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Old Dec 11, 2006, 6:01 PM   #1
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I own both the Nikon D50 & D80 and am presently using the Nikon AF-S DX VR 18-200mm lens as a walk-around lens (D80) and the Nikon AF-S DX VR 105mm lens for macro work and portraits (D50).

I'm now looking for a bright / fast wide-angle zoom lens to use indoors and photograph people in available indoor light (sometimes available indoor low-light). The Nikon AF-S DX 17-55mm F2.8 is not within my budget (unfortunately). Doing some research on the Net, I've come across three possibilities:

Tamron 17-50mm F2.8

Sigma 18-50mm F2.8

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5

Which would you recommend? Why? Any other suggestions?

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Old Dec 17, 2006, 10:22 AM   #2
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I think any of those would work.

Personally, I think nothing beats a plain old 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 for this purpose. Maybe the 24mm f2 or a 28mm prime.

Available light means getting as much through the lens as possible. I've really been unhappy with the results when I have to slow down the shutter. Somebody's always moving! :lol:

Your VR lenses should be capable of doing a lot of this, already.
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Old Dec 17, 2006, 1:54 PM   #3
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reader wrote:

Your VR lenses should be capable of doing a lot of this, already.
Vr is great for static subjects, but it will not stop blur from subject movement. You will still need fast shutter speeds to stop moving subjects, and because of the slow aperature, the VR lens will not do this. A fast prime is your best bet.
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Old Dec 17, 2006, 9:10 PM   #4
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The problem with using fast lens indoor, is that it's usually not fast enough, at least with experience--I have the 50 F/1.8 There's really no substitute to better lighting, that's why pro's have those umbrella's when doing portraits. The other thing is if you use the lens wide-open, then your depth of field is limited, which may be good enough for shooting one person, but if you have multiple rows of people, then it may be a problem. Maybe you should consider an external flash instead.

Good Luck.

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Old Dec 18, 2006, 6:58 AM   #5
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What kind of indoor environment?

I try to get away with using a zoom indoors when lighting is good enough. But, more often than not, I'll use a prime in lower light conditions (indoors in the evening in typical home lighting).

Personally, I've found that a wider prime is the best way to go in most indoor conditions I'd shoot in (family gatherings, etc.). Anything longer, and you may not have enough room to back up, depending on what you're trying to get in the frame. Of course, sometimes it's not wide enough, and I'll have to switch to a wider zoom (because my 28mm is my widest prime).

I've got a Tamron 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 I switch to if I need a bit wider lens (but, I only have f/2.7 available on it's wide end). . A brighter prime is definitely better in most condtions, though. You'll get both sharper photos and faster shutter speeds if you can't (or don't want to) use a flash. If I were buying a new zoom in that range, I'd probably look at the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

With a prime, you could always use a smaller aperture (like f/2.8 ) if light is good enough, and you'll usually get sharper photos with a prime stopped down to f/2.8 compared to an f/2.8 zoom with the aperture wide open (while still having wider apertures available if needed, if you've got a prime that's brighter than f/2.8 )

I shoot with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, and use my Minolta 28mm f/2 more often than other lenses when shooting without a flash indoors. I keep other primes handy for slightly longer distances (like my 50mm f/1.7 and 100mm f/2). I've also got a 135mm if needed. But, it's rarely used indoors. In closer quarters (typical family residence), my 28mm is usually the one on the camera in lower light conditions.

Sometimes, even f/2 is just not bright enough, depending on the lighting and subject.

A third party lens to look at would be the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC. It's selling for $429 at http://www.bhphotovideo.com

A lens like this Sigma would be 4 times as bright as an f/2.8 zoom, allowing shutter speeds 4 times as fast for the same lighting and ISO speed. Then, use your feet for zoom.

A 50mm is also a good lens to have in your bag. You can pick up a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF lens for around $100 or less if you shop around (and it's more than twice as bright as an f/2.8 zoom).

As already mentioned, consider using a flash, too. Bouncing a flash is often a better way to go, since you can use smaller apertures for better depth of field, without the hassles of inconsistent indoor lighting and the noise associated with higher ISO speeds.

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