Low Light Lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mattyb240, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi,

    I realised I might get a flaming for such a common question! I am a newbie to photography and like to shoot the events I design (Stage Lighting). I have found my kit lens to be insufficient in low light to get a fast enough shutter speed without ramping up the iso massively (Canon 1000D iso 1600). I have considered the 'nifty fifty' both the 1.8 and 1.4.

    I have tried shooting at this focal length and find it limiting at times (when I have no chance to move around without being obtrusive to the audiences view or distracting the performers). Ideally a telephoto lens in and around the standard kit lens (18-55) but I would like the IS function also. What aperture should I be looking at? 2.8? 1.8? Is 1.8 achievable in a zoom?

    My budget will be around £300-500(Maximum). I might be asking alot for to little but I thought it would be worth a shot!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. cube macrumors G5

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  3. mattyb240 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Would any of the Tamron 17-50 2.8 or Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 be any good? I am reading reviews as we speak and searching like a mad man! And I have read about constant apertures of 2.8? Does this just mean you can use 2.8 at any given focal length for a shallower DOF and better low light?
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    With your budget you are looking at primes, not zooms. If the 50mm f/1.4 is to wide for you get the 85mm f/1.8

    Pro quality zoom lenses are typically f/2.8 and also a bit over your budget. Yu will do better and save money with a 50mm or 85mm prime.

    Yes a constant f/2.8. But an f/1.4 lens is two full stops faster which means a 4X faster shutter. 4X is a lot. It means with the f/2.8 you'd be at 1/15 but with an f/1.4 you'd be at 1/60th huge difference.

    Put another way f/2.8 is two stops faster then your f/5.6 lens and will give you 4x faster shutter speed at the same ISO. Is 4X enough or do you need 16X faster.
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

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    #5
    Yes, "constant aperture" means the fastest aperture is the same at all focal lengths.

    Of course, the quality of the images always varies along a focal range.
     
  6. mattyb240 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    How much would I be looking at? While I am no pro, and do not pro quality I would like something better than stock kit lens as I like the focal length alot. I'm quite worried about being limited by primes, I love the idea of a prime, but never know where I am standing means I dont want to be restricted. Plus having a 1.5 crop factor means the 85mm would be more like 127mm!
    Thanks for the explanation I appreciate it a lot.
     
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #7
    What focal lengths are you usually using? Is 50mm too long or too short?
     
  8. mattyb240 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I generally use quite wide 18-24mm or 35-50 range, hence why I felt a fast prime might not be as convenient. I don't mind investing in something more expensive although I will have to wait for more work to come in...
     
  9. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #9
    Third-party lenses can be had for cheap used.

    I'd suggest you look at a second-hand f/2.8 standard zoom from Sigma, Tokina or Tamron and see how it works out for you.

    If it's too slow, you can sell it again without pain.
     
  10. cube macrumors G5

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    #10
    If you trade off wide angle for tele, and get a 28-70 instead of a 18-50, there're some real bargains out there. Most people don't want a focal range designed for full frame on their crop cameras.
     
  11. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #11
    I just got the 50mm 1.8, but I guess it's 80mm on my 20D.

    I'm old school anyways, and used to using a 50mm for everything... :eek:

    But, the low light zooms are pricey - I'll probably end up renting. But got the 20D with a larger sensor and shoot in higher ISO's (I have an Olympus system as my main camera).

    Maybe rent the lenses you need?
     
  12. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #12
    The obvious no-compromise lens for you would be the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, which costs $1030.00 on Amazon right now, without the hood. The hood (the nice official Canon one with the flocked interior) is another $50. It is famous for its L-quality optics, but comes at an L-level price (and you don't even get the nice red band or extra-nice build quality to go with it).

    If you can do without the IS, then the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is the next best option, and it's significantly cheaper ($450, so less than half the price).

    Otherwise, you might consider the Canon 35mm f/2 prime (only about $240). It's right in the middle of the range you like and is faster than what you have. With the money left over, you could then pick up a second fast prime.
     
  13. cube macrumors G5

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    #13
    The third-party f/2.8 standard zooms are hovering about $300 used, but sometimes they can be found for about $200 (at least the 28mm variety).
     
  14. cube macrumors G5

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    #14
    The Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 (non-HSM) is going for about $300 used. That looks very interesting.
     
