Help selecting right lenses for desired field of depth result?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by J Crew, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. J Crew

    J Crew TPF Noob!

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    hello everyone... great forum and i'm glad that i was able to find you all. i'm an amerature videographer and have done some weddings and other special events over the years. but my wife has picked up photography as a hobby so i recently bought her a rebel xti digital camera (body only): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=6222&A=details&Q=&sku=457506&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation
    and then bought her a canon telephoto 28-135 lense: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=Search&A=details&Q=&sku=149629&is=USA&addedTroughType=search#goto_itemInfo

    i bought her some beginning photography books and am signing her up for some classes at a local junior college where we live. my question is helping me buy the correct lenses she needs. i will be completely honest... i want to save money. i want her to develope a technique first and learn how to used the different lenses before i spend $1,000 - $5,000 per lense. i'm willing to spend the money, but want to make sure it's a sound investment and not a short lived hobby that has drained our bank account.

    i would like to get her atleast one more lense, but am unsure what to buy. we both like this style of photography: http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/ThumbPage.aspx?e=2396394&g=00&s=100 ... these are pictures taken of me and my family by our photographer. my wife would like a lense that has a narrow focal range (?) and will show depth well. basically, strongly focused on subject and everything either in front or behind will be blurred to some degree. any shooting tips and suggestions on a good starting lense that's not crazy expensive will be much appreciated. thanks again.

    - Jason

    ps - here's a link to our photographers website: http://www.raeleytham.com/index2.php
    we just love her photograph's and her style. my wife would like to shoot photos in a similar style.
     
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If it were me, I would buy a 50mm prime lens that has a very open aperture. I use a 50mm f/1.4 for Pentax, that only ran about $200 and is worth every penny. I don't shoot Canon, but I would go with something with a max aperture of 1.4 or 1.8. You are going to pay a premium if you go with their L line of glass. I think the 50mm is well suited for portraiture like the link you posted and for me it's a good all around lens.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The effect you are looking for is a result of a shallow Depth of Field (DOF). It's a result of a few things. Firstly, the aperture of the lens; the bigger the aperture the more shallow the DOF. A big aperture is represented by a lower F number...so you will want a lens with a low F number in the name.

    Secondly, focal length. The longer the lens...the more shallow the DOF...but focal length also affects magnification and field of view...so don't worry so much about this as the maximum aperture.

    The third thing is distance to subject and the difference in the distance to the subject and to the background. If the subject is standing just in front of a tree...it's hard to get the tree out of focus. If the subject takes 10 or 20 steps forward...then it's easier.

    My suggestion for a lens would be a prime (non zoom) lens. A prime lens will usually have a very wide maximum aperture and usually have better optical quality than a zoom lens. The cheapest lens is the 50mm F1.8. It's optically very good...although a little on the cheaply made side. The 50mm F1.4 has an even bigger aperture and is built better...but it's 3x more expensive...but still only a few hundred dollars.

    You could get a zoom lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8...which is pretty good for a zoom lens. Also, if the only lens she has is the 28-135...that's not very wide for that camera. You might want to consider one of the digital only, ultra wide lenses. Tamron and Sigma both make a lens in the range of 17mm-50mm with a maximum aperture of F2.8. Canon makes a couple. One is the kit lens that usually comes with the camera (18-55 F3.5-5.6)...and the other is the 17-55mm F2.8 IS. It has IS (probably like the lens she has) and has F2.8...it's said to be the best lens in this range...but it's well over $1000. The Tamron and Sigma are not quite a good...but less than half the price.

    I hope that helps a little.
     
  4. J Crew

    J Crew TPF Noob!

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    how much difference will f1.4 from f1.8 make? the 50mm f1.8 is a very inexpensive lense. heck, i could buy her 3-4 of these type lenses if they are in this price range. if there's not a big difference and f1.8 is a good starting point for the described type of photography (reference first post), then i'm buying this lense today. thanks again :)
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    The difference between F1.4 and F1.8...isn't really that much. The big difference between those two is the build quality...and subsequently the price. Google it and you will find thousands of pages on the difference between the two (or just the same differences over and over again :lol: )

    There is also a 50mm F1.2 L.
    L is Canon's designation for it's professional line of lenses. The price of that lens is more than you paid for the camera (and probably your lens as well)

    We all like to recommend the 50mm F1.8 because it's so cheap and the image quality is pretty good. No EOS owner should be without a Nifty Fifty.

