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Lens advice for indoor photos

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ZLJ2011, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    Hello,
    New member here and also new/prospective M4/3 system owner. I am about to purchase the Panasonic GX8. I'd like to start playing with the video features, I feel like I may have use for the 4k photo feature for family action shots, and I also like the idea of the dual IS capability.

    In any event, I am planning to also purchase the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 as my main walk around lens. It seems like the best overall option for this purpose. My question is for indoor photos, potentially without flash, of moving subjects such as kids playing (not super active kids, for what it's worth), is there a benefit to using something like the new 25/1.7 lens (or even the 25/1.4) vs. the zoom.

    Basically, I am struggling to figure out if the dual IS feature of the zoom completely offsets the aperture advantage of the primes when taking handheld photos indoors of moving subjects. I do realize that the GX8 IBIS does offer 2-3 stops of IS for the primes as well. Anyway, just seeking some authoritive/experienced advice.

    thank you!!!
     
  2. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Welcome.

    I have the 12-40 f2.8 on Oly which would be equv to your pana zoom I use almost everywhere when out and about, except indoors. f2.8 just isn't fast enough and forces your ISO a little too high for my likings. I have the 25mm f1.4 and it's great indoors. Fast focus and wide aperture make it ideal for kids. I'm often shooting around iso 1600 with it indoors at night which is quite manageable on m43
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    Thanks! That is very helpful. I guess the reason is that your shutter speed has to be fast enough to freeze subjects that the IS isn't a big help. Just out of curiosity, what ISO approximately do you end up with using the 2.8 zoom indoors for these sorts of family shots? Do you think the 25/f1.7 would be fast enough vs. the slightly faster 25/f1.4?

    Edit: thought of another question. As I said in the OP, I am not generally inclined to use a flash since I feel like it ends up looking unnatural (likely my own inexperience). I also don't really want a large flash so that I can keep the kit as compact as possible. I was, however, thinking about getting the new Olympus flash that they include with the EM5-II (the FL-LM3), which you can see here @ B&H: Olympus FL-LM3 Flash V326150BW000 B&H Photo Video

    If I were to use this flash, maybe with something like the Gary Fong diffuser (never used one but my brother has spoken highly of them), does that significantly change the calculus in terms of using the f2.8 zoom indoors for kid/family photos? Or still not really enough?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    IS may improve by a stop or two but that isn't always enough in dim light. I also have the Oly 13-40, 2.8. Depends on the light, but Indoors it isn't always able to freeze action. Stills and portraits no problem.

    I use a 17,1.8 or 25,1.4 most often indoors because I don't need zoom indoors and like the extra margin.
     
  5. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    The 1.7 would be better than 2.8 for sure. f1.4 is 2 full stops faster than you zoom, so in my example of iso 1600 above it would be 6400 on the f2.8 zoom. f1.7 is 1 1/3 stops faster so iso would be around 2500.

    But it all depends on your indoor lighting. Some places are really bright and other a lot darker. I mainly shoot stills and if it's too bad I will bounce a flash etc.
     
  6. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    Also for you flash question I think it comes down to technique and experience. You can get very natural looking flash shots but generally not when you point it right at your subject. The number one video and book which changed my whole flash photography was watching the 2 hours (yes) of this



    Now I'm not saying I'm an expert at flash photography but it really did improve them. Your pictures will thank you for the time spent watching it.
     
  7. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    I really appreciate all the feedback! Really helpful in helping me decide what to do... Is the small Olympus flash i mentioned above really too compromised in terms of power to be much benefit? Here is a short write up about it from Robin Wong in the midst of the EM-5II review: Robin Wong: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review Extension: 40MP High Res Shot Questions Answered, High ISO Shooting and More Samples Images

    It is, at least, a bounce/swivel flash, which makes it infinitely more compelling vs. the typical popup flash. However, I am not too thrilled about the 5 second recharge time and I've read that it might be a bit weak. Yes, I realize that expectations should be reasonably low given what it is... but just curious how a flash of that size might factor into the lens choice equation.
     
