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Old Dec 18, 2009, 7:46 PM   #1
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Default Nikon D3000 low light lens question

Another newbie to DSLR here, I love this site!

I am in the process of purchasing my first entry level DSLR, and after going through about a gazillion of reviews, I decided to go with Nikon D3000 that comes with standard AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm VR f3.5-5.6G ED II lens.

I am also looking into buying extra lens for low light no flash hand held shooting (indoor parties, concerts, sports games, museums etc) and am thinking about getting AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.8G DX.

Now my newbie question comes....how much more low light shooting performance am I gaining with these lens, over the kit lens that comes with this camera? Should be doubled as far as light getting in goes right? What does that translate in when it comes to ISO and shutter speeds?

Last edited by SantaClawz; Dec 18, 2009 at 8:03 PM.
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Old Dec 18, 2009, 8:28 PM   #2
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First, the kit lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.0 at 35mm. That's actually three aperture stops or 8 times more light with the 35/1.8.

Second, each aperture stop is a shutter speed doubled or an ISO halved. So if you need to use 1/15 second with the kit lens, you'll get 1/125 with the 35/1.8, and if you need to use ISO 800 with the kit lens, you'll get ISO 100 with the 35/1.8.

Third, while the 35/1.8 has more vignetting and a lot more chromatic aberration than the kit lens, it's also a lot sharper, especially stoppped down.
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Last edited by TCav; Dec 19, 2009 at 11:20 AM.
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Old Dec 19, 2009, 7:40 AM   #3
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The only thing that I really have to add here is that - I recently acquired a Pentax FA31/1.8 Limited. It is wonderful, however when using the larger apertures (f1.8 to about 2.8), the depth of field is VERY thin. What I mean, is that you might have several inches of depth that is in focus, with the rest out of focus. For example, one person's face in focus with the folks around them out of focus. [Probably very different than what you are use to and possibly expecting.]

Now, for some images that is just what you want and desire - isolating your subject from the background. However, for just general photography, especially someone coming from a point and shoot camera, you may not be prepared for just what you will find there.

DSLR's have larger sensors than those found in P&S cameras. The larger sensor, coupled with better lenses, provides added capabilities, that you the photographer, have as additional tools and capabilities to use. However, some times these fall into the category of unintended consequences.

Low light photography is wonderful, however to use it effectively, there is some baggage. Not trying to talk you out of the lens at all. Just trying to prepare you for when you take some images at a party with your new equipment, letting the lens automatically use f 1.8 and fire away, and you may be disappointed with the initial results.

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Old Dec 19, 2009, 8:05 AM   #4
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Thank you guys, appreciate your input,
TCav's reply is very helpful! pretty much what I was looking for.

Yeah, I thought about that, loosing that much depth of field might be a problem, but the help with lower light shooting is kind of worth it I think, for the price.
By the way, thanks for the link, that depth of field calculator is awesome.

Last edited by SantaClawz; Dec 19, 2009 at 9:24 AM.
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