Need Serious Lens Recommendations

Started Aug 4, 2011 | Discussions thread
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DerStig
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Need Serious Lens Recommendations
Aug 4, 2011

Hi there,

I have been reading the forums for a while now, but it wasn't until now that I found the time (and had something concrete to post) to register and ask a question. Here it goes (will try to make this as simple as I can).

Background:

I'm by no means a professional when it comes to this. I bought my first and only DSLR about 9-10 months ago before our daughter was born. It's a Canon T2i. Currently, I have the following:

  • 18-55 mm kit lens

  • 55-250 mm zoom lens

  • Speedlite 430 flash

Use case:

99% of the pictures (and videos) I take are done so indoors, they are of my daughter and sometimes my wife. The camera is again almost exclusively handheld, it rarely sees a tripod when I take a picture of the three of us. I do take pictures here and there outside when we are at the beach or we see something nice when we are traveling, but I don't go to places just to take pictures. And more importantly, recording videos is as important to me as taking pictures. Almost everyday, I record 5-10 minutes of 1080p videos of my daughter and 50-60 pictures.

Problem:

1) Lights! It drives me absolutely NUTS! Because of my schedule, I can only do all this picture/video business in the evening during weekdays. That means minimal lighting indoors. With the kit lens I have, its nearly impossible to take decent shots let alone focusing on my daughter's face without the flash. The flash I have is very good, but the pictures I take don't look natural which is what I'm trying to fix. When it comes to recording video, its even worse, the entire video is grainy and it looks absolutely horrible. I have to turn every single light on in our tiny apartment which is very inconvenient.

2) Focus. I cannot tell you how many times I missed great shots because this lens takes 5 seconds to focus (and most of the time it can't). I need something that will focus fast.

3) Zoom. Most shots I want to take are natural ones. I don't want to get too close to my baby daughter to take a picture of her face. Most of the time I want to take a picture of her without her knowing it, because when she sees me she gets distracted and I lose the shot. I tried using my 55-250mm lens, but that has even worse aperture setting and most of the time it doesn't even focus. Plus, even if I can take a picture successfully, I have to switch lenses if I need to take a different shot (closer one or wider one).

Question:

My questions are twofold. Brand and Type.

Brand: My budget is flexible. It doesn't mean I can buy industrial grade $5000 lenses!, it means I could afford the $1,400 24-70 F2.8L if I wanted, but it has to be worth the money. There is Sigma and Tamron out there that cost less than half of what Canon costs. My question is, is the difference in price worth it? I'm the type of person who believes buying quality things if they are worth the money. I'd rather buy one $200 shoe and wear it for 2 years than buying a $50 every 6 months (you get my point). I work very hard and the last thing I want is to go and simply waste all my money on some lens just because it doesn't let moisture in or it has red rings on it. To be honest with you I have been quite stuck up on the L lenses, but the more I read, the more I get convinced about Canon being overrated with them (the fact that they are 10 years old and haven't been updated is also quite worrying).

Type: To sum up, I need a high speed lens which will shoot in low light situations, which needs to zoom a bit more than the regular standard lens. 55 just does not cut it for me. On the wide end, I don't take pictures of people at parties or landscapes, so I don't care if the 24mm on a crop doesn't give me too much freedom. But that being said, I need IS as well since most websites I read mention the importance of IS when it comes to video recording if you hold the video instead of mounting it on tripod. There is my dilemma, the 24-70 canon has doesn't have IS, the 17-55 they have isn't long enough for me, and Tamron has a very nice 28-75mm lens with IS which seems like the perfect lens for me but its not Canon and I need to find out the difference in quality between that lens and Canon isn't that much (and it is much better than my current lens).

Sorry for a very long post, if you made it this far, I appreciate your time. This is not a very simple 17-55 vs 24-70 or Canon vs Tamron thread, my situation is a bit more complicated and I want to make sure I don't make a big mistake.

That being said, I rented both 17-55 and 24-70 for this weekend and in addition I'm going to go and try out Sigma and Tamron lenses in B&H and see for myself. I am going to try and see but still there may be something I can miss, which is why I'm here.

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