  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I'd only trust the supplied flashes as on axis fill, really. They are just not powerful enough to give you anything good 5-10ft, even less coverage when bounced.

    If your indoor lighting is like most, you are looking at roughly - and this is generous - 1/60, f/4, ISO 400 readings as a base. It generally gets worse than that. The good thing is given the sensor size, focal lengths you'll be into with m43, shooting at f/1.8ish apertures is still very doable with the 17mm/25mm lenses and get most things in acceptable focus and still working with a decent ISO.

    I'd say primes for most things, zooms when convenience or changing lenses is not really a viable option.
     
  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I have it and don't find it underpowered indoors. I think a lot depends on what you're trying to do with it. I've lit rooms at dusk to send to a designer/contractor. I've bounced it off of my cathedral ceiling for portraits with no issue, for macro, it's plenty.

    To fill in a subject backlit with sun maybe it's weak. I haven't tried that yet, but it seems plenty for most situations. Tell the group how you expect to use it and they might be able to provide more detailed advice.
     
  10. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    Bearing in mind that I'm a bit of an amateur outright, especially in terms of flash (for instance, I've never had a "real" flash). Ultimately, I'd like to use it to get lower ISO indoors and maybe more flexibility in terms of lens choice. Historically, I have not been happy using the direct/popup flash on people since I don't care for the look and typically end up liking the higher ISO shots that used whatever natural light was available. However, I have also fiddled with my brothers kit, which is a Canon 7D mk2 with a big flash and I was very happy with the look of the flash used in these circumstances... but again, it's a bigger setup, APSC, also with faster zooms and primes, etc. so not really comparable to the really compact olympus flash with a m4/3 kit. Not sure if this was a better description or not...
     
  11. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    The difference from 1.7/1.8 and 1.4 is small, half stop, that you can easily get rising the ISO a little. For people you usually try to stay around 1/100 for kids moving...maybe up to 1/250. It really depends on how many lights you can turn on, how distant are from the kids, etc. and how willing you are to rise ISO. 1600/3200 is what most people find acceptable, often after tweaking noise filter parameters on the camera.

    Going with a more conservative estimate you may be around f2.8, 1/160, ISO 1600. I have this only in the best lit parts of the house. With a 1.8 you go down to ISO 640, with a 1.4 to 400, about the same.

    The small flash has a guide number of 30 feet at ISO 100, going with 400 or 800 ISO it should go quite far (not a flash expert). I tried now the pop-up on the E-M10 (GN 18) at ISO 400 and it lit the most distant wall quite well (not bounced obviously). Again depends on the room: huge room, high ceiling, etc.
    But are you sure it works on the GX8? It uses the battery of the camera and an extra pin for power, I think, so it could not work. The FL-300r is a similar small one (GN 66).

    Not to start religious and family wars, but there is not much difference between an m43 and APS-C especially comparing latest and old models. I'd not expect different results, except of course for the flash power and AF speed.
     
  12. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    290
    Oct 12, 2013
    Are you looking at the GX8 with the kit 14-42mm? If so, instead of getting the 12-35mm lens, I might get a 25mm 1.4 -- the 14-42mm kit lens is actually decent and you could use the 25mm when you need speed. There are also other 25mm lenses out there from Panasonic and Olympus that are a bit cheaper, as well as wider lenses that might be to your liking.

    If you've got the budget, you could also just get the GX8 with 12-35mm and see how things work. If it turns out you want a prime or flash, you'll have a better sense by then of what you want.
     
  13. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    APS-C isnt much of an advantage and especially canon APS-C. It's very close to m43 regarding noise. The zooms are also f2.8 so no advantage there. Often I use the cheap $70 yongnuo flashes and some triggers. They are very powerful but manual power control. I also have a Olympus flash with TTL for the times I cant be bothered. All have their uses.
     
