What lens for studio photography?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by denawayne, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. denawayne

    denawayne TPF Noob!

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    I'm a hobbyist who just set up a 2 flash/umbrella studio in my house. I am using a Nikon D40. I have the kit lens, 18-55, plus the 55-200. I want to spend some money on a better lens specifically for studio photography. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    since you have a d40 and it does not auto focus with non-afs lens
    i would get the af-s 50mm 1.4 or the af-s 35mm hands down
    + i would get the 301p radio triggers for your flashes.
    they cost pretty much nothing compared to pw and they work really well for a small home studio,
     
  3. denawayne

    denawayne TPF Noob!

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    Wow, thanks for the fast response! I'll check into the lens' you suggested. AF is not that important to me. I'm trying to ween myself off of it. Unfortunately I cannot use a radio trigger with the SB-400 so I am tethered to a sync cord. Since my studio is so small, I can live with the cord. I eventually want to buy better flashes but a lens is more important to me right now. I'm getting decent pictures but they are not that crisp.
     
  4. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    If you dont really care about the auto-focus,
    have a look at the 50mm 1.8
    you can get it for about +-120$

    I didnt know the sb-400 couldnt be triggered by any 3rd party trigger......i never used a sb-400.
     
  5. dak1b

    dak1b TPF Noob!

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    the 50mm 1.4 is an excellent choice! fast fast fast!
     
  6. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But for studio photography, I believe you do not need fast lens. Just need something decently sharp and focus on lighting.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    How big is the studio and what will you mostly be taking pictures of? People or things?

    35 mm is a bit short for portraiture, 50 mm is ok, 85 mm and 105 mm are good if your studio is big enough. Even better is 200 mm but you need more room to move away from your subject.
     
  8. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    It depends a lot on the type of studio work you intend to do.

    In general, you don't need a fast lens from an exposure standpoint as the studio lighting will generally be bright enough to allow you to work at middle apertures. On the other hand, if you are manually focusing you'll find a fast lens a great boon. Also, you may want a fast lens to achieve shallow depth of field.

    denawayne:
    The type of studio work you intend to do and the size of the space you can dedicate to the studio are the biggest factors to consider in choosing a lens. For portrait work and fashion, if you have enough space, you generally want a lens with a focal length about 2-3x "normal", where "normal" is defined as a focal length equal to the diagonal measure of the sensor. For Nikon DX, "normal" is approximately 28mm, so you should consider lenses in the 60-100mm range. For smaller studios combined with looser framed portraits or full length fashion, a 50mm lens can be a good choice. If still life and product photography are the interest, you should consider lenses like the Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8, the newest is an AFS lenes.

    I would suggest that you start by using the lenses you have and, after a little experience, reviewing the shots that work well with an eye to what focal length was used (easily seen by viewing the EXIF data in the image file). After that review, you will be in a better position to judge what new lens to acquire.
     
  9. travistank

    travistank TPF Noob!

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    I use canon cameras yet use old nikkor lenses because they are sharp and great with light. I would suggest looking into some old film lenses.
     
  10. BrianLy

    BrianLy TPF Noob!

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    I see a lot of people using the 50mm.
     

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