best portrait lens for Canon Rebel Xsi

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nalaimpala, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. nalaimpala

    nalaimpala TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking for the best portrait lens for my Canon Rebel Xsi. I'm not after the most expensive lens but one that will take nice portraits. I'm pretty new to photography and have 6 week old twin boys that I want to start capturing thier every moment. Please help me find the best lens for this. Also... I would like to set up my own mini studio.... just for pictures of my family. What other lights and stuff would I need for this. Is there is cheap place to order back drops from and other basics? Any advice would be appreciated! :hugs:
     
  2. nalaimpala

    nalaimpala TPF Noob!

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    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Photography-Background-Fluorescent-T69B-Bag/dp/B00316GZEU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1278505136&sr=8-2]Amazon.com: ePhoto Photography Video Lighting Light Kit & 3 Muslins Backdrop Background Chroma Key Chromakey Black White Green Screen Photo Portrait Studio Umbrella Cool Fluorescent Continuous Lighting Kit By Ephoto INC T69B/W/G/Bag: Electronics[/ame]

    Would something like this work?
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Lenses don't create nice portraits, photographers do. As such, you can shoot portraits with just about any lens.

    Usually, it's advisable to photograph people with longer lenses because they tend to compress features, where as short (wide angle) lenses will tend to distort people. Of course, it's not always practical to use a longer lens because you would have to be farther back from your subjects to get the same framing as a wider lens.

    Many people like to shoot portraits with a shallow DOF, so they use lenses with a large maximum aperture. This can also help for shooting kids in natural/constant light because it can help to get faster shutter speeds.
    For zoom lenses, F2.8 is a large maximum aperture.
    Some good quality lenses would be:
    Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS
    Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8 L
    Tamron 17-50mm F2.8
    Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L
    Canon 70-200mm F2.8/F4

    Another option would be 'prime' (non-zoom) lenses. They can be found with larger max apertures. Some examples:
    Canon 50mm F1.8
    Canon 50mm F1.4
    Canon 85mm F1.8
    Canon 85mm F1.2
     
  4. flyingember

    flyingember TPF Noob!

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    pick a lens. use it.

    I've taken portraits with quite a few different lenses
     
  5. nalaimpala

    nalaimpala TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much! It's true that I have taken some great portraits with my camera as it is and also with my smaller pocket camera. I'm just really hoping to get some amazing pictures of my boys. I want to capture them as I see them but sometimes I look at a picture and think it looks nothing like them. :) Also I am hoping to not blind them with the flash.... some of my shots are spoiled when they close thier eyes and when taking pictues of them both at the same time... it's hard to find enough time to get them both when they are awake.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    My opinion...when it comes to taking photos of your own kids, it's more about being there and having your camera handy.

    I have/had a studio in my basement, and I've taken plenty of shots of my son there...but I also bought a pocket sized P&S digital camera so that we (my wife) could take snapshots whenever & wherever. Many of our favorite shots of him are with the P&S camera.

    It's great that you want to learn to take better photos, to capture your boys, and I certainly encourage you to do that. But as you are finding out, it's hard enough to get them both in the same shot and ready for a good photo...it will likely be like that for the next several years. So even with a full compliment of studio type equipment...it's still hit & miss. With kids, it's often more about getting the shots of the memorable moments when they happen, in which case, it pays to have a camera that is always handy.
     
  7. flyingember

    flyingember TPF Noob!

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    definitely. use what you have until you find a solid reason to get something else. your pocketbook will thank you.

    here's some portrait shots with different lenses.

    this looks to be with a Sigma 18-50
    Weird on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    I took this with either a Sigma 18-125 or Nikon 18-200. I forget when I got the latter lens and they overlapped in capabilities except for the longer reach I didn't use.
    Happy on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
     
  8. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike gave some great advice!

    I was in the same boat a year ago with my daughter and I bought the 50mm F1.4 and 100mm F2.8 both Canon versions. Both lens are outstanding , with the 50 you dont need as much space for full body but the 100mm is also a macro and allows for closer focusing. And the 50 is F1.4 which allows for lower light than the 100 but at a very shallow DOF. Both of these will DEFINITELY improve the quality of your images over the kit lens.

    Another option is the 50mm F1.8. Which is alot cheaper compared to the others. But you do sacrifice build quality and a manual focusing ring. There might also be a slight drop in quality BUT... I have not used the F1.8 version.
     
  9. AliasPros

    AliasPros TPF Noob!

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    a "Nifty Fifty" is the best 100 bucks I ever spent when I was shooting REBEL, however I did upgrade to the 50mm f/1.4 Ultrasonic due to, tiny focus ring and poor build quality. The 1.8 is a sure bet if your still learning, the 1.4 however will last you a lifetime and is an amazing investment.
     
  10. dak1b

    dak1b TPF Noob!

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    amen!:mrgreen:
     

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