Canon lens recommendation?
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  1. #1
    Member Mreal75's Avatar
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    Canon lens recommendation?

    Hey guys,

    I have been toying with the idea of stepping away from my iPhone, and wanted to start using my Canon T7i to take better quality watch photos. My question is, what would be a versatile lens to invest in for general watch photography? Every time I break out my Canon with the 18-55 kit lens, I become frustrated trying to dial in the focus. I often gravitate back to using my iPhone for a quick wrist shot and have put the Canon aside for hiking and outdoor photography.

    I see amazing pictures on blogs/Instagram with watches alongside different items (leather boots, straps, denim, books, etc.) and would like to draw inspiration from these shots. Below are two pics taken from W&W and Hodinkee articles...this is the style that I'm looking for. What lens would make it easier to take these type of shots? I am new to watch photography, so any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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  2. #2
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    Check out the Sigma Art line of lenses, they're often optically superior to Canon but their autofocus can be lacking (not a big deal if you're shooting still life stuff like your examples though).

    The 70mm Macro might be a good fit for oyu
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  3. #3
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    Yeah i totally agree. the Sigma Art line really rocks.
    Also I would recommend
    Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
    It's pretty good zoom lens that I have been using.
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  5. #4
    Member Mreal75's Avatar
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    Thanks for the replies! I will take a look at the Sigma Art line of lenses. The Canon 18-135mm also sounds appealing because it adds some versatility, although I may have to flip my kit lens to prevent redundancy. Is the Canon 18-135mm noticeably better than the 18-55mm optically?
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    Member Colderamstel's Avatar
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    Canon lens recommendation?

    They are specifically using macro lenses and strobe lighting for most of the shots you see on sites like wound and worn. Combined with post processing to clean it up. As much as I find Ken Rockwell a bit of an opinionated blow hard take a look at his reviews for lenses he does a pretty thorough job. But because you will have to step down the f stop to take a macro shot with enough depth of field you will need some flash work or some outdoor sun light.

    Good luck. Feel free to PM if you have any specific questions. Not a pro photographer but I am always interested in discussing these matters.

    I take shots with my iPhone because it is always with me. Like my watch.

    Ps. You will probably want some prime lenses too. 35mm 1.8 is just the tops for the T7i

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    Last edited by Colderamstel; August 7th, 2018 at 15:14.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colderamstel View Post
    They are specifically using macro lenses and strobe lighting for most of the shots you see on sites like wound and worn. Combined with post processing to clean it up. As much as I find Ken Rockwell a bit of an opinionated blow hard take a look at his reviews for lenses he does a pretty job. But because you will have to step down the f stop to take a macro shot with enough depth of field you will need some flash work or some outdoor sun light.

    Good luck. Feel free to PM if you have any specific questions. Not a pro photographer but I am always interested in discussing these matters.

    I take shots with my iPhone because it is always with me. Like my watch.

    Ps. You will probably want some prime lenses too. 35mm 1.8 is just the tops for the T7i

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks for the tips! Do you think Canonís 60mm 2.8 macro would be a good place to start considering the T7i is a crop sensor. Iím starting to think anything in the 100mm range would be too much. Iíll give Ken Rockwellís site a read for more info


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  8. #7
    Member McCarthy's Avatar
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    The Canon 60mm 2.8 macro will be much better than any none "L" zoom lens.

    The following accounts for basically all DSLR and mirror less cameras: really good photo quality comes from quality (and expensive) glass, not so much from the body.

    All that being said - if you have some funds available - I'd sell the entire Canon enchilada on eBay and get this setup:

    - SONY A7 (Used): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...s_digital.html

    - SONY FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens (new): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2_8_macro.html

    - A proper macro tripod like the FEISOL TT-15B: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ripod_and.html


    Just a few samples I came up within 5 minutes...









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  9. #8
    Member Apollo83's Avatar
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    DXOMark is a good source for lens quality:
    https://www.dxomark.com/lenses/launc...taType=rankDxo
    Sort by the sharpness column for a good indicator of the image quality and then look at the price for a good indicator of how many watches you will not be able to buy because of the lens.

    Before you spend, I think we need to explore what is not working for you shooting watch shots with your 18-55.
    Your example shots are typical product shots. Maybe you can get some improvements with some technique hints? e.g.
    Are you shooting on a tripod? (allowing you to extend exposure tie and maximise the sharpness your lens is capable of)
    What lighting are you using? (directional light can improve contrast/texture, ambient light can give more even illumination)
    Are you looking for areas of the picture (e.g. background) to be out of focus? If so you need short depth of field with large aperture and maximum focal length. (look at McCarthy's pics for great examples of this)
    What post-production are you using? (a tool like Lightroom can help you get the most from your picture by adjusting global and local exposure / saturation / sharpness just as you might have done in a darkroom in the dark old days)

    I have a Canon full-frame (6D) when I want to do some considered pictures.
    But I also have a cropped sensor 200D with 18-55 lens as a lightweight carry around option.

