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Best Indoor Lens

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by BIGBEAR, Aug 22, 2008.



    Nov 16, 2007
    Forney, Texas
    I am looking to get a lens for shooting indoors. Mostly using at birthdays, Christmas, my wife and three dogs asleep on the couch, etc. I have noticed that most of my family have very low light in there homes so I guess I will need a fast lens because I have yet to figure out how to use the flash. I own a 50mm f/1.4 but I need it to be a little wider when shooting a couple or something like that. I am still learning learning but since I got on this forum I have learned alot, Quick. Thanks to everyone for the help.
  2. panda81


    Feb 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  3. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    The 17-55 /f2.8 should be perfect for these applications. If you need wider, still (doubt it), add the 12-24 /f4.0 to the mix. Both lenses are available at bargain prices here periodically, or you might consider listing a WTB for them.

    There are many images posted which were taken with both lenses; do a search if you are interested.

    As far as figuring out how to use the flash, I am with you on that! Problem solved!! I sold the SB-800's and replaced with one SB-900. It is so simple to use, no instructions are required.
  4. NateS


    Oct 11, 2007
    I know it's not what you asked for, but my suggestion is to get an SB-600 and learn to use the flash. Using it as a bounce flash is not hard and you'll get better pictures using that than with a fast lens in low light (in my opinion). Honestly my SB-600 has helped to improve my photos more than anything else.
  5. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    not sure your budget, for indoor I say either 17-55 or 35 f2
  6. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. +1 for 17-55 if it is within your budget. Then start practicing with your SB-600. You will be amazed at how quickly you pick it up.

    Check out this also, even though it's written for D200

  8. I will second this!! Having moved from a home with low light, I can tell you that f/2.8 is not near fast enough. I used a 35/2 and LOVED it. The 30/1.4 also looks like a great lens, and shooting DX, I would strongly consider that. If you end up FX, you can't beat the 50/1.4 I found this to be a bit long on DX. :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. I shoot a lot of casual family stuff indoors. My recommendations in order:

    1) Learn to use your SB-600. It's not really that hard and we're all happy to help you with it. In your bodies and flash you have some of the best features available to you, with things like off-camera flash. If you're really nervous about it, buy something simple like a Gary Fong Lightsphere and just use the flash on-camera with straight TTL.

    2) Get a Tamron 17-50/2.8 or a Nikon 17-55/2.8. They'll provide sharper indoor shots than the 18-200VR which really needs to be stopped down to produce the best results (I have both an 18-200VR and the 17-55/2.8). Both lenses offer the flexibility of a fairly wide angle zoom to handle groups of people.

    You will likely still want to use flash in conjunction with these zooms, even at f/2.8.

    3) My lowest recommendation is to get a Sigma 30/1.4 or a Nikon 35/2. They are both excellent lenses but I ranked them lower for your purpose because of two reasons. First is that having a zoom that goes down to 17mm is really valuable for indoor events. There's a limit to how much you can foot-zoom inside to back away from a subject. Second is that while both lenses (especially the Sigma) can be used at faster apertures and might not require a flash like the zooms -- using large apertures may not be what you want indoors for birthday parties, etc. Using large apertures will give you nice depth-of-field effects, but it'll make the three kids at the birthday party look like one kid is in focus and not the other two.
  10. AdamJ


    Jan 28, 2008
    Aurora, IL
    I have to agree on the flash recommendation. The SB-600 is super value, and that flash combined with the SJ-1 gel pack to match the flash white balance to ambient tungsten has made indoor shooting for events and family a joy.

    Often I set the SB600 up in a stationary location to bounce off the ceiling and use the on camera flash as a commander, along as a direct flash with -0.7 flash compensation. Produces great results for me.

    A fast wide prime is useful, but its quite often I want greater DOF, and I don't usually realize this until after the event is over and I'm reviewing my photos... :( 


    Nov 16, 2007
    Forney, Texas
    Thanks everybody for the suggestions!! I looked online and Dang!! on the cost, but Christmas is coming so I have an idea for Santa. That Wong diffuser looks interesting. I also have another question for Mr. Adam. What is the SJ-1 gel pack?? When evryone says "Bounce flash" are yall saying point at the ceiling or a white wall? Thanks again.
  12. Yup - point the flash at a while wall, or ceiling (if it's at the ceiling, using a bounce card will prevent shadows under the eyes), and that way the whole of the ceiling, or wall will become one enormous light source, which will make the lighting much softer, with much softer edged shadows.
  13. Brodman


    Aug 26, 2007
    Knoxville, TN
    My 2 cents:

    If you can afford the 17-55, it is the ultimate family gathering/indoor/birthday party lens. Paired with your SB-600 it is simply wonderful to capture these events. Once you place this lens on your camera, you will find that it will always go with you. BTW-the Fong lightsphere is pretty neat, but you can get the same effect just by experimentation.

    That being said, if you really want to go no flash, the Sigma would be my choice. I have both and haven't used the 35 in a long time.
  14. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    ona d300, simple -> Sig 30 1.4
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  15. spoot


    Aug 29, 2007
    Nute, you got a d300??
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