Wide aperture vs. high ISO... Is my reasoning good here?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by splproductions, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. splproductions
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    splproductions New Member

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    So next year I'll be going to the Dominican Republic for humanitarian work and I'm trying to decide which lenses to bring. The goal is to bring the smallest and the fewest lenses so I don't look like an attractive target to a thief. I'm not going to bring a Speedlite.

    Last night I was thinking through this... let me know if this reasoning sounds logical or not.

    I already know I'm going to be in low-light situations in the buildings we'll be working in (no power most of the time). So for one of my lenses, you would think it would make more sense to bring a 50mm 1.4 instead of a 40mm 2.8, right?

    However...

    The 40mm at 2.8 is much sharper than the 50mm at around 1.6. So to get the same exposure with the 40mm, I have to up the ISO quite a bit. But I can remove noise fairly easily and get a quality pic, but I can't really sharpen up a photo that wasn't sharp in the first place.

    So it seems to make more sense to me to bring the 40mm (plus it's small enough to fit in my pocket - which would be a huge plus).

    Does that make sense? Any thoughts?
  2. Underdeveloped
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    Underdeveloped New Member

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    the 40 makes more sense to me, but why not a cheeper wide angle zoom. That way, if it's stolen, you're only out a small amount of coin? (just thinking of indoor shots of tight spaces at 40mm vs 24 or 18)
  3. splproductions
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    splproductions New Member

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    I'm pretty much ruling out zooms because I feel like even 2.8 would be pushing it with the available light I'll have (I've done this trip before). A 3.5-5.6 zoom would be worthless (since I don't want to bring a Speedlite and I'm not going to use pop-up flash). I would feel nervous as heck bringing my 24-70 just because of how big and "professional" it looks.

    If I bring a cheap zoom, which would require me to use pop-up flash... I might as well just use a P&S. I used a P&S this summer for this same trip and just was not pleased at all with the results.

    40mm is pretty tight. But I think most of the shots that I want to look "pro" will be close-up work anyway. I think I'm going to bring an 85mm as well for street stuff. For the group shots indoors, someone's iPhone will suffice.
  4. BobSaget
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    BobSaget New Member

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    You could by a holga bounce flash for $10 and not care if it gets stolen or give it away at the end of your trip.
  5. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    I think it'd make more sense to take the speedlite. You are working in dark buildings. You aren't going to get good results even with an incredibly fast lens and maximum ISO.
  6. amolitor
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    amolitor New Member

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    Would you use the 50mm wide open?

    If so, you're gonna have to go up two stops, and I bet you're not going to be starting off at ISO 100, so you're getting in to the Land Of Noise big time.

    If you'd never use the 50 any wider than f/2.0 or whatever, and you ARE willing to use the 40 wide open, go for the 40. If you're always going to be two stops slower, take the 50.
  7. enzodm
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    enzodm Well-Known Member

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    For me, 40 or 50mm inside a building may be too long.
    By the way, noise is never just removed with no consequences: it brings away some sharpness too.
  8. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    +1 on - Take a hot shoe flash unit.
  9. The_Traveler
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    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent

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    Insure your stuff and take whatever gets the best image.
  10. bratkinson
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    bratkinson Well-Known Member

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    If I were going there, I'd probably pick up a used 40D or 50D, a used 440 EX, and a used 18-135 f3.5-5.6 and go with just that. I might also pack the 50 f1.4 as well, for low light situations where the flash can't be used. When I had an EF-S 18-135, I found it was a great all-around lens, but needed flash indoors.

    With a total investment target of about $700-800, if it gets lost or stolen, it would certainly 'hurt', but not as bad as losing a 24-70 + body + <whatever else>.
  11. jaomul
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    jaomul Well-Known Member

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    Canon? EF35mm f/2. Cheap fast and wide
  12. Dikkie
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    Dikkie Active Member

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    I think the same, but without the speedlite.
    I'd take a stable mini-tripod with me, and use longer shuttertimes instead. So I don't need to worry about the large aperture or the high iso. That way you can carry a cheaper zoom too, like 18-55mm ?

    You'll always have to shoot from the floor or on top of something, that will be your only disability.
  13. SCraig
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    SCraig Well-Known Member

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    All of this revolves around not taking a speedlight or not using a pop-up flash, and I don't get it. Take a speedlight or use the pop-up flash. I just don't see the problem. A speedlight will fit in a pocket. A couple of layers of tissue or a couple of pieces of white cardboard to make a reflector and the pop-up flash is quite functional.
  14. JAC526
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    JAC526 New Member

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    Definitely take the speedlight. Will make you much more flexible. And if you don't know how to use bounce flash effectively what a perfect time to learn.
  15. curtyoungblood
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    curtyoungblood Active Member

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    I think we need more information to really answer your question. What body are you using and what ISO are you comfortable going to and what are your plans on displaying these images? If you are determined to have no noise in the images and want to stick to low ISO, then the flash advice may be relevant. I don't think you need to bring one though, but instead learn to work the light that is there. The buildings may be dark, but I bet they have some windows that let light in. Stay near them and shoot stuff that happens nearby heavily.

    As far as equipment goes, It seems like you already have the 50 and are thinking about getting the 40 for this trip. If that's true, I think you'd be better served with the added flexibility of something like the 28 1.8 or 35 f2 (they're a little more expensive though).

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