Art and Photography

Canon 50D - Buying Additional Lens?

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  • Aug 9th, 2017 10:32 am
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Canon 50D - Buying Additional Lens?

Amateur with my DSLR working with an 8 year-old Canon 50D. I've had one lens, and one lens only: the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM.
Also spent $ on a Canon 430 EX-II flash for it along the years.

Now I'm looking to get something better in low-light. I'm wary of spending a lot of money on a lens given the age of this camera.

Would I have a lot to gain in indoor situations by buying a Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM (without Image Stabilizer)? This lens goes for about $130 USD / $220 CDN.

Am I better off buying a brand new camera set altogether, such as a Canon a6000?
21 replies
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Aug 29, 2006
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You will have better low light performance with a newer body. Ie Just from higher ISO alone you will be able to gain 3 stops (on spec) with the same lens on say the 80D vs your examples with the lens apertures alone is ~2 stops.

The sensor on newer camera tends to give more useful quaility at higher ISO as well.

You can compare in door shot with your 50D against, say 80D on the site below and see for yourself, just pick All camera to expand the list to find the 50D.

https://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

To me, the 80D easily did as good at ISO 25600 in doors as the 50D did at ISO 3200 on the comparison. So, we are really talking about 4 stops (or more) better than the 50D, which is pretty huge.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
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hdom wrote:
Jul 29th, 2017 2:52 am
You will have better low light performance with a newer body. Ie Just from higher ISO alone you will be able to gain 3 stops (on spec) with the same lens on say the 80D vs your examples with the lens apertures alone is ~2 stops..
Thanks for your input!

If I were to buy a new camera, I would likely get something more portable such as the Sony a6000 (open to other suggestions) that still has the ability to interchange lenses and add a flash. Would that still be worth it to buy a new camera (instead of buying a lens)?
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Is hard to say "worth" since money is very personal and a new lens is still way cheaper than a system swap.

However, almost any of the popular mirrorless body on the market will have better performance due to the recent advances in sensor technology and could be had for a reasonable price if you are not looking for the latest and greatest model, such as your a6000 example.

There are already numerous recent threads on mirrorless selection so I'm not going add more here. I suggest if that is the way you want to go, then look at those threads, narrow your choices and read reviews online.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Deal Guru
Dec 10, 2004
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Kanata
In what situations do you find the 50D not providing you the results you want? Try to be more specific than simply "low light", as that can mean many things (stationary objects, moving objects, long exposure, indoor, outdoor, etc). Some of this could be remedied by technique, some by a combination of faster glass/upgraded body, or something else.
What is your budget, in total for everything? As you already own a flash, and a decent zoom lens, moving to another system would mean more initial cost, and depending on what you end up with, may not get you what you are looking for right away without a larger investment.
Are there issues with the size of the camera you use now, that would steer you towards mirrorless?
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goofball wrote:
Jul 29th, 2017 3:27 pm
In what situations do you find the 50D not providing you the results you want? Try to be more specific than simply "low light", as that can mean many things (stationary objects, moving objects, long exposure, indoor, outdoor, etc). Some of this could be remedied by technique, some by a combination of faster glass/upgraded body, or something else.
What is your budget, in total for everything? As you already own a flash, and a decent zoom lens, moving to another system would mean more initial cost, and depending on what you end up with, may not get you what you are looking for right away without a larger investment.
Are there issues with the size of the camera you use now, that would steer you towards mirrorless?
I'm trying to capture more photos of kids (many of which would be indoors) - which means lots of movement and impromptu "in the moment" type of shots.

IF I were to buy a completely new camera set, my budget is somewhat flexible, but definitely less than $1000 (for the body and perhaps a couple of lenses).

I guess the bigger question is: is it worth investing the $150-200 for the lens I've mentioned above (Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM without Image Stabilizer), or would I be disappointed by its performance given what I have already. If I'd be disappointed, I wouldn't mind moving to an entirely new camera set altogether, even if it means spending up to $1000.

I've found that the size of the Canon 50D does hinder me somewhat - it's not as portable as I would like. Therefore, if I were replacing the body, I'd go with something much more portable. But if I can achieve good indoor shooting quality for much less $ (i.e. just buying a lens), I'd suck it up and won't complain about the size & weight.
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How far are these children from you, and how old are they?
As I don't know the size of the rooms/distance you are trying to take pictures, or the amount of light, f/2.8 may not be wide enough to get you into a decent shutter speed/ISO for your liking.
Image stabilizer won't help you in these situations with the 24mm, as the lens is not long enough (distance wise) to really benefit from IS for moving objects. IS on a 70-200mm lens helps as 1/160 may be fast enough to freeze motion at 200mm but would require a really good base to not have blur without the use of IS.
Deal Guru
Oct 27, 2003
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Why not make use of your external flash? It will let you take nice pics in low light without boosting the ISO or slowing the shutter speed too much. The 50D is still a solid camera.

If you want some decent low cost lens upgrades look at:

Canon 50mm f1.8 STM
Canon 40mm f2.8 STM

They are both EF lens so they are full frame ready, should you choose to upgrade your body to FF in the future.

