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View Full Version : New to Canon t2i, need lens rec's please


skylizard
05-16-2011, 09:47 AM
I bought the t2i that came with the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, and also purchased the 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 lens.
Helped a friend photograph a wedding this weekend and was not impressed with either lens, especially in low light and action shots. Got lots of blurry and dark pictures. Any recs on a better lens? I prefer to stick to one great overall lens so I don't have to switch between the two.
And any recs on a good flash?

ChiSoxKeith
05-16-2011, 09:53 AM
Low light means faster glass.

So what kind of shooting do you plan on doing?

The 50mm f/1.8 is a nice entry point - you can get the lens for under $130. I've played with the 50mm f/1.4 and it was a BLAST for low light. That lens would run you about $450. If you want something longer, then you could go with a 70-200 f/4 or f/2.8. But that's going to run you $$$.

I use the Canon 430 EXII flash.

photo_chick
05-16-2011, 10:18 AM
You won't find an all in one that covers the 18-250 range that's going to be any faster than what you have. You'll have to go with prime or a couple of higher end zooms. How much do you want to spend?

disneyboy2003
05-16-2011, 10:23 AM
I bought the t2i that came with the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, and also purchased the 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 lens.
Helped a friend photograph a wedding this weekend and was not impressed with either lens, especially in low light and action shots. Got lots of blurry and dark pictures. Any recs on a better lens? I prefer to stick to one great overall lens so I don't have to switch between the two.

And any recs on a good flash?

Yes, the lenses that you have are good, general-purpose lenses. However, if you're trying to take pictures in challenging conditions (such as low light, action, or even low-light action :eek: ), then you'll need lenses that will let more light into your camera. In other words, you'll need lenses with larger maximum apertures, such as f/2.8 or larger (f/2.8 or smaller f-number).

If you had all the money in the world, I'd go with these lenses:

Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 ($1,159 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/425812-USA/Canon_1242B002AA_EF_S_17_55mm_f_2_8_IS.html)) - this is my walk-around lens for everyday use. Because it's got a large aperture of f/2.8, it works very well in low-light situations.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS ($2,499 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/680103-USA/Canon_2751B002_EF_70_200mm_f_2_8L_IS.html)) - if you're looking to zoom in on low-light and action shots, then this is THE workhorse lens for those situations. Many wedding photographers and many sports photographers use this lens.
Canon 50mm f/1.4 ($449 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/12140-USA/Canon_2515A003_50mm_f_1_4_USM_Autofocus.html)) - if you're in an extremely low-light situation, this lens' large aperture of f/1.4 will let in tons more light into your camera. It's a nice portrait lens, especially for the Canon Rebel camera. Because this is a "prime lens", it does not zoom.


For someone who's just a week into digital SLR photography, I'm sure this is all overkill. However, if you're very serious about low-light and action photography (or especially low-light action photography), then these are the lenses to invest in.

There are cheaper alternatives to the above lenses. Sigma makes a 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. Canon has 4 different versions of the 70-200mm lens (with & without image stabilization, f/2.8 vs f/4). Sigma makes an equivalent 70-200mm lens. As mentioned in a previous post, Canon's 50mm f/1.8 lens is a nice, cheaper alternative for $135.

Canon's best flash is the Canon 580exII ($484 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/486706-USA/Canon_1946B002_Speedlite_580EX_II.html)). It's a powerful external flash. It has a swivel head, so you can re-direct the flash to "bounce" in other directions. It can act as a "master flash" to control multiple other "slave flashes".

An alternative to this, as mentioned earlier, is the Canon 430exII ($289 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/571297-USA/Canon_2805B002_430EX_II_Speedlite_TTL.html)). It's only slightly less powerful than the 580exII. It has a swivel head, but is slightly limited (when turning the head to the right, it only turns 90 degrees, instead of 180 degrees). It can't serve as a "master flash" to control other flashes.

There are alternatives to these flashes, as well, such as those by Sigma.

