Faster lens or Flash??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jepry, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. jepry

    jepry TPF Noob!

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    I am trying to take better pictures of family/friends in low light conditions indoors. I currently have a Sigma 18-200 3.5-6.3, and a Canon 50 1.8 on my XT.

    I am debating on getting a Canon 24-70L 2.8, or Sigma/Tamron equivalent or a Flash. Which of these would be the better purchase...Lens or Flash??

    Thanks
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    "Better" isn't really something that we can answer for you.

    You already have a 50mm F1.8...so an F2.8 lens isn't going to make it any easier for low light...would make it harder actually.

    So if you are still struggling when using F1.8 or F2.0...then a flash would be a good idea.
     
  3. jepry

    jepry TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't say that I am struggling with the 1.8, I just don't like being stuck at that focal length and my Sigma is not doing the job in low lights.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I also find that I don't use my 50mm F1.8 as much as I used to...because it's just too long on my digital bodies.

    I have a Sigma 30mm F1.4 and a Tamron 18-50mm F2.8 that I use in lower light situations. Of course, I love to use my flash and bounce it off of walls and ceilings as well.
     
  5. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Just get a flash. It's tough to keep anything in focus at larger apertures anyways, and the fixed focal lengths can be too limiting. Zoom is handy for family stuff. If I shot Canon I'd get an EF 24-105 f/4L IS and a flash and go to town. That's a great range, and I generally don't shoot people stuff at larger than f/4 anyways. And the reach out to 105mm is great for getting head shots. There's nothing equivalent in the Nikon system at the moment. :grumpy:
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another vote for the flash. Fast lenses are important to have but when you are trying to shoot rooms or multiple family members in a home, you cannot beat a wide lens and a well lit room at F/8 (wide meaning something in the 10-30mm range). My Sigma 18-50 is my fav family event camera... that or my Nikkor 18-200, just because of the incredible range and versatility.

    I just place my strobe(s) in the corner(s) of the room and enjoy the results!
     
  7. *Mike*

    *Mike* TPF Noob!

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    You've already got some great advice. A flash is utterly invaluable. And, you do have the 50/1.8 (which is a great lens).

    That said, an f/6.3 (?!) at the long end makes a lens a paper weight in my experience. And, if you're zoomed in to 200mm, odds are a flash isn't going to do much good - say catching action at a little league. The distance is just too much...

    I'd consider what kind of shooting you're doing... Personally, I would have to have a flash. Then I'd put the cheap zoom away and try to pick up a decent wide angle and then something on the telephoto side of things...
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    He pretty much said what he was doing when he said:

    ;)

    I cannot see the effectiveness of being at 200mm indoors, unless you are zoomed into a face or hand instead of a family scene.
     
  9. jepry

    jepry TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the advice guys!!

    Now I am thinking I could get a Canon 17-40 f4L for $699 and a Speedlite 430EX for $299 which is still cheaper than the Canon 24-70 f2.8L.

    Would that be a better solution??

    Thanks again!!
     
  10. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    I use the 17-40 and 580EXII indoors for toddler shots.

    With flash I can even use my 28-135 which is "f/3.5-5.6" (something like that).

    For a non-pro like myself, the flash is almost a "fix-all" for indoor shooting :)
     
  11. jepry

    jepry TPF Noob!

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    I will be taking a lot of baby shots soon, how do u find the 17-40 for portraits? I read that it is only good for full body shots not for portraits.
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Typically, for portraits...you want a longer lens because it's more flattening (and flattering) to the subject. The wider the lens...the more likely you are to have wide angle distortion.
     

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