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David321

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#257381 30-Sep-2019 08:02
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Hi all,

 

I am a beginner photographer, currently using a Cannon 200d with the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM), after trying for a long time to get shots of my wife with a blurry background with no success I have recently found out by playing around I can achieve a blurry background by zooming the lens all the way to 55mm and of course putting the blur setting to the max (can remember what that is called).

 

The problem with this obviously is zooming right in means I have to stand quite far away from the target and I can not quite get what I am after, also more blur would be good. I understand I might need to upgrade the lens and after a bit of research the Cannon EF 50/1.8 STM look to be a great option and is also quite cheap.

I was assuming (but want to check) that this lens will provide more of a blur as it has a lower aperture, but will it be a set amount of blur for every shot with that lens as the aperture is fixed and not adjustable like the kit lens?

 

Also, being a 50mm lens, will it always be zoomed in like the kit lens when I change it to 55mm?

 

 

 

These are probably really silly questions to people more experienced but we all have to learn somehow right?

 

 

 

Thanks! 

 

 


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timmmay
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  #2326937 30-Sep-2019 08:09
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Canon 50mm F1.8 is generally the best option as it's cheap. It's a fixed length so it won't zoom.

 

I suggest you do some photography lessons, or buy a book. A wider aperture increases background blur, but it's a function of the distance between the camera and the subject, and the subject to the background. Quantifying it will be difficult, and somewhat pointless.

 

The 17-55 (crop body) or 24-70 (full frame) is a good standard range.


David321

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  #2326939 30-Sep-2019 08:19
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Also, is there a lens which would provide the benefit of the wider aperture for more blurry shots, but also have an option for higher aperture for doing normal shots like the kit lens? this way I would not need to keep swapping lenses.


 
 
 
 


timmmay
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  #2326943 30-Sep-2019 08:24
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David321:

 

Also, is there a lens which would provide the benefit of the wider aperture for more blurry shots, but also have an option for higher aperture for doing normal shots like the kit lens? this way I would not need to keep swapping lenses.

 

 

The aperture of a lens, eg F1.8 for the 50mm F1.8 lens, is variable. You can use it at any aperture between F1.8 and something like F16, in step of 1/3 or 1/2 a stop.

 

Again, I think you need to do some photography training / learning.


Handsomedan
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  #2326971 30-Sep-2019 08:50
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I'd suggest a good book on the subject first - I am a rubbish photographer, but have a similar set up to you (along with a telephoto zoom lens). 

 

After a bit of research, I found a great book on iBooks (handy as it's on my iPhone as well as my iPad) called, "Photography for Beginners" by Joseph Scolden. 

 

Not only did it teach me how to get the great portrait shot I had been looking for (which is obviously what you are trying to achieve), it taught me what all the settings mean, why I'd use them and which lenses might be the best ones. 

 

I'd also recommend a 50mm F1.8 lens for portraits and maybe a walkaround zoom lens for all other applications - such as a Tamron 18-200 or similar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edit: added some punctuation





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Handsome Dan is also still somewhat perplexed...


timmmay
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  #2326972 30-Sep-2019 08:56
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Superzoom lenses tend to be more difficult to blur out background with than wide aperture / prime lenses.

 

 


tehgerbil
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  #2326973 30-Sep-2019 08:57
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If you have an APS-C style camera (crop sensor) then don't got for a 'nifty fifty' go for a F1.8 35mm. 50mm on full frame sensors is similar to 35mm on cropped frame sensors.

Whilst having a 50mm on a cropped frame sensor is nice for the bokeh it's really bad for indoor shots as it's relatively tightly zoomed in.

I'm speaking from experience - I've got an 18-135mm 3.5 to 5.6, 50mm F1.8 and a few others as well.

 


Especially for indoors, I find 18mm- 35mm best as I stop down the lens and avoid using the flash while still getting a nice wide view.


timmmay
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  #2326978 30-Sep-2019 09:03
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Background blur is related to lens length. A 50mm F1.8 will blur the background more than a 35mm F1.8, all other things being equal. The 50 F1.8 is so cheap and quite decent so it's usually the best first step for most people.

 

Technically this isn't quite accurate, from memory, but in practice it's a good rule of thumb.


 
 
 
 


jonathan18
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  #2327002 30-Sep-2019 09:29
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Totally back up the other posters suggesting reading some books, attending classes etc; I imagine there may even be some free e-learning sessions online perhaps? But a great start would be checking out the resources of your local library.

 

The reason I say that is it doesn't matter how fancy your camera is if you don't have that solid grounding in the basics of photography, eg understanding what depth of field is and how it relates to lens aperture and shutter speed. (This is where there's also a big advantage of venturing away from the 'P' or 'auto mode of a camera - experimenting with shutter- or aperture-priority or fully manual will give you a real-world understanding of this, and help you achieve the kinds of photos you're after.)

 

Sure, a different lens with a wider aperture will give you more control over a narrow depth of field, but I suggest master what you've got before forking out for new equipment. At least you're doing this in the digital age, where taking photos comes at no cost; when I was first playing around with SLRs every photo taken came with the cost of developing and printing!