    I still think that it would be nicer to have a wider view than 28mm...so maybe you could consider a wide lens and a fast lens. (fast is the term for big maximum aperture). I'm soon getting the Tamron 17-50 F2.8, should be pretty good, from what I can tell.

    You could also consider a wider prime lens. 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 30mm etc. or even a longer one. The Canon 85mm F1.8 is a fantastic portrait lens...and not that expensive. Sigma makes a 30mm F1.4 that is said to be pretty good as well.

    As you can tell, there are many, many options.
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Since you call them "your" photographer I would assume that you have used them as a photographer on more than one occasion and/or mabye know them fairly well. I think a good place to start in finding out what kind of gear they use would be to talk to them. As you can see from this forum photographers like to share and talk "shop" to other people the simple fact that they have a blog should tell you that they are not afraid to communicate with people. If you like their style I say try to learn from themI would be willing to bet that somewhere in the archives of their blog you could find some comments on their equipment. All that being said I can tell you from their website and blog it looks like they use a pro body and 2.8 lenses and from the variety of shots they have the whole range of lenses from very wide to telephoto and also they or someone they pay has very good Photoshop skills.
     
  7. J Crew

    J Crew TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the suggestions and help! i'll look into those other lenses as well. but here's what i've decided to go ahead an buy her for now.

    the canon 50mm f1.8 lense: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=8454&A=details&Q=&sku=12142&is=USA&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation#goto_itemInfo
    the canon 430ex flash: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000AO3L84/ruggedelegance7526-20/ref=nosim?gclid=CPPx_4HynIkCFS5yOAod9l__QA"]http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000AO3L84/ruggedelegance7526-20/ref=nosim?gclid=CPPx_4HynIkCFS5yOAod9l__QA[/ame]

    now i just need suggestions on a good carrying case for the equiptment... bag, rolling case, etc. i may still get her another lense too on top of this other stuff. thanks again.

    ps - btw, if you know of a cheaper place to buy any of this stuff, please let me know. :)
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    B&H is a great place to buy your gear...great prices and reputable service. Adorama is also good. If you use the links at the top of this forum when you buy from them...you would be helping this forum...and we would appreciate that :D

    For bags, I have a few from Lowepro and I love them. Very well made and well designed. There are many different styles, so you may want to let your wife decide which she will like best. The standard, shoulder bags are convenient but hard to carry for long time periods. The backpacks are great for hiking or long travel (I have one)...but they are a pain in the but to get the gear in or out of quickly. They have hybrid 'sling' bags that are halfway between the two. They have reporter bags, they have bags for camera and computer gear...etc. I highly recommend Lowepro but there are other brands as well. Tamarack, Domke are a couple I can think of.
     
  9. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    The 'slingshot bags are great (I use the Slingshot 200). It holds what I carry for a day or longer away. It can be used over either shoulder and you can pull it around for access to contents without taking it off.
     
  10. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    I've got a Lowepro Nova 4 AW and I love it, although it's a bit overkill for your current kit. I love it mainly because of the built-in rainfly, which protects it from the elements. A friend of mine had this same bag and had the rainfly over it while traveling on a blues cruise. The bag accidentally went overboard. It was quickly fished out of the water, whereupon the only damage discovered was a damp magazine. I pretty quickly went out and bought one myself.
     
  11. J Crew

    J Crew TPF Noob!

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    yes, we have used them many times. they are wonderful and have pointed us in the right direction... they recommened the rebel xti and the lense that i have already bought my wife. i plan on picking their brain some more, just don't want to ask questions all the time and bother them. that's why i found this forum so i could read and get suggestions, advice, and help from other photographers. thanks for the info on the type of lenses they may be using. i do know that Wes is using the 30D and i'm not sure what Rae was using. thanks again.
     
  12. J Crew

    J Crew TPF Noob!

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    i was going to sleep last night and for some reason i kept thinking about the photoshop remark. i was wondering how you were able to tell the photos were photoshoped with good skills? the 'very good Photoshop skills' part makes it sound like they've been heavily doctored/corrected. it doesn't personally matter to me one way or the other, but from a learning perspective... i would like to know what may have been done. so could you please give a few specific examples of photos that were Photoshoped at a high skill level and what you think was done to them. thanks very much for your time and help.

    - Jason
     

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