As the Christmas time was approaching, I decided I was getting a prime lens as gift.
Well, we all heard how the Canon 85mm 1.8 is a great lens for portraits and as a general workhorse. The lens is quite affordable as a Christmas gift, so it looked like we had a winner.
Calumet (they still exist in Germany!) had the lens for rental, for a fairly good price, so I started planning some taking some shots of my kids. Reserved the lens for the weekend, borrowed a tripod (doubling as light stand) and speedlite from friends to use as second light, prepared some nice clothing to dress the kids, so we could have some nice images to send to the family. All set up in the bedroom, where the baby would have some surface large enough to safely sit by herself, with “seamless white background”, flag to prevent the background light to spill into the scene and all tried to learn so far about setting up a photo-shoot. For people used to do that, it’s a no brainer, for somebody used to shoot in the street, it’s another story.
That’s when you realize that in a APS-C sensor, your bedroom is not large enough 🙂 Yep, your 85mm just became a 135, great lens for headshots in a wide space, but not suitable for full body pictures of kids in a regular German house.
Outside, the lens is great. Sharp, nice bokeh, amazingly fast and silent auto-focus (thanks to the USM system). The shallow depth of field of a 85mm at 1.8 gives a great separation between the subject and the background for environmental portraits.
The problem now was, great lens outside, provided you can be far enough to shoot, but definitively not the lens I needed for indoor shooting. So the chase for a Christmas gift continued, but the renting the lens prevented me from getting a not so proper piece of gear. Yes, I could have tested it by locking my zoom lens at 85mm and trying it, but it would not have been nearly as fun 🙂