New dad seeking advice on lenses.

Started Dec 9, 2009 | Discussions
Mognar New Member • Posts: 7
New dad seeking advice on lenses.

Hi and I wanted to say thanks in advance for your time and advice!

I'm a fairly new dad with an 11 month old and decided it's time to take the plunge and upgrade from the point and shoot I've been using. I've decided on the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and have been going nuts reviewing lenses and I'm still undecided as to what would be the best fit for my use. I'm looking to buy lenses that will grow with my daughter Right now, most of the use will be primarily indoor shots and eventually as she grows, there will be more outdoor, sports, etc.

The lenses I'm considering are the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 for my primary carry around and the 50mm f/1.4 USM as my prime, which I believe will handle the indoor/lowlight pics. I'm also considering the 70-300mm f/4-5.6.
I'm going to buy the body rather than the kit, since I won't need the kit lense.

Being new to DSLR and lenses in general, I'm looking for opinions to help my decision along I think the 17-85 and 50mm will handle just about all the situations I'll run into as a parent, but being green, will take all the advice I can get!

So... do you think those 2 lenses are a good choice for "parenting" photography? Are there any other choices I should consider? Will I have a need for the 70-300 or will the 85mm handle most scenarios?

Thanks again and I appreciate any and all advice.

FYI, I've been coming to dpreview since I purchased my Coolpix 990! I just couldn't remember my password and haven't received it yet, so had to create another account to post.

Also, has anyone used the OEM Rebel bag and is that sufficient for the body, 2 lenses and accessories? Or should I go with something else such as a lowepro?

I've been looking at various dealers that have packages, but haven't found any with the 50mm included. Figured the added accessories would be nice to get in one package.

Thanks again,

Mog

jitteringjr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,608
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

I think I would recommend the Canon 28/1.8 or the Sigma 30/1.4 over the 50/1.4. When my daughter started walking, she always would run up the the person holding the camera and my 50mm lens was too thight on a crop camera for most of the situations.

The 17-85 is still a good lens, but there is a new Sigma 17-70 OS HSM coming shortly that is worth looking into.

 jitteringjr's gear list:jitteringjr's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +7 more
Robert J. Atwell Regular Member • Posts: 107
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

If your budget permits I'd try the new 15-85mm lens or even the 18-135mm lens.

The 50mm f1.4 is a good but not great lens in all cases. It is a good non-flash lens but I'd think long and hard about the 85mm f1.8 instead and maybe even suggest you check out the 17-55mm f2.8 zoom and put the extra lens on hold for a while. The T1i body is pretty good at high ISO so you may well find that f2.8 is sufficient for most of your uses.

There is no single good answer to your start-up kit. It mostly depends on what pictures you take and under what circumstances. Check out the 17-55mm f2.8 as it is one of Canon's best non L lenses. It's about the cost of the two lens kit you've suggested and it truly is a nice lens.
--
Sincerely,
Bob

DogmeatAl Regular Member • Posts: 339
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

I agree with this poster, the Sigma 17-70 OS HSM has very good potential, if a bit slow.

You might also think about a two lens option. I use a 18-50mm f/2.8 when indoors and a 18-200mm when outdoors. You could buy the 18-50mm first...it will be a few years before you let your child get 320mm of distance away from you.

LugerMan Regular Member • Posts: 289
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

Best way to go is to get a zoom that is good in low light.

28-75/2.8 Tamron
24-70/2.8 HSM Sigma
or
17-50/2.8 VR Tamron
or 18-55/2.8 Canon

This may be more money , but you will need just one lens.

If you looking for long zoom
look at:

50-150/2.8 Sigma
70-200/2.8 Sigma
70-200/2.8 IS canon ( very good and high priced)

For a Prime 30mm/1.4 Sigma will work the best
50mm/1.4 is good as well but too long byitself.
I'd say a combo of 30mm/1.4 and 85mm/1.8 is a good prime combo for a Rebel.

