Low Light/available light lenses?

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Tonight, I worked with a videographer at my church, photographing our kid's program. It was rather tough, the lighting was constantly changing from low to lower to bright, and so forth. Is there a lens that's especially good for this type of photography when flash isn't allowed? I really want to get better at my photography, the videographers are interested in having me along on some of their jobs. My lenses that I have at the moment are listed in my signature.
 
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Diane,

That 50/1.8 would be a good one for low light. Back in the old days I used one of those quite often when indoors and no flash was allowed.
 
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Diane,

That 50/1.8 would be a good one for low light. Back in the old days I used one of those quite often when indoors and no flash was allowed.
Thanks Andy, I tried it a bit tonight, but I need to be able to zoom in and out. And dunno if there is such a critter! I used the 18-200 VR but haven't had the courage to look at the photos yet. I gotta have them processed and to the church by Wednesday though.
 
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I know how you feel. I think they went a little "slaphappy" with the dimmer at a wedding reception I tried to take photos at two weeks ago.

As far as lens recommendation goes is that 18-55 in your signature a 2.8? If so I’d give it a try.
 
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Best lenses for this kind of photography are the faster pro lenses. 17-35mm or 17-55mm f/2.8, 28-70, 70-200. Of course, the other alternative is to go to auto-iso mode with your 18-200mm VR lens and a minimum shutter speed.

I would not hesitate to go to 800 ISO, trying to keep your shutter speed up above 1/50th of a second and using a good hand-holding technique with your VR system.

That is your best non-cost approach.

Regards,

Paul
 
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Dianne :


Paul's given you some excellent advice - the D50 is about the best Nikon DSLR for low light, absent shooting only AFS lenses with the D40x. Bump up the ISO, and if you're careful of the exposures, you'll be pretty surprised with the results. I've shot with Alice's D50, and I'm nothing less than blown away with just how well it shoots at high ISO settings.

Of course, if you're really wanting to push the envelope, try pairing the D50 at ISO1600 with an 85mm f/1.4 lens, or to really go wild, the 28mm f/1.4 lens. The downside here is that those primes cost more than a pretty penny (and that's a pretty broad understatement). I ran some tests the other day with the 28mm 1.4 at ISO1600 and I was positively floored with how well the combo worked. You'd likely get some great results with the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 or the Sigma 28mm f/1.8 primes (but I haven't personally tested those with the D50), and those are a lot more affordable than the f/1.4 primes (the 1.8's are respectively about $400 and $270 at B&H vs. $1,205 for the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 at B&H and what, maybe, $3,000 on eBay for the 28mm f/1.4).

There really aren't any Nikon zooms close to the apertures of those primes, the best being the ones mentioned by Paul at f/2.8 . The downside for those f/2.8 zooms, like the f/1.4 primes, is that the prices are pretty high. The Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8 (non-AFS) is a lot more affordable, but when you're in that price range, it might be worth thinking about the 85mm f/1.8 for that low light at maybe ISO800.

I hope that this helps a bit, as there aren't any inexpensive (i.e., dead-cheap) alternatives in lenses...


John P.


P.S. I see a 50mm f/1.8 in the "For Sale" section for $105.
 
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Thanks Andy, I tried it a bit tonight, but I need to be able to zoom in and out. And dunno if there is such a critter! I used the 18-200 VR but haven't had the courage to look at the photos yet. I gotta have them processed and to the church by Wednesday though.
How much "zoom" are you talking about, Dianne? The fastest zooms are f/2.8. Counting 3rd party zooms, there are several available, but their range is usually somewhat limited and won't cover what you get with the 18-200.

There are some WA to normal, like 18-50, 28-70 or so. Normal/short tele to tele zooms are sigma 50-150, 70-200 or nikkors 80-200 and 70-200. Then you can get real expensive with the sigma 120-300 f/2.8.

It would help you decide, if you looked at your EXIF info from your 18-200 shots and determined the most used focal lengths for this shoot, assuming that would be normal.

Do you know anyone from whom you can borrow an f/2.8 zoom?
 
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Up your ASA in your camera. Sometimes you do what you gotta do.
Now why didn't I have the sense to do that!?

I know how you feel. I think they went a little "slaphappy" with the dimmer at a wedding reception I tried to take photos at two weeks ago.

As far as lens recommendation goes is that 18-55 in your signature a 2.8? If so I’d give it a try.
Well the 18-55 is the 3.5 kit lens. And no better than using what I already had on the camera.

Best lenses for this kind of photography are the faster pro lenses. 17-35mm or 17-55mm f/2.8, 28-70, 70-200. Of course, the other alternative is to go to auto-iso mode with your 18-200mm VR lens and a minimum shutter speed.

