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Unread 08-29-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
mcnugget
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Red face Which lens do I take with me to a convention?

I inherited a pentax camera and lens set and would like to take photos at a convention coming up.
What is the best lens I should bring- my prime or my zoom? I know the environment is different with lots of people around.

I have the following lenses:
  • Pentax DA 40mm F2.8mm XS Lens
  • Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Lens


I really love the 40mm/2.8 and use it almost exclusively, but I am worried about moving around to much to get the right focus in a convention hall. Is this a right concern? My Sigma is not as sharp as the DA. I am a beginner and I'm not going to buy another lens until I get better.

Thanks for your help!
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Unread 08-29-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
nathancarter
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Opinion:

If you're comfortable with the prime, and you know in advance that you will have to use the ol' "foot zoom" to get the framing you want, then take it. 40mm should be enough to get a full-length shot if you're able to step back a couple feet, or be nice for a headshot if you're relatively close. I think you'll be thankful for that extra stop of aperture for indoor locations where the light is not great. And, the wider aperture provides that extra subject-to-background separation which is so important in portraits.

The 40mm will definitely constrain you a bit when you're trying to get big wide group shots, or get someone far away (e.g. the stage at a show or costume contest, or the speakers at a panel). But personally, I'd give up the zoom flexibility to keep the aperture and sharpness.

If the zoom isn't too big and heavy, put it in your bag so it's there when you need it and when you have the convenience of changing lenses (e.g. when sitting at a panel), but leave the 40mm on for walking around.
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Unread 08-29-2012, 02:45 PM   #3
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There's no reason not to take both, I don't know why you would have to decide on just one.
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Unread 08-29-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
mrgetalife
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Both. If you get a flash the 18-200 might get a bit more use.

And there's practically no reason to leave the 40mm behind as its appears to be a pancake. So size/weight are negligible.
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Unread 08-30-2012, 07:32 AM   #5
mcnugget
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Thanks for your responses!

Originally, I only wanted to bring one lens as I will also be in costume.... butttt, my sweet boyfriend has offered to bring a backpack to carry so I still don't have to have a bag I think I will stick with my 40 and the zoom in the bag. I only have the in camera pop up flash but I can see how a flash would really help utilizing my zoom in the future. Thanks so much!
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Unread 08-30-2012, 10:00 AM   #6
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One other note, while we're talking about the pop-up flash.
If your camera body supports it, learn how to control the output of the pop-up flash. I don't know the ins-and-outs of all the different brands, but on Canon it's called FEC, or Flash Exposure Compensation.

For portraiture, even when you have plenty of light, turn on the flash, but keep the power way down. A tiny bit of contribution from the pop-up flash can help out a portrait, by softening hard shadows from other light sources (such as the sun), lightening up the eye sockets, and putting a little sparkling catchlight in the eyes.

In these cases, you just have to make sure the flash is only a small factor in the overall exposure; don't try to overpower the main light sources or the ambient light. This is generally referred to as "fill light."

Of course, in very dim lighting situations, or when using a small aperture (like the 6.3 at the long end of your 18-200), you may still have to fall back on the flash as your main source of light. In these cases, the above advice is not relevant.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 09:23 AM   #7
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Since we're on the topic of Lens to use at a con... I'm going to assume we're talking about event style, and not photoshooting during a con..

For events.. I'll use the (for the Canon 7D & 60D)
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8


Since I'm mostly in close quarters environments...

If I have to shoot something for the cosplay contest... I gotta use something as good as a 70-200 telephoto lens...
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Unread 09-03-2012, 03:06 AM   #8
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It depends on what look you are going for. If you stay with your 40mm, you will be limited to having a lot of background, which can lead to having other people in your photo. If that is okay with you, then that 40mm should be very useful for you.

I agree with those who say, it is worth the extra effort to bring your zoom. You get so many more options on the look of your photo. You can better control making less degrees of background, so you can crop out people on the sides. Find brighter places to shoot, or bring your ISO up to 400, or maybe even 800, if your camera can get good image quality, such as low grain.