Anyway, if you're going to be photographing weddings, low-light events, and/or action/sporting events in the future, then these are the lenses you'll want/need.

skylizard
05-16-2011, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the rec's.
How about this lens?
Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8

Or should I just spend the extra $$$ on the Canon?

skylizard
05-16-2011, 10:37 AM
For someone who's just a week into digital SLR photography, I'm sure this is all overkill. Not a week, more like a year. But this past weekend was my first real attempt at wedding photography.



Canon's best flash is the Canon 580exII This is definitely on my to-buy list!



thanks again for the recs

ChiSoxKeith
05-16-2011, 10:46 AM
Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 ($1,159 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/425812-USA/Canon_1242B002AA_EF_S_17_55mm_f_2_8_IS.html)) - this is my walk-around lens for everyday use. Because it's got a large aperture of f/2.8, it works very well in low-light situations.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS ($2,499 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/680103-USA/Canon_2751B002_EF_70_200mm_f_2_8L_IS.html)) - if you're looking to zoom in on low-light and action shots, then this is THE workhorse lens for those situations. Many wedding photographers and many sports photographers use this lens.
Canon 50mm f/1.4 ($449 at B&H - link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/12140-USA/Canon_2515A003_50mm_f_1_4_USM_Autofocus.html)) - if you're in an extremely low-light situation, this lens' large aperture of f/1.4 will let in tons more light into your camera. It's a nice portrait lens, especially for the Canon Rebel camera. Because this is a "prime lens", it does not zoom.





disneyboy2003 you did a great job summarizing the lenses and the flashes.

Gianna'sPapa
05-16-2011, 11:24 AM
I bought the t2i that came with the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, and also purchased the 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 lens.
Helped a friend photograph a wedding this weekend and was not impressed with either lens, especially in low light and action shots. Got lots of blurry and dark pictures. Any recs on a better lens? I prefer to stick to one great overall lens so I don't have to switch between the two.
And any recs on a good flash?

While I'm not a wedding photographer (some say I'm not much of a photographer, period!:rotfl2:) but while at a wedding this past Saturday, the pro was sitting at our table. I had the opportunity to pick his brain a little. He was shooting Canon and shoots approximately 80 weddings annually. His go-to lens is the Canon 24-70 f2.8. He will use others from time to time but that is the lens that is almost permanently mounted to his camera (a 5d). That surprised me a little because I thought he would be using something a little wider. It gave me a little bit of encouragement because my walkaround is a 28-70 f2.8. I don't know what your budget is, but the Canon version is about $1,400. Sigma has a version for $900 and Tamron has a 28-75 for $500. Optically the Canon is outstanding and I have had good use out of my Sigma. Tamron, I'm not as familiar with.

As others have said, if you are going to be shooting in lowlight then the faster lens in combination with higher usable ISO is what you need. Your camera is capable of the higher usable ISO images (at least better than my 1600). As far as flashes, I will leave that up to the Canon shooters. I use Sigma on my Pentax and have had good success at a lower initial cost.

disneyboy2003
05-16-2011, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the rec's.
How about this lens?
Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8

Or should I just spend the extra $$$ on the Canon?

Yes, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens has everything you should be looking for in a low-light, general purpose lens. Make sure you read the reviews on this lens, though. My brief glance at some of the reviews show comments about slow & loud autofocus.

Also, be aware that there are 2 different versions of this lens: one with image stabilization (what Tamron calls "vibration control (VC)") and one without. There's a $200 difference in the 2 lenses. Apparently, the one without vibration control has better image quality(?). (see this review (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tamron-17-50mm-f-2.8-XR-Di-II-VC-Lens-Review.aspx))

One more thing. Even though my posts have focused a lot on spending $$$$$, I must caution you that buying $$$$$ lenses DOESN'T mean that you'll automatically become a better photographer!

I don't know how much you already know about the basics of photography (ie. shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc). If you aren't already highly fluent in these concepts, then I actually would NOT spend the $$$$$ on the above lenses. Instead, I would spend my money on photography books or photography classes. This would be the highest yield in terms of money spent to get better photos.

