Two Questions... need help, again :)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by paulpippin29, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so, I'm less than a week away from buying a Canon Rebel XSI. In my original thread concerning this same topic, I stated that I was going to buy a "kit", which came with two lenses, and an assortment of various other accessories, such as carrying case, tripod, etc... Anyway, once the kit was reviewed by the much more experienced people found on this forum, it was recommended that I NOT purchase the kit, but rather buy the camera body, and a couple of really good lenses, which I agreed with in full. The problem is, I will NOT have as much money as I originally planned upon having, as a couple of bills are landing on the same day I planned on ordering the camera.

    So, in short, I'll have enough money to buy the XSI body, and ONE lense. Can someone PLEASE guide me to the best lense to buy for this camera, one which is in a "descent" price range, going no higher than 400.00 ? Is there a "jack of all trades" lense that would tide me over until I can save up for more lenses?

    I was originally going to buy a Canon 50mm F1.8 lense, which cost only 90 dollars on Amazon, and came highly recommended per users on this forum, and being a huge fan of "portrait" style photography, I thought this lense was really needed. There also, on Amazon, for right at 400 dollars, is an F1.4 lense, which got me thinking that I could really make my subjects stand out with that large of an aperture. Would one of these two lenses be the one to go with for now? Can they do random, candid, shoot anything type of shots as well, or are these lenses truly dedicated to one style?

    If they are, is there one lense out there that will give me a descently wide aperture, along with everything else?

    I plan on purchasing more than one lense in the very near future, but just can't afford to get two at the same time, as I originally thought I'de be able to.

    One thing to note... a buddy of mine recently bought his wife a Canon Rebel XS "KIT" for Christmas, and I managed to get my hands on it. It has a 10 megapixel sensor as you all know, instead of the 12.3 megapixel sensor found in the XSI, and it also had the "kit" lense attatched and in use, and I must say, I was impressed with what it could do. The quality was incredible, and I would NOT be ashamed to say I owned that camera, nor the kit lense that it came with, but, I want just a tad bit better, which the XSI is I guess, but some might say that there's not much difference, which might also be true.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling, I really need a good lense recommendation here, as I only have a few days left before I make my purchase :) Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

    As for my second question...

    I've been noticing alot of new photo's being posted lately, paying close attention to them of course, and liking alot of them as well. The main critique that I've been seeing so much of with these new post's, is that the subjects, or the photo's in general, are "too centered". Now, I understand what this means, but I think I have this habit as well.

    If I have one subject, whether it be an actual person, or an ashtray, how do you properly NOT center the subject? Is it merely as easy as taking the picture while slightly to the right or left of the subject, or something more?

    For example, if I'm taking a photo of a female "model", and I want to focus on her face, which is beautiful by the way, how do I NOT center her face? Is centering more relavant when shooting "portraits", or should one not center in this environment as well?

    Thanks in advance to all advice, answers, and recommendations that are sent my way :)
     
  2. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    A 'jack of all trades' lens? I don't think so. That's more like a P&S superzoom bridge camera. The beauty of DSLRs is that you can change the lens to suite the type of photography you're doing at the moment.
    If you have the money, get the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM instead of the 'Nifty Fifty'. The f/1.4 is built better, has better optics that produces much smoother bokeh, better low light performance and will lock focus quicker.

    But if you like to do portraits and walk around candids, then you may want to look at the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. Some of my shooting buddies use this lens as their portrait lens and they like it as a walk around lens too. It produces very sharp images and prime lenses really help you learn to move around to get your shot since they can't zoom...you zoom with your feet.
    Constant aperture zoom lenses tend to be pricey. I have the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens and it pretty much just stays on my XTi all the time (well, until I get the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM or EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM) and I just love the performance and image quality of this lens. But it's not cheap...$850 right now with the Canon rebates.
    The new 'kit' lens that come with the EOS Rebel DSLRs now is a pretty decent lens. It's much better than it's predecessor, that's for sure. But it's not a good low light lens since it has a variable aperture that starts at f/3.5. In good light it does take fine pictures. I don't know of anyone who's tried it for portaits though. For candid picture taking it'll be okay outdoors, but indoor photography you would need a flash.
    You need to learn about good photo composition. One of the first things you learn in a photography class is The Rule Of Thirds.

    More composition help...

    Digital Photography Composition Tips

    How to Make a Killer Photo using 8 Simple Composition Rules

    How To Improve Your Photography - 5 Easy Tricks

    Photographic Composition

    Photography composition - Your photo as a story

    Learn Photo Composition
     
  3. bevin

    bevin TPF Noob!

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    I'm a total noob too. I'm picking up a 40D and a 24-70 f/2.8L later this week to start me off. The 24-70mm suits what I like to shoot so I'm starting there. The next purchases will be the 70-200 f/2.8 and maybe the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.

    My brother has the Sigma lens for portraiture etc and he loves it. The 30mm on a gives the same angle of view as a 50mm does on a full frame camera. So if you want the 50mm for traditional 50mm purposes you might think about a 30mm until you're gonna drop a heap of cash on a full frame?

    Just some wee thoughts as I'm going through the same agonising decision process as you! Though I'll mention again that I'm a total noob :)

    Oh yeah and as for the center thing, I try and find the main focus of the pic, lets say the eyes for a close up face pic, and put them anywhere but the center of the picture. Am I being clear? Her face can fill the photo but make sure her eyes are about 1/3 of the way down in the photo rather than dead middle.

    Same if it's a full body shot. She can fill the photo but don't chop off her legs and leave the top 1/3 of the photo empty because her head is dead center. Or for an object, compose the photo so the focus point is top of bottom or off to the side. The object can to an extent be centered so long as the focus point is not.

    Again, my theory and thoughts but I'm just a noob!
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  4. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Outstanding answers, advice, and recommendations from the both of you, thank you so much. I'm going to try and pull off the 1.4 lense I think, but if I can't, the 1.8 will be my choice, especially when considering the price. Thanks again guys, really, you've both been a great help.

    If anyone else has any input (and I hope they do)... I will be appreciative of you as well, as the more input I recieve, the better off I shall become :)
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Samanax mentioned that quite a few portrate shooters use an 85mm lens which is a popular full frame lens choice for portrate work - on a crop sensor camera the 50mm will give you a view closer to the 85mm lens on a full frame camera.
    I also agree that if portate work is your interest that the 50mm f1.4 is a better bet - the f1.8 is well recomended to starters as it gives them prime lens experience, good optics, cheap cost and a good angle of view for many subjects. The f1.4 is a more serious option and definatly the ideal in a serious lens collection.
     

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