Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New Lens

Hi All,

First apologies for my notable absence on the blog. I am slowly learning how to manage and develop my small photography business while remaining in gainful full-time employment. So here is a short blog with promises for more to follow:

Recent Purchase

I am working on a small project at the moment. The project is to develop a calendar of the seasonal life and character of our local Farmer's Market. The reason is two-fold: to raise money for local food charities and to capture and preserve the essence of the current market which will soon move to a new location. The current market location holds a lot of charm and character so my hope is that I can capture that on film and present it to the public in the form of a calendar.

The problem I have been having using my Canon 17-85mm IS ES lens is that I never have enough light and am always shooting at ISO 1600. This of courses introduces a lot of noise into the photo. So to overcome this I recently purchased the following lens: a Canon fixed USM 50mm 1.4. I have to say that I love it. I got it for CA$495 which includes the taxes and shipping. It is solidly built with a steel base rather than plastic. The focusing is good, not too slow or noisy. You have to be careful when shooting because the depth of field can be quite shallow. The focus is sharp, the image quality is excellent, the colours are vibrant and the blur that is naturally created in the background is nice and soft.

I will post a few images later, perhaps tonight.

Because I am shooting with the Rebel XT the focal length is about 80mm or so which for me is perfect. 50mm would have been too wide. So for the style of shooting that I enjoy 80mm is great. It also provides a good exercise in shooting and composition since one cannot zoom in and out using the lens.

So, in all, I am very happy with this new addition to my arsenal.



Anonymous said...

Welcome Back! Good posting, and some interesting observations and issues.

My first thought is that it's nice to have a fast lens, albeit fixed focal length. This will be ideal for documentary/reportage shooting like you describe. Maybe less flexible for landscape, but still useful in some circumstances.

My next thought is: have you tried shooting at 1600 ISO in RAW mode, then using either the noise reduction or some 3rd party noise reduction software to combat the noise issue? Nothing beats a good fast lens, for sure, but I wonder if there would have been scope there?

Looking forward to seeing some more images and posts, and news of your business. As the only one of us who derives part of their income from photography, I personally would be interested in hearing your experiences.


Critical Light said...

Hi Ivan,

Most if not all of the images I shoot at the market are at ISO 1600. And I shoot in RAW. After reading about how to process RAW images I know I can, to some extent, remove some of that noise. So that is good. And I am going to investigate third party software as well. So the images that I have shot at ISO1600 should provide some good returns.

However, the reason why I went for the lens is that even at ISO1600 the shooting speed was often less than 1/60th. The IS was useful in this regard but I felt very restricted. Especially when sometimes the speed was just too low to be comfortable.

The fixed lens does have limitations for sure. For example, it is not a lens for landscapes. But so far, I am getting a real kick out of it for the type of shooting I am doing at the market. For the soft focus, the colours and depth of field.