Also get some flash canon or Sigma or SunPak does not metter and Gary Fong Defuser, you will love it.

Shop at Adorma or B&H as they alow returns and that will let you test the lenses well. And they have best prices and free shipping alot of times.

Esben Larsen Regular Member • Posts: 459
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

As a new dad myself (since 5 months ago) I recommend you buy these lenses:

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 - usable in very low light. 30mm is much more useful than 50mm indoors. USM means accurate focusing. This is the only lens I use indoors now and I have taken probably 1000 shots with it since March.

Canon 17-55 f/2.8 - usable indoors in quote low light. Can be used as a decent portrait lens as well (55mm f/2.8). Very useful outdoors as a walkaround lens.

Canon 85mm f/1.8 or 70-200 f/4 L IS or 55-250 IS. Either of these will be great outdoors. The prime will take some great portraits as well.

I own the 17-85 and it is a decent lens but I am now replacing it with the 17-55 f/2.8. The 17-85 (and the newer 15-85) are not fast enough to be used indoors and you will not have so many keepers.

AustinROB Regular Member • Posts: 153
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

yep, I too will add my suggestion that you get the sig 30 1.4 or canon 28 1.8. My sigma is perfect for indoor shots of the kiddoes...50 is just too long for indoors (with kids). I have the 18-55is kit lens, but the 30 1.4 does not leave the camera.

I like the sig 30 1.4 soo much that I sold my T1i and picked up the 50D body to help me get a higher rate of "keepers" - more cross type sensers, higher FPS, custamizable kelvin White balance, and better grip (for my hands) were the resons I switched form the rebel to the 50D...best decision I've made in a long time.

if you haven't alreayd purchased the t1i, make sure you understand the (potential)advantages to going with the 50D.

next I want something for outdoors either a Wide angle or 17-55 2.8

Kenneth Darling Soerensen Regular Member • Posts: 152
Agree with Esben..

As a father of 3, I've seen my photography becoming centered exclusively around the kids.

To sum up on the details below, if I had to start again knowing what I know now, I would get a 17-50 f/2.8 or 24-105 f/4 L and a 35 mm f/2 (or similar to suit your wallet

For the past 5 years, I've come to use and appreciate the following lenses (first on a D30, then 20D and now 40D):

Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (the older non-stabilized model): Used for general indoor photos. I live in Denmark, where the light is very limited from October to March, so this comes in handy. Also used outdoors but less and less because of the limited reach. (As another poster replied: The younger they are, the closer you are)

Canon 35 f/2: Love this lens, sharp and very close focusing. I use this primarily inside when the kids are playing, for parties etc.

Canon 85 mm f/1.8: Used this a fair amount inside before the kids started to walk, now I just use it outside for portraits which are set (I use a zoom for impromptu portraits since I never know where they are going, see below)

Canon 50 mm f/1.8 I: Same use as 85 mm, but it got more use inside than outside since I needed less distance from subject when using this

Canon 24-105 f/4 L: Got this a year ago and its great for outside use with the kids because of the great reach without having to change lenses - if I had to change lenses, I would loose the shot. The lack of wide angle in this lens is not an issue outside, since I just move bit further away

Sigma 15 mm fisheye: Great for shooting the kids in their environment

Canon 70-210 f/3.5-4.5: Have not used this much, I use the 24-105 instead

-- hide signature --

Regards
Kenneth Darling Soerensen

Dredman Regular Member • Posts: 297
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

First off, good choice in getting a DSLR, and the T1i seems an excellent choice!

Second, with the new High ISO performance, f/2.8 is all you need for most indoor shots at 1600 iso.

the lens that I have used and loved for several years with my young daugher (now 5 years old) is the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8.

I don't think you will like the size or slow aperture of the 17-85, and for similar cost you can get a f/2.8 constant aperture lens that will better suit your indoor needs.

