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08-02-2009, 04:37 PM   #1
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Kinda sorta thinking of a new lens...

I have the 18-55 kit lens and a 50/14.

Shot some photos at a birthday party last night but found that the 50mm was too long and the 18-55 was a bit slow for the lower light stuff. (Not to mention my use of the flash was horrid, turning dark blue shirts white...)

I was thinking the 31 limited would be a really nice lens, but the flexibility of the zoom was really handy to help with framing the shots due to the tight space.

I like the thought of the DA* 16-50, mostly for the weather sealing. Can anyone recommend a decently fast lens that would be good for situations where space is tight and there are lots of people?

Thanks.

08-02-2009, 05:06 PM   #2
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A couple of thoughts.

Try and practice with flash to perfect a technique, you might need it !

Short and fast do not come cheap. The 31mm is a great lens, but I would not take mine to a party ! Maybe an old FA24 2.8 or FA28 2.8, or FA*24 2.0 if you really want to shell out.

The 16-50 is a very good zoom, but is considerably bigger than the 18-55, and is only 0.50 a stop faster at the wide end. You have to use an external flash with it too.

For low light you already have a tremendous lens in the 50mm 1.4. If it is too long , then I think you will have to persevere with flash.

Hopefully someone else can offer an alternative from other manufacturers.
08-02-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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Big group shots that need wider FOV than 18mm start to show signs of unwanted distortion at the corners - people start looking stretched sideways (couldn't think of a nice way to put this). So if the 18-55 isn't able to get it, you could go with the 12-24 with this in mind, or just take a few people at a time.

And use a flash (bounced if possible) - it improves things immensely indoors.
08-02-2009, 08:43 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sebberry Quote
I have the 18-55 kit lens and a 50/14.

Shot some photos at a birthday party last night but found that the 50mm was too long and the 18-55 was a bit slow for the lower light stuff. (Not to mention my use of the flash was horrid, turning dark blue shirts white...)

I was thinking the 31 limited would be a really nice lens, but the flexibility of the zoom was really handy to help with framing the shots due to the tight space.

I like the thought of the DA* 16-50, mostly for the weather sealing. Can anyone recommend a decently fast lens that would be good for situations where space is tight and there are lots of people?

Thanks.
You could also try the FA 35mm f/2 as well (there is the Samsung version on ebay for $420- cashback) but you might be able to get it for a much cheaper price via the marketplace.

From what I have seen, the 16-50mm f/2.8 doesn't perform spectacularly wide open and f/2.8 won't be exactly fast enough unless you have a flash.

08-02-2009, 11:21 PM   #5
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I have had this same problem myself. I think you really have two routes here: give preference go low light capability or give preference to flexibilty of focal length.

For the former, use a prime. I have a FA*24. Buy they are hard to find. I think 35mm is to not wide enough. Consider sigma 24, 28, 30 all f1.8. Easily found and decent reviews. Avoid the 20mm!

Or there is an f2.8 zoom. The da* is a good bet but you might want to consider tamron and sigma starting either Around 17mm or 24/28. Personally, I would opt for the latter so that you can reach for tight head shots.
08-03-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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It's an age-old dilemma. Well, maybe as old as APS-C - a 50 isn't a bad choice for FF.

A couple of additional points to consider:

- Focal length preferences are personal. Some don't see 50 as a problem on APS-C. I'm sure one or two find it too short, even (I've heard folks talk about using the 70 or 77 for this). Most would say you want soemthing shorter, but whether than means 40, 35, 31, 28, 24, 21, or whatever depends on the person as well as the situation.

- f/2.8 is *barely* sufficient for low light photography. Some would say insufficient; I say it depends on your tolerance for high ISO and perhas the need to underexpose and push process. I'm also not comfortable shooting much wider than f/2.8 except under highly controlled situations (posed portraits, still life, etc), since DOF is so shallow.

