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Low light prime for Holidays

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Electromen, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. I am thinking about buying a low light Nikkor prime lens for use indoors. I'd like to try taking photos around Thanksgiving and Christmas without a flash. Most of the living rooms of friends and family are about 12' X 20'

    I already own a 17-55DX F/2.8 and 70-200VR F/2.8.
    Camera = D70
    Flash = three SB-800's
    I was thinking about a 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor.
    Will I notice that much of a difference between F/2.8 and 1.8?
    Or just use the 17-55 and SB-800's when needed?
    Cost is not the main consideration, sharpness at wide open and focus speed are.
  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    The 50 mm f/1.8 is a fine lens, and at around $90 should be in everyone's bag. Low light kings include the 50 mm f/1.4 and 85 mm f/1.4.
  3. If you have the 17-55mm f2.8 lens I would think that a 1.4 lens would be your best option. For me personally I am looking at the 85mm f1.4 as it is known for its bokeh.
  4. I think the two 50mm lenses are your best choice given the applications you mention. At 85mm I suspect you're going to be backing out of the room to get a decent FOV.

    I have the 50mm f/1.8 and I'm very pleased with it. I would love to have the 1.4, but it will have to wait for awhile. However, I think I have read somewhere on this forum that the 50mm f/1.4 is not quite as sharp as the 1.8.

    By the way, I got the 50 1.8 from someone on the forum for $55 shipped a few months ago. I agree, everyone should have this lens - it's the best bargain in the Nikon lineup.
  5. Thanks for the quick replies. I did some tests in the living room and it looks like 50mm is the right choice.

    Sounds like the 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor is the way to go, but is the difference in sharpness noticeable?
    Since this is not a "G" does that mean setting the f/stop on the lens and not the D70?
  6. G lenses don't have an aperture ring on them, and the aperture must be set through the camera.

    Non G lenses have an aperture ring, but if you put it in the "locked position", you can control the aperture through the camera anyway.
  7. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    The choice between the 50's depends on how much light you have to work with. The 1.4 is better from f4 to wide open, and the 1.8 is better from f5.6 down.

    At least my samples are.
  8. twig


    May 23, 2005
    fist, pleas dont forget teh 35f/2

    second, a 1.8 or 1.,4 lens is a big difference form the 17-55/2.8, and the weight differecne is large as well.

    I own the 1.8 and LOVE it. I am replacing it with a 1.4 because I shoot mostly wide open or under f/2.8 for indoors stuff.

    The 1.4 has a more robust metal build, but the plastic 1.8 feel light and functional (it doesn't seem flimsy even though it is made of light materials)

    both lenses will be noiser and quite slow to focus compared to your AF-S lens on D70 body, but on a D series body I swear they focus faster than the 17-55,...

    lovely lovely lenses and it is sill not to own at least one
  9. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Shouldn't you also consider the 28 1.4?

    With the 1.5 multiplication (FOV) factor, it's really like shooting with a 42 mm lens if on a film camera. The 50 is really like shooting with a 75. The 28 1.4 is a better choice for both groups and closeups. Have you looked at this thread where I posted a sample img of the 28 1.4 shot wide open in low light?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  10. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Greg, you will had to have meant it when you said "cost is not the main consideration" for that 28 though. I second the idea of giving the 35mm f/2 AF-D some consideration. It is my low light lens, and it works exceptionally well.


    Hey Steve, I missed that you got one of those! I'm gonna look for your horse pix!
  11. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  12. Thanks for all the suggestions, I hadn't thought about the wider lenses. I have time to decide. Of course cost is a consideration, but I might not have had some of the suggestions, if it were my only concern. I think I've narrowed it down to the 35 F/2 and the 50 F/1.4. I like the idea of using the 17-55 to make that decision. Since 50mm was my first lens in 1976, it was my first choice.
  13. patrickh


    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    For what it's worth, my 35 gives nicer contrast color boke than the 50/1.8. Sharpness may be an edge to the 50. This seems to be a fairly general view of the difference between those two lenses from what I have read. You should really try both if you can.
  14. I have both the 50 f/1.4 and the 35 f/2. They are physically the same size (small), and lightweight: the primary difference is the FOV, so practicing with your 17-55 to determine the better focal length is a very smart thing to do (ain't Paul a smart fellow? :wink:) .

    The 35 may be a tad sharper wide open than the 50 also wide open, but the 50 at f/2 is probably as good or better than the 35 at f/2. I tend to use the 35 at f/2.5 and the 50 at f/2, or f/2.2. The contrast and colors is very similar between those 2 lenses, with perhaps a slight advantage to the 35 for contrast and to the 50 for boke (the longer focal length helps a bit, I think), IMHO. From an image quality standpoint, you can't go wrong with either one of them.

    The main reason I went to the 35 after already owning the 50 f/1.4 (which I bought as my first lens), and the 17-55 f/2.8, is for interior shots, in particular around holidays, when wielding a big zoom around can be intimidating, and because the focal length is easier to work with. What sealed the deal was the double rebate Nikon had going on the 35 for a while (net cost $225 new from B&H)... I know, I have LLD, too. :redface: :wink:
  15. tjgreen

    tjgreen Guest

    I'm still pretty new at this, and this discussion reminded me of one of those newbie epiphanies I had recently. I've got both the 18-70 kit lens, and the 50mm 1.8 (which I love, btw). Using the 18-70 and the old 1/focal length shutter speed for handholding, I can get significantly slower shutter speeds at a given aperture at the wide end than with the 50mm, and still have a pretty good pic. I know, no duh, but I'm slow.

    Anyway, it made me realize that fast glass at the wide end is REALLY fast, given corresponding slower shutter speed (conversely, how important fast glass is on the long end; I love you, 80-200/2.8). Just for fun: the 50/1.4 is a stop faster than the 35/2, or is it? assuming that either 35mm or 50mm works in this application, the slowest handheld shutter speed on the 35mm (1/35") would be .7 stops faster than the 50mm (1/50"), so the net difference at max aperture is really only a thrd of a stop. Or am I not doing this right?
  16. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Greg :

    One lens that nobody seems to have mentioned is the 58mm f/1.2, the famous "Noct" . Granted, this is not an inexpensive lens, and it's entirely manual on a D70, but it's an absolutely amazing low light lens.

    I have this, the 28mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.4, and the Noct is in a class by itself, although that doesn't take away from shooting with the other two, which I dearly love (especially the 28mm f/1.4 - I purchased it on advice from Sensei Ron, and it's been every bit as good as he commented). The Noct has a definite learning curve, but it's ascendable.

    Now, the Noct's not readily available, but it does crop up on eBay and such spots.

    John P.
  17. ...maybe some of you will start hiting me for that....:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: 

    but have you considered a Sigma 30 f1.4 HSM, the price is reasonable and quality seems OK (at least in the center!) there are some post at the dark side (dpreview) about it!
  18. Thanks for all the advice.

    I ended up ordering the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 and a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D Micro. I was going to wait on the Micro, but since the 50mm was such a buy, I got both. Maybe next year I can get a wider fast lens.

    thanks again, Greg
  19. One more vote for the 35mm f/2D. If you can afford the 28/1.4D, do get it as it's a magnificent tool, but if not you will find that the 35/2 will do the job better than the 50mm lenses for what you intend (and it will come in handy for a bunch of other stuff too -- like street-shooting).

  20. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    If you could use AIS lenses, my vote for superb quality goes to 50/1.2 (or of course the 58 Noct, but that's another price league). I continue to be amazed over the quality of this lens even at f/1.2 on my D2X, and the bokeh is exquisite.
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