Recommended lens for capturing portraits and animals

edited March 2012 Posted in » Canon T2i Forum
I was talking with a fellow T2i owner over on my Facebook page and she was wondering which lens would be best to shoot her kids and horse. I thought it would be beneficial to share our conversation with all of you...

Nathalie's Question: I'm looking into buying the T2i. I have no experience whatsoever, except with a point and shoot. I'm also looking for a lens that I don't want to change. My pictures will mostly be of my kids (8 & 11) and my horse. I've read up on the 18-135mm and it sounds great, but still scared to bite the bullet. Any recommendations?

Moose's Answer: To be honest with you, I think you'd be much happier with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. When shooting portraits, animals and small group shots, you'll definitely want the ability to blur out the background to make your subjects "pop." This is one of the biggest advantages in upgrading from a compact camera to a DSLR.

In order to capture a shallow depth of field (small area in focus) where the subject is sharp and the background/foreground is blurred, you'll need a lens that can obtain a really low aperture f-number...somewhere between f/1.8 and f/2.8. In looking at the 18-135mm, the lowest aperture you can use at wide-angle (18mm) is f/3.5 and the lowest aperture you can use at telephoto (135mm) is f/5.6.

The Tamron 17-50mm I recommended will give you a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. Whether your shooting at wide-angle (17mm) or telephoto (50mm), you'll be able to obtain a f/2.8 aperture allowing you to knock out busy backgrounds. The 17-50mm zoom range is really great for shots in and around the home, portraits, animals, landscapes, etc.

Nathalie's Reply: Basically it's a good 'walk-around' lens, correct? I think I will be ordering everything from Amazon, apart from the T2i and the lens. Should I get a 16g, class 10 memory card? Is there anything you can recommend that I really need? I'm hoping to stay under the $1000 mark.

Moose's Reply: In the beginning, all you really need is the T2i, a good lens and a memory card. If you're ordering from Amazon, go with the Transcend 8GB class 10 memory card which is both quick and affordable, $10 last time I checked. In case you're wondering, it'll store close to 1,200 images or 24 minutes of video.

If you go with the Canon T2i body only that will run you close to $550. With the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens priced at $440 and the memory card at $10, you should be right at $1000. You can always add a bag, tripod and external flash at a later date.

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