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Thread: Choosing a fast lens

  1. #1

    Default Choosing a fast lens

    I've been struggling in low light situations for a while now and I figured that a fast lens is the best solution as I'm unable to use flash in certain situations. I frequently shoot fast paced action (ie dance in low light), hence my shutter speed has to be faster too. So, how do I go about choosing one? I use a Nikon . I'd prefer to have a zoom lens. I'm looking for a mid range focal length, nothing too tele required.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    I've been struggling in low light situations for a while now and I figured that a fast lens is the best solution as I'm unable to use flash in certain situations. I frequently shoot fast paced action (ie dance in low light), hence my shutter speed has to be faster too. So, how do I go about choosing one? I use a Nikon . I'd prefer to have a zoom lens. I'm looking for a mid range focal length, nothing too tele required.
    Hmm if you need a zoom lens, the fastest you can go with Nikon lens is f2.8. So I guess you are looking at 16-55 f2.8 if you are on crop sensor camera or 24-70 f2.8 for full frame camera. But since you are having problem with low light i am guess you are using crop sensor camera
    If you go for prime lens you can get it to go faster.

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    I've been struggling in low light situations for a while now and I figured that a fast lens is the best solution as I'm unable to use flash in certain situations. I frequently shoot fast paced action (ie dance in low light), hence my shutter speed has to be faster too. So, how do I go about choosing one? I use a Nikon . I'd prefer to have a zoom lens. I'm looking for a mid range focal length, nothing too tele required.
    These are the fast prime lenses Nikon has, from Wide to Tele, pick those you think suit you, if you are not sure, can rent a couple of them to test it out before you buy any of them.

    24mm f1.4
    35mm f1.4
    50mm f1.4
    85mm f1.4
    105mm f2
    135mm f2
    180mm f2.8
    200mm f2
    300mm f2.8
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    I've been struggling in low light situations for a while now and I figured that a fast lens is the best solution as I'm unable to use flash in certain situations. I frequently shoot fast paced action (ie dance in low light), hence my shutter speed has to be faster too. So, how do I go about choosing one? I use a Nikon . I'd prefer to have a zoom lens. I'm looking for a mid range focal length, nothing too tele required.
    I shoot dance events (as an audience) occasionally. 35mm and 50mm are the common lens I've seen (other photographers) and used so far. Solely because I'm near to the dancers.

    Fast lens are generally expensive. And usually you will have to stop down to get a sharper image. (there are some lens that I know are amazingly sharp wide open).

    If your camera has good ISO capabilities then it shouldn't be a problem. If not then I supposed you can underexposed the images and then bring back the shadows and highlights in post production.







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  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DSolZ View Post
    Hmm if you need a zoom lens, the fastest you can go with Nikon lens is f2.8. So I guess you are looking at 16-55 f2.8 if you are on crop sensor camera or 24-70 f2.8 for full frame camera. But since you are having problem with low light i am guess you are using crop sensor camera If you go for prime lens you can get it to go faster.
    I'm on a crop sensor camera. I don't see any 16-55mm. Did you mean the 17-55mm? What about the sigma 18-35mm f1.8?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    These are the fast prime lenses Nikon has, from Wide to Tele, pick those you think suit you, if you are not sure, can rent a couple of them to test it out before you buy any of them. 24mm f1.4 35mm f1.4 50mm f1.4 85mm f1.4 105mm f2 135mm f2 180mm f2.8 200mm f2 300mm f2.8
    What about 3rd party primes? Or is Nikon's own primes more recommended?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ha Zu Ni Za View Post
    I shoot dance events (as an audience) occasionally. 35mm and 50mm are the common lens I've seen (other photographers) and used so far. Solely because I'm near to the dancers. Fast lens are generally expensive. And usually you will have to stop down to get a sharper image. (there are some lens that I know are amazingly sharp wide open). If your camera has good ISO capabilities then it shouldn't be a problem. If not then I supposed you can underexposed the images and then bring back the shadows and highlights in post production. Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
    I suppose my camera (d5300) has okay ISO capabilities but even at max ISO, I'm unable to bring up my shutter speed thus I'm looking for a fast lens

  8. #8

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    I suppose my camera (d5300) has okay ISO capabilities but even at max ISO, I'm unable to bring up my shutter speed thus I'm looking for a fast lens
    How fast do you shoot? 1/400 is more than enough to freeze the action of dancers. And how much do you capped your ISO at? (If you are shooting in A or S mode)

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ha Zu Ni Za View Post
    How fast do you shoot? 1/400 is more than enough to freeze the action of dancers. And how much do you capped your ISO at? (If you are shooting in A or S mode) Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
    Usually 6400 is the max I go but in darker situations 25600 is not enough for me to even shoot at a shutter of 1/125

  10. #10

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    I'm on a crop sensor camera. I don't see any 16-55mm. Did you mean the 17-55mm? What about the sigma 18-35mm f1.8?
    Yeah I mean 17-55 Nikon. I was on Nikon and now on Fuji ... Fuji has 16-55 so I got confused. I never tried sigma 18-35 so I can't really advise u on that. I suggested 17-55 because you seems to be looking for a normal zoom lens.

