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Old Feb 7, 2013, 9:17 AM   #1
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Default Nikkor 85 mm f 1.8 D and the D90

I am searching for the perfect lens to shoot indoors at Horse Events. Barrel racing etc. I'm looking at this one. I currently have the 55mm and a 18-200mm both Nikon lenses. Suggestions? I know this was originally made for full frame cameras. Will my D90 be able to get the benefits of this? OR is there another lens. I neeed FAST!
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 9:27 AM   #2
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Personally, I think primes are difficult to use as event lenses. I would much prefer a zoom. For essentially the same price as the 85mm Nikon, you can get the wonderful 28-75 f/2.8 Tamron, which gives you much more flexibility and almost as much light. I find an aperture wider than f/2.8 problematic because of shallow depth of field anyway, so you are caught between a rock and a hard place. The Tamron is a very good performer wide open. It is my go-to lens for indoor events. You'll very likely have to push the D90 ISO to 2000 or above, but that is possible with that camera (I have the D5000 and routinely do that. It requires noise reduction in post, but the results are quite usable if you get the exposure right.)
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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I use the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 D with my D90 and have been very pleased with the results. For indoors you need the fastest lens you can get. You might be able to get away with an f/2.8 zoom, but you'd probably have to up the ISO, and the shallow DoF means you'll get a lot of noise in the OOF backgrounds.











Keep in mind that these are all walk/trot/canter. For your barrel racing, you're going to need faster shutter speeds, which means you'll need either more light or higher ISOs.

Something you might want to consider is that the newer Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G AF-S is sharper and probably focuses faster too, and it's only a little bit more expensive.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:36 AM   #4
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You really need to plan your shots beforehand. This was the layout of the indoor I was shooting in:



I'm the red dot.

I can get shots when the horse is in any of the blue areas. Otherwise, the subject is backlit by the open doors, and the exposure is off.

When the horse and rider are closer than "Distance 1", they're too big in a vertical frame and get clipped. At "Distance 2", they're too big in a horizontal frame. At "Distance 3", they're too far away.

I prefer shooting subjects in Area 2, but typical exercises don't often place the subject there. A 20m circle at my end, in either direction, works well. I can get good shots in Area 1 for counter-clockwise circles, and in Area 2 in either direction. As the circle gets further away from me, there's less to shoot in Area 1, and the subject gets further away in Area 2. As a subject moves on the opposite long side from right to left, I can get some good shots in Area 1. As a subject moves on the diagonal from the lower right to the upper left, I can get good shots in Areas 2 and 1. No other other movement gives me a shooting opportunity.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:54 AM   #5
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That is exactly the help I was looking for! Beautiful shots by the way!!! And I love the Bakke effect from the prime lenses... Thanks so much!
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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With an 85mm lens at ~f/2, the DoF is very small. If the horse is coming at you, the nose and the tail probably won't both be in focus. But when the horse is going across your line of sight, you've got it all, and the saddle pads are great for getting the focus right.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 11:27 AM   #7
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That indoor had a mix of natural light from the open doors and artificial light from the sodium vapor lights. I tried everything I could think of to get the white balance right.

Don't bother.

Just use Auto WB, and you can tune the color balance in PP if you think you need to.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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I set the upper Limit for AutoISO at 1600. Any higher and the noise in the OOF woodgrain in the background gets to be too much, and any NR will remove all the detail in the horse's coat. I was able to get shutter speeds between 200 and 250 with ISOs from 400 to 1600, depending on the lighting in the particular location. This is critical since lighting conditions change drastically very quickly.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 12:48 PM   #9
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yeah, the arena I've been practicing in has nat. sunlight from one side of the building... so hard to get a clear crisp photo.. Had the ISO set at 1600.
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Old Feb 7, 2013, 1:17 PM   #10
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Set the Mode Dial to A, set the aperture to f/2.0, set the ISO sensitivity auto control to ON, set the Maximum sensitivity to 1600, and the Minimum shutter speed to 1/250. If you're getting too much motion blur, open the aperture to let in more light. If focus is hit-or-miss, stop down a little to get more DoF.

Remember that every shot won't be a keeper.
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Last edited by TCav; Feb 7, 2013 at 1:20 PM.
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