Although your zoom may be less sharp, it probably can give you much sharper images than you may realize, if you use it carefully. Some blur may be due to inaccurate focusing, and/or camera movement when your shutter speed is too slow.. Telephoto lenses increase camera movement, which can make shots blurry unless your shutter speed is fast enough, and you use a very steady hand.

Your built-in flash can help, but it adds a flat,artificial-looking light, even when you bring down the power. This may reduce the textures in your costume. The sparkle in the eyes will be in the center of your subject's pupil, rather than a more flattering sparkle above the pupil when you use window lighting, or upward angled bounce flash from an added on-camera flash.

Last edited by brucer007 : 09-03-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Unread 09-03-2012, 09:40 AM   #9
Ashurachan
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I'm a photographer who likes to travel light. I generally have two primes in my bag, a 35 and a 50 mm.
The two things I'll use a zoom for :
- studio, because 35 mm is a tad too long in my home studio
- stage, because 50 mm is way too short most of the time, and you can't move so zooming is the only way to have control on framing.
I bring my zoom when I know I'll have the opportunity to shoot a masquerade, and feel like shooting it (quite often I don't care about the masquerade because of bad lighting, but well, Japan Expo spoiled me a bit )

Last edited by Ashurachan : 09-04-2012 at 07:59 AM.
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Unread 09-08-2012, 09:50 AM   #10
LupinTheBored
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnugget View Post
I inherited a pentax camera and lens set and would like to take photos at a convention coming up.
What is the best lens I should bring- my prime or my zoom? I know the environment is different with lots of people around.

I have the following lenses:
  • Pentax DA 40mm F2.8mm XS Lens
  • Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Lens


I really love the 40mm/2.8 and use it almost exclusively, but I am worried about moving around to much to get the right focus in a convention hall. Is this a right concern? My Sigma is not as sharp as the DA. I am a beginner and I'm not going to buy another lens until I get better.

Thanks for your help!
Hello! While I am a newbie, I do know this much, your prime is much better for you at the con.

Keep it simple Mcnugget, it's not always about sharpness ;-).
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Unread 09-08-2012, 07:36 PM   #11
Max_Archer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashurachan View Post
I'm a photographer who likes to travel light. I generally have two primes in my bag, a 35 and a 50 mm.
The two things I'll use a zoom for :
- studio, because 35 mm is a tad too long in my home studio
- stage, because 50 mm is way too short most of the time, and you can't move so zooming is the only way to have control on framing.
I bring my zoom when I know I'll have the opportunity to shoot a masquerade, and feel like shooting it (quite often I don't care about the masquerade because of bad lighting, but well, Japan Expo spoiled me a bit )
I use zooms almost exclusively these days. Only time I really use primes now is when I want super-shallow depth of field or extreme wide-angle. (Since my widest zoom is a 24-70 and I have a 20mm prime.) I wouldn't mind a 105 or 135 for portraits, mostly so I can leave my 70-200 at home. 90% of what I shoot at cons is on the 24-70, though.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 03:29 AM   #12
Ashurachan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_Archer View Post
I use zooms almost exclusively these days. Only time I really use primes now is when I want super-shallow depth of field or extreme wide-angle. (Since my widest zoom is a 24-70 and I have a 20mm prime.) I wouldn't mind a 105 or 135 for portraits, mostly so I can leave my 70-200 at home. 90% of what I shoot at cons is on the 24-70, though.
24-70 is a good range for cons. For me it would be too heavy a lens to carry around all day though :/
The fact that I generally don't bother with flashes makes the larger aperture of primes all the more useful (my zoom is only f/4).
I'm planning of getting the 135/2 sooner or later, I really like what comes out of it - and I badly need a tele...
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Unread 09-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #13
ImNewHere
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As I said at PF, the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 sure is hard to beat at a con!
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Unread 09-19-2012, 09:14 PM   #14
peiqinglong
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Without truly knowing you're shooting style, hard to say which lens, but if you're doing hallway shots, I would suggest the 40mm because it'll force you to get closer to your subject and hopefully interact with him or her which will lead to much better shots. Plus you'll also hopefully pay more attention to your background as well.
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