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-   -   wide lens recommendations: indoors with no flash (

gobucks Aug 10, 2006 6:33 PM

I am getting wonderful results with a 50mm f/1.4 indoors with no flash. I would like to have a wider lens. Using the kit lens at 18-24mm was great. But I was using an external flash and taking pics of my daughter as to be with no flash. Any recommedations, or would these requirements be costly?

JimC Aug 10, 2006 6:41 PM

My favorite lens for low light in close quarters right now is the Minolta 28mm f/2

But, if I were going to buy another lens to replace it right now, I'd take a look at the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC (this one is on my "wish list").

At times, I could *really* use another stop over my 28mm f/2; and if light permitted, I suspect that the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 would be sharper at f/2 compared to the Minolta 28mm f/2 at f/2, based on some of the images I've seen from this lens.

B&H is out of stock right this minute (they had some in at one time not long ago). But, it looks like they're expecting another shipment in 7 to 14 days (now accepting orders):

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC AF Lens at B&H for $429

gobucks Aug 10, 2006 7:52 PM

Anything wider around the 18-20mm range come to mind? Possibly a wide zoom? I think I have been spoiled with the f/1.4 of the 50mm.

JimC Aug 10, 2006 8:16 PM

The brightest you can find in a zoom is f/2.8 (and f/1.4 is exactly 4 times as bright as f/2.8, allowing shutter speeds 4 times as fast for any given lighting and ISO speed).

If f/2.8 is good enough for your needs, then there are a few wide zooms to consider. I'd suggest looking through the list of lenses at

Many lenses also have reviews from KM DSLR owners.

One wide zoom to keep an eye out for is the new Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8. But, it's not shipping yet (AFAIK).

Sigma makes an 18-50mm f2/8 lens, too. But, from most reports I've seen, it's not that sharp wide open on it's wider end (and you appear to want to use the wider end). I've also seen more than my share of Backfocus issues reported with this lens.

Also, most lenses are not that sharp at wide open apertures anyway. That's why I prefer a prime for existing light shooting. You can stop down an f/1.4 or f/2 prime to f/2.8 and get sharper photos than you can with most zooms wide open at f/2.8.

Other than the kit lens, the only wide zoom I've got is the Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5. It's not too bad wide open (but, it's defiintely not as sharp as something like my 28mm f/2 would be at f/2.8 ). And, this one happens to be the sharpest wide zoom ever tested in Minolta AF mount by (based on MTF Charts):

But, I'd take a bright prime over it any day of the week for indoor shooting without a flash. That's one of the reasons the new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC is on my "wish list". ;-)

Also, you're only gaining about a half stop with an f/2.8 zoom over the kit lens on the wide end (the kit lens is f/3.5 on it's wide end). So, that's not a huge difference if you need faster shutter speeds in low light and you plan on staying on the wide end of a lens anyway.

tmoreau Aug 10, 2006 8:20 PM

The 35/1.4 is well over a grand, if you can find one. Not sure what the 28/2 is going for, $300? Scarce as well.

Sigma 30/1.4 is almost certainly the best bet, otherwise sigma makes 20/24/28 f/1.8 lenses that are big and heavy but affordable, though not as good as the 30/1.4 AFAIK.

Minolta 24/2.8 is a nice lens (I have one, love it) but your probably looking for brighter for indoors. 28/2.8 is cheap ($80-$110), 35/2 barely seems to exist and is almost as expensive as the sigma 30/1.4. The tokina 17mm is f/3.5, the sigma 18/3.5 (if it even exists in minolta mount) is no good. Neither are bright enough, and probably too wide anyway.

Sigma 24/1.8 or 30/1.4 would be my picks, based on which focal length you need. I'm saving for the 30/1.4 to go along with my 17/24//50/90

JimC Aug 10, 2006 8:40 PM

tmoreau wrote:

Not sure what the 28/2 is going for, $300? Scarce as well.
I got mine used (factory refurbished, or what they called a "sales demo") for $299 from Cameta Auctions on Ebay. But, that was before the 5D was even shipping. So, I don't know what the current supply/demand situtation looks like.

My lens of choice right now for indoor shooting without a flash in closer quarters would be the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC, based on photos and reports I've seen from users of this lens.

It's not cheap at $429 (street price from reputable vendors). But, that's one heck of a bargain compared to some of the alternatives (Minolta or Sony 35mm f/1.4). lol

I'll probably end up getting the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 at some point.

tmoreau Aug 10, 2006 9:31 PM

Back in january B&H had the original 28/2 for $299, then I saw they had them in stock again a short while ago but only for 1-2 days. I've come across a few used for sale but not many.

JimC Aug 10, 2006 10:08 PM

I just checked used departments at B&H, KEH, Adorama and Ebay and see no Minolta 28mm f/2 or 35mm f/2 AF lenses for sale right now.

I didn't even see any 28mm f/2 AF lenses come up in a search of recent completed listings. I did see a 35mm f/2 AF Lens in completed listings that sold for $345 (and it was a harder to find lens when I bought my 28mm f/2).

Since the new Sony Alpha is shipping, these primes will probably become even harder to find, unless a dealer finds a hidden cache of them somewhere in a warehouse.

Local camera shops, pawn shops, etc., may be a better bet for trying to find one.

If budget permitted, I'd go for the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 instead (even if the others were readily available). An extra stop can come in handy, and it's probably sharper stopped down to f/2, compared to the Minoltas wide open at f/2.

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