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What to buy for indoor photography


TPF Noob!
Sep 21, 2010
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Quebec, Canada
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Hello there

I finally have enough money to upgrade my gears, and I face several choice as to what to buy. I'd like to buy everything, but sadly, I am a poor student and so I'm on a budget.

Right now my equipement is the following

-Nikon D3000 body
-Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR lens (it came with the body)
-Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR lens
-A sigma polarized filter
-A UV filter
-An extra battery
-A small tripod

A lot of the photo I take are indoor during the night, so the lightning is very poor. So I must

1- Use the built-in flash, which create a not so pretty light
2- Cramp up the ISO to 800 and up, which make a lot of noise on my D3000
3- Slow the shutter speed so slow that I get camera shake and any movement is blurred

And even then, a lot of my picture are underexposed.

So, what should I buy that will improve the best those indoor photo?

-An external flash that I will be able to bounce on the ceiling such as the SB-400
-The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens so that I can get a better aperture (and a better focus ring, the ring on the 18-55mm is quite hard to use and I hate it)
-A new camera body with lower noise so I can crank up the ISO (although that is quite expensive)
-A combination of the above

Thank in advance.

EDIT : added the tripod in the list of items I possess as of now.
Last edited:
A combination of the above.

The D3000 has a CCD type image sensor. CMOS image sensors use less power and generally have better ISO performance. Look at the D3100.

The SB-400 doesn't have very much more power than your pop-up does and bouncing the light makes the light path longer. Because of the inverse square law (light falloff) and light spread the SB-400 may not deliver as much light as your pop-up does now. Consider the SB-600 or an equivelent, less expensive 3rd party speedlight (Bower, Vivitar).

When using flash you don't need the f/1.8 aperture of the 35 mm and being an AF lens it also has a short throw focus ring.
I like natural light photo a lot, so I think I'll buy both a flash (to be able to take sharp no grainy photos) and a fast lens (when I want natural light).

I have a good idea of the lens I want, but I'm not so sure about the flash though.
i suggest Canon PowerShot SD4500IS

The Canon HS System takes the frustration out of low light shooting. The system delivers clear, blur-free shots with all the ambiance intact, and frees you from the sometimes unwanted effects of using the flash. Beautiful low light shots are possible at both low and high ISO speeds, and the dynamic range is expanded to retain maximum detail in highlight and shadow areas.
A combination of the above.

The SB-400 doesn't have very much more power than your pop-up does

While I agree with your other statements, this is wrong. It's day and night difference compared to popup flash on my D90.

I use SB-400 which is more than adequate indoors. It's so light to carry -> that way you will always have an external flash with you when needed and fun to use and is cheap. You can get a Stofen diffuser for vertical shots (since it doesn't bounce in portrait orientation). Even if you upgrade to a better body that supports CLS with SB600 or 700 in future, you can still use this as backup flash for travel.

To the OP I think a combination of SB-400 and 35 1.8 will work well for the purpose he/she stated here.
how about a tripod?
I read a few review on the SB-400, and I think this is what I will buy as an external flash (I like small pratical things) + the 35mm lens.

As for a tripod, I must admit I really don't like them for indoor photography, since they are quite bulky and in a small house with a lot of fragile things I'm not sure it a wise thing to carry around. I prefer to use them for outdoor shot with my telephoto lens or for long exposure during the night.

Thanks everyone for your advice

PS : it's a he in my case ^^.

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