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Thread: Want to upgrade my lenses....but to what!?

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    Member maybeoneday's Avatar
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    Want to upgrade my lenses....but to what!?

    I currently have a Canon 60D (will be stuck with this for a while) and predominately use my 50mm 1.8. I have a 18-55 Kit Lens but I quickly learnt that it doesn't generate the best photos.
    I am now in the process where I would like to do an upgrade. After reading many forums and talking to a photographer friend and also a couple of stores I'm no closer to making an informed decision.
    I was adamant only a few days ago that I was going to purchase a 100mm 2.8 L Series but I've since been told that it's not an 'everyday' lens and the focal length with drive me bananas.
    My dream is to ultimately start my own business focusing on newborns, children and families. This will mean indoor and outdoor work. As well as upclose and distance.
    My current line of thought is to have the versatility I'm looking for I will probably need to have at least 2 lenses and I was looking at the 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8. Not sure of the following though:-
    - Are these lenses difference enough to warrant purchasing them both?
    - Reviews that I've read mention that they work well in dim environments (85mm especially). Will these lenses work well out in bright sunlight?
    Any advice would be great!
    Also, I've tried to post some photos on the Critique forum but I keep getting an error message saying that my image size is too big. What's the easiest way to reduce the size without comprising quality?

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    If you get a Photobucket or flickr free account you can post larger sizes.
    Or Google free resizer there are plenty on line.. Do you have photoshop at all. ?

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I dunno, Megan. I can see you're not satisfied at some aspect of your photography and you've identified is as needing better lenses.
    A few things come to mind. You state you are a beginner and you have a dream of doing children photography. (Indeed, you say you are practising.)
    And you are having trouble posting images. And you are not certain what sort of lens to get.

    I suggest that these uncertainties are feeding each other and I'm wondering if it's affecting what you see as the problem(s).

    In any case, just the info provided is not enough for people to give really good answers upon which you'd then base a purchase.

    So a few 1st things 1st...
    How are you re-sizing your images for AP? (I only skimmed through your posts.) What software do you have?
    If you could show us some images we could start to give more appropriate advice.
    You should be able to scale down a 60D image suitable for straight posting here. At a pinch, like M A said, you could
    open something like a Flickr account and link your bigger pictures posted there straight to AP without re-sizing.

    Anyway, have you looked at the "How to" section to see how to resize? Here is a link to the page...
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...os_for_the_net

    It shows screens for Photoshop, but any progam for image editing would have similar commands.
    Am.

    Added: I was going to ask, can the lenses you have be that bad?

    Oh, and another thing: I don't know for sure how secure your images would be on the likes of Flickr compared to here.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 26-01-2013 at 5:45pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Knowing very little about your kit and ability I will stick my neck out (I'll probably get flamed) and make two suggestions.

    For re-sizing of Jpg images download a free copy of BD-Sizer. It is an easy to use piece of software and provides the tools for selecting pixel sizes (1024 pixels on longest side) and for setting maximum Image size ( < 250Kb ).

    I would suggest a Tamron 24mm to 70mm F2.8 VC lens as being a good complement to your existing lens collection. It will be good for anything from small group shots to close up portrait shots.

    By the way there is nothing wrong with your existing kit lens, with correct care and use they can achieve great results.

    I hope the above helps.
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

    Photographs don't lie ! - Anonymous Liar

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    Thanks for your responses. At the moment I don't have any photo editing programs on my computer. I used Photoshop Elements 10 & 11 on their 30 day trials as well as Lightroom 4 but they have all expired. I'm currently in the process of deciding which program to go with (Elements or Lightroom). Will probably going with Elements.
    I am very keen to get my photos on here so I can have get everyone's opinions. At the moment the only critiquing I've been getting is from friends and family and I would have to say that they're biased!
    I probably sound a bit snobby here but I am only interested in purchasing Canon lenses, although I have heard that Tamron lenses are very good.
    In terms of me thinking that my lenses aren't good enough. I think that this stems from seeing my friends work. She taught herself how to use her camera about 18 months ago and only 6 months later started her own business. For the past 12 months I have seen her business grow from strength to strength and her work is fantastic. I aspire to be like her one day and I saw the progression she went through with her lenses to get there.
    Maybe I'm putting the cart before the horse here. I don't know

  6. #6
    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maybeoneday View Post
    At the moment I don't have any photo editing programs on my computer.
    You have DPP, the software on the disc that came with your camera. It's not bad to learn some basic PP with.
    Now resizing for AP. If you shot using RAW, you can convert and save to JPG and reduce the size of the photo to AP requirements that way. If you want to do this this and ain't sure how to, say so, I'll help.
    If you shot JPG anyway you can reduce the size of your photo from where ever you have it on your computer. See this thread ......http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ng-image-sizes
    Last edited by Mark L; 26-01-2013 at 10:33pm.
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
    Canon 80D, 60D, Canon 28-105, Sigma 150-600S.

