105mm f2.8 macro lens to take (fast) dance concerts?


Acolyte

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Dec 8, 2009
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#1
Hi all

my school is sending me for a in-house dance concert this fri evening to cover the event and i'm wondering if the later micro nikkor 105mm f2.8 vr can be used to take such fast paced action shots?

the stage would be quite dimly lit (no flash allowed) and i'll most probably be sitting at the front rows. i had tried a 85mm f1.4 before and the reach is a tad too short, thus the decision to switch to the 105mm (my friend would be using the 85mm).

I'll most prob be using a D300s with max iso of 1600. guess i will be needing a min speed of 1/250s
(previous shoot with the 85mm achieved 1/180s at f2, iso 1100)

How will the 105mm fare in terms or AF speed/accuracy and max aperture? Or is it better to use my 50mm f1.8?

thanks in advance ;)
 

May 5, 2009
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#3
to be frank, i don't think 85mm and 105mm will not make much difference in terms of reach, if 85mm is too short, most probably 105mm will not give you enough reach, not to mention the slower maximum aperture (f2.8 vs f1.4).

have you try cropping the photo from your 85mm? unless you need to do a super large print, the mega pixels of D300s should be more than enough for you to crop.

depending on how far are you from the stage, i believe tat if you are shooting at front rows with your 85mm, with some cropping, you can still get very good full body shots, if you want to shoot facial expressions, you may need a 200mm lens.
 

An drew

Senior Member
May 27, 2005
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#4
If you only have this lens then you can only make the best of it.

It is of course not ideal. If 105mm is too short then ideally you should have a 135f2 or 200f2. A macro lens and poor lighting and you might end up having the AF hunting up and down to micro minimum distance.

But I think it might still be possible if the lighting is not too bad.
 

May 5, 2009
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#5
oh and lenses with larger maximum aperture will give you brighter view in viewfinder, and easier for the camera to focus correctly too.
 

szeping

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Jan 13, 2008
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www.szeping.com
#6
the stage would be quite dimly lit (no flash allowed) and i'll most probably be sitting at the front rows. i had tried a 85mm f1.4 before and the reach is a tad too short, thus the decision to switch to the 105mm (my friend would be using the 85mm).
Actually which type of shoot you are looking at? You want to capture the facial expressions, half body or full body? And is it a solo dance concert?

I agree with miaoteh to crop when needed, as 85mm give you brighter view and more aperture breathe.

I just shot a dance event last weekend. For me, I always prefer to have full body shot as I think it will give the viewer the whole idea of the movement:





Took from front row using 50mm.

Of course, if you have your friend as a partner, then 50mm couple with 105mm might be a good choice as compared to 85mm + 105mm.
 

Acolyte

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Dec 8, 2009
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#7
hi thanks alot for your imputs. :)

@szeping: hi, nice picts you have there :thumbsup:

its a group concert. i'm actually trying for a half to full body shot but trying to make it as tight as possible to crop out distraction. hmmm from people's responses cropping in post process be a better choice.

@miaoteh and An drew: actually i have some concern about the focusing issue. like what An drew said, i'm afraid that the 105 macro might focus all the way back to min focusing distance, thus making me miss some shots ;(

manual focus? i used AF-C (with the 85) in the previous concerts and focus wasn't 100%.

however the 105 is a newer lens and has SWM i think. plus the benifit of VR.

and finally, issit worth it to rent a fast glass for abt $45 for a non-paid event? :think:
 

Last edited:

darrrrrrrrrr

Senior Member
Sep 19, 2006
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Singapore
#8
hi thanks alot for your imputs. :)

@szeping: hi, nice picts you have there :thumbsup:

its a group concert. i'm actually trying for a half to full body shot but trying to make it as tight as possible to crop out distraction. hmmm from people's responses cropping in post process be a better choice.

@miaoteh and An drew: actually i have some concern about the focusing issue. like what An drew said, i'm afraid that the 105 macro might focus all the way back to min focusing distance, thus making me miss some shots ;(

manual focus? i used AF-C (with the 85) in the previous concerts and focus wasn't 100%.

however the 105 is a newer lens and has SWM i think. plus the benifit of VR.

and finally, issit worth it to rent a fast glass for abt $45 for a non-paid event? :think:
My suggestion would be not to set the camera to AF-C since it would be continuously searching for something to focus on and increase the likelihood of losing focus and hunting in the dark. I usually set my lens to AF-S, center AF point, and go for the areas of high contrast such as shadows on the face, hairline, etc. Then I just hold on to the half-press between shots until they move out of my plane of focus, then I'll redo the focusing. It should work most of the time unless the dancers keep running back and forth on the stage.

If all else fails, just manual focus.. At least you won't have to deal with the hunting issue. I wouldn't rent the lens unless it was something I was considering buying at some point, then I'll use this as an excuse to go rent the lens. ;)
 

May 5, 2009
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#9
hi thanks alot for your imputs. :)

@szeping: hi, nice picts you have there :thumbsup:

its a group concert. i'm actually trying for a half to full body shot but trying to make it as tight as possible to crop out distraction. hmmm from people's responses cropping in post process be a better choice.

@miaoteh and An drew: actually i have some concern about the focusing issue. like what An drew said, i'm afraid that the 105 macro might focus all the way back to min focusing distance, thus making me miss some shots ;(

manual focus? i used AF-C (with the 85) in the previous concerts and focus wasn't 100%.

however the 105 is a newer lens and has SWM i think. plus the benifit of VR.

and finally, issit worth it to rent a fast glass for abt $45 for a non-paid event? :think:
you don't really need VR here in your case, cause your shutter speed is going to be at around 1/250, which should be more than enough to eliminate camera/hand shake, unless you have super shaky hands.

i will not suggest you to rent a 105mm just for this concert, because:
1. you are not paid.
2. you have not used the 105mm lens before, you do not know how it will behave under that environment, i.e. chance to screw up is higher.
3. 105mm does not offer you much advantage over your 85mm f1.4, other than the slightly more reach, which can be achieved by slight cropping. sharpness wise, i do not think they are differ by much. further, 105mm has 2 stops slower maximum aperture (f1.4 vs f2.8).

for me, i always use AF-S, because in AF-C mode, the camera can still take photo even if the subject is not in focus. and with the large aperture of 85mm, i believe the camera can focus fast enough in AF-S mode, try to pick an area tat has more contrast to focus on. slight focus-recompose is fine depending on your settings and distance from your subject.
 

Acolyte

New Member
Dec 8, 2009
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#10
ok sure thank you for the input guys :D will try out your suggestions in the final rehearsal to see how it turns out before the big thing.
 

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