  15. vga4life macrumors 6502

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    #15
    http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-30mm-Canon-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0007U0GZM

    If you're mostly working in the 18-55mm range, I'd recommend the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. It's as fast a lens as you can get at that focal length which matters a lot when shooting in low available light. If you're having trouble with the kit lens at f/3.5, an f/2.8 zoom isn't going to do it for you - you need one or more fast primes.

    (On a budget, I'd recommend buying the Sigma 30mm f/1.4, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 (cheap!) and the Canon 85mm f/1.8, in that order.)
     
  16. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #16
    That's not necessarily true, unless he intends only to shoot moving subjects. With my f/2.8 zoom with IS I can handhold down to 1/4s, something I can't do with my fast primes. I can shoot in lower light and with greater depth of field than I could with a fast prime. Of course this kind of shooting would be for interiors, museums, cathedrals, etc. Otherwise, most people are shooting moving subjects, in which case, yes, fast primes rule.

    I really wish there were some fast Canon primes with IS. My husband has a Pentax system, and all of his wonderful primes are stabilized by the body. Gotta love that. Of course that stabilization loses effectiveness with longer focal lengths.
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    I'd get the Sigma 30 mm f/1.4, but that's because I have one. It's wonderful. :)
     
  18. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    #18
    yup, I wonder why there is no IS in primes? That's one of the biggest drawback I seen in primes so far. I love the sharpness, contrast produced by primes but without IS, shooting in low light will be harder especially if the lens is heavy and you use it for a long period of time.
     
  19. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #19
    Canon's Supertelephoto primes have IS (Nikons too).

    http://www.lensrentals.com/category/supertelephoto/for-canon

    I think the normal range primes don't, as you don't get the effect of camera shake and are expected to use higher shutter speeds at lower f-stops.
     
  20. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #20
    Yeah, but none of those are faster than f/2.8 or wider than 200mm (at least I think there is one as wide as 200mm, although it's not on that page in your link). Nikon has a 105mm f/2.8 macro that has no Canon counterpart (I'd love to have that lens), but again, that's still only f/2.8.

    I've never understood why people so often say that camera shake is never an issue with the normal or wide range. Anyone who has ever had IS in that range will disagree. I love being able to shoot at 1/4s handheld and still have decent depth of field at 55mm...or at 17mm. Wide apertures alone are great until you need more DOF or even slower shutter speeds.
     
  21. fxstb2002 macrumors member

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    Apr 22, 2008
    #21
    I have the EF-S 17-55/2.8 and the Sigma 30/1.4. The 17-55 is my favorite lens, BUT for low light, the Sigma rocks. Really a great lens.
     
  22. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #22
    Depends on the type of shooting.

    I normally have always done landscapes at wide angles on sunny days (or dusk/dawn)...

    I guess the best thing to do is keep trying different things until you find what you like. Hence for me, renting lenses.

    I did get that popular Canon 50mm 1.8, though I have this weird feeling that I'm gonna love the Zeiss FE 50mm after renting it... :eek: ;)

    Thanks for everyones help on this area of the forum - talk about a lot of knowledgeable people!
     
  23. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Can you imagine how expensive a faster than f/2.8 prime with IS would be? For example:

    EF 500mm f/4L IS ($5,500 average price)
    EF 600mm f/4L IS ($7,200 average)
    EF 400mm f/2.8L IS ($6,350 average)

    Make that lens in f/1.4 IS, and you would probably need a cart to carry it, and over $12,000 to pay for it. Canon does not have a 105mm L lens, but has one in 135mm that is outstanding.
     
  24. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #24
    Well, I'm not talking about super-telephoto lenses. Those tend to be huge and expensive regardless of stabilization or speed. I imagine a stabilized 100mm or 85mm f/2 could fall under $1000 if it were non-L. Nikon's 105mm f/2.8 macro VR lens is about $850, versus $500 for the unstabilized Canon macro. (However this is perhaps an apples-and-oranges comparison because that's one of Nikon's gold band lenses, so it's probably best compared to an L lens, which this one is not.)

    At any rate, Canon has no such prime lens that is stabilized. There is nothing below 200mm, as far as I know. If they had one, it would definitely be on my short list for future purchases.
     
  25. martiancomehome macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #25
    Tripod?

    I have limited experience with photography as well, but it seems like a tripod would be an economical solution to your problem. I know it isn't as cool and quick as being able to snap a bunch of different angles, but a good tripod goes for $50. You can just leave the shutter open for longer, and it should be easier to get rich colors anyway. Just a thought!
     

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