I would strongly sugest one of the constant f/2.8 wide to medium zooms (something like 17-50 or 18-50). there are several options, some with IS, (options from Canon, Tamron, Sigma). I don't think there is a bad option there... they all have excellent IQ.

as for the prime, once you have the constant f/2.8... it becomes less important, although still has some advantages in the shalow DOF options. The 50 is a good portriat lens, but as other have said, a bit tight indoors (which means the 85 f/1.8 is even longer, and only works if you have lots of room) I have the "thrifty fifty" 50 f/1.8, which actualy works really well, and the price is right! but in reality, the Tamron usualy stays on the camera. the Sigma 30 f/1.4 or Canon 28 f/1.8 are both more "normal" length for general use, and easier to use inside in smaller spaces.

Good luck! Have fun!

D

Kenneth Darling Soerensen Regular Member • Posts: 152
A few snapshots

85 mm at f/2.2, summer in the garden

Tamron 17-50 at f/4, inside during summer

-- hide signature --

Regards
Kenneth Darling Soerensen

Rolfhome Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

Hi

I just like to warn you...

If you use a 50mm at F1.4 and you kid is 1meter away the Depth of field is 0.02 meter. Yes 2 cm this is a very small band.

If you kid walks or running around and you shout 50mm at F1.4 on 2meter the band is 8 cm still very small for a running kid. You going to put the maximum out off your AF system.

I know low F numbers are not going to help you to make great pictures off a kid in low light. Or you like all the pictures half sharp face or boddy and so on....

I had the same problems with mine 2.8 28-75 Tamron even on a not moving kid

on 75 F2.8 by 1meter is 2cm very small even focus on 45 angle 1 eye is sharp the other is not.

So I think F1.4 is not going to help you mutch for lowlight then you need flash-light. Just get a 430 canon it never let you down.....

a online depth of Field can be found at http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Rolf

Dray_3 Regular Member • Posts: 127
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

I took many pics of my son when he was born:

http://www.pbase.com/docphotography/justin

I might have missed it, but how much money do you plan to spend? I went with the 24-70, but they didn't have the 17-55 2.8 IS back then. I would HIGHLY recommend the 17-55. I used the 50mm 1.8 alot too, but that was before I got the 85 1.8. For indoors, shooting the little one, I like the 17-55 and 85 1.8. If you are willing to spend more money, I here the 35L is a must have!

I also found that I didn't mind too much using a flash, with the StoFen Omni Bounce.

Y Hafting
Y Hafting Contributing Member • Posts: 787
I got the 50mm and the 17-85

Hi there

Im also a dad, having two kids currently at 1,5 and 2,5 yr. I got a 30D with 50mm 1.4 and 17-85IS . At some point when the $ was cheap (compared to NOK) i bought 70-200 f2.8 IS.

Here is my experience:

first the 70-200 is very nice, outdoors when you can get distance to your subject. Unfortunately this isnt happening to often. Im conscidering selling this lens to buy another (further down), but i love it for what it can do and i do believe that it will get more use when the kids grows- will i ever be able to buy this again if i sell it..?

the 17-85IS is nice outdoors, when going on holidays. Indoors it isnt very useful, because it starts at f4. Actually i find f4-5.6 quite limiting even outdoor even during summer. (of course parts of this is related to the fact that i live in norway, and weather hasn't been that great lately when ive had my chances to shoot pictures).

the 50mm is the lens i use most. It gives the most pleasing results (colour, sharpness, bokeh). Taking pictures of kids, i tend to use time value of either 1/100 or faster, mostly giving apertures indoor of f1.4- f2.8 (iso 1600 mostly, though i'd use higher ISO's too if i had a newer camera). When i take pictures indoor, it is mainly lit by tungsten lamps. If i had larger windows i could get away with using f> 2.8 but id might opt for lowering the ISO at that point.

The problem with the 50mm is the field of view. Id like to have a wider prime, as i can't really see that (any) the 17-5X f2.8 will suit my "need for speed". Im currently pondering on ditching the 70-200 to get a 24mm 1.4 or buying a 28mm 1.8. Selling the 17-85 has to get either the 24 or 28mm has also crossed my mind several times.

