Saturday, January 17, 2009

Love Natural Light Photography? Buy a Nifty Fifty!

I am a huge fan of natural light photography and have never even purchased a flash. I will use my on-camera flash in a pinch (only if completely desperate!), but haven't had the need to buy a "real" flash. So how do I take photos inside of my kids when it is dark and dreary?




Here is the Nikon Version:





I bought the famous Nifty Fifty lens (50mm, f1.8) for my old Canon Rebel Digital XT. Believe the hype, it is less than $80 and if you shoot with it wide open you will be amazed how little light you need. I use mine outdoors for great bokeh (those gorgeous out-of-focus backgrounds that look stunning in any image, see my header for an example of bokeh) or inside without a flash. I found that my images inside look better if I don't use my on-camera flash and just turn up my ISO as high as needed (I even shoot at 1600), use a wide aperture (I even shoot at f1.8 with great results) and then remove any noise later with the free version of Noiseware .

No more red-eye, deer-in-the-headlights, shiny skin, black backgrounds, washed out faces and just gorgeous portraits of my little guys inside. Plus the lens becomes 80 mm when on my camera due to the Canon Rebel's 1.6 digital conversion which is an ideal portrait lens and I use it all of the time in my photoshoots. People have said this lens is so light and cheaply made, but I have had no issues with it at all. Just don't throw it against a brick wall and you will be fine. :-)

My other favorite lens that I usually keep on my camera 75% of the time (it is my walk-about lens) is the Canon 28-135mm, f3.5-5.6. It has Image Stabilizer so you can use it in low light quite well and the wide angle to telephoto range is perfect for almost any type of photography. I love this one for photographing children as I can do close-up work, but also capture them as they are running away! It is also amazing for landscapes and basically anything you want to photograph. I seriously love this lens. It has been with me even before I went digital (maybe 6-7 years) and has made several treks to Big Bend National Park, Utah's National Parks, Vegas, Germany, Florida, and the list goes on and it still works flawlessly. It has even been dropped two times! Yes, I am rough on my equipment. ;-)



I also have a kit lens (I NEVER use it) and the Canon 70-200 mm, f4/L which is a professional lens, bullet proof, affordable, and takes stunning images. However, it is pretty big so I use it, but not as often as I would like.




Oh, I am a huge lover of Canon cameras (since my old Canon AE-1). People ask me why I only use a Canon. The reason is quite simple, all of my lenses are Canon so there is no way I can afford to change at this point! I know there are other great cameras out there, but I am already commited and have been very happy with all of my Canon purchases. If you need to get an affordable SLR camera (and everyone needs one!), check out the Canon XSi.



Wow, I just found you can get the Canon 40D (one step up) with my favorite lens! The price listed below is the 40D camera body AND the 28-135mm lens I posted above. This is cheaper than getting the Canon XSi and the lens together. I am shopping for a new camera body (my old XT has been through everything and has a cracked body, but the darn thing still works after almost 20,000 images) and I will have to investigate this camera. My sis would love to have a 28-135mm, maybe we can work out a deal. :-)




And make sure to read Bryan Peterson's Book so you will know how to use it. This is one of the best photography book out there. If you shoot on automatic mode all of the time you don't need a SLR!

19 comments:

  1. I have a nifty fifty for nikon and I looove it:)

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  2. LOVE my 50mm 1.4 for Canon.... super lens!

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  3. I have this canon lens...I've hardly ever used (I like the zoom!) but now I think I'll dig it out and give her a whirl!
    thx!

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  4. My father in law used to photo accident scene with Nikon, he showed me his old old SLR and said, this 50mm is my all time fave lens, never go wrong with it. ;)

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  5. Why do you like a Canon so much? I am in the process of buying a new camera, right now I just have a p&s and I am ready to make the leap to dslr. But I can't decide what to go with, my 2 choices are a Nikon D60 or a Canon XSI. They both have great reviews and so far I have found that either a person is a Nikon fan or a Canon Fan and that's why they chose the camera. So any help that you could give me would be greatly appreciated, if you have a spare moment if not don't worry about it. Thanks so much...(adbloom1(at)gmail(dot)com)

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  6. What would be the nikon equivalent of your 'other favorite lens'? I'm still a newbie photographer but would like to get another lens other than what was provided with my d40. Do you have any recommendations?

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  7. WOW! Thank you for all the information! I'm wanting to make the jump to dSLR but $$ is holding me back. I'm bookmarking this post!

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  8. Wow at the price on the XSi! I have the XT, got it when it first came out, and dang if it wasn't *double* the cost of the XSi. :P Thanks for the info on lenses. I've been wanting a new one (only have the kit lens...I'm such a n00b to DSLR)

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  9. thank you for that link to noiseware! WOW - it is AMAZING! I used it on some ice skating pics from last weekend and what a difference! I learn so much from you - thank you SOOOOOO much!
    Michelle

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  10. Thanks for the information.
    Is the book you suggested the best resource you know of for natural light photography? If not, could you suggest something?

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  11. This may sound a silly question...do Nikon lenses fit on Canon cameras or do you have to use an adaptor? I have a Canon EOS 400D, and also have been thinking about a 50mm lens, but have just been looking at Canon branded/compatible ones. my favourite everyday lens is a 28-105, but would love to upgrade to the 28-135, but really justify the cost at the moment!

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  12. that's sooo neat! do they have one for olympus? that's what i have.

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  13. i literally just bought the 50d for just a few bucks over the price you posted for the 40. i'm in the same bot as you with canon, thouh i HAVE bought a flash as i have yet to figure our noiseware.

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  14. THank you so much for the wealth of info on camera lens'. I so want to jump into SLR

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  15. Thanks for the helpful info! I have the 40D, and I am thinking about getting the 50mm 1.8 - can you explain what you mean by

    "Plus the lens becomes 80 mm when on my camera due to the Canon Rebel's 1.6 digital conversion "

    Would this happen on my camera as well?

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  16. Thanks so much for the info on the Noise thingy (sorry can't think of the correct name off the top of my head). I've so been wanting something like this! I can't wait to try it out! :)

    www.sonestasmith.blogspot.com

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  17. Thank you so much for this posting! I hadn't realized how 'lazy' I'd become. I've had a great time having to rethink my framing :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/highlandghillie/3239413243/

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  18. What would be the PENTAX K100D equivalent for that same lens from Canon? Do you have any recommendations?
    Also Thank you so much for all the help you provided us the stay home moms...I love your blog and pictures!
    Thank you

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  19. I just had to come back (for the 3rd time) and say thanks again (again) for posting this.. I am in love (all over again) with my 50mm!

    :)

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