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02-11-2014, 05:45 PM   #16
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Just throwing out the underrated 21mm… a bit better in low light, close focusing, etc. I like the 15, but depending on shooting style, it might let in a lot more than just the subject you want to capture - unless you're looking at Manet's "Reflection of Clouds on Water Lily Pond" (500+ inches…).

02-11-2014, 06:18 PM   #17
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I generally do most of my car show/museum shooting with the 18-55 kit and Zenitar 16/2.8 fisheye. If I had one, I would have the DA 15/4 in the bag along with the Zenitar. A lot depends on the lighting. The two-lens kit above works great for outdoor shows. but is not so great when the lights go down. A recent trip to the LeMay America's Car Museum in Tacoma brought the low-light issue to the front. Although the place is relatively evenly lit, the light is actually quite dim and I found myself wishing I had a tripod. A powerful flash with a decent diffuser would have been real nice too.

The matter of tripod and flash brings up the issue of photography policies. Some shows/venues will not allow "pro" gear such as big lenses and/or tripods and many frown on anything other than on-camera flash.

02-11-2014, 06:19 PM   #18
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I mostly used my 10-20mm when I visited the Royal Ontario Museum with my wife a few years ago, even though I had the 17-50mm f2.8 in the bag. The wide angle means you can get up nice and close and eliminate the other ppl from the shot. Also wide is good for hand holding, even in low light.

BTW, the ROM is an amazing museum, easily eclipsed the Natural History Museum in New York in our view!
02-11-2014, 06:44 PM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bigdomino Quote
How well will my 50mm 1.8 do in a museum?

For certain exhibits like tools, small sculptures, pots, etc, the 50mmm would do very well, but to photograph entire larger items like cars. boats, trains, then much wider is needed, typically 17-25mm seems to work well. The 50mm could usefully be deployed though to creatively pick out detail on large exhibits, eg name plates, engine parts, lights, trim, etc where its sharpness and ability to control depth of field will be very useful.

I shoot using ambient lighting 95%+ of the time in museums, and use a Tamron 17-50. The constant F2.8 across the range is a boon in indoor low light. It also means I can close down to F3.2 or F3.5 and sharpen up the resolution quite a bit without sacrificing too much in way of higher ISO. A drawback of the 18-135 is that I imagine the F3.5 aperture wouldn't last long into the zoom range.

This link to my photo blog illustrates the Tamron 17-50 used within the Australian War Memorial.

The Australian War Memorial (Part 2 – The War Relics Collection) | Photo Morsels

Note: The Chrome browser tends to show my blog photos best as it presents them at 1200 pixels wide which is the resolution I used to load them to the site. Internet Explorer will re-size down to 960 pixels wide so they don't look as sharp. It you click on any of them though, the 1200 pixel image will be shown.

Out of interest, I used a FA20-35 F4 recently in a train and aviation museum. It was mostly (but not entirely) reasonably well lit so the F4 max aperture wasn't too much of hinderance. I did like the way it rendered. It wouldn't have been suitable if the lighting had been dim.

This link to my photo blog illustrates the FA20-35 used with aircraft in a hanger and also where I swapped to a 50mm lens later in the session to photograph engines outdoors. The F50/1.7 I used is as sharp as.

South Australian Aviation Museum | Photo Morsels

If the museum uses natural lighting to a substantial degree through windows or skylights, then the time of year and weather on the day can make a big difference to interior lighting levels and can make or break a photo session in terms of available light. A dull rainy day in winter will not be good. Conversely, patches of direct sunlight on exhibits will make dynamic range darn hard to manage.

Items that can deteriorate in UV light tend to be increasingly lit to very low levels as curators seek not to damage the exbibits from the simple act of lighting them for display. These can be a real challenge.

I would make the same general observations when photographing inside historic churches and buildings.

There are examples of other indoor museum-type posts on my site if you wish to roam around it.

02-11-2014, 08:00 PM   #20
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+1 for the DA15mm. The DA10-17 mm might work well in some museums, as I found that the DA15mm was sometimes too long.

In the last 2 months, I did nearly 7 museums. I favour strongly the DA15mm for its compact design, nice IQ and wide angle.
02-11-2014, 09:18 PM   #21
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1. For museums (if you want to document things you like)--and photographing art work is an expression of art in its own right--IMO you want a natural look--which leaves out very wide angle lenses. I find about 28mm does best (I use a 28mm f3.5 takumar).

2. Also you want to be able to take close ups--which means a macro (usually to m~1/3) --I find a 50mm does best. (You likely could combine 1 and 2 with a 35mm macro lens.)

3. Finally (a lens I wished I had/really useful) is a moderate PC lens (likely a 28mm which would serve 1 as well)--as you can avoid reflections by standing to the side and shifting the lens.

As the art work isn't moving, I find little need for a fast len. Museum lighting is not that low. In fact with film (iso 320 tungsten slide) I used a 55mm f2.8 (macro) a lot--for 1 and 2.

These are totally different obviously than car show/museums where (I presume) a natural look is not usually possible and may not be that important.

Last edited by dms; 02-11-2014 at 09:24 PM.
02-11-2014, 09:37 PM   #22
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Check the museum info and see if you can use a tripod, if so that will help every lens
02-11-2014, 09:40 PM - 1 Like   #23
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BTW Southlander a really impressive set of pictures you have there. I particularly liked the combination of the planes, the building, and the viewing public. Well done!

02-12-2014, 06:25 AM   #24
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Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions and images.
02-13-2014, 09:10 AM   #25
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The biggest problem with car shows and museums are people. They are everywhere and a wide lens that allows you to get whatever you want to photograph from as close as possible is a big plus. Cars and exhibits are often spaced close together to optimize space and 18mm can be frustrating. Since most of the car shows I shoot are outside, midday, and in bright sun with lots of flare issues with all that shiny chrome and polished paint, I use the DA 15 but any of the wide zooms like a 10-20 or 12-24 would work. I also use a DA 10-17 as the distortion can sometimes produce some interesting views of autos.

One of my biggest joys is the annual hot air balloon festival. When the crews begin inflating their balloons and all the photographers are backing up, the small group of of photographers with ultra wide lenses get to walk forward and totally piss off everybody else.
02-13-2014, 09:20 AM   #26
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Just don't let your camera fall into the sinkhole...

Corvettes fall into sinkhole at National Corvette Museum -

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