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    Thanks Mark. I shoot in RAW so I'll have check out the software that came with my camera. Don't think I ever bothered with the disk!

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    Well I use the 100mm for portraits & it is gorgeous. However the length is definitely for outside use. I find the 50mm too narrow also. What I use inside is the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 and it is a great lens. I find the width perfect inside and for parties in a confined space. I guess the Canon version is the 24-70 if you are against all other brands. Definitely do not discount the 18-55. I use it for landscapes and I rate it highly. You really have to learn to get the most out of your equipment. I use Flickr to resize my images.
    My gear: Canon 450D, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS, Canon 430EX II. My Flickr


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    Fishy bricat's Avatar
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    If you use DPP and shoot raw and Jpeg you get 2 images in DPP. Use the Jpeg image to upload or resize. Once you get it you will wonder why it seemed so hard. Keep trying. Good luck cheers Brian
    Cheers Brian.

    Canon 7D Kit lenses EFS 18-55 IS EFS 55-250 IS EF28-90 Canon EF 2xll Extender Sigma DG150-500 OS Speedlight 420EX. 580EX

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    maybeoneday... You didn't tell us your budget for a lens. It's hard to advise on what lens to get without a ball park figure. Lenses that suit your needs can be from around $300 to around $1,500, and maybe more.
    You should also look at some Sigma lenses. About half the price of Canon. And the quality is near as good. Don't bother at this stage with a fixed focal length lens. Looked at the 18-250mm Sigma Macro. For around $500.00 on fleabay, looks like a good start. A review can be found here: http://www.photoreview.com.au/review...ro-os-hsm-lens

    When I started about 3 years ago, I used a free program called "paint.net" It was suitable for the level of editing at that point of time.

    As suggested above. I believe Canon do supply a fairly decent editing suite when you buy the camera. It's also a great starting point. I know at least 2 members on here that use their bundled software as their main editing programs. One of them is a professional, the other puts out some really good images.
    Last edited by geoffsta; 27-01-2013 at 9:34am.
    Geoff
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    CC is always welcome
    Nikon D3000 ... Nikon D90... Nikon D700 Various lenses, Home studio equipment and all the associated stuff
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Megan, I don't want to sound in any way bad, but hopefully of some help. The following contains some frank comments, but is not meant badly.

    Nothing you have written so far has given me enough to get a handle on where you are at photographically, except that it is somewhere initial.
    That's notwithstanding any references made in my previous reply. In your last post above you have indicated that your hope is based upon some feeling to emulate the
    "what-you-perceive-as" success of your friend. I suggest that this is not a strong motivation in itself, not knowing anything about that friend, and having a mind that no two people are the same.
    Read that as meaning you are no better or worse than her in your abilities.

    In addition, I see your predilection for Canon lenses as an unnecessary impediment to any cogent plan for success. I suspect that part of your admiration for your friend's efforts is some
    sort of equipment envy.

    What's important is that you have some equipment and some ability. Where this forum can help is as a sounding board for both these, but particularly at this stage, for your abilities.
    Now, expired trial versions of software, and software on discs that you haven't loaded and tried yet, and to me unfocused questions about lenses all say that your are indeed putting the
    cart before the horse. In fact, that you recognised the possibility too is something that you can be glad of.

    If I may offer a personal counter-argument, I have been taking pictures for years, have accumulated (word used purposely) lots of gear (inc. lenses) and still consider myself as
    somewhat intermediate in abilities. OK, people are different, and I have not had the interest to do what you want to, and there are examples of success here on this forum. But your
    plans should start on getting the best out of what you've got, not necessarily on getting better and better equipment. That's one of the basic messages that is often read in the posts
    on this forum (and others I've been on).

    So, my message? Get the help you really need now.
    How? Get your basics working. Install the software you have, learn to use it, post pictures here for comment and advice, ask questions
    and discuss the real problems you're having...
    Then go from there.

