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Thread: Upgrading from kit (Canon 24-85mm?)

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    Member coffeegal's Avatar
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    Upgrading from kit (Canon 24-85mm?)

    I have a 350d and the twin kits which I've been using for a few years now. I purchased the 50mm f1.8 which I rarely use as I never seem to be able to get things in focus. I do quite well with the 18-55kit but I find quite slow to focus, impossible in low light and soft images but I make do given my limited gear and budget and I've achieved some really nice results given it's considered trash .

    I recently purchased an external flash. I use my SLR mostly for indoor shots of children/babies and portraits so now I'd like to buy a new cheap lens that will be a step up from the kit.

    A friend once recommended the 24-85mm I think. I cant seem to see them anywhere online for sale. I have been keeping an eye on ebay and notice they go for around $200 when they come up. Is it reasonably safe to buy a second hand lens? Is there anything I need to look out for to make sure it fits my camera? I really have no experience buying lenses so appreciate some advice. I was hoping to pick up one from overseas or a grey import but cant find much.

    Would anyone recommend an alternative lens which is good value for money (ie low budget). Any other advice?

    edit .. omg I'm sorry, I'm new here and see I've poseted this in the wrong area. Can a mod please move it? So sorry.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Move: Done!

    Before you commit to relegating the nifty fifty to the bottom drawer, how do you get the camera to focus?

    I've seen many people use this lens 'wrongly' whwere they've set their camera to single shot focus mode, where the camera is set to... focus->beep(to focus)->expose(the image).
    Doing it this way at wide open apertures is kind of pushing the envelope of DOF and spot on focus.

    because the DOF can be shallow and the manner in which most people tend to shoot, in the micro second between the two steps, beep and expose you can sway just enough to move the point of focus just enough where you think you're not focusing, or that the lens may not be sharp.

    I know Canon cameras can be set to Continuous focus mode, where a half press of the shutter constantly has the camera/lens focusing, so that when you do actually full press(to expose) the subject point is still in the focus zone.

    try the lens at apertures like f/2, f/2.2, f2.5, and f/2.8 to see how the DOF(as well as increased contrast at those closed down apertures can have a big impact on focus/sharpness.

    And remember as you get closer to the subject the DOF is a lot thinner, so a close up head shot of a person @ f/2 will have the person's eyeballs in focus, but their eyebrows and nose can be blurred.

    ..anyhow just some thoughts.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    coffeegal's Avatar
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    okay interesting. Thanks for that information. Yes you are right, I just checked my camera and it's set to one shot focus. I can see from what you are saying now how this could be my problems because my baby never sits still (real wriggler lol) and kids in general move so what's happening is I get movement and my focus is off. I always tightly crop my shots too so again this adds to my difficulties.

    So should I set it to AI Focus or AI Servo? I look forward to experimenting with this.

    Thanks. You learn something new every day :-)

    I'm still interested in another zoom lens though to replace my kit.

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    arthurking I've been having fun using your suggestions. I'm doing a lot better with the camera on AV and using smaller apertures. I'm still struggling with sharpness though even though I have it set to continuous focus. I'm getting relatively high shutter speeds 1/200 with ISO400. I still get unfocused photos majority of the time but I think it's practice. I get frustrated with it though.

    I am still trying to find a 24-85 to upgrade from my kit but as I've found out from another forum member it's a discontinued lens. I missed out on an auction last night and cant find the classifieds area here to see if any are being sold here, I've been a member for more than 30 days so I'll have to keep looking around. I've heard it's a really sharp lens.

    Thanks.

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    I can highly recommend the 24-105mm L USM van Canon. This is my main and "walk around" lens. Your 50mm is a lot faster but when using that sort of lens at wide apertures you really have to know exactly what you DOF is. There are DOF calculators on the internet (and if you happen to have an iPhone also applications) that let you easily calculate the exact DOF for a certain distance to the subject, focal length and aperture. With your camera and the 50mm lens at F1.8 your DOF and a distance of 150 cm to the subject the depth of field is just under 6cm!

    Try a wider DOF (means smaller aperture = higher value) and a little more distance to the subject...

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    Thanks vk. Unfortunately the 24-105 is not quite the same budget as the 24-85 I was looking at
    I noticed on a classified there is a 28-105 within budget. It doesn't say it's a USM though which the 24-85 was. Are you familiar with the 28-105? Is it similar to the 24-85? I'm looking for something sharp. Very confusing all these lens choices when you dont have much experience with them. I think my lack of understanding DOF is most likely contributing to my bad luck on the 50.

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    Be carefull in trying to buy the Canon 28-105mm zoom lens because there are 3 variants to this range, one of them is a fantastic jewel and great find, and one of them (the newest version) is a piece of coaster glass wrapped in a black plastic tumbler!
    This eBay help page is very helpfull:
    http://reviews.ebay.com/Canon-EF-28-...00000000771280
    Cheers!
    "The greatest camera in the world is the one you hold in your hands when shit happens." ©2007 Raoul Isidro

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