Need Lens Suggestion for Canon Digital Rebel

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Barb, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Barb

    Barb Guest

    Hello - We purchased a Canon Digital Rebel nearly a year ago because my
    sister had one that took marvelous photos. 95% of the work we do with
    the camera is close up work for ebay, however, and we find that on the
    Macro setting, the flash pops up and then the flash washes out the
    closeup. If we by-pass the flash, it seems our photos are always fuzzy
    and not sharp...a little better with a tripod but still not great, and
    because of the volume of photos we take in different locations around
    the house, using a tripod is a real pain. My Fujifilm S5000 does a far
    superior job with closeups, but we bought the Rebel thinking that
    eventually my Fuji is going to crap out since it's got tens of
    thousands of actuations. Also apparently I was an idiot not to
    research the basic fact that one must look through the viewfinder to
    see the shot with the Rebel, and I've got monovision with my contact
    lenses, so I don't see anything well through the viewfinder with one
    eye shut, and it's kind of pot luck if the shot comes out decent.

    Since we paid a good chunk of change for this Canon Camera, can anyone
    recommend a lens that can function well as a macro, and possibly with
    an image stabilizer to avoid camera shake. We tried out the EF 28-105
    f/3.5-4.5 II USM that we are selling for a consignor, but even that
    didn't seem to work well. It could just be that the camera is not
    calibrated correctly - when we purchased it in barely used condition
    from a private party, we weren't told that it was a refurb. There is a
    3 year warranty on it that was transferred to our name, but to get it
    looked at we will need to send it in for God knows how long. Any ideas
    for a decent lens that won't set us back too much $$? Thanks in
    advance.
     
    Barb, Nov 28, 2006
    #1
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  2. Barb

    SimonLW Guest

    Web/eBay shots hardly need much resolution. If your items are small, you
    need a macro lens, but you need to hold the camera still or images will blur
    from camera shake. A lens with IS (image stabilization) may help.Which Rebel
    do you have? If it was new a year a go, it is probably the XT. In this case,
    learn to use its flash exposure compensation. That option costs nothing.
    -S
     
    SimonLW, Nov 28, 2006
    #2
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  3. Barb

    Barb Guest

     
    Barb, Nov 28, 2006
    #3
  4. Barb

    Geoffrey Guest

    60mm f/2.8 EFS USm + cheap tripod. The lens is a marvel (but use at 3.5
    or higher for longer distance shots). Will take a good portrait of a
    Hornet, and also of a friend.
     
    Geoffrey, Nov 28, 2006
    #4
  5. Barb

    Barb Guest

    Simon, that would require reading the manual, lol. Our camera was the
    first Rebel that Canon came out with, the 300D Digital Rebel, and while
    we purchased it a year ago from a private party, it was like new but
    apparently a refurbished model. We sell a lot of stuff on ebay, but
    often have need for good close ups with small details on items like
    marks on the bottom of china or porcelain, or political pins, or coins,
    etc. Nearly every item we sell typically has a closeup of one thing or
    another. We've been doing this for 6 years now, so we know how to hold
    a camera still ;-) and we would really like to use this camera more
    efficiently but it does seem like we need a macro lens for all the
    close up detail work, and if there was one with image stabilization for
    this camera, all the better. Any ideas? Thanks!
     
    Barb, Nov 28, 2006
    #5
  6. Barb

    Jeremy Guest

    Sorry, but this sounds like a user error, not a camera problem.
     
    Jeremy, Nov 28, 2006
    #6
  7. I don't think you need a fancy lens. You just need one that will focus
    as close as needed. I would guess you real problem is lighting not the
    lens. Try this. Take the camera and subject outside on a sunny day and
    take one photo. I'll bet it will be plenty sharp for Ebay. Get more
    light.

    Of course there is an alternative. I believe you can use aperture
    control to force a small aperture and using a tripod to assure the camera
    does not move (and the subject as well) you can reproduce the sharpness of
    that outside shot inside.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 28, 2006
    #7
  8. Barb

    King Sardon Guest

    1) Read the camera manual and basic stuff on close-up photography.

    2) More light will help... sunlight or a more powerful flash.

    3) Don't move in any closer than the minimum focus distance.

    4) Make sure the camera is focusing. You may need to focus manually.

    5) For small items, shoot with maximum resolution and crop (in
    software) to get the image you want.

    6) If that is not satisfactory for those items, then you will need
    extension tubes or (overkill for your purposes) a macro lens so you
    can move in closer.

