Worth upgrading my Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by BingoBongo275, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. BingoBongo275

    BingoBongo275
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    Hi, I've got a Canon EOS 450D with an (old) Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens (the non IS version)

    I understand from reviews that apart from adding the Image Stabiliser, the new canon lens itself is also much better.

    Is it worth upgrading, or would money be better spent on a different lens? Note that most of my photo's are still life (well photos of Star Wars props actually)

    All advice gratefully received

    Cheers

    Jez
     
  2. denno75uk

    denno75uk
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    From what I've read here and other sites, the 18-55 IS is a cracking lens for the money. Sharper than your version and obv with the benefit of IS, so as an upgrade it's definitely worth considering, but if your doing alot of shots that are akin to produce shots, the type you'd find in catalogues and such, one option might be to get the cheap Canon 50mm f1.8 II. It would give you the option of shooting at a wider aperture than your used to allowing a shallower depth of field to throw he background out of focus and really making the subject stand out. It's also one of the cheapest lenses and recommended alot here because it's meant to be very sharp. Review here.
     
  3. Damien

    Damien
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    Would it be worth considering the 17-85mm IS?

    This is one of the lenses that comes with the 40D and is mean to be very good.

    D
     
  4. jonnypb

    jonnypb
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    No! Not the greatest lens and many more better out there with a similar focal range and cheaper

    Tamron 17-50 2.8
    Sigma 17-70
    Canon 18-55IS
     
  5. RobDickinson

    RobDickinson
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    17-85 isnt worth it. Its no better than the new kit lens and a lot more money.
     
  6. Damien

    Damien
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    I stand corrected then guys. :oops:

    So is my 18-55IS that came with the 450D better?
    D
     
  7. BingoBongo275

    BingoBongo275
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    Thanks for the info Guys

    denno75uk- great advice thank you. I had heard about the (relatively cheap) 50mm lens and you are exactly correct that what i'm mostly trying to do is "product" style photos.

    Here's an example of one of my better shots - however having taken some recently with the new 450d I didnt think they were sharp enough.

    [​IMG]

    This particular shot was a fairly long exposure, about 10-15secs on something like F20

    Here's another recent shot. Its ok but any advice as to how I could make them better would be much appreciated

    [​IMG]

    Cheers

    Jez
     
  8. denno75uk

    denno75uk
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    Firstly Jez, I'd say for such photos, f20 is overkill. Using Online DOF Calculator, shooting at 50mm, f22 at a distance of 6ft, you have a total of 4.5ft of the scene in focus. Going up to f8 still gives you 1.5ft of scene focus, so I'd imagine more than enough to cover the depth of your subjects.
    The other thing I notice is that you are using pretty regular/uniform backdrops for the shots which does, to an extent, reduce the need to throw the background out of focus, as it's not really that distracting as is. Having a shallower depth of field could still help blur the detail of the dado rail and such though, focusing attention on the subject more.
    So, a 50mm f1.8 lens could still be an option, but to see if you can get what you're after with what you already have, try using a wider aperture for a start. You could try a series of shots at different apertures to see which ones work for DOF and help keep the shutter speed up (if you're hand holding).
    More generally, try using a really bland backdrop that contrasts a bit more with the subject. Personally I think the colour of the wall in the C-3PO shot is a bit too close to the colour of the subject, though this is also true for the Clone Trooper, but it doesn't seem as much of an issue. Try black for a start though it may be that this means you have to keep the subject further away from the backdrop than you do currently as it will 'suck' some of the fill light from your subject due to the lack of reflection. Having a greater distance between subject and background will help throw the back out of focus though which isn't a bad thing as discussed. Oh, and I don't mean to mega picky, but try and keep things straight. The Clone Trooper helmet shot has a good straight horizontal between the white and grey of the backdrop, but the subject itself isn't vertically straight and personally I keep being drawn to that. Having a one colour backdrop will mean you can shoot with more subject bias for such things.

    Anyway. Are these things you build yourself? Collect? or trade?

    James
     
  9. mark.carline

    mark.carline
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    If your lucky you might be able to pick up an 18-55 IS lens for £45 buy it now on ebay (like I just did).

    Just keep your eyes peeled ! ;)
     
  10. BingoBongo275

    BingoBongo275
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    Again, thanks for the great advice and tips.

    Well the Star Wars Helmets thing is my hobby. I started 6-7 years ago with a few cheap licensed helmets and it grew and grew (unfortunately as my wife would say!).

    I started up a website (called www.StarWarsHelmets.com of course) which has now had over a million visitors - crazy when you think what a niche it is! My site catalog's all the helmets (original screen-used, licensed replica and fan-made) that have been produced both forthe original films made in the 70's and 80's, and the replicas since then (plus the new movies of course)

    Due to the ridiculously-anal knowledge Ive learned about the subject (well someones got to!) I now get invites from various organizations, auction houses, private individuals etc. to help them ID their screen-used helmets(which are worth a FORTUNE) as well as from replica companies trying to produce the most accurate helmet they can. Lucas Film are also in contact and are very supportive.

    I don't advertise or sell anything so anything I do I need to buy myself (unfortunately no money coming in, just going out) but it is a hobby and I do find it fun when I get emails from people all over the world like "Hi I'm the only Darth Vader in Peru, do you like my costume?", as well as some guys in China who have get together's to talk through the subject and have translated parts of my site into Mandarin!

    Returning to the photos (and the 3po shot) I was messing about with different apertures/exposures and found that a longer exposure, smaller aperture seemed to give the photo a more vivid, more saturated look. Does this make sense?

    I only have household lights (and have considered buying some proper lights) and recently bought a light-tent on ebay which is quite good.

    Cheers

    Jez
     

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