Noob: what lens for indoor pics?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by porterrj, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. porterrj

    porterrj TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, looking to make a move into DSLR from my trusty Ixus point and shoot. I'll probably end up in D80/EOS350D/EOS400D territory. My question is a basic one about lenses. I've had a scan of the (excellent) forum but not seen an obvious answer to this one...

    I've understood the message that 'glass is at least as important as the camera body' and have my eye on a Canon 17-85 USM lens for general use. But one of the things I'd really like to do is take good pics of people indoors (just casual groups of family, friends, parties etc). For this I'm guessing I could do with a lens that opens as wide as possible: the Canon lens I'm looking at only runs f4-f5.6 which I figure will be very limiting indoors. Am I right in thinking that something like a fixed 50mm lens opening to f1.4(ish) would be a sensible choice for this?

    Apologies if this is a daft question, I'm pretty new to this whole subject (but learing fast). I guess what I really need is a camera and some real life experience :) Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Richard
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Canon 50mm 1.4 is a very good lens (I use it myself as my only non-L lens) And it is certainly fine for indoor photography/portrait on a crop sensor. However, if you want to shoot whole groups of people, unless you live in a castle with a great hall, that is too long. So I suggest also having a shorter lens.

    suggestions? anyone?
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    The Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 should do fine, and unless you're in a really dark bar, you should have no problem. If you want to spend money, you can get the 17-55mm f/2.8 DX It would still work fine and it's got a wider zoom range on it.
     
  4. Mohain

    Mohain TPF Noob!

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    Isn't the 17-85 an IS lens (image stabilisation)? You should be fine with that. Can go down to about 1/10 sec and get a sharp image (sometimes).
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    .. unless people dance around at parties ... i guess he needs short exposures ..
     
  6. CMan

    CMan TPF Noob!

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    I think AlexB is right; short exposures will be what you need, as well as a shorter lens.

    I would actually say that the 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the 350D/400D would work just fine for what you are wanting to do with it.
     
  7. Mohain

    Mohain TPF Noob!

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    aye, true.

    The 'nifty fifty' is also a good bet. A must for every canon user. 65 quid for a f/1.8 prime? :shock: Fill yr boots!!
     
  8. porterrj

    porterrj TPF Noob!

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    Many thanks to all for your swift and helpful replies.

    Alex_B: noted your point about the need for something shorter than 50mm; you're right, my South London shoebox doesn't exactly have a 'great hall' :)

    Sw1tchFX: thanks, I'm aiming for 'normal' indoor lightling rather than dark bars, so I guess I should be OK

    Mohain et al: Yes, it's the 17-85 USM IS lens I have my eye on and I reckon it should give me some pretty good shots (let's hope so given the £300+ price tag - am I nuts to match it with a £400ish body?), but Alex_B and CMan are right, I guess I figured that although the Image Stabilisation might get me out of trouble as long as my subjects stay still, for slightly livelier crowds I'll need a shorter lens and shorter exposures. At £65 the 'nifty fifty' sounds like a good investment, 'tho perhaps still a bit long(?)

    You've been a great help, thanks!
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    I've heard good things about the Sigma 30mm F1.4.
     
  10. AluminumStudios

    AluminumStudios TPF Noob!

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    A 50mm F1.x works well in indoor lighting conditions, but getting a wide-enough angle indoors where you don't always have room to back up can be frustrating. don't forget the 1.5x crop factor on DSLRs, making 50mm more likd 75mm.
     
  11. Johno

    Johno TPF Noob!

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    Not at all :) You'll probably keep the lens you buy far longer than you will have the camera body. I've got a lens that is easily worth twice as much as my camera body, and I know there is a couple of guys on here that can put that to shame:lol:. Glass isn't something you want to skimp on.
     
  12. kemplefan

    kemplefan TPF Noob!

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    i just bought the 18-35mm nikkor f3.5 for my d50 and it is awsome
     

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