Archive for December, 2009

A new lens for the Rebel XT

New Lens!

I recently picked up a new lens for my Rebel XT. I’ve been primarily shooting with my Canon EOS 40D and an EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM but I decided that I needed a good quality, small and compact lens for my Rebel XT.

After doing some research, I decided to pick up the EF 35mm f/2.  It is an amazing lens!  Considering that this lens is only $319, I was impressed by how sharp the lens is even when shot wide open.  Also, the depth of field is very shallow wide open which is great for portraits.  The size of the lens also works well for the size and weight of the rebels.



In my opinion the bokeh quality is very nice when shot wide open, but due to the 5 blade aperture, the out of focus highlights appear is pentagons which is not very pleasing.

Perhaps the biggest issue I hav with this lens is that the AF is obscenely loud. The AF motor makes a high pitch whirl which is audible even in moderately loud rooms. Also, this lens does not have FTM.

On the other hand, the AF is reasonably fast and the build quality of this lens is pretty sturdy too. It doesn’t “feel like a toy” (as some people have described the EF 50mm f/1.8 II).

If you’re looking for a compact lens to shoot in available light, I’d highly recommend this lens. Especially if you’re just starting out with a rebel and you’re looking to get serious about photography.

While in a similar price range, I choose this lens over the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM because, while the 50mm is an extraordinary lens, on a 1.6x FOVC camera, it is slightly too telephoto as a walk-around lens. The 50mm is a great lens and I’d pick up one of these too if you can afford both.

The EF 24mm f/2.8 and EF 28mm f/2.8 are actually closer to 50mm (on a 1.6x FOVC) but I didn’t choose these because they got terrible reviews.

Finally, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is in the same price range as these lenses and I’d also highly recommend this lens. It is larger than the EF 35mm f/2 but it is still a good fit on the rebel bodies. This lens also has a HSM motor (which is Sigma’s equivalent of USM) and FTM. Unfortunately this lens only works with 1.6x FOVC bodies so if you decide to upgrade to a full frame down the road, this lens would be incompatible. But if you’re just getting started that upgrade maybe be very far down the road anyway.

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I was listening to an interview with Rick Smolan today and I loved this quote. Its totally how I feel about photography :).

The camera was my way of kind of getting over the shyness. I mean it let me go up to strangers, girls in particular when I was 16, and talk to people that I had no reason to be talking to and the camera was just this wonderful excuse to sort of poke my nose into other people’s lives and my wife accuses me of using it as way of being there but not being there. It’s like family events. I am taking pictures instead of interacting with my kids.

–Rick Smolan


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Someone once asked me how do I deal with failure and I answered that it is better to have tried and have failed than to never have tried at all. Also, you learn from your mistakes so it really isn’t a terrible thing at all and a lot of the time in photography, your failures become something awesome! Anyway, I spent a lot of time thinking today during my five hour drive home from SLO to OC. I love driving on trips like this because it gives me time to just relax and think. Anyway, I thought of a better answer to that question and it is that if you’ve never failed, you haven’t tried hard enough. Now I know the whole “better to have tried and failed” is some famous quote or what not, but I don’t know if anyone famous has said this yet… maybe… but if not, I claim it :P. But anyway, that is what I believe. I was thinking about all the things I want to do, all the things that I have done, and what my motivations are to do them… and this just came to mind. Anyway, that is what is on my mind tonight… try new things, push yourself to the limit, fall down, get back in the fight till you can’t anymore.