I'm actually quite sad to hear that your photos turned out dark and blurry for such an important occasion that can't be re-done. :sad1: Did your friend know about the limitations in your equipment before he/she asked you to photograph the wedding? Was there a back-up photographer? Does he/she know about how the pictures turned out?


disneyboy2003 you did a great job summarizing the lenses and the flashes.

Thanks so much for the compliment! I hope this helps others who are looking into lenses for low-light situations.

disneyboy2003
05-16-2011, 11:37 AM
His go-to lens is the Canon 24-70 f2.8. He will use others from time to time but that is the lens that is almost permanently mounted to his camera (a 5d). That surprised me a little because I thought he would be using something a little wider.

That lens is also a very very popular lens, as well. The reason that the photographer was using that lens is because he's using a full-frame camera. Being full-frame, the Canon 5D can't accept EF-S lenses like the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens.

Other cameras from Canon are "crop-sensor" cameras, such as all the Canon Rebel cameras, Canon 7D, and the Canon 60D, 50D, 40D, etc.). With these "crop sensor" cameras, you can use the Canon 17-55mm lens. In fact, you'll get almost exactly the same "equivalent view" with "crop sensor + 17-55mm lens" combo as you would with the "full frame + 24-70mm lens" combo.

Crop sensors are a little smaller than full-frame sensors. There's actually a multiplication factor of 1.6 for Canon crop sensors to get the equivalent full-frame view. For example, using a Rebel with the lens set at 17mm, you get an equivalent view of a full-frame camera with a lens set at 27mm (17 x 1.6).

The only other disadvantage I see in the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is that it has no image stabilization. Some photographers would argue that you don't need image stabilization with wide angle lenses. However, when I'm shooting in low-light, I need all the help I can get. Actually, an image-stabilized next-version of this lens has been rumored for many many many years...meaning, I wouldn't hold my breath.

I actually find that 17mm is wide enough for my crop-sensor camera (I have the Canon 7D). There are rarely a few times that I wish I had a wider lens. Maybe one of these days if I save enough money, I'll join the ultra-wide-angle cult. But for now, I'm actually quite content with the focal length of this lens.

skylizard
05-16-2011, 11:43 AM
I'm actually quite sad to hear that your photos turned out dark and blurry for such an important occasion that can't be re-done. :sad1: Did your friend know about the limitations in your equipment before he/she asked you to photograph the wedding? Was there a back-up photographer? Does he/she know about how the pictures turned out?



I was just a secondary photographer. The main photographer was asked by the bride to photograph the wedding even though she only did photography as a hobby. The bride was on a tight budget and not looking for any professional photos.
That being said, I did still manage to get some great shots. I just noticed the blur on a lot of the action shots, especially during the reception. I was quite dissappointed considering I had the better camera :(

Gianna'sPapa
05-16-2011, 11:45 AM
That lens is also a very very popular lens, as well. The reason that the photographer was using that lens is because he's using a full-frame camera. Being full-frame, the Canon 5D can't accept EF-S lenses like the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens.

Other cameras from Canon are "crop-sensor" cameras, such as all the Canon Rebel cameras, Canon 7D, and the Canon 60D, 50D, 40D, etc.). With these "crop sensor" cameras, you can use the Canon 17-55mm lens. In fact, you'll get almost exactly the same "equivalent view" with "crop sensor + 17-55mm lens" combo as you would with the "full frame + 24-70mm lens" combo.

Crop sensors are a little smaller than full-frame sensors. There's actually a multiplication factor of 1.6 for Canon crop sensors to get the equivalent full-frame view. For example, using a Rebel with the lens set at 17mm, you get an equivalent view of a full-frame camera with a lens set at 27mm (17 x 1.6).

