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Thread: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?

  1. #1
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    Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    I am shooting with a 500D and am looking into getting a lens for low-light, shallow depth-of-field pictures.


    I currently have:


    10-22 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM


    28-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM


    70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM


    (along with the kit 18-55 mm f/3,5-5,6 IS, which came with the camera)





    I have managed to cover most focal distances as you can see, but I'm still missing a lens for low-light (concerts and indoors) or portrait pictures. I'm hoping to be able to cover both with the same lens. The above lenses about give my budget range and in this range I've found the 50mm f/1.4 or the 85mm f/1.8


    Which of these would be better for my needs? I can't really figure it all out...





    Thanks in advance!
    My gear: Canon 500D, 17-55mm F/2.8 IS, 70-200 F/4L IS, 100mm F/2.8 macro (non-USM), 50mm F/1.4

  2. #2
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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    For concerts and indoors, I would definitely recommend the 85mm f/1.8, but for general purpose indoor photography, even the 50mm f/1.4 can be too long.

  3. #3

    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    Not to be flip, but set you 28-135 at 50mm and have look around through the viewfinder under the shooting conditions you describe. Zoom to 85mm and repeat. Buy accordingly.


    I agree with Daniel, both are likely to feel cramped in a smaller room.

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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    I would suggest deciding on a focal length first. If, as Daniel and barba say, the 85 and 50 are too long, consider the 35 f/2. I

  5. #5

    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    Same, its either the 50 or 85. use your lens to see what focal length you like, i personally <3 my 50 1.4(until the bugger broke off for repair now) in many cases, i can get closer to the subject to fill the frame. The studio

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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    Thanks very much for your tips, they are very helpful.


    Now if distance from the subject weren't the issue (being able to move around at concert or indoors for example), which of the two would be better?
    My gear: Canon 500D, 17-55mm F/2.8 IS, 70-200 F/4L IS, 100mm F/2.8 macro (non-USM), 50mm F/1.4

  7. #7
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    Between the 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.8, I think the 85/1.8 is the better lens. It is sharper wide open than the 50/1.4 (although wide open isn't quite as wide), and the 85/1.8 has true Ring USM vs. the 50/1.4's Micro USM (which is quiet, but slower than ring USM, and the AF of the 50/1.4 is reportedly rather sensitive to drops or other abuse).

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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist
    Between the 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.8, I think the 85/1.8 is the better lens

    Agreed- but don't you think choosing the desired focal length outweighs quality differences between the lenses? Also, the 50 is significantly more hand-holdable.


    I have a soft spot for the 50 f/1.4, in case you can't tell. Ignore me.









  9. #9
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Ruyle
    I have a soft spot for the 50 f/1.4

    As long as your 50mm f/1.4 doesn't have a soft spot. []


    I do think that focal length is the most important consideration - keep in mind that you can crop if you must to frame tighter, but sometimes you simply cannot back up to frame looser.

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    Re: Which lens for low-light/shallow DOF?



    I have the 50 f/1.8, which I know is not in your running, but I thought I would weigh in anyway. I did a party shoot for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary back in May, and actually got the lens for that party. I ended up making a press-printed book for my grandparents. I found it to be too tight on my 450D to shoot inside my parents livingroom/kitchen for more than tight head and shoulder portraits. I had to do a group shot of our entire family and ended up changing out the lens so that I could get the shot and had to use my onboard flash (ick). So I would encourage the 50mm or another even wider lens.


    just my $0.02.


    Dan

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