photography on YouTube - very detailed reviews of all canon stuff, you'll be sure to know how a lens performs and if its recommended through him too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015
  3. UnknownSouljer

    UnknownSouljer [H]ardness Supreme

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    If you can buy a used Canon f/2 35mm, I'd buy that. It does have some downsides. It doesn't have an ultrasonic motor, so it's noisy in comparison to Canon's other, newer, silent options. I'd argue that it's probably the best prime to start with (that is to say 35mm, not necessarily this lens in particular) on a crop sensor.

    If your budget allows for it, I would highly recommend the 35mm f/2 IS. It's one of Canon's sharpest lenses, corner to corner even wide-open. The IS is useful for at least a 2 stop advantage in camera movement. The AF is very fast and accurate. They can be had on the used market for several hundred off the new price, which I would highly recommend over purchasing it (or any piece of camera equipment) new.

    Otherwise, I'd go with jasmonito's recommendation above and get a 50mm f/1.8 STM. If you're primarily trying to shoot people indoors, it will seem very limiting as it will feel "too close" to your subjects (unless all you want is to do is headshots). But outdoors it will probably feel much more natural as subjects tend to get further away than in indoor environments.

    ===

    As for books, I don't really have a recommendation for that. I basically learned by reading literature online from a number of different photographers and then spending the "practicum" time to learn what they were talking about. I wouldn't say that my method was efficient though. It took a really long time to "get" it and understand it. But now I'm in a place that I know a lot of the technical aspects forwards and backwards so I guess I did something right.
     
  4. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I can borrow a earlier gen 50mm f/1.8 to give it a try. Where would be a good place to buy a used 35 mm f/2 IS?
     
  5. Anh N.

    Anh N. Gawd

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    Fredmiranda for sale forum, amazon, keh.com., adorama and b&h have used sections too

    Just make sure to compare new and used price before purchasing. With the holiday season, Canon can give some rebates, instant or mail-in, that effectively brings the price of the new lens even below what some people are selling used for.
     
  6. Skillz

    Skillz [H]ard DCOTY 2017

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  7. UnknownSouljer

    UnknownSouljer [H]ardness Supreme

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    I just noticed that my original post may not be clear.
    The 35mm f/2 and 35mm f/2 IS are two different lenses. If you'll re-read above the non-IS has some deficiencies, but you probably can find one for pretty cheap. The newer IS version doesn't have those deficiencies but is significantly pricier.

    If you're on a budget the non-IS model will do. It's still a great lens, if a bit noisy and kludgy.

    Yeap, this. I personally recommend the FM forums. I use it quite a bit for buy/sell/trade even for big budget items (both bought and sold a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II). Of course it's like any other place you'd buy from (caveat emptor). So you have to have online buyers sense, but it has a good community and a wide selection. You can probably find what you're looking for at some point or another, from budget items all the way up to the super-expensive (I mean, Canon 800mm f/5.6's... really?)

    Otherwise I frequently shop eBay and Craigslist. CL can actually be a really great resource if you're a bargain hunter and know what you're looking at/looking for. If you hate to haggle then it's probably not a good resource, but I've save huge amounts of money on my gear from it.

    eBay it's rare to get a deal, except when someone lists something for too low on a BiN auction. But then at that point it's virtually luck on whether you get to it first or not. Still, I've done several of these. The trick there is that Auctions generally will end up in the average of the market value of the item. So you have to know what something is worth before hand. Then if you see a BiN for below that average price, snag it. This of course favors people mentally ready to buy now and also that are well versed in the market.
     
  8. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I would also suggest giving a quick look at the cute little 40mm pancake.

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-40mm-2-8-STM-Lens/dp/B00894YP00

    It's slightly wider than the 50mm and even though it's not as fast as the 1.8, I would guess the majority won't be using the lens at 1.8 very often. (Some do prefer the razor thin DOF) I seem to prefer somewhere between f2.2 and f2.8 for my indoor shots of a single subject. If you're taking a group shot the aperture might need to be smaller still. (Say if someone is standing behind someone else) The reason is that the amount of stuff that is "in focus" at those low numbers is very little. At around 5 feet it's only a few inches. So if you're up close and taking pictures of a child with a present in front of them, you're probably only going to get one or the other in focus.

    To help you understand the difference between your 18-135 and one of the prime lenses, a prime lens only has one focal point to accommodate. So WYSIWYG. If it's f1.8 on the box it can do it. With the zoom there is a variable aperture between f3.5 and
    f5.6. Each of the numbers printed on the top of the dial indicate when these changes occur. There are 18, 24, 35, 50, 85, and 135. You get f3.5 from 18 - 24mm, f4 from 24 - 35mm, f4.5 from 35 - 50mm, f5 from 50mm to 85, and finally f5.6 from 85mm to 125mm.

    So if you stand in one spot and twist the lens to zoom in, you can lose up to 1 1/3 stops of light. If you account for this you can put the lens at 34mm and it will give you F4 instead of F5 like you are probably are getting when you stand 10 feet away and use the lens to zoom. If you "zoom with your feet" like you are forced to on a prime you'll be able to get an extra 2/3 of a stop of light. Will that be enough? Maybe/maybe not, but it can certainly help. If you're planning on being in a room that only has a couple of table lamps, even a f1.4 might not cut it. In that case you'd want to consider a flash. (And with a flash the 18 - 135 can properly expose just about anywhere)

    But before you do anything, play around with what you have a little more. Maybe even pick up and read that book that jamsomito linked (I have that book as well). You can find a lot of the basics that are in that book by simply reading online. If you prefer them collected and organized, it can make it a lot easier for you. Photography is all about trade offs, so if you can find a way to exploit your current gear to do what you need, then there is no reason to have to go out and purchase more. (Not saying that picking up a 35, 40, or 50mm prime is not a great idea, but getting one has many more advantages than just because of it's F stop)

    The nice thing about that zoom lens is you can get a feel for all of the lenses image size by simply twisting the dial. Try taking a picture of your Christmas tree. At 50mm a 6' tall tree might require you to be 12 feet back. On the other end if you're at 35mm and you want to snap a picture of a small present you might need to be within a couple of feet to do so. Generally speaking you can make any of them work for either scenario, so pick which one feels the best for you.
     
  9. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Thanks a bunch...I appreciate it.
     
  10. SpeedyVV

    SpeedyVV [H]ardness Supreme

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    Hey, I agree with what was said here based on your budget.

    BTW, I did buy that f1.8 50mm, and for indoor I find it that it is just not good enough.

    So if you can find the f1.4 used, I would propose you get that.

    New $329
     
  11. Trepidati0n

    Trepidati0n [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I picked up the newer gen of the f1.8 50mm after trying my friends earlier gen. It really does do a nice job or my level of skill. I can now shoot without flash and force an ISO between 400 and 800 and get a clear shots (let the camera manage shutter speed) with medium to lower light. I started this way because I could hear the obvious difference without having to look at every single shot to sort of know "what is good" and "what is bad"

    I will probably upgrade to the 1.4 used when I get further down the road.

    Starting to play with more modes now. I'm switching over to Aperture Priority mode and letting the ISO/shutter speed do its thing. However, also limiting the ISO between 100 and 800. Also, finally starting to "get a hang" if the terminology which is the first step to not being a total idiot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015