  14. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    310
    Jan 15, 2014
    This is an f2.8 zoom, ISO 1600, which gave me 1/25 shutter speed in my bedroom about one meter from a table lamp. I cropped it to about 25% to show the blur better. So I use fast primes, sometimes an off-camera flash, and sometimes a continuous LED movie light if I want to shoot bursts for something like my cat playing with her mouse toy.

    motion blur.JPG
     
  15. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Photography is all about light. Invest in a flash if you want to shoot kids indoors often. It makes more sense to bring in more light than trying to catch what measly light is available through high ISO or fast lenses.
     
  16. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    Got it! Sorry, I wasn't trying to turn this into a Canon APS-C discussion, so apologies for my sending the thread in that direction. I was just trying to add some more personal context to a bigger/good kit that I've tried (briefly) more recently.

    In the US, there isn't a 12-35/GX8 kit sold. Rather, they are sold body only for now. I was planning to pickup the 12-35/2.8 separately as my main lens. That said, the new panasonic 25/f1.7 seems to be getting discounted deeply when purchased with the body so I was considering that route. Way back, ie. before that lens was released, I'd been eyeing the 25/1.4 since I realize it is one of the nicer lenses for the format. I had not originally thought about getting the lower priced kit lens since I'd believed that the f2.8 lenses would be viable indoors. I do realize that the kit lens is considered to be good (for a kit lens) so perhaps that is worth reconsidering.

    I do very much like the ~50mm effective focal length, by the way. I am actually interested in the 25mm lenses for that reason, not just because they are the new 25/1.7 is cheap or the 25/1.4 is faster.
     
  17. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    Gary5, thanks for the shot... had to mention that your Standard looks a lot like mine. :2thumbs: I also noticed that you're in maryland, which is where I picked up my guy from last year (L'Paige).
     
  18. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    All the above points are valid. Different things for different situations. I was at a friends house on Halloween. Now I could have taken my flash and got better shots but I wasn't there for photography, I was there to have a good time on Halloween. No camera bag or accessories. I took a single lens on my e-m5ii (the 25mm f1.4) and in their house I could shoot around iso 1600-3200 wide open. I shot this at iso 2000, now at f1.8 it would have been iso 3200 which would be about my limit and at f2.8 it would have been iso 8000 which is way beyond my limit (1/80th).

    [​IMG]

    It is not a good shot. I missed focus (my fault) but I knew it would be clean enough for me at that iso.

    Now when I'm in the comfort on my own home I have no hesitation to bring out the flash and I can use my f2.8 zoom no problems at all, like I did with the following shot using my 12-40 at f2.8 and off camera flash iso 200.

    izp8fXGh.

    You need different tools in different situations and more importantly you need to know their limits and how to take the fullest advantage of your situation.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  19. ZLJ2011

    ZLJ2011 Mu-43 Regular

    25
    Nov 18, 2015
    Fair enough - thanks a lot for all the input... it sounds like the somewhat broader plan that I originally contemplated probably makes the most sense for me to start with... I will most likely pickup the 2.8 zoom for walk around, outdoors, etc. the 25/1.7 prime for cases like the holloween party that siftu mentioned (thanks for all the feedback) where I want to avoid flash at the cost of noise, and will also pickup a small flash to start learning some of the basics about how to improve the indoor photos with either the prime or zoom.

    Many thanks again!
     
  20. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    I good flash can help a lot and that little Olympus flash is nice. But I'm not sure it will work on the GX8. Does the GX8 have 4 pins on the hot shoe or only 3? The 4th was added by Olympus and some Panasonic bodies for power. Since a little flash like the one included with the GM5 and LX100 is not included with GX8 it might not have the pin.

    As for Fong Dome? Had one for a little while. They are kind of big and heavy, especially taking account m4/3 system size. Give me a flash with a tilt and swivel head over an attachment unless I'm dialing down the flash for just a little direct fill.