Lens for Gig Photography?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by RPDean, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. RPDean

    RPDean TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone

    Im looking for some advice about which lens would be good for gig photography. I mean small venues, not large ones.

    I bought Nikon D3000 18-55mm f/3.5 -5.6 a few months and i recently went to a small venue to photograph some bands for the first time. I'm learning as i go along and i played around with the settings a bit (i didnt use flash) the images came out good but not great.

    From research i've done on the net i thinking that i need a faster lens, is this right? as i want the images to be as sharp as possible.
    are there any gig photograpers here and whats lens do you use or would you recommend.?
    I've been reading about a lens nicknamed a nifty fifty, would this lens be suitable for gig photography? from what i've read it seems to be a good lens.

    Im a total amatuer by the way and although i havnt got a lot of money to spend, im very willing to save up, although March the 5th is the next gig and this time the act is signed so i want to get some good shots.

    Thanks for any advice, its very much appreciated.
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    What range do you need? If the 'kit lens' has a good enough range for you I'd recommend the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 HSM Macro.

    Otherwise you could try a Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S if you can move around enough to use your feet as the zoom.
     
  3. ImNick

    ImNick TPF Noob!

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    im sure the nifty fifty is referring to a 50mm lens
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Yes, the 50mm F1.8 in fact. Although, it's usually the Canon version that gets called the 'nifty fifty'...partially because it's the cheapest lens in the Canon line up.

    It really depends on the light you have to work with, but for the most part, yes...you probably want a 'fast' lens. In this setting, 'fast' means a lens with a large maximum aperture. (low F number).

    A larger aperture is important because it lets in more light, thus allowing you to get faster shutter speeds, which are essential for freezing the movement of your subject and your camera...especially in lower light situation.

    The focal length you need/want will depend on a lot of factors, not the least of which is your personal preference and shooting style.
     
  5. RPDean

    RPDean TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replys

    Is range another term for focal length?? sorry about my ignorance but im really new to this. If so i dont need a big range, the venues are tiny and i can move around a lot. Thanks for the suggestions, im gonna check them out now.
     
  6. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Focal length == Zoom / Magnification (kind of). What the original poster is saying is if you're shooting from a stadium you need a different (read bigger) focal lengh then if you're just at a club in front of the stage...

    With my 600mm I can take your portrait from the top of a tall building and fill the frame

    As an example, I shot this with a 600mm and I was about 25m away:

    http://myhollandtravels.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/crowning-of-the-prince-of-carnival-68-of-75.jpg

    A couple of things though:

    Most lenses dont' have a huge range of focal length. There's no 20mm to 600mm out there (think being able to shoot a building while standing right in front of it to being able to shoot the picture above from 25m)

    Some cameras have a "multiplier." So my olympus is a 4/3rds system which means I multiply the focal length by 2. My "600mm" is actually a 300mm multiplied by 2. So the focal length of my camera, vs. a 35mm camera, vs. a large format camera will be very different

    The shorter the focal length the more distortion you'll see in the pictures. This can be used to create some funny pictures but you want to be familiar with your lens or your family photos will look a little weird... Or you can be weird like me and specifically take pictures with your fisheye just to freak people out :lol::lol:

    Your best bet is to take some pictures with a bunch of different lenses, and pay attention to the focal lengths. There's going to be a sweet spot for what you shoot.

    The way I did it was to buy the cheapest (and used if possible) glass I could find and play around. Then I can focus on where I like to shoot and go for the quality

    For instance, I really like landscapes and architecture, and I'll shoot the 35mm equivalent of 20mm - 40mm most of the time.

    But if I were to shoot portraits, I'd probably go for at least 100mm, if not more...

    Make sense?

    That f number after the lens is the amount of light you let in. The lower the number the better. It controls your depth of field (how blurry stuff in the background is), and how quick your shutter speed.

    For instance, at f2.8 ISO 1600 I can basically take pictures indoors as if it's bright daylight (although it's really bloody noisy)
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Focal length doesn't change between cameras, it's a measurement based on the lens itself. Field of view is what changes. They may sound similar, but they're two separate things.

    Also, a wide aperture might be nice for being able to get a usable shutter speed, but if you're shooting wide open at say f/1.8, then the DOF may be so shallow that it's going to be tough getting a decent shot that's in focus.

    Also, OP should make sure the lens he purchases allows auto focus with the camera. Trying to manually focus targets that are constantly moving will make the just much more difficult.

    And don't be afraid to shoot at higher ISO levels.
     
  8. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yup, mea culpa!

     
  9. RPDean

    RPDean TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the info...it kinda makes sense but i am really struggling with understanding focal length at the moment
    Aperute, shutter speed, ISO, DOF no problem but im stuck on focal length and its the 35mm equivilant thats confusing me :confused: i have no idea what that means! I've been searching different websites trying to get as much info as i can as i really want to no as much as possible..i think i'll get it the end.
     
  10. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK so on a 35 mm camera if you take a picture with a focal length of x mm, you see so much of a scene.

    On my camera, a focal lenght of x mm will let you see half the scene a 35mm camera will.

    Basically focal lenght relates to the number of degrees of you see in the field of view

    depending on the size of your sensor that may be more or less
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The focal length measurement is a measurement based on the physical dimensions of the lens and has nothing to do with the format. An 85mm prime lens will be 85mm on a large format camera, medium format camera, a 35mm film camera, APS-H camera, APS-C camera, and 4/3 camera.

    Field of view is what changes based on what the sensor sees in the lens. That does not change the physical measurements of the lens.
     
  12. j-digg

    j-digg TPF Noob!

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