Questions about lens and other things!

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#1 TheNightingale on 5 years ago

Hey guys! So I been sort of dipping my hands into cosplay photography lately and it's something I really wanna do more of. My problem is that I still don't know as much about cameras as I would like (My photography teacher sucked, it was awful) I have a Canon Rebel T3I that I've used for a few years now, and I gonna see about getting a zoom lens. My question is what sorts of lens are best for cosplay photography?

#2 nathancarter on 5 years ago

1. What lens(es) do you already have?
2. What's your budget?

A zoom lens isn't really necessary for portraiture, though it makes things a little more convenient. You can often use the ol' "foot zoom" - just walk closer or farther away. In fact, many of the best and most popular portrait lenses are primes, not zooms - they have a fixed focal length, but they allow for a very wide aperture which often makes for a pleasing portrait. The Canon 85L (f/1.2) is often regarded to be one of the best portrait lenses out there.

As far as specific focal lengths, everyone has a different opinion. I like a little bit of a longer lens for portraits, as that makes you stand farther away to minimize unwanted perspective distortion. The downside is that a longer focal length requires more room to work - for hallway snaps in a crowded con space, a long lens ain't gonna cut it.

Here are some options.
$110: The Canon 50mm f/1.8, colloquially called the "nifty fifty." For the price, it's a great wide aperture and good image quality. Build quality is lightweight and maybe flimsy-feeling, compared to a pro quality lens. But it's currently [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/12142-USA/Canon_2514A002_Normal_EF_50mm_f_1_8.html"]on sale for only $110[/URL]! If you have a small budget, you can't go wrong with this one.

$499: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/909806-REG/Sigma_884101_17_70mm_f_2_8_4_DC_Macro.html"]Sigma 17-70[/URL]. Wow, this one has gone up; I only paid $350 for mine. Great zoom range for walkabout, reliable focus, pretty wide aperture on the short end, decent macro. It's heavy though.

$369: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/12182-USA/Canon_2519A003_85mm_f_1_8_USM_Autofocus.html"]Canon 85mm f/1.8[/URL] Another good wide prime. Great focal length for portraiture, and focuses faster and more reliably than the 85mm L. Note quite as wide as the L, and quality of bokeh isn't quite as pleasing.

$549: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/898726-USA/Canon_5178b002_EF_35mm_f_2_0_IS.html"]Canon 35mm f/2.0[/URL] I haven't used it, but it has a decent reputation. Again, I prefer a longer length than 35mm, but that's personal preference.


Going up the price scale a little bit:

$1349: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/457678-USA/Canon_1258B002AA_EF_70_200mm_f_4L_IS.html"]Canon 70-200 f/4L IS[/URL]. This is my go-to lens for most situations. If I have room to work, this is the one I'm using. Perfectly reliable focus even in terrible light, great zoom range, great IS, great image quality, SO sharp (even without sharpening in post). At longer focal lengths, even f/4 will give very nice background blur.

$2299: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/843008-USA/Canon_5175B002_EF_24_70mm_f_2_8L_II.html"]Canon 24-70L II[/URL] Fantastic for walkabout & wider portraits. I have the Version I and I like it when it works, but mine's in dire need of repair.

$1999: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/423691-USA/Canon_1056B002AA_EF_85mm_f_1_2L_II.html"]Canon 85mm f/1.2 L[/URL]. One of the most coveted portrait lenses. It's heavy and slow to focus, but ohmahgawd that image quality.



Having said all that, for portraiture: Lighting, pose, and expression are more important than lens and body. If the light is unflattering, even the best lens won't make a great portrait. Note that LOW light is not necessarily the same as BAD light. And, MORE light isn't necessarily GOOD light.

[edit] This blog post is worth a look, it was just posted today:
[url]http://scottkelby.com/2014/if-i-had-1000-to-spend-on-improving-my-portrait-photography-id-get/[/url]

#3 Ashurachan on 5 years ago

I like to work with primes for cosplay photography. The wide aperture is very good for cons since it allows for low light shooting, as well as blurring backgrounds.

I tend to work in closer quarters than Nathan, and here are my lenses :

- the EF 35/2.0 is my usual con lens. It's short enough to get full body shots with a crop body (like yours) in most situations (I really, really like full body shots to show costumes off). The newer model has IS and better IQ than the one I have , but it's also much more expensive (about $550).

- the EF 50/1.4 is affordable (in the $350-400 range), and for low light work it's far better than the 1.8 thanks to the better autofocus. It also has better overall construction and nice bokeh. Sigma's 50/1.4 has superb image quality but it's more expensive and heavier. In a con environment I use it for closer portraits, and outside it's a great overall lens.

- the EF 24-105/4 L IS is my all-purpose zoom (and it costs about $1200, but hey it's a professional lens). It's my go-to lens when my primes won't work (studio, stage photography, whatever). It has the same qualities as Nathan's EF 70-200/4 L IS (but not as much background blur since it's shorter), a bit heavy but not as much as the 24-70/2.8 L, and the f/4 aperture is not that much of a problem thanks to IS.

Also, don't forget to check secondhand lenses ! Lenses don't really degrade like camera bodies, so secondhand lenses are a good choice id you're on a budget.

#4 Tang on 5 years ago

A bit different than ashura, I work with 3 different lenses none of which are primes.

These are all Nikon since I work with a D600:

16-35mm Wide angle, which is great for group shots or capturing more of a scene.

28-85mm great for all around at con use.