The only other disadvantage I see in the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is that it has no image stabilization. Some photographers would argue that you don't need image stabilization with wide angle lenses. However, when I'm shooting in low-light, I need all the help I can get. Actually, an image-stabilized next-version of this lens has been rumored for many many many years...meaning, I wouldn't hold my breath.

I actually find that 17mm is wide enough for my crop-sensor camera (I have the Canon 7D). There are rarely a few times that I wish I had a wider lens. Maybe one of these days if I save enough money, I'll join the ultra-wide-angle cult. But for now, I'm actually quite content with the focal length of this lens.

That makes a lot of sense.:thumbsup2 Since my brand doesn't make a FF, I keep forgetting about the crop factor. If I want FF, I have to pull out my old Pentax LX film SLR!

mom2rtk
05-16-2011, 11:45 AM
Yes, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens has everything you should be looking for in a low-light, general purpose lens. Make sure you read the reviews on this lens, though. My brief glance at some of the reviews show comments about slow & loud autofocus.

Also, be aware that there are 2 different versions of this lens: one with image stabilization (what Tamron calls "vibration control (VC)") and one without. There's a $200 difference in the 2 lenses. Apparently, the one without vibration control has better image quality(?). (see this review (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Tamron-17-50mm-f-2.8-XR-Di-II-VC-Lens-Review.aspx))




This is a great summary of those options. I was back and forth on this choice and someone posted a u-tube video so I could hear that loud auto-focus. I knew then I wouldn't like it and had to swallow hard and get the Canon.

I also came across info saying the Tamron sacrificed some of its sharpness when it added the IS. Since I wanted a lens with IS, the choice was made for me.

Bstanley
05-16-2011, 12:30 PM
If you're lucky, and you don't mind refurbished, you can trim some dollars off the price of the 17-55mm f2.8.

I bought a refurbished version from Adorama for $966.45 (including 2 day shipping) in February.

The lens is a phenom. It 'fixed' my Rebel XS focus 'issue'!

The 'ol XS struggled a bit with focusing using the kit lens when things got dim - with the 17-55 it is now as good as a 7D - well maybe not :rotfl: - but it improved it significantly. Turns out the f2.8 allows the center cross-type sensor of the XS to kick it into high gear.

At $1,000 (plus you need to buy your own lens hood) it is definitely the most expensive photographic gadget I have purchased, but it is also the one I will hang on to the longest I suspect.

mom2rtk
05-16-2011, 12:43 PM
I'll repeat here what I've said on other threads. The most expensive lens is the one you have to buy twice.

Once I got the Canon 17-55 f/2.8 I stopped looking at lenses in that focal length category.

I sort of skimped on my telephoto, and now I'm back to looking again. It's not happening any time soon, but I will eventually have to get another low light zoom. I might have to sell a couple others to do it, making it even more involved.

atsolomon
05-16-2011, 01:11 PM
I would defer to the more knowledgeable about gear when it comes to specific lens recommendations, but you might also want to look at the settings you used. Having said that, the 50 mm 1.8 is very reasonably priced ($130) and quite fast.

Faster lenses surely make it easier to make a compelling low/ambient light action photo, but did you use the optimal settings for the situation: highest possible iso, widest F-stop, with a fairly high shutter speed to freeze motion?

I only mention this because I'm not sure if you're new to the T2i or new to SLR camera in general.

Regards,

Adam

bob100
05-16-2011, 01:23 PM
I would defer to the more knowledgeable about gear when it comes to specific lens recommendations, but you might also want to look at the settings you used. Having said that, the 50 mm 1.8 is very reasonably priced ($130) and quite fast.


I'll go along with that, you probably had too low a shutter speed. Post a couple of pics. The 18-55IS and 55-250IS are actually quite good, they are both sharp with good image stabilization. The Tamron 17-50 2.8 is also very good.

