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Advice on my next lens purchase...

splproductions

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80% of the photography I used to do (albeit mostly just pointing and shooting) was landscape. Now that I have a little one at home, it's switched to 80% "baby". I'm guessing my boy will be the primary focus of my shots for at least the next few years until I'm able to start backpacking again.

I absolutely love my new Sigma 50mm prime. I obviously never use my 18-55 kit lens anymore. But I've found several occasions indoors where I wasn't able to get a family shot or group shot due to the 50mm (and I'm shooting 1.6 crop). I also tried to shoot a toddler the other day, and realized that with him running around, the 50mm wasn't cutting it.

I want my next lens to be the lens that is on my camera pretty much all the time, except when I'm doing more serious portrait shots (then I'll throw on the Sigma). I thought I was sold on the Canon 24-70 2.8L, but now I'm wondering if the 16-35mm 2.8L would be better. Here's my thinking...

1) Somehow I find myself in low-light hand-held situations all the time, so I really want f/2.8.
2) I know I'm going to go full-frame, but probably not for 5-7 years, so I don't want to buy any EF-S lenses.
3) With my crop factor, maybe 16mm will be something I use more often for everyday shots, and the widest 24mm of the other lens wouldn't really be that wide for me.
4) When I do eventually go full-frame, I'd have a sweet landscape lens, and I could buy the 24-70mm for my "everyday" shooting when I upgrade my body.

So I guess my real question lies mostly with what focal lengths are best for certain situations. This is something I have very little experience with since I've only had that 18-55 kit lens until recently. Again, this lens will mostly be for family parties, my infant as he grows up (on the playground, opening Christmas), etc. (Parents with kids can tell me how many years it will be before I'm backpacking in the mountains again. ;))
 
5-7 years is a long time to live with a lens that isn't the exact focal lengths you want.

Good glass loses little to no value over time. I'd buy a canon 17-55 2.8L and use it Because it's the right focal length for the job. In 5-7 years when you go to full frame, you'll be able to sell it for very close to what you paid for it, and put that money into a 24-70, which is the full frame equivalent to the 17-55.
 
The 16-35 actually sounds like a great choice. To me 2.8 is not nearly enough for low light though, I shoot my 35/1.4 when I'm in low light handheld situations. If I was in your position I'd probably be looking at a 24mm 1.4, but if you're set on a zoom, the 16-35 certainly seems like the zoom of choice. It is nice to be able to go to 16 at parties and stuff, sometimes I'll shoot my Tokina @ 16mm to do group shots, but that 2.8 is tough in weak indoor light.
 
5-7 years is a long time to live with a lens that isn't the exact focal lengths you want.

Good glass loses little to no value over time. I'd buy a canon 17-55 2.8L and use it Because it's the right focal length for the job. In 5-7 years when you go to full frame, you'll be able to sell it for very close to what you paid for it, and put that money into a 24-70, which is the full frame equivalent to the 17-55.

This is a great point, except that 17-55 is not all that impressive a lens. It's way distorted at the wide end, and not as sharp as the 16-35... The 17-55 looks great on paper, and looks useful in many situations, especially with IS, but the quality is not the same as an L lens.
 
analog.universe said:
This is a great point, except that 17-55 is not all that impressive a lens. It's way distorted at the wide end, and not as sharp as the 16-35... The 17-55 looks great on paper, and looks useful in many situations, especially with IS, but the quality is not the same as an L lens.

It is an L lens isn't it?

I could be wrong. I'm a Nikon guy, and I know that their 17-55 2.8 is really a great lens. Ive only ever heard good things about the canon version but I haven't really looked into it very much
 
To me 2.8 is not nearly enough for low light though, I shoot my 35/1.4 when I'm in low light handheld situations. If I was in your position I'd probably be looking at a 24mm 1.4...

With my limited experience I agree with this... I find myself shooting much of the time around 2.2-2.8 when I'm inside and I can't control the lighting. I originally thought I'd get another prime, but here's my concern... let me know if it's valid or not. I was talking to a friend who does photography for a living. She said she lent her body to a friend who was shooting a bunch of primes, and when she got it back, she could tell there was dust on the sensor. I don't know the specifics of how long she had it, where she was shooting, etc, but I guess I'm worried about that. I'm also concerned about the inconvenience of having to switch out my lens to get the shot. It's not a problem when I'm doing a "photo shoot" of my kid or a family photo, but when I'm just doing "everyday" shots, I feel like it would be a pain to switch back and forth.