If i was about to buy my gear for the first time now, knowing how dim light i have where i live, id buy only the 28 1.8 and the 50 1.4, rather than the 17-85 lens. The 70-200 is much fun using and it gives pleasing results, but it is harder to justify money wise, as i don't use it that frequently. But the problem by selling them is that they are all great, but they have different purposes. I also have had all my gear calibrated together, which made a huge difference to me (no microadjustment on the 30D).

And btw i have a quite short (old) lowepro that just barely fit the camera with the 17-85 or the 50mm. If i bring the 70-200, i use a laptop-backpack to carry my gear.

Ive pondered a lot on buying "cheap" sigmas with high IQ, over the pricey canon lenses, but what it boils down to is that AF performance is generally better on the canons from all the reviews i can find.

Good luck choosing!

Mognar wrote:

Hi and I wanted to say thanks in advance for your time and advice!

I'm a fairly new dad with an 11 month old and decided it's time to take the plunge and upgrade from the point and shoot I've been using. I've decided on the Canon EOS Rebel T1i and have been going nuts reviewing lenses and I'm still undecided as to what would be the best fit for my use. I'm looking to buy lenses that will grow with my daughter Right now, most of the use will be primarily indoor shots and eventually as she grows, there will be more outdoor, sports, etc.

The lenses I'm considering are the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 for my primary carry around and the 50mm f/1.4 USM as my prime, which I believe will handle the indoor/lowlight pics. I'm also considering the 70-300mm f/4-5.6.
I'm going to buy the body rather than the kit, since I won't need the kit lense.

Being new to DSLR and lenses in general, I'm looking for opinions to help my decision along I think the 17-85 and 50mm will handle just about all the situations I'll run into as a parent, but being green, will take all the advice I can get!

So... do you think those 2 lenses are a good choice for "parenting" photography? Are there any other choices I should consider? Will I have a need for the 70-300 or will the 85mm handle most scenarios?

Thanks again and I appreciate any and all advice.

Thanks again,

Mog

jitteringjr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,608
Re: New dad seeking advice on lenses.

LugerMan wrote:

Best way to go is to get a zoom that is good in low light.

28-75/2.8 Tamron
24-70/2.8 HSM Sigma
or
17-50/2.8 VR Tamron
or 18-55/2.8 Canon

I think he means 17-55/2.8 Canon

This may be more money , but you will need just one lens.

I mostly agree here, but I want to point out one concern. I own the 28-75/2.8 Tamron and it gives great pictures, but it is a little slow to focus on moving targets and I have missed some great shots because of this with my 3 year old.

Keep in mind no lens can do everything. I love my Tamron but it is best combined with some USM/HSM equipped lenses for moving children. If money were no object, I would have a 17-55/2.8 Canon and I am personally saving for one now.

 jitteringjr's gear list:jitteringjr's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 135mm F2L USM +7 more
OP Mognar New Member • Posts: 7
Thank you for all the advice!

I want to say thank you to everyone for their advice, I really do appreciate it!

The only problem is now I have a few more choices/options to look into now! But I'd rather have too many choices, than not enough.

Unfortunately, money is an issue. I wish I could drop 4k and buy a couple of nice L glasses and be done with it, but that's not option. I've been trying to stay with Canon glass, but from the recommendations, I'm going to look into the Sigma and Tamron glass as well.

I'm going to re-read all the advice here and look into the options mentioned.
What would we do without the internet?

Thanks again and have a great day!

Mog

Esben Larsen Regular Member • Posts: 459
Re: Thank you for all the advice!

On a limited budget I would buy the kit with the 18-55 IS lens.

If you think you will use a tele lens a lot, buy the large kit that also includes the 55-250 IS lens.
These lenses are not fast but they will get you a long way, especially outdoors.

The 55-250 IS especially will last you a long time. The 18-55 IS you will probably want to upgrade eventually.

