Lens for Portraits, indoors - Christmas 2010

Started Dec 17, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Lens for Portraits, indoors - Christmas 2010
Dec 17, 2010

I have been given a budget of ~$1000-$1500 for a Xmas gift. I was thinking of upgrading my glass (but... I fear my dSLR might croak on me soon - I've got a 5-year-old 300D...). Please help me choose a lens or two for Xmas.

I own the following lenses:

The original kit lens (crappy)
The 50mm f/1.8 (cheap and occasionally great)
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (occasionally great, but focus is crap-shoot: many misses)

I don't want to discuss my current lenses' problems. They are bargain lenses and I am ready to step up to higher quality lenses.

My main needs/loves:

  • Portraits and candid photography (esp. of small children - my kids).

  • Indoor photography (winter) - including occasional group photos or candids.

  • Prefer natural light by far (though I have an external flash too).

Some lenses I have been considering:

1) Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
2) Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
3) Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM
4) Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
5) Canon Wide Angle EF 28mm f/1.8 USM
6) Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens

Obviously from my needs (portraits, i.e. bokeh, indoor) I am looking for a fast lens. So that narrows it down. I am tempted to go for a fixed lens b/c it's the best possible optics and price. But the 85mm is really quite long, esp. on a 1.6x crop camera like the 300D. I wonder if I'd really be able to use it much indoors? Probably not. Thus, the idea of getting the 30mm Sigma or Canon 28mm, which is basically 50mm after the 1.6x factor. But do people really use this range for portraiture?

Then, there's the compromise - the zoom lens, 24-70mm, which is really heavy and really expensive or the 17-55mm which is a bit cheaper and has IS. Finally, I could get L glass at a much better price with the 17-40mm but would I be happy with a slower lens for indoor portraits? Not sure. Arhrhr, I can't decide.

Any other lens to consider?

I have to tell you - I am stuck in "paralysis by analysis". I've been anguishing about this for 3 years. I can't make up my mind (partially b/c I can't find the compromise in price + features (i.e. fast lens + good zoom range). Maybe what I want is a Canon, L version of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. So that seems to mean the 24-70mm, right? But it's so expensive... Would I be better served getting two primes instead - the 28mm and the 85mm?? AHRHARHR....


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