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06-30-2010, 07:57 PM   #1
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Is f/2.8 enough for indoor shooting w/o using flash or tripod?

hi, all,

a dumb question... is f/2.8 usually good enough for indoor shooting without using the flash or tripod? let's say, the usual indoor settings, not extremely dark. such as in a classroom where a person is giving a presentation.

thanks for all the inputs!

06-30-2010, 08:12 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by shang Quote
hi, all,

a dumb question... is f/2.8 usually good enough for indoor shooting without using the flash or tripod? let's say, the usual indoor settings, not extremely dark. such as in a classroom where a person is giving a presentation.

thanks for all the inputs!
It's not a dumb question at all, because the answer can actually be complicated. The short answer, though, is yes -- f/2.8 is usually good enough for the average indoor setting, especially (and this is important) if the lens performs well wide open.
06-30-2010, 08:15 PM   #3
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in a typical lighting indoor room, i feel it is decent, not great. in places where light tends to hide or focus in one area like a bar or some restaurants, i feel a flash is necessary.
06-30-2010, 08:15 PM   #4
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I shoot indoors my children and I do not use a tripod.

I found that f2.8 is enough for indoor shooting without flash and tripod as long as the lighting is good: that is, the artifical lighting is bright and/or there are some good natural lighting. If the indoor lighting is average or poor, it is best to use a larger aperture.

For a presentation (eg Powerpoint) in a classroom or a conference room, the artifical lighting is usually moderate to poor, and I would think that f2.8 is not fast enough.

Hope that the comment will help.

06-30-2010, 08:16 PM   #5
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Others with faster lenses will be along to comment shortly, I'm sure, but I have a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 that does well enough in that type of lighting.

It definitely helps if you can bump up the ISO without too much noise entering in. I have a KX so relatively high ISO noise isn't too much of a problem for me and my f/2.8 lens of choice.

It also depends on if your f/2.8 lens of choice is reasonably sharp wide open. If it's not, then you might not be too happy with the results and it might be better for you to go with a f/1.5 or f/1.7 lens that even if it's not sharp you have more room to stop it down a little to (typically) increase the sharpness.

-- Chris
06-30-2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by shang Quote
hi, all,

a dumb question... is f/2.8 usually good enough for indoor shooting without using the flash or tripod? let's say, the usual indoor settings, not extremely dark. such as in a classroom where a person is giving a presentation.

thanks for all the inputs!
As you describe, likely, but at ISO 400 - 800.

But when you say "giving a presentation" that might imply a PowerPOint with lights dimmed. Then, no. You'd need much more ISO, or a tripod with a longer shutter speed. A sub-2.8 lens would also work, but the very shallow DOF would work against the subject matter.
06-30-2010, 08:26 PM   #7
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Not a dumb question but it's a bad question. We don't know how dark your idea of "indoors" really is. Typically f2.8 is fine in a classroom, f1.7 is fine in most restaurants and f1.4 is absolutely necessary in dive bars.

I usually go with f2.0 for indoor situations.
06-30-2010, 08:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by shang Quote
hi, all,

a dumb question... is f/2.8 usually good enough for indoor shooting without using the flash or tripod? let's say, the usual indoor settings, not extremely dark. such as in a classroom where a person is giving a presentation.

thanks for all the inputs!
My answer is "only just", and only then if you're happy pushing to 800 is a very well lit room, ot 1600 ISO or so in an average or worse situation. I'm assuming this is at night time, not in the daytime in a room with lots of natural light?

A tripod is very useful for eliminating camera shake, but doesn't solve the problem of subject movement.

I have a 2.8 and a 2.4 lens, but I prefer to use them paired with an external flash (bounced and with the FEC dialed down) indoors at night, and get much better photos as a result.

06-30-2010, 08:49 PM   #9
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I disagree that f/2 or better is "absolutely necessary" in restaurants or bars bars. I shoot those conditions quite often at f/2.8. You may need pretty high ISO (3200-ish) and/or slow shutter speeds (1/20"-ish), but it's perfectly doable, and often beats the unusably shallow DOF that generally results from shooting f/1.4 in situations where you might have wanted more than an inch or two in focus. Nothing wrong with having the option of f/1.7 or f/1.4 - and I recommend everyone own a cheap manual 50 for exactly that reason - but f/2.8 is enough for most situations on a camera that does decent ISO 1600.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 07-01-2010 at 01:25 PM.
06-30-2010, 09:47 PM   #10
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thanks a lot! so the 70mm ltd should be good enough for indoor use.

btw, can I use the A lenses like the DA lenses on a DSLR(do everything automatically)?
06-30-2010, 10:02 PM   #11
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Just barely, but I like to use f/1.2, just to be safe ;]

Consider, however, that if you buy, say, a 50-135 2.8, it will be fast enough on your K-7/x for most situations, but imagine how much better it will be if your next body is two stops better regarding high ISO performance? I think f/2.8 might become an increasingly useful aperture as sensors improve.

'A' lenses will let you do everything but autofocus- they will allow for matrix metering, and the camera can control the aperture, so all automatic exposure modes are game.
06-30-2010, 10:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by shang Quote
thanks a lot! so the 70mm ltd should be good enough for indoor use.

btw, can I use the A lenses like the DA lenses on a DSLR(do everything automatically)?
The A lenses you have to focus manually, though the camera will take care of aperture

I use my 70mm Ltd. as my primary indoor/crappy lighting, pictures-o-people's-faces lens. It's really perfect for it - very sharp even wide open, lovely character all the way around These shots are both taken with just light through a window several feet away:

f/2.4 1/30th


f/2.4 1/125th
06-30-2010, 11:53 PM   #13
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Of course, depends on the lighting but I typically stick with mt 16-50 2.8 indoors, normally bumping ISO to max 1600 and shutter speed as low as 1/8 second.

takes some luck.... any moving subjects will likely suffer ghosting through low shutter speeds so you may either need to time things very well... or use this for artistic effect.... on a K20D I find I can get decent results at ISO 1600.
07-01-2010, 12:21 AM   #14
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You will find it difficult, crank right up the ISO and watch the focus, at f2.8 the DOF is getting narrowish (even worse with faster lenses wide open).
07-01-2010, 01:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by shang Quote
thanks a lot! so the 70mm ltd should be good enough for indoor use.
I think so - although of course, it's officially f/2.4. Some say that this is overstated, but if so, so are all my other lenses, because it's definitely about half a stop faster than my f/2.8 lenses.

Depending on the nature of the presentation, where you will be shooting from, and how you want to frame, you might find 70mm not an ideal focal length. Some people would say it's too long (definitely is for more casual indoor use - candids, etc), others would say not long enough if you are trying to emphasize the expression of the person giving the presentation more than the overall gesture. Most would probably recommend the DA*50-135 for this purpose. But that DA70 is cheaper, nice and small and light, and probably a good "compromise" focal length for your intended purpose.
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