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Old Jun 30, 2010, 2:53 PM   #1
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Default Lens Or Flash?

I've been hearing from people that I should just keep my 18-55mm lens instead of sell it and try to buy something else for shooting skateboarding.

My 18-55 is not VR which can be kind of annoying when I want to take night shots without a flash. I have to have the shutter at about 1/50 or slower which makes it blurry. Also my onboard flash looks like theres some sort of screen on it. It's not clear but the flash is like sepia. When I take a picture with flash all skin tones become red.

What I'm trying to decide is. Should I keep my non VR lens which is quite wide and just buy an external flash? Or should I not get a flash and get a whole new lens?
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 3:12 PM   #2
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Ah, I finally understood what you were saying -- if you use flash, your color is off, and if you don't use flash, you need to use too low a shutter speed. Is it possible that the last owner put a gel filter over the on-board flash? People do that sometimes to make the skin tones more natural, especially if using the flash for fill light late in the day. The filter would look like a thin piece of colored plastic. Could that be the screen that you mentioned? If so, you would want to remove that gel filter to get a better white balance for your night shots.

ETA: I presume your camera has a menu option for "auto white balance." You should generally leave the camera set to that. Assuming that it is, that should be accurate with flash at night -- there shouldn't be any significant external light source to screw up the camera's color balance. So the most likely culprit to my mind is a gel filter.

Last edited by tclune; Jun 30, 2010 at 4:57 PM.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 3:17 PM   #3
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You want to take action photos. That means you need to use fast shutter speeds. If you use fast shutter speeds with relatively short lenses, you don't need VR.

A lens like the Tamron 17-50/2.8 or Sigma 18-50/2.8 will let you use a faster shutter speed 4 times faster than you can with your kit lens at 50mm, but would be less of an advantage at shorter focal lengths. (Since your recent photos don't include the EXIF data, I can't tell what focal lengths you've been using, so I don't know how much of an advantage one of those lenses would be.)

Getting an external flash would help, and would keep the effective exposure time short.

As for the sepia effect you're getting with your flash, you might be having a problem with the white balance. Try different settings to see if you can do better.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 8:22 PM   #4
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A lot of flash lenses have a slight yellow cast to them to filter out some of the UV that the flash produces, in order to create a more daylight color temperature, and this is normal.
What I expect is happening in your case, is that the camera is using the flash WB, and there is a considerable amount of ambient light showing up in the photos. If the outdoor lights are low pressure sodium lamps, which a lot of outdoor lighting is, the result will be a very red/orange cast to the pics, especially flesh tones. This is a difficult lighting situation, and you may have to shoot out the lights on the poles (kidding of course, though there have been times I was tempted) . One possible solution is to overwhelm the outdoor lights with more flash by setting up a couple slaves.

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