- Obviously, a zoom has advantages in terms of focal length flexibility, but it does limit you to f/2.8. And, FA31 aside, most primes in this focal length range are *much* smaller than an f/2.8 zoom, which might affect how likely you are to actually want to carry the camera with you in these situations.

- Do consider getting better with flash - starting with the use of bounce and off-camera techniques. Although I completely understand resistance to the idea, there is no doubt you can get better pictures that way.
08-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #7
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I strongly agree with pschulte, Ash, and Marc. Be careful of going to a large aperture lens for the application you are talking about. You may be dissapointed. I am all about "available light" photography, but for indoor parties photos of people, you may be much better off with getting a better flash and using proper (indirect) flash techniques. The problem you are going to have at parties with using a faster lens is the narrow DOF. The lighting might look better than direct flash, but you may find that everyone except the eyeball of the person you focus on, is just a bit out of focus. (Unless you can get everyone to stand in a line at the same distance from you ) Indoor party shots in tight spaces with a lot of people at different distances are typically not the best application of a fast lens wide open.

There are lots of examples of good flash technique. I posted a thread (in the following link), on examples of flash bouncing:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-photography-techniques-styles/487...nce-flash.html

For the application you discuss, I strongly recommend spending your money on a flash like a AF360FGZ (or for $100 more the 540) before going to a faster zoom, or a fast prime. I think you would be dissappointed otherwise, both in results, and how much you spent. A proper flash with that 18-55 kit would be a great rig for parties, and a lot less money than a faster zoom. For parties (family reunions, kids parties, etc.) indoors, I always use bounce flash. In fact, I usually do it with a "slow" lens like the 18-250 because the scenes are changing so quickly.

Here is one quick example in a tight space with a lot of people as you discuss. The lighting looks natural, not blown out like direct flash would. If I would have used a fast lens wide open for this shot, most of the people in the shot would be out of focus, or would be blurred from motion, and you certainly wouldn't have been able to shoot as wide as 18mm to get everyone in. Instead, I was able to use f3.5 at 18mm (your kit lens will do that as well), and a shutter speed of 1/60. I simply bounced the flash off of the ceiling, and popped up the built in white card, for a bit of fill. Very simple. The 360 and 540 also have a built-in fresznel lens that you can pop out for flash when you have a really wide angle shot.


Last edited by PentaxPoke; 08-03-2009 at 01:40 PM.
08-03-2009, 01:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Big group shots that need wider FOV than 18mm start to show signs of unwanted distortion at the corners - people start looking stretched sideways (couldn't think of a nice way to put this). So if the 18-55 isn't able to get it, you could go with the 12-24 with this in mind, or just take a few people at a time.

And use a flash (bounced if possible) - it improves things immensely indoors.

The 12-24 is just as slow as the 18-55. The OP is looking for more speed. He also did not say he needs wider than 18mm.

If budget is an issue, he should get an F 28mm 2.8. There was one on the marketplace a few days ago.

If budget is not an issue, go ahead & get the FA 31mm 1.8 for the speed.

08-04-2009, 01:42 AM   #9
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I think something like the tamron 28-75/2.8 would be a good indoor lens and would be useful at the 75mm end for portraits too! If you prefer a prime then use the kit lens to figure out the focal length you prefer, then look at the options. A good external flash is also very useful as others have pointed out!
08-04-2009, 05:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
I think something like the tamron 28-75/2.8 would be a good indoor lens and would be useful at the 75mm end for portraits too! If you prefer a prime then use the kit lens to figure out the focal length you prefer, then look at the options. A good external flash is also very useful as others have pointed out!
I have the 28/75 1:2.8 Tamron & like it a lot. I wish it were faster.

Consider using a reflector or diffuser with your on-board flash for tight indoor situations.

Marc gave a good overview of the considerations I think (as usual).
08-04-2009, 06:32 AM   #11
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Hi Sebberry,
I'd say that 16-50 is the best bang for the buck. Or, as others suggested, add a flash to your 18-55.
Good luck,
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