Recommendations for 50mm on APS-C sensor? (re: 1.6x crop factor, etc)

Started Aug 8, 2011 | Discussions thread
dave_lamb
dave_lamb Regular Member • Posts: 233
Unless thin DOF is desired, learn to use flash.

Greetings,

You've got a great kit for taking wonderful photos of your 8-month old son. My recommendation would be to spend some time learning how to use your flash with your kit lens for wider angle shots. That is, unless you want photos with extremely thin depth of focus (a completely valid desire). You only mention the aperture in regard to its light-gathering abilities, and this makes me think that maybe you just need some more light which can be easily provided by your very capable flash.

If you haven't tried it already, set your camera to M(anual) with your flash attached and pointing directly at the ceiling in ETTL mode. Set your shutter speed to 1/160 s and your aperture to f/5.6 using your 18-55mm kit lens. Fire off a few shots. The flash will bounce off of the ceiling and help illuminate your subject. Try different angles on the flash, and don't be afraid to bounce the light behind you or off of a wall. Sometimes this can result in dark shadows under the eyes, so other bouncing surfaces might help. If the background is too dim, use a slower shutter speed. If the background is too bright (i.e., you have a bright window in the background), use a faster shutter speed (just ensure that you have High Speed Sync enabled if you go faster than 1/200 s).

For what it's worth, I started with the 50/1.4 and kit lens (no flash), and I only shot with my 50mm for the first year (and was VERY satisfied -- it IS possible to be satisfied by shooting only a 50mm lens on a crop camera if those are the types of shots you desire). It wasn't until I added an external flash that I had enough light in my environment to begin to dabble with my kit lens and the joys (and variety) associated with wider angle shooting. I also use the flash with my 50mm now -- best of both worlds!

I'm not trying to dissuade you from a wider angle prime lens (search on these forums for Great Bustard’s wide angle prime shots for some inspiration), but you might already have the solution you need if you're willing to experiment a bit. You said that shots without a flash seem to produce better pictures, and that makes me think that, perhaps, you are not using your flash in an optimal manner. Best of luck!

Cheers,
Dave.

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