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Thread: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

  1. #1
    Member Dylan1987's Avatar
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    Default Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Hello CS,
    newbie here...

    currently using 17-50. but performance under low light or indoor still limited, so looking for upgrades. shortlisted some lenses:

    sigma 30 f1.4 vs canon 28 f1.8 vs canon 35 f2 (1.4L is too ex :X)
    sigma 50 f1.4 (heard of focusing problem)
    canon 50 f1.4 (review show poor lens construction)
    430EXII

    currently using 50D. intended use will be indoor... budget less than $800.
    Last edited by Dylan1987; 28th December 2009 at 10:26 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    flash... you can do many things with flash compared to a lens... try it out! =)
    Nikon D90 : Nikkor 18-200VRII : Nikkor 18-55 VR : Nikkor 50mm f1.8 : Nikon SB-900

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    a flash is still a better choice, if u really wan to consider prime to replace your 17-50, i'll suggest the range of 30-35mm for a cropped body, but bear in mind tat u'll have to "zoom with your leg", do u have enough space to move back at the place u normally shooting?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Flash will be better choice..

    It help u to ceate light when there is none
    Fast lens can only help u when there is available light..

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    to each his own.

    i'd take fast lens over flash any time.


    are you willing to walk around with a flashgun? what are you shooting? street shots? events? do you want to be hidden in the background or do you want to be foregrounded and make sure people know you're there?

    different applications have different needs.


    with current DSLR technology (50D, indeed!), high ISO images is still clean and useable.. if you can see the scene with your eyes, a f/1.4 lens will be able to capture the image at reasonable shutter speed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    If the TS is using a 5DM2 with a F1.4 prime shooting at ISO 6400, depend very much on how much available light it could be better than a flash.

    For me I chose to invest in flash instead.

  7. #7
    Member Dylan1987's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    thank you everyone for the replies.

    plasticeye: seriously i prefer natural skin tone if i drop the flash compensation will i be able to reach a closer normal skin tone?

    miaoteh: yup, i tend to move forward when taking with my current zoom lens. so moving backwards should be alright... your 30-35 range is for FF range? that means its about 45-50 for my cropped?

    horizon_grazer: sounds good to me

    sequitur: i have tried ISO 800 and 1600, not tt obvious unless i zoom it in. i guess 4R n 5R photos should not be obvious.

    Anson: sadly wont be moving to FF i guess in the next 2 years i guess... love the 30mm 1.4L. haha

  8. #8
    Member Dylan1987's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    so i guess my first choice would be

    flashgun first 430EXII

    for the list of primes, anyone can state which would be their choices?

    for FF, the commonly used range is 35 and 85. but on cropped, what would be the recommended primes?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan1987 View Post
    ...
    miaoteh: yup, i tend to move forward when taking with my current zoom lens. so moving backwards should be alright... your 30-35 range is for FF range? that means its about 45-50 for my cropped?
    ...
    nonono.. i mean 30 or 35 for your cropped sensor.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Shooting at F1.4 will the picture look soft? I still think flash is better option

  11. #11
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan1987 View Post
    Hello CS,
    newbie here...

    currently using 17-50. but performance under low light or indoor still limited, so looking for upgrades. shortlisted some lenses:

    sigma 30 1.4 vs canon 28 1.8 vs canon 35 1.8 (1.4L is too ex :X)
    sigma 50 1.4 (heard of focusing problem)
    canon 50 1.4 (review show poor lens construction)
    430EXII

    currently using 50D. intended use will be indoor... budget less than $800.
    if you only interested to shoot single subject, and indoor always have plenty ambient light, your subject able to hold poses, you can live with very narrow DOF, and also good at metering and able to shoot with manual mode, you have lot of time to do post processing adjusting WB....... go with fast lens.

    else just get a flash, it has more flexibility.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  12. #12
    Member Dylan1987's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    miaoteh: it's hard to obtain the range on my cropped body. correct me if i am wrong, with the 28 f1.8 it will be 44.8mm. to get 30-35 range on cropped would means that the closest is EF20.

    Aloyz: i have read recently that 1.4 is hard to aim. the eyes would be clear but the ear onwards would be blurred...

    catchlights: well, i guess i shall go with a flash for now.


    for prime lenses, at 50mm the sigma perform better than canon provided it is calibrated well. if i get that lens, by sending it to the customer service will they fix the calibration for me?
    will there be a large difference between 1.4 and 1.8 DOF? the speed will be one step faster, so it means that the shutter would be faster also right?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Yes Sigma will do the re-calibration for free.
    Yes, 1.4 and 1.8 will have a different DOF, with 1.4 being shallower. 1.4 is faster than 1.8 so can use a faster shutter speed.
    If you have decided on getting the flash, why are you still comparing lenses? You got BBB virus. Take care...

  14. #14
    Member Dylan1987's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoppable View Post
    Yes Sigma will do the re-calibration for free.
    Yes, 1.4 and 1.8 will have a different DOF, with 1.4 being shallower. 1.4 is faster than 1.8 so can use a faster shutter speed.
    If you have decided on getting the flash, why are you still comparing lenses? You got BBB virus. Take care...
    haha... yeap, i guess i am in danger now.

    ok thanks everyone for your views...

    now checking out whether which flashgun to get. 430EXII is $490, but the price of Nissin tempt me alot. with $410 i can get the Nissin 866~!

    i have used the 580EXII before, but not the 430EXII. some reviews mention that the buttons for 430EXII are hard to press, any view on that?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Agree that flash gives you the most flexibility and probably fewer bad shots. Also sometimes when the lighting is uneven etc a flash is probably preferred to a fast lens.

    I've taken pictures at evening dinners with both flash and using the lens at f1.4 and I definitely prefer the flash shots
    OM-D 12-50 20 f1.7 45 f1.8 : Canon 7D 35 f1.4L 85 f1.2L 70-200 f2.8 ISL 17-55 f2.8 430EXII

  16. #16
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan1987
    miaoteh: it's hard to obtain the range on my cropped body. correct me if i am wrong, with the 28 f1.8 it will be 44.8mm. to get 30-35 range on cropped would means that the closest is EF20.
    You sound a bit confused by this one.
    What 'miaoteh' was suggesting was for you to get a prime lens with focal length of ~30mm, so on your cropped body, the effective field of view would be like a 50mm lens on FF body (normal field of view).
    Exploring! :)

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    flash is more fun to play with

  18. #18
    Member Dylan1987's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lens or flashgun? need some suggestions

    g75yu: thanks for the input. i noticed u using 430EXII, are the buttons and controls easy to use?

    ZerocoolAstra: oh now i understand, will keep that at back of my mind

    joechin: shall get one to play with soon

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