lens decision for low light

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Flynnstone, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Flynnstone

    Flynnstone TPF Noob!

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    my daughter is in dance. it is extremely important to her, and i wish to capture it.
    what i have used for this so far is my Canon XTI with a 18-55mm 3.5-5.6( mostly at 55mm) lens and my 100mm 2.8 Macro lens. i must boost my ISO up to 800 to get the shots with the available light, but i am unhappy with the outcome. either the shot is blurred from movement, poorly detailed, or if i boost it to 1600ISO it is grainy.
    every store i go to has a different opinion. so i thought i would post my options here and ask you for your help.

    upgrade to a Canon 50D (higer megapixles)
    upgrade to a prime 85mm 1.8
    upgrade to a 70-200 4.0 IS lens

    the option of getting the 70-200 lens, would make the purchase of this item not only for dance, but i would be able to use it in other areas of shooting as well. as long as it will perform well as intended too.

    thank you in advance!!
     
  2. czsmola

    czsmola TPF Noob!

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    85mm is deffinetly the best option due 1.8 f-stop for low light
     
  3. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    Can I choose all 3?

    The 50D body being the last, but room to crop is always nice..

    The 70-200 f/4?... how about the f/2.8? Too much..

    The 85 f/1.8... very nice but will you have freedom to compose? The speed seems right for the typical auditorium.

    I would invite a friend with good skills and equipment as a second shooter if you know anyone.
     
  4. Kegger

    Kegger TPF Noob!

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    Instead of the 70-200 f/4 which isn't a very fast lens, go for the 2.8 IS version. Faster lens with IS will make life much easier in low light.

    Megapixels mean nothing when dealing with low light, but the camera's high ISO performance is something to look at.
     
  5. Flynnstone

    Flynnstone TPF Noob!

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    composure is the reason i am leaning away from the 85mm. i would need to crop to get what i want, but would the higher megapixel make up for that? if not, maybe i should keep the camera i have now?
    the 2.8 70-200 non IS would be in my price range, but i don't really like the weight of it. that is why i opted for the 4.0 IS.

    and sorry, but i have no friends what-so-ever that are into photography. so no one to help me out at the recital.
     
  6. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Neither option sounds to good to me. You need a really fast lens and a full frame sensor to deal with the noise at higher ISO's The IS will help very little with motion blur.
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What is your average distance to subject (daughter on stage)? Can you move in closer from time to time?

    Is the auditorium lights out and only stage lights?
     
  8. Flynnstone

    Flynnstone TPF Noob!

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    so what exactly would you recomend?

    here is a shot thats i took to help understand what light i am dealing with. any insight is appreciated. flash photagraphy isn't allowed

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

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    you just need a faster lens. The 85 1.8 or the 70-200 2.8 are the way to go.
     
  10. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    I think that the 85 is unquestionably the way to go. The 70-200/4 would be a downgrade from the 100/2.8, actually, and based on the picture you posted super-fast apertures are where you need to be looking. If the 85 is too short you might look at something like the 100/2 or the 135/2L (though this is moving up in price).
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First get a tripod or at least a monopod.

    Second, either get a better camera or a good noise removal software. A camera with better high ISO capabilities is the far better choice. If you can't do it with an f/1.8 then an f/2.8 isn't going to help.

    Any lens is unlikely to help you at very low apertures anyway due to the DOF being so shallow. You might be able to shoot at 1/90 but if the DoF is 7 1/2 inches and your target is moving, so what? Also, you should be shooting at 1 over the focal length times the crop factor just to cope with the camera shake (ignore this if you are using a good tripod) if you are shooting hand held with good technique. So the longer the lens the harder it is to use. IS/VR comes in handy but even so you need the faster shutter speeds to capture the action.

    You hear about sports shooters using fast glass but they shoot in very well lit arenas and you don't have that luxury.

    Your final option is to buy the theater a spotlight. That ought to do the trick! :)
     
  12. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    f/4 is much too slow for that sort of lighting. f/2.8 will be quite a bit better.

    I suggest finding the longest f/1.8 or f/2 lens you can which, for Canon, seems to be the 85mm f/1.8.

    Really? In crowded auditorium seating? I think not.

    I have to disagree. Put the camera in AF-C (or "continuous servo" in Canonese) to keep your subject in focus.

    Using a manual focus 50mm f/1.8 at the biggest aperture, I got one of my very favorite shots of this guy shredding away:

    [​IMG]

    I shot at 1/60th intentionally to blur his hand movement, but I got plenty of frozen shots at that same shutter as well. I could still go up to 1/125 or 1/200 and have a good exposure after dodging things up a bit.

    If the lighting is too poor to use a really fast shutter speed, that's just a reality you'll have to live with. Practice taking your shots at just the right moments where the movement and action equals the shutter speed.
     

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