85mm f/1.8 on Canon EOS Rebel XTi?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by about5foot6, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. about5foot6

    about5foot6 TPF Noob!

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    Hi- I'm newer to this forum, and a newbie to using anything but the "auto" settings on my camera, but I'm learning a lot of good info on here.

    Currently, I use a 50mm f/1.8 on my Canon XTi, since most of the photos I take are of my two young children. I like the results, but I'm finding I'm not getting a nice blurred background (when I can get a shot of them sitting still for a few minutes).

    After looking at the photos my sister took, using her Nikon D40 with her 50mm f/1.8, I was sort of disappointed at the way my photos were turning out. (We did a comparison, same camera settings, lens, subject, etc.) We were both thinking it's because her lens has f-stops (?) and mine doesn't. Her photos had a nice blurred background, mine didn't. Also her photos had a nice glow to them. (but I think my flash kept popping up even though it wasn't needed, and she was just getting nice natural light).

    Also, I'm on lens #3, since the one I have is a little more cheaply made, and I've had two just literally fall apart on me.

    So my question finally...I'm thinking of upgrading to new lens. I was thinking about the 85mm f/1.8, but since my camera is not a full-frame one, will this work? The lens is in my price range, and I'd like to stay around that amount if there is another lens I should consider. Or would the 50mm f/1.4 be a better option and more versatile?

    (My sister was trying to talk me into buying Nikon D40, and selling my stuff, but I don't know if I'm ready to do that quite yet. I think mine has a few more megapixels, however, I read that megapixels don't really matter. :confused:

    Thanks! Now I'm off to reading some more threads.
     
  2. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    Assuming you are referring to a standard autofocus Canon f1.8 lens, that also has access to f-stops. You just need to get off the fully auto settings and use either Av or manual to be able to choose the f-stop setting for yourself - it's set via the controls on the body, not on the lens itself. Dig out your manual and have a look at the section on Aperture Priority (Av) to start off with, then feel free to come back with any questions you have.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum. ;)
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Your lens has F-stops, just like hers.
    You control the F-stop (aperture) of the lens, via the camera's controls.

    Turn the camera's mode dial to Av, this is Aperture priority mode. Then you can use the control wheel (or whatever it is on your camera) to select the aperture that you want to use. The camera will then give you the required shutter speed to match the aperture you have chosen, based on the brightness of the scene.

    The aperture is represented with F numbers, which you can see in the viewfinder or on your camera's screen. A lower F number is a larger aperture. A larger aperture will give you a shallower Depth of Field (DOF), which is what you are looking for.

    So put your camera into Av mode and select a low number. F1.8 will be the lowest you can go, but that might be too much for many situation, so experiment with different settings.

    Then, read your camera's manual. Then, read it again. ;)
     
  4. about5foot6

    about5foot6 TPF Noob!

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    Aha! Well, thank you. :oops: I get it now. (However, I can't try it out since my lens is toast.) but I know exactly what you are telling me.

    I'm still muddling through the Lowrie "Field Guide" book. I'll probably spend another $90 on the 50mm f/1.8 for now, and play with that....

    Or should I go with one of the others, which I've read are better made, since two have already fell apart?

    Thanks again for explaining that part to me. :)
     
  5. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    The 50mm f1.4 is much better made and should last a good long while if well cared for. It's a worthwhile investment, though obviously the initial outlay is higher - you also get a bit more of the blurred background too.
     
  6. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    The 85 1.8 is quite an excellent lens, and it would work just fine on any EF/EF-s mount cameras. What I would be most concerned about is that the 85 is primarily portrait length. What this means is that for walking around, or casual shooting in a house it will probably be much too long.

    One other thing, for the 50 1.8, if you know how DOF works, you can easily get highly out of focus backgrounds. The main thing needed is separation between the subject and the background (i.e. subject is close and in focus, if the background is distant it will be out of focus (distant can be 5 feet or less if the subject is close enough).
     
  7. about5foot6

    about5foot6 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much Nate and Chris. Very helpful!

    I might skip the 85mm for now, but keep it on my wishlist for a purchase later down the road.

    Great information guys!
     
  8. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What happened? Did it just fall apart or something happened to it such as bump into something or dropped? The 50mm F/1.8 MKII is not a well made lens, however, it should not fall apart like that. Just wondering ...
     
  9. about5foot6

    about5foot6 TPF Noob!

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    You know, the first one I bought in July 2007, and it fell apart, as in the focusing ring, pretty much fell off. I really didn't even have a chance to use it much and it was stored in one of the sections of my medium sized crumpler bag.

    I bought the second one shortly after that, and it just broke on me, so I did get a fair amount of use out of it. That time, it was elbowed by someone in the bleachers at my daughter's game. The outer ring came right off again.
     

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