I would not hesitate to go to 800 ISO, trying to keep your shutter speed up above 1/50th of a second and using a good hand-holding technique with your VR system.

That is your best non-cost approach.

Regards,

Paul
Well, I am thinking about the 28-70 (beast?) for portraits too. I know it has a nice f2.8 or lower. I should have done my homework before I started! Bet next time, I'll be better prepared!
 
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Thanks ya'll! I think I should have done better in preparation for this shoot! Normally, when I have something special to do, I like getting opinions on the best approach. Well this is one time I regret it! I haven't even looked at the photos yet to see how they did come out. Thanks ya'll for all the wonderful advice on lenses and camera settings. I may have learned a lot, but I have a lot yet to learn!
 
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Don't be afraid to use ISO 800 if you have to with noise reduction "ON", also the suggestion to use Auto ISO is very good as well, once you set the minimum shutter speed you want, the ISO will vary as needed depending on the available light. If the lighting improves the ISO will go down. - Jeff:smile:
 
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Well the 18-55 is the 3.5 kit lens. And no better than using what I already had on the camera.
In that case go with the common assessment here; unless you want to get one of the F/2.8 zoom lenses up to ISO to 800.
 
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ipsofacto

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The Sigma 30mm 1.4 would be a good lowlight solution for a cost effective approach
 
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In that case go with the common assessment here; unless you want to get one of the F/2.8 zoom lenses up to ISO to 800.
The Sigma 30mm 1.4 would be a good lowlight solution for a cost effective approach
Thanks ya'll! I may be saving up my $$ for the 28-70 f2.8 between now and the next program. I'm gonna check to see what I was shooting at the most in mm's and go from there. I'm thankful for having the photo shop and capture! I was able to salvage quite a few bad shots!
 
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I was just going to suggest that you look at your pics and see what mm you normally shoot at. The 17-55mm is an awesome lens. I can show you a few pics from a high school reunion that I used it with. I did just swap it for the beast, but only because the 28-70mm fits in my shooting style. I wish I could have both but...

I just used my 85mm f1.4 to shoot my wifes dance recital. The pictures came out awesome. I stuck with ol' reliable instead of going with my new/used 135mm f2.

Can't wait to see some of the shots,
Larry
 
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Ciao Cajun,

as others focused, for very low light shots there's nothing to do, with zooms, unless you have the 70/200 VR: the real way is going through the superfast lenses and, just to citate some (not necessarily the best overall)

Sigma AF 20 - 24 - 28 F1.8
Nikkor AF 28 F1.4
Sigma AF 30 F1.4
Nikkor AF 35 F2
Nikkor AF 50 F1.4 or F1.8
Nikkor AF 85 F1.4 or F1.8
Nikkor AF 105 / 135 F2

I wouldn't go longer, you wouldn't have enough time and space to shoot safely. Maybe new tele lenses will be equipped with AF-S and VR, but as for now it's just pure speculation.
As for me, I feel comfortable in low light with the combo 50 + 85, but it depends also on the distance you are from your subjects, somewhere a 30/35 could fit better than a 50 and a 105 could be better than the 85..
The most inexpensive triple kit is surely the Sigma 28 F1.8 - Nikkor 50 F1.8 and Nikkor 85 F1.8, but while for the last two I'm quite sure about the results, I'm not that much - too few experiences and reviews - for the Sigma. A little tad over you could choose the Sigma 30 F1.4. All in all, if you would be here, you would pay about (28 + 85) about 700€, so I guess you will pay much less $ there. 30 + 85 would be here about 800€ (always ebay not included, due to its high price variability)
As I told somewhere else, keep in mind the 50 will fill the frame with a whole figure at about 5-6 meters from your subject, while closer up to 1.5m you can use it as a real "tele" for tighter portraits; the 85 will fill the frame at 9-10m and of course already works much tighter for lower distances.
Due to rumors of new lenses, you could wait just till next week (it's expected some kind of announce around May 10th), then, if nothing happens, you have to decide if going now or wait other three-four months until next Nikon public announce.

all the best.
 
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WOW, thanks for the info Italy! I found out this morning, the reason why the lighting was so bad was they had 2 spotlights burned out! That''s why my usual stuff didn't work quite as well! I'm gonna give everything that everyone has responded with a lot of thought before I buy anything else! I have another photo op coming next week in the same room (sanctuary) of our church. They replaced the lights this morning, so hopefully things will be much better next week! I'll keep ya'll posted!
 
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Dianne, the advice for using 800iso would normally be right on; with your D50, go on up to 1600...that's what it is famous for !!!! Just be sure to get a goo exposure, but 1600 will be fine.
good luck
dit
 

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