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Thread: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

  1. #1
    Member arphaxad12's Avatar
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    Default Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    I started this thread because I am of 3 minds - spend more hours trying to master flash photography or get a few fast prime lens or move on from DX to FX (already poisoned) and fast lenses (deep deep hole in pocket after this). Currently using D90 and N 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 and SB600 (and at moderate ISO) most often for indoor photos. But very unhappy with the quality of the pics. Also tried using my 35mm f1.8 w/o flash but not often I can get close enough to subject eg at events like performances in relatively low light. Really admire those who took clean sharp pics for indoor events like the recent Riverside Mid-Autumn shows and the Gundam shows.

    Appreciate any advice fron my fellow CS'ers.
    Nikon D90 18-200mm VR 35mm 1.8 Tokina 11-16mm

  2. #2
    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Pse. take note that fast lens when wide-open have very narrow DOF.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Yeah, too shallow DOP might not be suitable sometimes. Also, after if u compare two pics.. one using fast lens.. and one using normal one with flash.. the effect also different.

    Whenever there's a flash used on the subject, its always different. There r some peeps will always shoot with flash and some do it really artistically!

  4. #4
    Member JiEeEe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    started this thread because I am of 3 minds - spend more hours trying to master flash photography

    u already got flash. why dont u do this.
    wannabeMusician+wannabePhotographer

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    TS, for your usage i certainly dont advise FX since you will lose the valuable crop factor (READ: more reach) if you do upgrade to FX. Rather than spending on the body, why not just invest in quality zoom lenses, or better yet primes if you know what you will be shooting. If you are on a budget, i recommend the sigma f2.8 70-200. Built quality is good, relatively sharp, and best of all, VALUE FOR MONEY. IIRC a 2nd hand one costs only 1.1k. but dont quote me on this im trying to recall off hand. I dont recommend flash as much as a fast lens as a fast lens gives you more flexibility and a flash can only give you harsh lighting under certain circumstances. My advice is get a basic flash, ie SB 600 or 800 and spend the rest on quality lenses. I dont recommend the Nikon 70-200 though as it can tear your pocket apart.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxad12 View Post
    I started this thread because I am of 3 minds - spend more hours trying to master flash photography or get a few fast prime lens or move on from DX to FX (already poisoned) and fast lenses (deep deep hole in pocket after this). Currently using D90 and N 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 and SB600 (and at moderate ISO) most often for indoor photos. But very unhappy with the quality of the pics. Also tried using my 35mm f1.8 w/o flash but not often I can get close enough to subject eg at events like performances in relatively low light. Really admire those who took clean sharp pics for indoor events like the recent Riverside Mid-Autumn shows and the Gundam shows.

    Appreciate any advice fron my fellow CS'ers.
    Keep shooting flash and DON't be afraid to experiment. There are plenty of tricks when shooting flash.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  7. #7
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    flash is more powerfull than u think.

    if ur indoor is decent lighting, flash can act as fill via ettl.

    if ur indoor is horrendous, flash acts as main light.

    why are u so urgent to buy new equipments when u havent reached the limits and master how to use ur equipments yet?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    I say get both fast lenses and a good flash on a crop
    instagram: @2ndhandphotog

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    Senior Member +evenstar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    you can always bump ISO to 1600/3200/6400
    eat. drink. shoot

  10. #10
    Member cirenaiht's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by JiEeEe View Post
    started this thread because I am of 3 minds - spend more hours trying to master flash photography

    u already got flash. why dont u do this.
    I totally agree with this comment

  11. #11
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by +evenstar View Post
    you can always bump ISO to 1600/3200/6400
    sorry i'm a 450d. i can at most hit 1600 and its noisy.