Jogre
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  #2331770 7-Oct-2019 11:06
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+1 to doing some background/youtube on this. I got a 50mm 1.4 on a 600D and still use it heavily now on a 6D2 (did look at the 1.8 but rationalised that if I liked the focal length I'd get the 1.4 anyway so may as well just get 1.4). You can manipulate depth of field with distance to subject so with your 18-55 you can work with a wide aperture (low number of the f-stop) and close to subject to get that blur.  The value of the 1.4/1.8/2.8 is not having to manipulate distance to subject to get your bokeh.

 

You will find with a 50mm full-frame on a crop-sensor body like the 200D that your effective focal length is closer to 90mm (or 1.5x50mm) which is close to a nice portrait focal length. I'm not sure what you'd be looking at for a 35mm at 1.8. 


timmmay
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  #2331823 7-Oct-2019 12:22
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I didn't love the 50 F1.4. It was ok. I found Canon's focus system back when I was a pro using Canon about 5-7 years ago really poor, so I moved to Nikon.

 

50mm x 1.6 = 80mm equivalent. However, it's only a partial equivalent. Since you lose the edges of the image you tend to zoom out, which in practice gives you less background blur.


Batman
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  #2331886 7-Oct-2019 13:50
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All incorrect.

Blur is primary the ratio of distance between lens to subject vs lens to background. Blur is greater with a longer focal length. The closer the subject to lens compared to the distance to background using the longest focal length, the greater the blur. Easily achievable with any lens if you can compose. If not if can give you my 85mm 1.0 and you still won't get any blur.

Having said that my dream lens is a 200mm f/2




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


timmmay
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  #2331891 7-Oct-2019 13:54
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Batman: All incorrect.

Blur is primary the ratio of distance between lens to subject vs lens to background. The closer the subject to lens compared to the distance to background the greater the blur. Easily achievable with any lens if you can compose. If not if can give you my 85mm 1.0 and you still won't get any blur.

 

It's been a while since I looked at the theory. In practice crop sensor = less depth of field, given the same field of view as a full frame body.

 

In practice, I've taken maybe half a million photos professionally so I have a pretty good sense of how things work. I just don't look at the theory often.


Batman
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  #2331892 7-Oct-2019 13:57
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I'm just saying use the longest telephoto you got, put the subject as close to you as possible and make sure the background is as far away as possible. Even a phone sensor or f/11 will give blur. It's not so much the sensor size or aperture but the other bits first and foremost.

I know you know it's for the OP's education.

Eg take a 35mm f1.4 on a full frame and shoot a full length portrait in a garden. You won't get much blur.

Take a 200mm throw away cheap zoom at f6.3 shoot aps-c you can get way more blur than the above scenario if you follow the rules.

It's not so much the equipment but how you use it. But by all means buy a new lens if that makes you happy but make sure you get the technique right.




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


Batman
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  #2331906 7-Oct-2019 14:17
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David321:

Hi all,


I am a beginner photographer, currently using a Cannon 200d with the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM), after trying for a long time to get shots of my wife with a blurry background with no success I have recently found out by playing around I can achieve a blurry background by zooming the lens all the way to 55mm and of course putting the blur setting to the max (can remember what that is called).


The problem with this obviously is zooming right in means I have to stand quite far away from the target and I can not quite get what I am after, also more blur would be good. I understand I might need to upgrade the lens and after a bit of research the Cannon EF 50/1.8 STM look to be a great option and is also quite cheap.

I was assuming (but want to check) that this lens will provide more of a blur as it has a lower aperture, but will it be a set amount of blur for every shot with that lens as the aperture is fixed and not adjustable like the kit lens?


Also, being a 50mm lens, will it always be zoomed in like the kit lens when I change it to 55mm?


 


These are probably really silly questions to people more experienced but we all have to learn somehow right?


 


Thanks! 


 



Get those throw away 75-300mm kit zooms and play around with those and compare with the 50mm 1.8

The 300 will give you more blur if you follow the rules. So can the 50 1.8 bit you still need to follow the rules




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


MarkH67
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  #2344308 28-Oct-2019 08:34
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David321:

 

I am a beginner photographer, currently using a Cannon 200d with the kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM), after trying for a long time to get shots of my wife with a blurry background with no success I have recently found out by playing around I can achieve a blurry background by zooming the lens all the way to 55mm and of course putting the blur setting to the max (can remember what that is called).

 

 

Before buying another lens you should figure out how to get what you want with the lens you have.  You can get a blurred background with the kit lens at any level of zoom if you do it right.  You want to be in aperture priority mode (probably Av on the dial) and using the widest aperture, this gives the shallowest depth of field for the maximum background blur.  You should go outside and position your wife & yourself so that behind her is a background like some trees that are far away.  If you use less zoom and move yourself closer to her, then there would be a huge difference in distance between her and the trees, there is no way you wouldn't end up with a blurred background in this case.

 

It should be obvious that if she stands against a wall, the wall will end up being in focus (or close to it).  You need to start out by concentration on composing the shot correctly, no lens will fix composition errors!  Get your technique right before spending money on better lenses.


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