I haven't used the EF-S 24mm f2.8 STM. I've heard good things about it, but it's an APS-C only lens. I would choose the 40mm f2.8 over it unless you really need the wider angle.

Both those lens let in a lot of light and are relatively cheap. You will get a degree of subject isolation and control over depth of field that is not possible with your current lens.
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From a budget standpoint, your best bet is to buy a used Tamron f/2.8 17-50 for around $250 after negotiation. It is constant f/2.8 and you are not limited by a prime single distance.
As an indoor lowlight wedding shooter, I do not believe soley in camera and lenses to light people inside, and I have a 5DIV and 50 f/1.2 to give you an idea how much light I can get. Definitely use your flash, learn to bounce off walls and ceilings. Grab a flag off ebay or Amazon or make your own out of a $2 piece of black foam and hair elastics. They are $10-15 otherwise on ebay (called flash benders), the one below this:

Image

Image

Ignore the one on the right, it is a pro version system called Magmod (that I use to quickly switch modifiers).

Flashbender in practice (you might also want to buy a piece of clear orange plastic called CTO gel to balance the orangey light as shown in the vid, or you may have to fix the image in editing):



Using a flag to bounce:

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If you go mirrorless such as Sony A6000, the cost will be prohibitively high for a standard zoom lens that gives you constant f/2.8, or any lenses with big apertures.
However having such is a nice size and weight difference, you just have to pay for it.
Newbie
Jul 31, 2017
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Get yourself some vintage manual primes off ebay. Look for M42 screw-mount lenses and buy a $5 adaptor that allows you to fit them onto your DSLR. My favorite lens is the Mamiya/Sekor 50mm f.2, and you can buy one for about $30. It's a great bokeh lens that provides great color fidelity and a sharp image that also offers a cinematic softness where you want it. Another lens I keep in my bag is a Super Takumar 50mm f.1.4, which I use for low-light situations. The coating on the lens gives the images a rather warm tone, so careful white balancing and post color correction are often necessary, but it's great for those twilight/sunset shots where you want a some orange flavoring. You can get one for about $100. For wider shots, I use a Quantary 28 mm f. 2.8, which I bought on ebay for $40. Learning to shoot with manual lenses will make you a better photographer/videographer as it weens you from the comfort of automatic features. And don't get hung up on having the latest and greatest lenses. Remember that people have been taking great photos for a couple centuries now. It's not the tools that make you an artist, it's what you do with them.
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I'm wondering if that adds a layer of complexity OP is not ready for. While I love the artistic flair, the various lenses will output differently. There is a certain degree of editing ability required or the person may not be happy with what the lens does straight out of camera from one to the next. It is not essential to be consistent but great artists also hone their style so that their photography all looks the same.

Having said that, what you propose sounds like a lot of fun, I might try it, thanks!
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BuddyOPalamine wrote:
Aug 1st, 2017 10:16 am
Get yourself some vintage manual primes off ebay. Look for M42 screw-mount lenses and buy a $5 adaptor that allows you to fit them onto your DSLR. My favorite lens is the Mamiya/Sekor 50mm f.2, and you can buy one for about $30. It's a great bokeh lens that provides great color fidelity and a sharp image that also offers a cinematic softness where you want it. Another lens I keep in my bag is a Super Takumar 50mm f.1.4, which I use for low-light situations. The coating on the lens gives the images a rather warm tone, so careful white balancing and post color correction are often necessary, but it's great for those twilight/sunset shots where you want a some orange flavoring. You can get one for about $100. For wider shots, I use a Quantary 28 mm f. 2.8, which I bought on ebay for $40. Learning to shoot with manual lenses will make you a better photographer/videographer as it weens you from the comfort of automatic features. And don't get hung up on having the latest and greatest lenses. Remember that people have been taking great photos for a couple centuries now. It's not the tools that make you an artist, it's what you do with them.
Photographing kids (who never sit still) and manual focus is not a good combo.
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Jul 30th, 2017 10:09 am
From a budget standpoint, your best bet is to buy a used Tamron f/2.8 17-50 for around $250 after negotiation. It is constant f/2.8 and you are not limited by a prime single distance.
As an indoor lowlight wedding shooter, I do not believe soley in camera and lenses to light people inside, and I have a 5DIV and 50 f/1.2 to give you an idea how much light I can get. Definitely use your flash, learn to bounce off walls and ceilings. Grab a flag off ebay or Amazon or make your own out of a $2 piece of black foam and hair elastics. They are $10-15 otherwise on ebay (called flash benders), the one below this:

Image

Image

Ignore the one on the right, it is a pro version system called Magmod (that I use to quickly switch modifiers).

Flashbender in practice (you might also want to buy a piece of clear orange plastic called CTO gel to balance the orangey light as shown in the vid, or you may have to fix the image in editing):



Using a flag to bounce:

That first video was great! Thank you
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No kidding, photographing kids are more like sport photography, you sort of need the latest and greatest equipment usually and even harder if indoors.
Kurtz7834 wrote:
Aug 1st, 2017 12:44 pm
Photographing kids (who never sit still) and manual focus is not a good combo.
Last edited by hdom on Aug 1st, 2017 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:

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