Would the 24mm 1.4L be a lens I could keep on most of the time, and only put the 50mm on for portrait shoots? I guess I can always just scoot closer with the 24, but with the 50 I was backing up into walls and still couldn't get the shot.
 
To me 2.8 is not nearly enough for low light though, I shoot my 35/1.4 when I'm in low light handheld situations. If I was in your position I'd probably be looking at a 24mm 1.4...

With my limited experience I agree with this... I find myself shooting much of the time around 2.2-2.8 when I'm inside and I can't control the lighting. I originally thought I'd get another prime, but here's my concern... let me know if it's valid or not. I was talking to a friend who does photography for a living. She said she lent her body to a friend who was shooting a bunch of primes, and when she got it back, she could tell there was dust on the sensor. I don't know the specifics of how long she had it, where she was shooting, etc, but I guess I'm worried about that. I'm also concerned about the inconvenience of having to switch out my lens to get the shot. It's not a problem when I'm doing a "photo shoot" of my kid or a family photo, but when I'm just doing "everyday" shots, I feel like it would be a pain to switch back and forth.

Would the 24mm 1.4L be a lens I could keep on most of the time, and only put the 50mm on for portrait shoots? I guess I can always just scoot closer with the 24, but with the 50 I was backing up into walls and still couldn't get the shot.

Carrying around 3 or 4 primes when you just want to take a walk with your camera, or go to a family event, just plan sucks. It's much nicer to throw on a mid range zoom and forget about it.

If the 2.8 isn't fast enough up your iso. If that's not an option, it's time to invest in a speedlight and learn how to use it. Even with fast primes, you can achieve much nicer indoor photos with proper knowledge of how to use a flash.
 
Carrying around 3 or 4 primes when you just want to take a walk with your camera, or go to a family event, just plan sucks. It's much nicer to throw on a mid range zoom and forget about it.

If the 2.8 isn't fast enough up your iso. If that's not an option, it's time to invest in a speedlight and learn how to use it. Even with fast primes, you can achieve much nicer indoor photos with proper knowledge of how to use a flash.

Hey Destin - now that I think about it... I do have a Speedlight! I have been reading a lot about using flash, and I'm getting the hang of it, I should probably just be using it more.

You also mentioned that 5-7 years is a long time to live with a lens that isn't the right focal length. I guess I'm trying to figure out what that "right" focal length for my situation is. I was reading a review on Amazon about the 24-70 2.8L and they said that on a crop sensor, this focal length doesn't really fall into a very useful range. Maybe they're full of crap, but it just got me thinking that maybe the 16-35mm would get me in a better range for "everyday" shots with a 1.6x crop.
 
Carrying around 3 or 4 primes when you just want to take a walk with your camera, or go to a family event, just plan sucks. It's much nicer to throw on a mid range zoom and forget about it.

If the 2.8 isn't fast enough up your iso. If that's not an option, it's time to invest in a speedlight and learn how to use it. Even with fast primes, you can achieve much nicer indoor photos with proper knowledge of how to use a flash.

Hey Destin - now that I think about it... I do have a Speedlight! I have been reading a lot about using flash, and I'm getting the hang of it, I should probably just be using it more.

You also mentioned that 5-7 years is a long time to live with a lens that isn't the right focal length. I guess I'm trying to figure out what that "right" focal length for my situation is. I was reading a review on Amazon about the 24-70 2.8L and they said that on a crop sensor, this focal length doesn't really fall into a very useful range. Maybe they're full of crap, but it just got me thinking that maybe the 16-35mm would get me in a better range for "everyday" shots with a 1.6x crop.

The 24-70 is really not wide enough. If you get it, you'd need something wider also (canon 10-22, tokina 12-24, etc) because on a crop sensor, 24 is not all that wide.

The 16-35 definitely solves that problem, but it's such a narrow zoom range that making it your go-to lens seems like it might be limiting. That's why I suggested the 17-55mm, but that's an EF-S lens.

What I meant about the 5-7 year comment is that you should buy the lens you need now, even if it is an EF-S lens, because they hold their value so well that you'd easily get most of your money back out of it when you step up to full frame.
 

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