    (Freely given as a benefit of being on this forum.)
    Am.

    And, my sincerest apologies for forgetting to include this link earlier...
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...t=professional
    Last edited by ameerat42; 27-01-2013 at 10:46am.

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    Hi everyone, thanks for your honest opinions. I have not taken offense to any of your comments.
    At this stage I have decided to continue working with the lenses I have and get to know my editing programs. I will work my way up from there. Went into Ted's today and had a chat with their 'Canon' expert. I had thought of upgrading my 50mm 1.8 to the 1.4 as I really enjoy this lens however he told me that I'm better off saving my money and eventually buying the 1.2 instead so I might do that down the track.

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    Megan. Forget the 50mm. In your opening post you said you wanted to do a whole range of different styles of photography. For this you need something with a fair focal range. Just checked out the price on a 50mm for the canon on fleabay. $1,400 and upward Why I suggested the 18-250mm is because of the diversity of different things you could try. 18mm for landscapes, 250mm for birding, 80mm for portraiture, or macro for still life or bugging. At a 1/3 of the cost. for the other $1,000 you would be saving, can be for speedlights, filters and the other photography related stuff that should be in you arsenal.

    I guarantee buying the 50mm would be a backward step. I have had one for 2 years, and have used it twice.

    Listen to the advice above. These people and myself have been where you are now, and have more than likely learnt the hard way. We have all made mistakes, and if we neglect to pass on what we learnt to new members like yourself. Then this forum is a waste of time.

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    Hi Geoffsta, thank you for your advice. I really do appreciate everyone take the time to respond and share what they have learnt during their photography travels. Whilst I've had my camera for over a year now I really am just starting out. I work full time in quite a demanding job and I also have a 21 month old, so unfortunately I spend a lot of of my time thinking about taking photos and looking at things thinking "I'd like to see that through my lens!" and not a lot of picking my camera up and experimenting. My dream job really would be to be a professional photographer in the future. I love capturing moments on film and sharing them with people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maybeoneday View Post
    Went into Ted's today and had a chat with their 'Canon' expert. I had thought of upgrading my 50mm 1.8 to the 1.4 as I really enjoy this lens however he told me that I'm better off saving my money and eventually buying the 1.2 instead so I might do that down the track.
    I absolutely and categorically disagree. That advice is of no benefit to you. Further it is my opinion that your initial idea to upgrade from the 1.8 to the 1.4 is not a good idea, anyway.



    I have used all six (6) of the Canon EF 50mm Prime Lenses and I own three of them: the EF50 F/1.4; EF 50F/1.8MkII and EF50 F/2.5.
    The EF 50 F/1.8MkII is the lens you should keep and you should master it – then and only then, consider “upgrading”.
    Additionally, you should also master the EF-S 18 to 55 F/3.5~5.6IS Kit Lens, which you have.

    As you have not taken offence at the candor of the previous posts then I trust you will take this advice on board also.
    By way of example - I tutor HSC Art Students and Uni Art Students – I have one particular Woman who uses: a 400D; EF-S 17 to 55; EF-S 55 to 250 and the EF35 F/2. She creamed the 2011 NSW HSC Art Exam; her Photographic Major Work was hung as part the Premier’s Awards; she does some part-time second shooting work for me; and she’s shot a few bands and a couple of Model’s Portfolios for herself.
    There is very little wrong with the gear you have.
    My best advice is you use the gear you have; make lots of Portrait Photos; get a lot of advice and feedback ON THOSE PHOTOS and improve your skills, before you look at buying any new lenses.

    For the type of Portraiture you nominate in your opening post:
    – i.e. “My dream is to ultimately start my own business focusing on newborns, children and families. This will mean indoor and outdoor work.”

    I suggest that you will need to concentrate on LIGHTING EQUIPMENT and learning how to use that, perhaps even before you purchase any more lenses.