    If you want lens suggestion perhaps you should tell us what is the focal length you work with for the picture you want to take.

    It seems that you are operating in very dark environment perhaps u might even need to consider a full frame sensor
    Last edited by DSolZ; 9th January 2016 at 10:50 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    Usually 6400 is the max I go but in darker situations 25600 is not enough for me to even shoot at a shutter of 1/125
    Wow. That's pretty dark for a dance event. I assumed you are shooting with a kit lens?

    Getting a fast lens would probably help abit but if you are shooting at 6400 and any higher I supposed it will degrade the picture quality. Unless of course you don't mind investing in those 1.2 or lower lens. Which of course would cost a bomb.

    Why not consider getting a full frame like what Dsolz suggested? Or.. just rent those expensive lens.



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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ha Zu Ni Za View Post
    Wow. That's pretty dark for a dance event. I assumed you are shooting with a kit lens? Getting a fast lens would probably help abit but if you are shooting at 6400 and any higher I supposed it will degrade the picture quality. Unless of course you don't mind investing in those 1.2 or lower lens. Which of course would cost a bomb. Why not consider getting a full frame like what Dsolz suggested? Or.. just rent those expensive lens. Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
    full frame not cheap... and yes I use the kit lens f3.5-f5.6 which I like, except for low light situations

  13. #13

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    full frame not cheap... and yes I use the kit lens f3.5-f5.6 which I like, except for low light situations
    True that. full frame isn't cheap but I believed it will help with your low light dilemma. But your best bet if you don't wanna fork out so much money is to just rent out the lenses. It's more justifiable.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Nikonzen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Go manual focus with a 50/1.2 Ais or the 28 Ais I guess if you are using a crop camera. I believe Nikon is still producing both NIB. Or any of the G lenses maybe...or right along your specified parameters maybe the venerable 35-70 D but I am not so sure it would really work...2.8 is just not real fast. I also don't trust so much in using high ISO to substitute for light that wasn't there in the first place but that is just me.
    Last edited by Nikonzen; 10th January 2016 at 07:05 AM.
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  15. #15
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rainduet View Post
    full frame not cheap... and yes I use the kit lens f3.5-f5.6 which I like, except for low light situations
    What kind of subjects you need to shoot in such low light situation?
    Fast lenses are not cheap, be it prime or zoom.

    They can help in low light situation, but they are not magic lenses, you will have other issue to deal with even you able to shoot with fast lenses.

    Anyway, the cheapest is the 50mm f1.4, you will gain 3 stops at most, do you think is that is good enough?
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Choosing a fast lens

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    What kind of subjects you need to shoot in such low light situation?
    Fast lenses are not cheap, be it prime or zoom.

    They can help in low light situation, but they are not magic lenses, you will have other issue to deal with even you able to shoot with fast lenses.

    Anyway, the cheapest is the 50mm f1.4, you will gain 3 stops at most, do you think is that is good enough?
    TS shooting Disco env? If so maybe flash might be ok.
    Actually at 50 mm he is using f5.6. So f1.4 is 4 stop gain. This could potentially be good enough for him.
    Last edited by DSolZ; 10th January 2016 at 10:25 AM.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ha Zu Ni Za View Post
    True that. full frame isn't cheap but I believed it will help with your low light dilemma. But your best bet if you don't wanna fork out so much money is to just rent out the lenses. It's more justifiable. Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
    will note.

  18. #18
    Member jjlimjohn's Avatar
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    Default

    Can consider Sigma 18-35mm f1.8. It's a wide to mid range zoom lens with fast aperture.

    Otherwise the 17-55mm f2.8 lenses are all decent too.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikonzen View Post
    Go manual focus with a 50/1.2 Ais or the 28 Ais I guess if you are using a crop camera. I believe Nikon is still producing both NIB. Or any of the G lenses maybe...or right along your specified parameters maybe the venerable 35-70 D but I am not so sure it would really work...2.8 is just not real fast. I also don't trust so much in using high ISO to substitute for light that wasn't there in the first place but that is just me.
    manual focus... pretty sure I'm bad at that

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSolZ View Post
    TS shooting Disco env? If so maybe flash might be ok. Actually at 50 mm he is using f5.6. So f1.4 is 4 stop gain. This could potentially be good enough for him.
    Yes, I believe that 4 stops would be a great improvement, allowing me to increase my shutter speed and probably drop the ISO

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