D700+ what lens choice for musuem tour

Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
557
Location
Yokosuka, Japan
I'm planning on going to a tour at the Nagasaki museum soon and would like to ask what works best when going to a museum. I'll be using my D700. I'm not sure if tripods are allowed. I'm quite sure flash photography is out of the question.

1. So for indoor with ambient lighting (mostly incandescent), will the prime lens or f4 VR lenses work best in this situation?

2. The available lenses are Nikon 16-35mm f4 VRII, 24-120mm f4VRII, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AFS or Nikon 50mm f1.8D.

I'm not a pro so these are just for my personal use. I would like to hear your thoughts or opinions especially to those who have visited museums.
 
Joined
May 16, 2010
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Guam
I would vote for the Nikon 24-120 F4 VRII. The VRII will come in handy in there when the light is low, especially if your not bringing a tripod.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
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Denmark
I like to take the 24-70 f2.8 for my first visit to a museum. It is a good range, and it deals well with low light. While some may suggest a faster prime, it is my experience that you need depth of field. For that reason the addition of VR on the 24-120 may make it a good choice. If I had a choice of the two, I would still pick the 24-70 though.

Using the d9 shutter delay option can be a great help to reduce blur at slow shutter speeds. I would also make use of the Auto ISO. Set ISO to 200 and then choose a minimum shutter speed you know you can get reasonably steady shuts with, for me that is 1/40. Next cap your ISO at 3200, or higher if you feel it necessary. If you cap at 3200, what will happen, when that is not enough, is that the camera will begin to lower shutter speed. So watch it, it is better to be ISO 4000 at 1/40 than ISO 2000 at 1/20.

Also look for objects to brace yourself or the camera against. You can both steady the shot and reduce glass case reflections by removing the hood and placing the lens against the glass while you cup the front so it doesn't move. This can make it possible to get use low ISO at very slow shutter speeds.

Here is a sample set with the D700 and 24-70 f2.8 from Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. The light is generally poor and many of the objects are behind glass. EXIF is intact on all shots.

http://homepage.mac.com/tom.larsen/Chrylser Museum of Art/index.html

Once I have been to a museum, I will often go back with a different lens. Here is the Chrysler again, this time with a Zeiss 100 f2 on the D700.

http://homepage.mac.com/tom.larsen/Chrysler Museum with 100 f2/index.html
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Messages
416
Location
Centerville, Ohio
One lens, non moving displays, low light, a D700...

...my choice would be the 24-120 F4 VR.

Very few museum displays are set up where you would need anything wider than 24mm and a lot of the smaller displays would need a close focusing telephoto such as a 120mm. VR would be more useful than F2.8 since very few museums are well lit.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
6,117
Location
Upstate SC
I think the VR will be a nice tool to have, as well. Is hot a car exhibit last year and used the 14-24 and 70-200vrii. The longer zoom got more use because if VR and because the exhibit was so crowded I ended up shooting car details more than whole vehicles. I had plenty of shots in the 1/4 - 1/30 second and VR is the only way to get those without a tripod. If you can only take two, I'd go the 16-35 and 24-120 route. If I were you, I'd throw in that 50/1.8 to have a good shallow dof lens.

I hope you'll post a few images here after your trip. Japanese history is very fascinating!
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
557
Location
Yokosuka, Japan
I like to take the 24-70 f2.8 for my first visit to a museum. It is a good range, and it deals well with low light. While some may suggest a faster prime, it is my experience that you need depth of field. For that reason the addition of VR on the 24-120 may make it a good choice. If I had a choice of the two, I would still pick the 24-70 though.

Using the d9 shutter delay option can be a great help to reduce blur at slow shutter speeds. I would also make use of the Auto ISO. Set ISO to 200 and then choose a minimum shutter speed you know you can get reasonably steady shuts with, for me that is 1/40. Next cap your ISO at 3200, or higher if you feel it necessary. If you cap at 3200, what will happen, when that is not enough, is that the camera will begin to lower shutter speed. So watch it, it is better to be ISO 4000 at 1/40 than ISO 2000 at 1/20.

Also look for objects to brace yourself or the camera against. You can both steady the shot and reduce glass case reflections by removing the hood and placing the lens against the glass while you cup the front so it doesn't move. This can make it possible to get use low ISO at very slow shutter speeds.

Here is a sample set with the D700 and 24-70 f2.8 from Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. The light is generally poor and many of the objects are behind glass. EXIF is intact on all shots.

http://homepage.mac.com/tom.larsen/Chrylser Museum of Art/index.html

Once I have been to a museum, I will often go back with a different lens. Here is the Chrysler again, this time with a Zeiss 100 f2 on the D700.

http://homepage.mac.com/tom.larsen/Chrysler Museum with 100 f2/index.html

Hi Tom. Thanks for the great tips and for sharing your work. It gave me some idea how to do my composition. I'm leaning more towards the Nikon 24-120mm f4 VRII because of the VRII and the subjects are static. I am comfortable to go as low as 1/15 with mirror up if I use this lens. However, the 24-70mm f2.8 does render great IQ and is 1 1/3 faster. Carrying both will make my backpack heavier.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
557
Location
Yokosuka, Japan
I think the VR will be a nice tool to have, as well. Is hot a car exhibit last year and used the 14-24 and 70-200vrii. The longer zoom got more use because if VR and because the exhibit was so crowded I ended up shooting car details more than whole vehicles. I had plenty of shots in the 1/4 - 1/30 second and VR is the only way to get those without a tripod. If you can only take two, I'd go the 16-35 and 24-120 route. If I were you, I'd throw in that 50/1.8 to have a good shallow dof lens.

I hope you'll post a few images here after your trip. Japanese history is very fascinating!

Hi Vin. Your suggestions are very similar to what I have in my mind. As much as I hate to bring extra gear, I think taking the two f4 VRII lenses will provide greater flexibility and the nifty fifty just for the heck of it. This is a rare treat for me so I'd rather be safe than sorry. The good thing is I already have these lenses available and the deciding part is much easier than buying a new lens. :biggrin:

I'll post some pictures next week after the trip.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
377
Location
Arizona
I'm not sure if tripods are allowed. I'm quite sure flash photography is out of the question.

I have photographed over 50 car museums both here in the US and in Europe and pretty much 90% do not allow tripods. They will allow them with special permission or for media. I have not photographed art museums (but all car musuems have allowed flash)

As for lenses. I bring 2. 14-24mm 2.8 & 24-70mm 2.8.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
124
Location
Guam
24-120VR. It provides the widest range. And if there is an option to add, the 16-35VR. These two lenses will provide the widest range that is needed with the highest options for compositions. I can say, the most versatile. And with their VR, the slower f4 is compensated for.
 

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