Lens choice for low/natural light

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Lens choice for low/natural light

Postby TonyW » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:53 am

Hi everyone. I'm new here, but love Gordon's reviews and comments!
I have the Sigma 30mm f1.4 and love it! Likewise the Canon 50mm f1.8.
On a recent shoot at a night market I found myself constantly swapping between these 2, a bit of a nuisance, and wondered if the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS would do the trick. Is 2.8 at ISO 1600 enough in such a situation? How about the 17-70 at f4?
I do love that f1.4, tho.
Thanks for your attention and responses! Tony
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Re: Lens choice for low/natural light

Postby Maestro » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:07 am

The definitive answer could be determined by looking at the EXIF data on some of the photos you've already taken.

Or, at most of the public outdoor marketplaces I've been to, you could just use either the 30mm or 50mm lens and "zoom with your feet".

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Re: Lens choice for low/natural light

Postby dubaiphil » Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:35 pm

It all depends on what your ISO threshold is for your camera - what you're willing to push to and still have acceptable results in your opinion/for your needs.

And if what you're shooting is relatively static or moving, and how close you're going to be. (e.g. shooting people walking relatively close with a 50mm will still need a relatively fast shutter speed of around 1/200th, whereas if it's a scene with people standing you could push that shutter speed down to around 1/50th)

IMO at night in a market an f2.8 won't be enough, unless you've got a bang up to date body that performs well/acceptably at 12,800 or 25,600ISO

Different focal lengths will change things too - 50mm and you'll be less wide, meaning that your subject may be better lit if you're matrix metering, requiring a lower ISO. For example, a lit stall at 50mm may will the fram, whereas at 30mm and the same distance to the stall you'll have street, background and dark sky in the frame too - in matrix your camera will push the ISO up to compensate if you're on auto ISO
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Re: Lens choice for low/natural light

Postby TonyW » Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:15 am

Many thanks for the advice! Yes, zooming with the feet is (nearly) always possible, and I do like the discipline of achieving different types of shots with the 1 lens. In fact, 1 woman on the shoot took only a FF body and 35mm lens for a week's shooting, and never complained! I was impressed.
My 60D seems to cope with noise up to 1600 ISO so will keep experimenting. Thanks again!
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