The cheap ($99) 50mm 1.8 is great for low light and "bokeh"



here's one from this past weekend,
Canon XSi (450D) and 50mm 1.8

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5180/5727084706_1d41311fb6_b.jpg


with the Canon 55-250IS - ( Canon XSi /450D)


http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5725660181_078e81ebe6_b.jpg

ChiSoxKeith
05-16-2011, 01:53 PM
I'll go along with that, you probably had too low a shutter speed. Post a couple of pics. The 18-55IS and 55-250IS are actually quite good, they are both sharp with good image stabilization. The Tamron 17-50 2.8 is also very good.

The cheap ($99) 50mm 1.8 is great for low light and "bokeh"



here's one from this past weekend,
Canon XSi (450D) and 50mm 1.8

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5180/5727084706_1d41311fb6_b.jpg


with the Canon 55-250IS - ( Canon XSi /450D)


http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5725660181_078e81ebe6_b.jpg

Nice shots!

Gianna'sPapa
05-16-2011, 02:12 PM
I'll go along with that, you probably had too low a shutter speed. Post a couple of pics. The 18-55IS and 55-250IS are actually quite good, they are both sharp with good image stabilization. The Tamron 17-50 2.8 is also very good.

The cheap ($99) 50mm 1.8 is great for low light and "bokeh"



here's one from this past weekend,
Canon XSi (450D) and 50mm 1.8

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5180/5727084706_1d41311fb6_b.jpg


with the Canon 55-250IS - ( Canon XSi /450D)


http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5725660181_078e81ebe6_b.jpg

Nice shots, especially of the VMF-323 Death Rattler decorated aircraft. That was my first Nam squadron, VMFA-323 out of Chu Lai. Thanks for posting!

Bstanley
05-16-2011, 06:05 PM
That was my first Nam squadron, VMFA-323 out of Chu Lai.

I don't imagine they were flying T-28s though. ;)


Excellent photographs!

Gianna'sPapa
05-16-2011, 06:38 PM
I don't imagine they were flying T-28s though. ;)


Excellent photographs!

LOL :rotfl2:, not quite, F4B Phantoms! The only prop aircraft they ever flew were F4U Corsairs (WWII and Korea).

cpbjgc
05-18-2011, 01:48 PM
I was just a secondary photographer. The main photographer was asked by the bride to photograph the wedding even though she only did photography as a hobby. The bride was on a tight budget and not looking for any professional photos.
That being said, I did still manage to get some great shots. I just noticed the blur on a lot of the action shots, especially during the reception. I was quite dissappointed considering I had the better camera :(

I think this was a point that Disneyboy2003 was making earlier. The reality is that unless you are very comfortable using your camera and understand photography basics such as exposure, shuter speed, composition and lighting, having the latest camera will not translate into better pictures. Here is an example - these were taken on Expedition Everest with a 35 mm film toy camera that has one focal length (10mm), a fixed aperture (f8) and two shutters (1/100s or Bulb (however long your finger stays put)).

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v20/p983268664-4.jpg

http://unboundedlight.zenfolio.com/img/v23/p1050037029-5.jpg

It is hard to get lower tech than this camera (it doesn't even have viewfinder :confused3), but you can still get consistent and good photos (well, I like them ;)) when you understand the basics of exposure.

You can get great pictures out of any camera on a more consistent basis when you understand the basics. I would strongly suggest reading up some more or taking classes if you can - this will be a greater help than faster lenses in both the short and long term. I know that I found classes very helpful (and fun!) for my photography.

walshmb
05-18-2011, 02:19 PM
this is a great advice! I have the T2i and still learning (taking some private lessons) and this helps a lot. Thanks for taking the time to post!

disneyboy2003
05-18-2011, 07:35 PM
I was quite dissappointed considering I had the better camera :(

Hmmm, your Canon T2i is already considered an "entry level" dSLR camera. If your entry level camera was already the "better camera", I wonder what camera the actual wedding photographer was using? :confused:

Frantasmic
05-18-2011, 09:25 PM
You should also consider the 85mm f1.8 prime lens. It is in many wedding photographer's bag and takes really good portrait pictures in a variety of conditions.