    WW

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    Hi William, thank you for your advice. Yes like I said I want honest advice and I will not take offense. I am very keen to learn as much as I can. Photography is all I think about! After some brief studying over the weekend on manual settings I took my son outside yesterday morning and spent about an 1 1/2 hours taking shots with my 50mm 1.8 whilst continously adjusting my settings to get a feel for what the lens is doing. Uploading my images last night I see a huge improvement in clarity based on the previous shots I took. I also took some up close shots of some flowers (I think they're more weeds but they had pretty purple flowers so I thought 'hey what the hell') and I'm amazed at how good a shot this lens takes! For such a cheap lens in comparison to others in the Canon range it does a ripper of a job when used properly! The guy I was talking to in Ted's mentioned to me that I could get paid work using the 50/1.8 and I think he's right. Not looking to get paid right now, have a looong way to go but it's comforting to know that if I get a good handle on my current gear I will be laying a good foundation. I was reading reviews last night comparing the differences between the 1.2, 1.4 and the 1.8. Of course everyone's entitled to their own opinions but he was singing 1.8's praises and even went so far that to that "this little lens is Canon's biggest secret". Review was by Ken Rockwell by the way.
    I tried working with the 18-55mm yesterday also but I'm finding that one harder to get used to. I'm thinking that it may be because I started using the 50mm from the start and I've grown used to using a prime lens as opposed to zoom lens.
    For indoor work I'm hoping to use more natural light than anything else. I know of a few newborn photographers that only use natural light and their work is amazing. I will start looking into lighting though for sure. Need to start setting up a basic studio at home!
    It's good to know about your student who's having such great success with the gear that she's using.
    I guess if the talent is there it will shine through and the equipment takes second place.
    I have posted some photos in the beginner critique second a few days ago of my son James. I've had really good feedback on them. Hoping to put up some more photos for viewing over the next day or so. My goal moving forward would be to find a photographer that is happy for me to tag along every now and then and gain some insight of how the industry really works, etc. I guess every budding photographer wants that though! Ha ha.
    Thanks again for your feedback. You have no idea how much it is appreciated

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    Good.

    WW

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    maybeoneday, your move to go out and practice with the 50 1.8 was the best thing you can do! learn how your camera and lens work together, alter settings find out what that does. Find the limitations of your lens, and camera and how to work with that also.The 50 1.8 is a great lens optically, and in my opinion the other 2 are not much better. The offer different qualities, such as quieter, faster focusing and better manual focus control. The wider aperture of the F1.4, and F1.2 is not a great gain, and at least for now money is better spent on lighting equipment as others have suggested. A good speedlite goes a long way, once you learn to use it, opening a whole world of new possibilies. Keep using the 18 - 55. Learn it's short comings. You should never upgrade your gear just because some one tells you too, or you think it will make your images better. I upgrade when i find myself constantly pushing a piece of equipment, and needing more than it can deliver. That said I like quality.

    "When" your ready for new lenses, i'd look at 17-55 F2.8 EFS, and some form of 70 -200. I have the 70 - 200 F4L IS USM. It's a great lens it I've never regretted it. these will give you good coverage, along with your 50mm F1.8 for low light work.

    Again well done for the practicing. Never stop, as we are always learning.
    as for my 2 cents worth on software, Lightroom has been a great tool for me, offering good workflow and ease of use.

    Good luck!

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    Probably not what you want to hear, but needs to be said. Reading your posts in this thread and that you have trouble resizing jpg files etc, I would say completely forget the idea of becoming a newborn/children and family photography, for at least 2-3 years. If you do not know how to resize for the net, how are you going to resize for that 30 inch canvas the family want?

    You need to become a good photographer with great post processing skills FIRST. If you try and setup your business before you have the skills, you might do well for a while, from family, friends etc, but it will slow down after the initial splurge and your business will slowly fade away. What you need NOW is the skill set and processing techniques such that not only family and friends, but complete strangers, want to hire you to take photos of their families. The skills you need will take 2-3 years to even be considering starting up a business.

    Harsh maybe, but reality yes. So between now and then, work on your photography, work on your editing skills, learn all you can. Do a small business course on marketing, accounting, taxation, etc. All of this is very important to give you the skills so that in 2-3 years time you are ready to launch a business that will be successful..long term

    Stick with the lenses you have, using the guides you have been given above, work out how to resize and start posting photos for critique (from stranger) and learn from their advice. Once your photography is good and your editing skills are good, you will have learned about lenses and will know exactly which lens(es) you want, and why you want those lenses in particular. You won't have to ask on a forum. This is when you are ready to start planning your business.

    Keep your business goals in mind, but work on making sure that when you do start your business, your skill-set matches your enthusiasm
    Last edited by ricktas; 29-01-2013 at 10:06pm.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    ...Keep your business goals in mind, but work on making sure that when you do start your business, your skill-set matches your enthusiasm...
    ameerat42 posted "thanks for this succinct advice".

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