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Lens / Studio Sugestions Please
Old 11-14-2006, 05:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am an amateur / semi-pro photographer. Recently decided to set up a studio. I made some space in my basement (18' x 17' room), bought some backgrounds, 2 320w/s Alien Bees, and some umbrellas. I already had a Nikon D200, a nice manfrotto tripod, and a light meter.

Here is where I am running in to a problem:

My Nikon 18-200 DX VR lens is great for outdoors, but is not fast enough to do well in my studio. I tried a friendís Nikon 85mm / 1.8 that he uses for glamour on a film camera, but it is a bit to long for my studio with the 1.5 crop factor of my digital D200. Since I am shooting digital with a 1.5 crop factor, I was thinking about using the Nikon 50 / 1.8, which should give me about 75mm equivalent, but am not sure if it will be as nice as the 85mm /1.8 on a film camera.

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Re: Lens / Studio Sugestions Please
Old 11-14-2006, 06:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One thing to keep in mind is that a 50mm will have the same image projected and depth of field as a . . . 50mm. The 1.5 crop factor is just that: a crop factor. The sensor just looks at a smaller piece of the image created, it does not change the characteristics of the lens itself, so it will not be the same as shooting with an 85mm lens. But with a F1.8 aperature on a 50mm lens you can still still have a very shallow depth of field, so it may give you exactly the image that you are hoping for.

People often mistake the 1.5x crop factor as changing the effective focal lenth of the lens, but it does not. It mearly takes whatever image is created by the lens itself and crops out a smaller portion of it than a 35mm film would have.
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Re: Lens / Studio Sugestions Please
Old 11-14-2006, 08:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ffppro View Post
I am an amateur / semi-pro photographer. Recently decided to set up a studio. I made some space in my basement (18' x 17' room), bought some backgrounds, 2 320w/s Alien Bees, and some umbrellas. I already had a Nikon D200, a nice manfrotto tripod, and a light meter.

Here is where I am running in to a problem:
My Nikon 18-200 DX VR lens is great for outdoors, but is not fast enough to do well in my studio. I tried a friendís Nikon 85mm / 1.8 that he uses for glamour on a film camera, but it is a bit to long for my studio with the 1.5 crop factor of my digital D200. Since I am shooting digital with a 1.5 crop factor, I was thinking about using the Nikon 50 / 1.8, which should give me about 75mm equivalent, but am not sure if it will be as nice as the 85mm /1.8 on a film camera.
Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
That 85mm lens on a film camera will stay at 85mm, but once you put it on
that digital camera the 85mm will become about 127mm, which means
that you will need more space in your studio to shoot in. With your two
Alien Bees for lights you should be able to shoot with your existing
18-200mm lens unless you are going for a short depth of field.
Jim
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Re: Lens / Studio Sugestions Please
Old 11-15-2006, 09:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you try to using Micro-Nikkor AF 60mm f/2.8 D? this is good lens as I will buy one.I do not know how big your studio but I think that the Nikkor AF 60mm is best choice for studio.
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Re: Lens / Studio Sugestions Please
Old 11-20-2006, 12:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure why you say the lens you mention is not fast enough for the studio. In any small studio with the two AB's you have, you are typically going to be shooting at between f8 and f11 which the lens in question supports. I typically use a Sigma 18-125 for my small studio shoots and it works like a champ. It is a f3.5-6.3 so typically I'm always using it at about f8. Keep in mind that the sweet spot of almost all lens is somewhere close to f8. So any lens that lets you quickly frame the model from full length to head and shoulders will work great in the studio. A small zoom is ideal because you can stay further back from the model to extend her comfort zone and still get those nice closeups for expression, etc.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Lens / Studio Sugestions Please
Old 11-20-2006, 04:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Your setup sounds a lot like mine -- I shoot in my living room (about 12' x 25'), some paper backgrounds, 2 Alien Bees 400s, 1 Alien Bee 800, some umbrellas and some softboxes. I shoot with a Nikon D100 and have found that ALL my lenses work well - my old Nikkor 24-120mm f3.5-5.6; my new Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR and my old 50mm f1.8. There's not one single shoot in the past three years that I haven't found the need to swap out my 70-200 with my 24-120 during a shoot ... and most recently, I've worked my 50mm into the rotation. When I want a shallow DOF, I use the 70-200 and stand WAY back ... sometimes shooting through a doorway, sometimes shooting from half way up the stairs. If I can't stand back far enough, I switch to the 24-120 or 50mm ... or accept a greater DOF and blur out the background in Photohshop.

My two best pieces of advice for you would be as follows -- First, take advantage of the equipment you have and design your shots and creative ideas to work with your current equipment. Second, when you do buy another lens, keep in mind that you won't be in that basement forever ... so buy something that you can use on locations, inside a studio, outside, etc. FYI - I love my Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR because it''s an awesome lens ... and it forced me to get outside more often -- and my new work looks better because of it!

Here's a recent image shot in my small living room -- 70-200mm, paper background, Alien Bees ... and a wee bit of Photoshop to create the lens flares.
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