Best Lens for Club Photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dynamyk, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Dynamyk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2005
    Just bought a Canon XSi with the stock lens, lined up a few gigs to do night club shoots, got my hands on a decent flash but I need to know what you all would suggest for a good club shoot in terms of lens.
  2. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    If you're a baller, you get the $1000 Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and the $1600 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. Otherwise, you should start out with the $80 Canon 50mm f/1.8 and depending on your needs, a wide or telephoto prime
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    For the night club shots, make sure you get some kind of flash diffuser (ie Gary Fong Lightspere, Stofen Omni Bounce). If you want to shoot ambient light, the suggestions above are good (especially the 1.8, it is cheap, so when the camera gets knocked out of your hands, hopefully the lens will take one for the team). 50 mm is really long for typical crowd shots though. The 17-55 will be a much more useful focal range (but way more money).
  4. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    or you can rent a lens (or lenses) from the likes of or something like that. I checked their prices and they are actually really decent!

    We need to know your budget. You would get better results i believe, using a fast prime or zoom. if you can rent an 85 1.2 or maybe a 70-200 2.8 or 35 1.2. someone suggested the 17-55IS, which is a great lens from what i have heard and seen.

    How close are you going to be to the action? if you are standing in the back, the 17-55 may not be close enough, or even fast enough. The faster the lens, the better you are off! But ofcourse you pay for such luxuries.
  5. Dynamyk thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2005
    Couple hundred at most. I wanna do a few crowd shots but mostly shots of 2-3 people posing for photos.
  6. dmb70 macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2004
    Just so I'm clear, you're shooting people hanging out/partying in a night club, not shooting bands performing at said club?

    If that's the case, then by all means get a bounce flash & soft box/diffuser. With a flash your kit lens should be ok. Depending on how the club is lit even some of the fast lenses mentioned above may not be fast enough to shoot using available light.

    Google "Canon Lens rental" there are many choice for lens rental, try a few to see what works in your specific shooting situation.
  7. ckseid macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    Los Angeles
    You definitely should get a dedicated flash. That little pop on your camera won't really work. As to what lens, for 3-4 person in a frame...using a dedicated flash...the kit lens should be okay. :)
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    there is no "best" lens for nightclubs. there's ok and there's better. what's more important is knowing how to use a flash. speaking of which, don't waste your money on a diffuser - all it does is waste energy. just bounce it off something, or use direct flash and drag the shutter. gel it if you need to.
  9. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    As others have said, you may be better off investing in a flash and diffuser (although homemade diffusers work just as well as the brand-name ones, IMO).

    Although it is considerably slower than the 50mm 1.8, you may want to consider the 28mm 2.8 Canon lens. It's wider angle will probably be better suited to what you want to shoot:
  10. shaunymac macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    I had the 28 1.8. It is nice and somewhat fast for certain conditions On your body it will be a 44mm or so. It is close to 50mm, the more so standard lens.

    If you go the 50mm route, I would spring for the 1.4 verson if you have the cash. It will allow you to go to poorer lighting without flash, more bokeh which people love, and it is built better. I have had one. They are great. It is why you see them mounted on anything from a 5D to a 1DsIII in a promo shot.

    As far as a diffuser goes, you can make your own. Don't waste your money. Go buy some funfoam from the craft store and some velcro. You will spend $5 or so.
  11. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    If you are still thinking of buying a prime, try setting the zoom on your kit lens and taping it at the various focal lengths so you can't adjust it. See what works for you. 50mm will be too long for 3 people in a nightclub. You will need something like 10' between you and them, it's hard to get that much distance without someone walking in the way.
  12. PimpDaddy macrumors 6502


    May 9, 2007
    I've been doing alot of club photography the last year and first and foremost you'll want to get a wide-angle lens!

    Unless you're shooting at a really large club a 50mm is waaaay too long. I currently use the 18-55mm kit lens on my crop body and I'm looking at a 10-22mm or 12-24mm which IMO is the best range for a lens which is to be used at clubbing events.

    But the 18-55mm is not bad as a 'beginner' lens. Especially if you combine it with a external flash with a flash cable.
  13. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    I have been doing it for ages:
    there are those that almost exclusivly use fisheyes
    there are those that love the wide angle zooms (10-20 crop lenses etc)
    there are those who argue that as you have to use flash that the stock zoom is just fine
    there are those that swear by primes

    bear in mind that a 1.4 prime will make the viefinder a lot more useable. A stock zoom, crop sensor and mirror viewfinder will make the view through the lens next to useless. It will also make focusing easier having a fast lens.
    wide angles are easier, I sometimes like to shoot in a crowd with an 85mm (full frame) hard work getting your distance and explaining that you are only shooting 2 people max
    primes free your hands to hold a flash if you want
    2.8 zooms are the compromise between zoom and prime but are expensive heavy and at the end of the day still slow

    personally I only shoot primes and have been doing so for years. I tend shoot around 50mm full frame. I shoot now with a 50mm on full frame, I use to shoot 28mm on crop sensor. I also carry a wide angle (20mm or fish) and often a longer lens 85 or 180mm. I don't believe in flash difusers like fong. I only ever use flash off camera and use a gridded, tungsten gelled flash.
    Different clubs require different lenses. There is one I frequent that I would not dream of going to without my 180, for other clubs that lens is just a dead weight.
    you can see my stuff at
  14. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    I second the 17-55 f2.8. Or you can also work with a 24mm or 35mm prime at f2 or lower to help with the difficult lighting conditions.

    I've done the primes and they seem to be perfectly adequate - and brighter. But having the 17-55 really makes the job easier for its flexibility. I also always use flash.
  15. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Or a Tamron 17-50 2.8 which is about a 3rd of the price of the canon equivalent! Nice and sharp with better colours then the kit lens, or at least in my experience.
  16. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    just a thought on the budget
    -you might be able to get a prime new (don't know canon offerings)
    -If you have the time to do ebay you will certainly get a prime
    -If you are lucky you could get a sigma/tamron f2.8 zoom on ebay
    -If you want wide zoom you can probably get a secondhand 10-20 for a few hundred on ebay.

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