    Here are some quick pics with the 200D:

    Typical wrist shot with low aperture to reduce DOF and throw the unimportant hand out of focus:
    Name:  IMG_0078.jpg
Views: 67
Size:  385.6 KB

    An experiment with harsh directional light to try and emphasise the texture in the movement:
    Name:  IMG200D-0217_LI.jpg
Views: 66
Size:  330.8 KB

  10. #9
    Member Mreal75's Avatar
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    Re: Canon lens recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by McCarthy View Post
    The Canon 60mm 2.8 macro will be much better than any none "L" zoom lens.

    The following accounts for basically all DSLR and mirror less cameras: really good photo quality comes from quality (and expensive) glass, not so much from the body.

    All that being said - if you have some funds available - I'd sell the entire Canon enchilada on eBay and get this setup:

    - SONY A7 (Used): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...s_digital.html

    - SONY FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens (new): https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...2_8_macro.html

    - A proper macro tripod like the FEISOL TT-15B: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ripod_and.html


    Just a few samples I came up within 5 minutes...









    Thanks! I added the 60mm macro to the list. Unfortunately, getting a new camera isnít in the cards right now...I think Iím going to hold onto the Canon for a while and learn how to shoot with it before I sell it haha. Nice macro shots!


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    McCarthy likes this.
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    Instagram: @the.realwatchman

  11. #10
    Member Mreal75's Avatar
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    Canon lens recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo83 View Post
    DXOMark is a good source for lens quality:
    https://www.dxomark.com/lenses/launc...taType=rankDxo
    Sort by the sharpness column for a good indicator of the image quality and then look at the price for a good indicator of how many watches you will not be able to buy because of the lens.

    Before you spend, I think we need to explore what is not working for you shooting watch shots with your 18-55.
    Your example shots are typical product shots. Maybe you can get some improvements with some technique hints? e.g.
    Are you shooting on a tripod? (allowing you to extend exposure tie and maximise the sharpness your lens is capable of)
    What lighting are you using? (directional light can improve contrast/texture, ambient light can give more even illumination)
    Are you looking for areas of the picture (e.g. background) to be out of focus? If so you need short depth of field with large aperture and maximum focal length. (look at McCarthy's pics for great examples of this)
    What post-production are you using? (a tool like Lightroom can help you get the most from your picture by adjusting global and local exposure / saturation / sharpness just as you might have done in a darkroom in the dark old days)

    I have a Canon full-frame (6D) when I want to do some considered pictures.
    But I also have a cropped sensor 200D with 18-55 lens as a lightweight carry around option.

    Here are some quick pics with the 200D:

    Typical wrist shot with low aperture to reduce DOF and throw the unimportant hand out of focus:
    Name:  IMG_0078.jpg
Views: 67
Size:  385.6 KB

    An experiment with harsh directional light to try and emphasise the texture in the movement:
    Name:  IMG200D-0217_LI.jpg
Views: 66
Size:  330.8 KB
    Nice pics and thanks for the tips! I tried doing a few different styles of shots yesterday evening, mostly wrist shots and table-top shots outdoors. I used natural lighting when the sun was going down. The pictures are on my home computer so Iíll be able to post samples later on.

    Iím still having issues getting sharp images out of the kit lens (definitely an operator problem!). My main complaint with the sharpness is that the logo, writing, and details on the watchís dial are blurry in most of the pictures when viewing them on my computer. Itís frustrating because I can take a quick shot on my iPhone and still read the little ďSwiss madeĒ at the bottom of the dial....this isnít the case with the Canon.

    I think my biggest pitfall is trying to take the wrist shots freehand, although isnít it a little much to break out the tripod to get a quick, clear wrist shot? If I did use a tripod, should I also use a remote to prevent camera-shake when pressing the shutter? I usually set my focus point right under the 12 oíclock marker on the dial. For post production, I occasionally use the generic editing software in ďPhotosĒ on my Mac. I definitely need to invest in something a little better.

    I also began to read more into prime lenses lately. After noticing that I shoot a lot of my pictures at the 35mm focal length on the kit lens (even most of my hiking/car show pictures), do you think a Canon 35mm f/2 prime would give me a noticeable separation in quality? How would the 35mm f/2 work for product/wrist shots? I also plan on using it as a general purpose/walk-around lens. I appreciate everyoneís help!


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    Last edited by Mreal75; August 9th, 2018 at 15:35.
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    Instagram: @the.realwatchman

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