    7) You don't need a tripod or image stabilization if you are using
    flash.

    8) Real close-up photography (of coins and stamps, say) is technically
    difficult. Take the time to learn how to do it. Hardware alone will
    not bring success.

    KS
     
    King Sardon, Nov 29, 2006
    #8
  9. Barb

    Roy G Guest


    If you are using a tripod and still getting fuzzy pictures, an I. S. lens is
    not going to help. A good tripod will always do a better job than I.S.

    Your problem is probably incorrect focus and or incorrect aperture setting,
    not giving enough depth of field.

    If you had said the image was sharp but too small, then that would indicate
    a Macro Lens, or a supplementary Close Up Lens, was required.

    Read up and learn how to use the camera.

    If you already know what you are about, then it could be that your Camera is
    faulty, but I rather suspect user error.

    Roy G
     
    Roy G, Nov 29, 2006
    #9
  10. Barb

    Robert Barr Guest

    One suggestion: Use a longer close-focusing lens. These aren't genuine
    'macro' lenses, but you can find them inexpensively.

    [One example that many will turn their nose up at is a Vivitar 70-210
    Series 1 APO. (These aren't the super-cheapies on ebay -- these are EF
    that are perhaps seven years old). This lens will photograph about a 3"
    subject full-frame on your DSLR).]

    What this will do is move the camera physically away from the subject,
    so that you can illuminate it properly. You can use gooseneck study
    lights, for example. Before shooting, you can set up your white balance
    so everything looks like it should.

    You will have to use a tripod but, odds are, you'll have to anyway.

    Another approach is to abandon the DSLR altogether and buy a refurb
    Kodak DX7440 or the like, with the larger LCD on the rear of the camera,
    so you can frame your subject with your vision problem. The close-up
    performance of these little guys is pretty impressive, and easily
    adequate for ebay.





    Also apparently I was an idiot not to
     
    Robert Barr, Nov 29, 2006
    #10
  11. Barb

    Skip Guest

    First, do not, repeat, do not, use the automatic settings. Use what Canon
    calls "Creative" modes, the aperture priority, shutter priority, Program or
    manual. Get a decent flash (if you were really doing macro, I'd recommend a
    ring flash) and then try the lens you have. It should give decent results.
    If you really think IS will help, then I'd recommend the 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS
    USM.
    Here's an image done with the Canon 20D (similar sensor to yours) and the
    28-135
    http://www.pbase.com/skipm/image/44537077/large
    Our daughter takes ebay images all the time with the same camera as yours
    and either that lens or a Tokina 28-70 f2.6-2.8, but she stays on Program
    and uses either the on camera flash or a 420EX.
     
    Skip, Nov 29, 2006
    #11
  12. Barb

    Skip Guest

    Oh, yeah, a tripod, too...
     
    Skip, Nov 29, 2006
    #12
  13. Barb

    Pat Guest

    I will offer you contrarian advice which you can choose to use or
    ignore without bothering me in the least. In fact, I was hoping one of
    the other "old timers" (maybe even Randall) who knew a thing or two
    about photography -- not juse using cameras as a way to get things into
    PS -- would give you this reply, so I didn't have to.

    Go on Ebay or better yet B&H and buy yourself a close-up filter. I'd
    start with a -2 for about $20. You screw it on the end of your lens
    (it says the size right on the end if you look at it) and start using
    your camera. It makes the lens into a macro lens. Think of it as
    making the lens nearsighted. If you want to take a picture of
    something far away, then you have to remove the filter.

    Would a purist recommend bellows instead, yeah because any filter
    causes a slight distortion and loss of clarity, but you are taking
    pictures for Ebay, not National Geographic so the filter will be
    perfect for you.

    Start by looking here:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=search&Q=&ci=158
    or if that doesn't work
    www.bhphotovideo > Filters and Accessorites > Round Threaded, Bayonet &
    Series Filters > Close Up Lenses

    Call and talk to a salesman before you order to make sure you get the
    right one and the right diopter for your needs. This is "old school"
    but it's also the right solution to your problem.

    Good luck with it.
     