70-200mm VR II great for portraits of a single person. The problem is the minimum focus distance of this lense is about 5ft.

Definitely suggest looking at the second hand lenses. My telephoto was about 60% of retail because it was "refurbished". If not it'll get pricy real quick. I'd also look into getting at least one speedlight. If you are a quick learner and shoot in manual mode already there are some decent "dummy" flashes you can get for under $100.

#5 nathancarter on 5 years ago

All great advice above.

[QUOTE=Ashurachan;4862551]- the EF 24-105/4 L IS is my all-purpose zoom (and it costs about $1200, but hey it's a professional lens). It's my go-to lens when my primes won't work (studio, stage photography, whatever). It has the same qualities as Nathan's EF 70-200/4 L IS (but not as much background blur since it's shorter), a bit heavy but not as much as the 24-70/2.8 L, and the f/4 aperture is not that much of a problem thanks to IS.

Also, don't forget to check secondhand lenses ! Lenses don't really degrade like camera bodies, so secondhand lenses are a good choice id you're on a budget.[/QUOTE]

Good points that go together.
The 24-105L is a great lens; it sometimes gets a bad rap because it carries the stigma of being a "kit" lens, and because it's "only" f/4. But it's still L quality, and that zoom range is very versatile. f/4 is plenty wide for most portraiture.

Because of those points, it's pretty easy to find a very lightly used 24-105L for a steeeaal.

Here's one after ten seconds of searching:
[url]http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1374603[/url]

#6 Patcave on 5 years ago

Yeah, since it is a full-frame "kit" lens, the 24-105L can be found for $600-$700 used (or even barely used). :D

#7 figment1986 on 5 years ago

[QUOTE=nathancarter;4862168]The Canon 85L (f/1.2)

$499: [URL="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/909806-REG/Sigma_884101_17_70mm_f_2_8_4_DC_Macro.html"]Sigma 17-70[/URL]. Wow, this one has gone up; I only paid $350 for mine. Great zoom range for walkabout, reliable focus, pretty wide aperture on the short end, decent macro. It's heavy though.[/QUOTE]

Hmm... I have been looking at another lens, mostly cause my "go to" lens is NOT great for portraits (it's been used and abused for theme park photos for years) and this one seems similar yet still nice. How goods of shots is it capable of?

#8 nathancarter on 5 years ago

For me, it works really well. I'm a little sad that it's EF-S only, so I couldn't take it over to my full-frame body. It's pretty much permanently mounted on my 60D now.

Here's a thread specifically for the lens:
[url]http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=790964&page=22[/url]

I've got a couple of albums of photos with that lens, such as Florida Steampunk Exhibition from a couple years ago. However, my skills have improved significantly and I haven't been using that lens much since I got the FF body, so I don't have any recent examples that I've taken with it.

#9 Sufida on 5 years ago

Something I have considered picking up and don't see mentioned is the new 40mm 2.8.

I mostly use the 85mm 1.8 on my full frame and had to pull out my 50mm 1.8 to take a full body after months of no use. I forgot how problematic the focus can be, particularly in low light. If you use live view it eliminates some of these problems, but even then it feels like a gamble the more open it is.

However my only immediate problem with the 40mm 2.8 would be that it starts at 2.8 where as I typically prefer to shoot at around 2.2. Other than that the build quality, focus and sharpness appears to be better from what I have seen.

I was considering it as my temporary not-so-"wide-angle" replacement. I used an 17-85mm which no longer works for me being EF-S and in retrospect it was not that great except under very ideal conditions ( [url]http://fav.me/d4ls59b[/url] ). The 28-135 sounds more or less the same except on full frame.

The 135mm f/2 is also quite good, but not always practical.. particularly on CF cameras. I may be giving this lens a try at A-KON since it has a huge open courtyard which gives me the room to use it.

Ideal set ups are to have one main lens (in my particular case the 85mm 1.8) and to have a secondary lens for tight areas/group shots.

#10 Access on 5 years ago

Sufida 40mm f/2.8 is a great lens, mostly because it costs almost nothing (in terms of size and weight) to take along for the day.

It's great for people who do mostly portraits using primes but occasionally want something to fall back on for environmental shots or small group shots. For me it's basically the 'new 35mm' (on a full frame).

A lot of times irl if I am traveling light I'll have a small pack with just that, the 85mm f/1.8 and the 40mm pancake.

#11 TheNightingale on 5 years ago

Wow guys, thanks for the responses! I'm using the standard 18-55mm lens that came with my camera. For now I tend to just walk right up to people for close up shots, but I did want to expand my lens options, so you all have been a great help.

#12 nathancarter on 5 years ago

This is a good read:
[url]http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=672913[/url]

#13 figment1986 on 5 years ago

Opinions on this lens? (I'm looking at full frame lenses as my next body will be a full frame body)

[url]http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/596257-REG/Sigma_571101_24_70mm_f_2_8_IF_EX.html[/url]

#14 Av4rice on 5 years ago

[QUOTE=figment1986;4866893]Opinions on this lens? (I'm looking at full frame lenses as my next body will be a full frame body)

[url]http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/596257-REG/Sigma_571101_24_70mm_f_2_8_IF_EX.html[/url][/QUOTE]

It's good for the price. Performs pretty well all around except maybe for chromatic aberration issues.

Tamron's VC version is better and stabilized, but it also costs more.

I like more reach so I went with a 24-105L myself. You can get a used one for roughly that price. Or Sigma's new 24-105 is very good too.

I ended up going much longer with a 70-200 when I switched to full frame.

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