  12. #12
    Senior Member +evenstar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    sorry i'm a 450d. i can at most hit 1600 and its noisy.
    i'm on a 6 year old camera, and i use ISO 1600/3200 when i have to.

    what's important is about capturing the moment. not noise.
    eat. drink. shoot

  13. #13
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by +evenstar View Post
    i'm on a 6 year old camera, and i use ISO 1600/3200 when i have to.

    what's important is about capturing the moment. not noise.
    and i have to agree on that. if i cant help it i'll heck. but if i can help it, i'll help it

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    i have a prime with me,
    yet to have a flash.

    and true enough primes just arent enough for some events.

    and with that poor lighting, we so need a flash.

    leading on to me concluding on getting a flash the next month
    plus, flash photography is so... amazing
    Photography photography photography

  15. #15
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by +evenstar View Post
    you can always bump ISO to 1600/3200/6400
    I would be inclined to take this path.
    I think, TS, there are many different types of shooters.
    Some are Strobist. Some like pure ambient. Some are a mixture.
    I happened to be one who uses very little flash because I enjoy the mood that ambient light brings.
    Thus, you could say that I am an ISO man.
    And ISO would be my choice together with a fast lens.

    P.S. Not that I am against flash. I have three flashes. But I only use them under certain circumstances.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    UP your ISO and use bounce flash to prevent those harsh light. higher ISO your flash will become more powerful and reach further. with proper light intensity high ISO shoots will not be noisy. noise come in when your picture is badly under expose.

    TS your setup should be able to easily handle the gundam event at compass point, think u just yet to fully understand your equipment and max its potential.
    D80/D700 18-135/17-50/14-24/24-70/70-200/70-300/50/60 SB600/900

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    bounce flash as in bounce card in the environment like the gundam event the ceiling is too high for upward bounce.

    use a diffuser and bounce card to soften the lighting, throw at a 45-90deg angle, the bounce card would help in throwing the soften light forward to increase the ambient light, and with higher ISO, that little amount of light will be enough.

    do explore abit more with flash. used to shoot poor lit event with D80 and SB600. sometimes need the reach even use 70-300mm, but at those reach i use direct flash. so your D90 surely can make it one.
    D80/D700 18-135/17-50/14-24/24-70/70-200/70-300/50/60 SB600/900

  18. #18

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    TS: Both! Experiment with bounce flash. Use a gebo if you have to.
    Here's a read for you: http://neilvn.com/tangents/

    Oh and remember (impt): buy gels to correct for tungstun and flourescent ambient

    for performances though...not easy to bounce if too far away.up ISO in print you can't really tell noise like you do on the screen..or... u get away clean with a D3s
    Last edited by Jonathan Ang; 19th September 2010 at 11:55 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Ang View Post
    TS: Both! Experiment with bounce flash. Use a gebo if you have to.
    Here's a read for you: http://neilvn.com/tangents/

    Oh and remember (impt): buy gels to correct for tungstun and flourescent ambient

    for performances though...not easy to bounce if too far away.up ISO in print you can't really tell noise like you do on the screen..or... u get away clean with a D3s
    Later wallet also clean-ed

    Anyway to TS, fast lenses may not be useful in some situations, like group photos, even F1.4 also no use, the depth of field is too shallow unless you only want to keep one in two person in focus. 2nd, weight, the 70-200 I'm using is f4, there's a f2.8 one available but the weight is double, price also 1.2k plus more, bring to travel I think before I shoot photos die liao . invest in a flash, which I find it to be more useful for indoors. Of course, if got money, get good body, fast lens and flash
    Canon EOS 550D + 18-55IS + 50 F1.8 + 70-200 F4L IS+ 580EXII

  20. #20
    Member arphaxad12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fast lenses vs flash for indoors

    Thanks everyone for your good advice. I know I can rely on fellow CS'ers on this.

    After reading thru the replies, I come to understand,
    (1) my option 3 (get FX and FX fast lens) is too rash ! (Just emo taking over)
    (2) my option 1 (learn to use flash better) is very doable - thanks to the bro who sent me the link, (http://neilvn.com/tangents) will mark that and read that in more detail later
    (3) my option 2 (fast primes) can be fined tuned to specific needs - eg might get a mid range f2.8 somewhere in the 24-135mm range (third party or nikon depending on price)

    Any more advice to help me fine tune further are greatly welcome.
    Nikon D90 18-200mm VR 35mm 1.8 Tokina 11-16mm

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