    Pat, Nov 29, 2006
    #13
  14. if your image is fuzzy you are too close to the image... it cant focus that
    close...
    a close-up lens would work better, and unless you use a diffuser on the
    flash it will be very stark being so close, I have modified a white film
    canister (put a slot in it) to put over the flash and it works well... or
    use sidefill lights

    I have a digital rebel, with a 28-200 tamron lens and it works fine, put
    your items on a neutral color blanket and shoot away, you don't need fancy
    pix for eBay... kk
     
    www.kevinkienlein.com, Nov 29, 2006
    #14
  15. Barb

    Arnor Guest

    Hi Barb,
    I have taken a lot of what I think are pretty good closeup shots with
    the kit lens that came with my 350 (18-55mm). I take 99.9% of my
    photos in manual mode and with that lens I use autofocus almost
    exlusively. It produces sharp photos at close range. Example:
    http://www.itakefotos.com/showfullimage.php?image=73 and
    http://www.itakefotos.com/showfullimage.php?image=79

    If you use a tripod you should not use IS, it generally produces
    unsharp photos. Try to use a smaller aperture (higher f stops) and
    longer shutter speed in good light. I have used a gray card and the
    customized WB to get pretty nice color balance. If you look at this
    page http://www.itakefotos.com/showthumbnails.php?category=11 I used a
    bit unorthodox lighting for this - a flashlight<g> I would try to
    borrow a lens and see if it makes a difference. If not, ask someone
    else to try the camera and see if the problem persists. If not, then
    it may be something that you may be doing (or not doing) when you take
    the photos. Do you have a remote trigger or bulb? If not, how are you
    taking the photos when you are using the tripod?

    Best regards,

    Arnor Baldvinsson
    San Antonio, Texas
     
    Arnor, Nov 29, 2006
    #15
  16. Barb

    John Ortt Guest

    Have you considdered the 50mm f1.8 (mkII).

    Very cheap lens but very fast meaning image shake is not as much of a
    problem.

    It is a fixed focal length but I find it marvelous.
     
    John Ortt, Nov 29, 2006
    #16
  17. Barb

    Barb Guest

    Thank you, all of you, for wonderful suggestions regarding using this
    camera. I would definitely agree we're talking user error - although
    it's just not me, it's my husband as well, so I thought perhaps
    hardware might play a tiny role, too. There are some wonderful ideas
    mentioned here. I guess my biggest problem is trying to be efficient
    at being able to take lots of photos, from 3-6 feet and then close ups
    of the same item or part of an item, in reasonable daylight, without
    feeling like every shot has to be set up like a professional studio -
    my profit margin is slim and too much time invested in photographing
    pretty much negates any profits, however a beautiful clear photo
    generally adds a lot to whether and for how much an item sells. And
    ultimately I want to use this camera more, but I shy away from it
    because it's such a crap shoot if a shot turns out! I'm open to more
    suggestions, but will certainly take these to heart and thanks so much
    for everyone offering their help! Barb
     
    Barb, Nov 29, 2006
    #17
  18. Barb

    prep Guest

    Seems you need to hold the camera steadier. Buy an old enlarger, any
    crappy optical will do, toss the head and set up the EOS on the stand,
    add lights and plug it into your PC and use it teathered so you don't
    have to worry about the viewfinder. A 50 Macro will be overkill, so
    a 50 1.8 plus a 12mm extention tube will do the job.

    You may also want to get a Chem Lab heating stand, and rig a mount
    for the front of the lens. Place against item, constant distance and
    square.

    --
    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
     
    prep, Nov 29, 2006
    #18
  19. Hello - We purchased a Canon Digital Rebel nearly a year ago because my
    It sounds like you have one of two problems, neither related to the lens.

    1. You are not focusing properly. This is always a real possibility
    with macro work. Is anything in the photo in focus?

    2. You are using too low a shutter speed because you don't have
    enough light. You are correct that the built-in flash may
    overexpose the shot, though I think you can set the intensity of
    the flash manually. A better solution is to invest in a nice
    bright light source or two, and use them to light up whatever
    you're taking a picture of.

    In the end, for web photos of this sort, I think you're better off
    with a P&S, but if you want to use the Rebel, I would suggest NOT
    using macro mode at all. Put the camera a few feet from whatever
    you're taking a picture of, and then crop the picture for the web.

    -Joel
     
    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Nov 29, 2006
    #19
  20. Barb

    JC Dill Guest

    Your problem isn't the lens, it's the lighting. Spending ~$100 on
    lights and a light box will be a much better investment than buying a
    different lens.

    Here's a great tutorial on how to make a light tent for ~$20, and how
    to buy and use cheap "desk lamp" type of lights with it:

    <http://www.pbase.com/wlhuber/light_box_light_tent>

    jc
     
    JC Dill, Nov 29, 2006
    #20
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