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Thread: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

  1. #1

    Default Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Hi guys, I hope this thread doesn't become a commonly ranted thread that gets slammed, nevertheless, its an indication of BBB symptoms. Keeping it short and sweet.

    1) Currently own Kit(IS)+50/1.8 + 55-250 on 350D
    2) Aiming to buy 85/1.8 (or 135L)
    3) Student on finite budget

    Option 1) Buy 85/1.8 and thats it, my system is done.
    Option 2) Sell 55-250, skip 85, buy 135L

    Difference: option 2 around 150-200 more $$ damage

    Main use: Candids, (currently 55-250 is my favorite walk around lens, and I actually use the 200-250 end quite a bit due to laziness to foot zoom, a lot of times prefer not to spoil moment, considering getting a fast lens so can do indoors as well, 90% of my keeper shots are with 55-250. I find it sharp enough if I get focus spot on.)

    Secondary uses: Concert, Portraits (135 too long?), mainly just those 2.

    Concerns:
    135L too ex and heavy? maybe I'll miss my long end also. (less flexible)
    85/1.8 or even 100/1.8 turn in some v bad CA wide open? Not as sharp also.

    So guys, which do you think more worth? Hope a discussion can help me to explore something I overlook and provide moral support! Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by ombre; 14th December 2008 at 01:49 PM.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    I think the 85mm will do nicely on a cropped camera, the wider aperture is also helpful in low light conditions. You also mentioned the 55-250 has served you well, so you should keep it unless otherwise.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Actually I did have an option 3 which is the Tokina 50-135 F2.8, might even sell my 50/1.8 if that happens. But then, that lens seems to turn in some contrast loss and focusing issues at 100-135mm, according to reviews. Eventually I decided against it, thinking that a 85mm F1.8 might be a smarter choice?

    Feeling quite stressed. Open to any other suggestions too!
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    The 135L is well known for its sharpness, but the 85mm f1.8 is no slouch either.

    Honestly, I found myself in a similar situation like you before, for me, it seemed that I had to convince myself that the 135L is worth it, although the 85mm f1.8 seems like a more sensible choice. In the end, I rented the 85mm f1.8 and shot an entire stage performance on it, its definitely good enough for me.

    So perhaps you can try renting both lenses and see which one suits your needs.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    I think the 85mm will do nicely on a cropped camera, the wider aperture is also helpful in low light conditions. You also mentioned the 55-250 has served you well, so you should keep it unless otherwise.
    Hi ahbian, thanks for your quick reply. I notice (via flickr) you're using an 85mm and you take dance pictures! Curious are you using the 85L or 1.8? I'd probably be doing around the same thing too. I don't see any aperture information on your shots, also, care to share your distance from the stage for most of the shots? The 85 looks good.

    Hm, anyway renting is probably out as it will add on to my cost significantly...

    How's the CA on the 85? I tested a few copies at a shop before and all of them turned up very bad CA, just by shooting a piece of printed matter indoors. Every single word was outlined with fringing
    Last edited by ombre; 14th December 2008 at 02:12 PM.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Oh yes, the dance photos were done as a favour to a friend. Not pro or anything.

    Its a 85mm f1.8, I think the focusing speed of the L version is not fast enough for my purpose.

    The distance for the different photos changed quite a bit as I could move around (its a rehearsal), but i estimate it to be about 5-15m (?) from the stage.

    Take note that its taken on a FF 5D, which means that the ISO can be pushed up quite a bit to catch the movements, and there is no 1.6x conversion.

    The renting would cost much lesser than 100 bucks for 3 days, i would see it as a cost savings compared to buying a lens you find is unsuitable later on.

    As for CA, I did not really take that close a look at the photos. It was unnoticeable on display size for me.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Quote Originally Posted by ahbian View Post
    Oh yes, the dance photos were done as a favour to a friend. Not pro or anything.

    Its a 85mm f1.8, I think the focusing speed of the L version is not fast enough for my purpose.

    The distance for the different photos changed quite a bit as I could move around (its a rehearsal), but i estimate it to be about 5-15m (?) from the stage.

    Take note that its taken on a FF 5D, which means that the ISO can be pushed up quite a bit to catch the movements, and there is no 1.6x conversion.

    The renting would cost much lesser than 100 bucks for 3 days, i would see it as a cost savings compared to buying a lens you find is unsuitable later on.

    As for CA, I did not really take that close a look at the photos. It was unnoticeable on display size for me.
    I see, you happen to do that for them often? I know quite a few members of the NUS dance group, and I think Mr Dan occasionally choreographs for them, once my teacher. Hah.

    Anyway I think the pictures look fine. Most of your ISO were between 640 and 1000? I think 800 is fine on my 350D, occasionally I can live by 1600 with some PP. And 1.6x crop isn't a matter for me, I want it longer anyway. I think its quite decent. =)

    Thanks for the opinion! Anyway the reason I don't wish to rent is that I more or less know what they are and what I need, its really more of a "is it worth the extra money" issue. 100 dollars rent is already 25% of a 85mm! Seems like 85mm + a 55-250 will be a little more versatile, I guess I'll accept the slightly lower IQ and stick to display size images.

    Well thanks for your input, helps a lot! (nearly bid for a 135L lol.)
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    I believe they have one or two people who usually takes their photos, mine was a one-off stand in/backup, it was a very good learning experience for me though.

    So you do dance? I believe that someone with a bit of background in dance (I have none) might bring out more in the pictures taken during performances.

    The 5D + 135L is always a dream combo for me, maybe one day.....

  9. #9

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    dancers know when to expect the moment... esp if the subject is on dance

  10. #10

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Haha yes I do dance, nearly wanted to join Singapore Dance Theatre, but really hard to live by as a dancer, Singapore's arts scene is miserly, so is the pay, so left for Uni instead.

    I guess I'll settle for 85 F1.8, haha, after all dance rehearsals only come by once or twice a year... 135 may be too long for cropped body to do anything useful besides candids... too heavy also I guess.

    Anyway your shots are not too bad! I just wonder how 1/80 can turn up with no motion blur. lol.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

  11. #11

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    get a 70-200 f2.8 IS USM? :O
    since you're doing these shoots. I'm using that lens too.
    Great for indoor shoots

  12. #12

    Default Re: Lens Opinion: 135L or 85/1.8 + 55-250

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenDown View Post
    get a 70-200 f2.8 IS USM? :O
    since you're doing these shoots. I'm using that lens too.
    Great for indoor shoots
    No way man. The price of that thing is crazyyy (I'm just a poor student lol), so is the weight. I always wonder how the mount holds that lens up.
    Looking for Canon 100mm F2 USM :)

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