Which lens to use

jcdeboever

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Saturday, I have a family group shot I need to take. 5- Generation. 100, 70, 53, 34, 8, and 4 year old. I have scouted the location and would like to get both inside and out but it's supposed to shower all day. I was looking to buy a light kit ... may or may not get one. This came up last minute, yesterday. Not a huge deal, family in law and not particular about quality. I can bounce my sb400 off a white ceiling and I also have a diffuser that can go over it.

I have a 35mm 1.8 prime, 17-55mm 2.8 zoom, and a 70-300mm VC zoom.

My thought was to use the 17-55 stopped down to f5.6 or there abouts.35 to 40 mm away. ISO will be 800 and let the camera select Shutter. AP mode... This was a quick check of area I would be shooting in, indoors. I want everyone is sharp focus, group of 6.

Group composition...

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Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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astroNikon

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3 rows? Maybe f/8

take 3 stuffed animals, put them in a row and recreate the space.
Take test shots and check your DOF

I just did a team soccer shot at f/8, 3 rows, from about 20 feet away which gave me ample DOF ~8feet on a FullFrame. On a crop it would have been under 6 feet DOF.
use a calculator to figure it out too
A Flexible Depth of Field Calculator

But the closer you get, the less DOF you'll have.
 

goooner

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35-40mm away seems awfully close, you might get the 100 year olds' nose in frame :highly_amused:
 
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jcdeboever

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3 rows? Maybe f/8

take 3 stuffed animals, put them in a row and recreate the space.
Take test shots and check your DOF

I just did a team soccer shot at f/8, 3 rows, from about 20 feet away which gave me ample DOF ~8feet on a FullFrame. On a crop it would have been under 6 feet DOF.
use a calculator to figure it out too
A Flexible Depth of Field Calculator

But the closer you get, the less DOF you'll have.
Your right, my bad... I meant f8 to f10. Thanks for the tip and Link

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astroNikon

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I have some DOF apps on my iPhone which I reference to when I scope things out. Comes in handy as you're learning.
 

ak_

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I can bounce my sb400 off a white ceiling

What color are the walls? Make sure to shoot raw so you can correct any casts from walls/clothing or from varying flash power (pink>blue). Take a WB card with you for reference and include it in a picture.
 
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jcdeboever

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Tan color

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Jim Walczak

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These are just my own personal opinions and as I don't have a huge amount of portrait experience, should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

If sharpness is your priority, you may wish to consider this...while I won't speak for others, it's been my experience that zooms tend to be sharper on their wide side than they are on the long side. In other words, all other things being equal, that 70-300 -may- be sharper at 70mm than the 17-55mm is at 55mm. Obviously this depends on the individual lenses, but it's something to consider.

Likewise, it's been my experience that a lot of portrait shooters tend to favor the 80 to 120mm range as well, as it tends to be a bit more flattering. In other words, a fairly protruding proboscis for example, will usually look better taken with a longer lens from a little bit of a distance than it will taken with a wide angle from a much closer distance...that whole flattening thing that happens with longer focal lengths and such. For portraits, you may also find that the longer lens from a distance will give you better control over the DOF as well. Personally I always find that portraits, group or otherwise, usually look better with a limited DOF.

As others have already suggested, I'd do some experimentation ahead of time, but I wouldn't rule out the 70-300mm...you might be surprised.

Just my $.02.
 

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