For indoor shots and low light shots in general, add one of the wider primes that has been suggested: Canon 28mm f/1.8 Sigma 30mm f/1.4 etc.

These focal lenghts are a lot more useful than 50mm. Don't buy the Canon 50mm f/1.8 just because it is cheap, it is too long indoors.

mailman88
mailman88 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,852
Re: more advice!

...new dad and DLSR's, bad combo. I remember those days. Buy used. B&H sells used lens online. Also look around town for used lens, ex: (pawn shops).

 mailman88's gear list:mailman88's gear list
Canon EOS 30D Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM +4 more
mu55 Senior Member • Posts: 1,399
2 lenses

I'd get an 18-250 Tamron for out door use (it's meant to be slightly sharper than the 18-270 VC and it's cheaper - my dad has it and it's actually very good)

And for Indoor low light stuff I'd go for either the 28 f1.8 or 35mm f2
--

 mu55's gear list:mu55's gear list
Ricoh GR Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 5D Mark IV +11 more
tredomar Regular Member • Posts: 203
Re: 2 lenses

There is certainly something to be said for having a lens that covers a wide range when you are dealing with toddlers and young children. That is one thing my kit is missing, and I have missed opportunities as a result. Toddlers don't wait for lenses to be changed. I agree with the folks who suggested getting something fast on the wide end and the 85 1.8. Perhaps a prime in the 28-35mm range or the Tamron 17-50 (or Canon 17-55) plus the 85 1.8. Last year, I had $350 or so to spend on a lens. My choice came down to the 85 1.8 or the Tamron 28-75. I LOVE my 85 1.8, but still hope to get the Tamron someday. 28-75 would be just about perfect for me, IF it focuses fast enough to keep up with my kids. (I have never tried it, so I don't know.) Sometimes, I wish I had gone with the Tamron 28-75 + Canon 100 f/2. (I rarely use the 18-28 range, but I know a lot of folks do. You'll have that covered, if you get the T1i kit.)

I also agree with the pp who suggested you consider the 50D. I bought the xsi when it came out, and really wish I would have gone with the 40D instead. It would be nice to have the video of the T1i, though.

If I were starting over right now, I would get get a 50D kit with the 28-135 + Tamron 28-75 + either the Canon 85 1.8 or 100 f/2 + 430ex ii to start. (or substitute the T1i kit for the 50D kit.) The 55-250 is nice to have, if you want head shots and don't want to use the flash too close to your baby's face. I rarely use the 18-28 range right now, but I would pick up a (possibly used) 18-55 is.

I don't know exactly what your budget is, so this is just what I would do if I had a little more to spend on this hobby (or if my husband were into photography). If I had even more money to spend, I would get the Canon 17-55is instead of the Tamron lens.

Just a couple misc. notes:

It is hard to chase a toddler around indoors (or out) with the 85 1.8, but pretty much all of my favorite pictures are from this lens. If I can get the kids to stand still for a second, the results can be stunning.

I have struggled with the slower focus of the 50 1.8 on my xsi when photographing my young kids. I love the image quality, though. I often feel that 50 is either a little too long or a little too short on my xsi. Kids don't wait for you to find the ideal framing.

I love my prime lenses, but it is so much easier to chase kids around with a zoom lens.

I prefer natural light photography, but I highly recommend getting an external flash. I have the 430ex ii + an omnibounce diffuser. I have found lighting to be tricky to learn, so be sure to shoot RAW.

Best of luck!

Rebecca

arty H Senior Member • Posts: 1,423
Re: 2 lenses

When my daughter was a year old, I found that I used a 40mm f1.7 Canon rangefinder a LOT. The wide field of view was useful in keeping up with a kid that age.

The 50f1.4 is not too long indoors, but may have too narrow a field of view for a young and rapidly moving child.

I'd recommend the Canon 35f2. It is sharp and takes good photos in natural light. It focuses quickly and is great for candids. It hasn't left my camera since I got it. The price is good. It is an old design, but it works well.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads