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Need lenses to take dance recital photos

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by 00r101, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. 00r101

    00r101 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2012
    A friend just got a G5 and needs lenses to take dance recital photos (his wife owns a dance studio)

    I am guessing that he needs to shoot in relatively low light from maybe 100-200 feet from the stage and capture relatively rapid motion, So I am thinking f2.8 or better and moderate tele focal lengths like 30-100mm.

    He will also need to shoot backstage candids. So something in the range of 14-25mm would be good. He would also like to take family and vacation photos. And I expect he will want to shoot video of the recitals so silent focus will be a plus.

    Clearly he needs primes or the wildly expensive Pana 35-100.

    And the lenses should be quick to focus on the G5.

    His budget is not unlimited. Ideally less than $800 for the lenses but I think he could go as high as $1200

    I have been oscillating among 2 lenses for the long end:
    Oly 45 and Oly 60 macro. I think the 75 will be too long and too pricey.

    For the wide end I thought about the Pana kit lens or the Pana 14 (both of which can be readily purchased use) or the Sigma 19.

    So can anyone suggest a kit of 2-3 lenses that will fir his requirements and budget?
  2. erb3742

    erb3742 Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Oct 3, 2012
    You can't beat the performance of the 75/1.8 shot wide open. It has become my favorite lens. Next in line is the Panasonic 25/1.4 which would be great for backstage candids. It probably spends the most time on my camera then any of my lenses.

    These lenses are both fantastic wide open allowing great low light performance for indoor work without a flash.
  3. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    The 75mm can be purchased secondhand for low $700 on ebay or f&m, and thhe 14mm f2.5 for $170 new also on Ebay. That's less than $1k, still $200 below his stretchmarks ;) 
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    12-35/2.8 and done
  5. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Someone has to find out what kind of pictures his wife wants and how far he really has to shoot from. Can't isolate a single dancer from 200' away with a 75/1.8.

    The best time to shoot is during a dress rehearsal, when you can move around as needed. Even if they don't do a full dress rehearsal, it would still be useful to watch a rehearsal do know what happens when, and who to pay particular attention to. There shouldn't be any guessing about what's needed, physical layout, lighting, etc.

    Edit: left out the most important thing to find out: What is the intended use of the images? Web images? Large prints for the studio? Sell pictures of the dancers? Intended use determines the requirements for technical image quality.
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    He's got an issue -- he wants to shoot from 200' back in dim lighting (though, tbh, performances are NOT dim lighting. The backgrounds are dim often, but the subjects are well lit, and you really have to managed your EV in performance situations).

    At any rate, he's got a non-stabilized body, and so he may need stabilized lenses or a tripod. Longer fl (as B-rubenstein points out) may be needed, depending on what she wants.

    I have successfully shot my daughter's ballet using a legacy 135mm lens. Successfully for home use (and could have used for website), but it likely wouldn't have held up to a parent who wants a blow-up of their dancer, as the f/stop was 2.5 the camera (epm1) peaked around ISO800, so shutter speeds were a little slow for motion.
  7. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    The answer is in the OPs second paragraph...the 35-100 f2.8 !
    • Like Like x 1
  8. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011

    I've done a ton of stage performances. If you're limited to a single lens you are much better off with a zoom. The P35-100 is probably the best single lens for this situation. I don't understand the 100' to 200' requirement. Even if the photog shoots during a performance they can snuggle up close to the stage and not be a distraction.

    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II    ---    70mm    f/2.8    1/800s    ISO 1600

    70mm (in FF)
    At the foot of the stage during dress rehearsal

    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II    ---    200mm    f/2.8    1/160s    ISO 1600

    200mm (in FF)
    From the balcony of a commercial/professional theatre.

    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II    ---    140mm    f/3.2    1/125s    ISO 1600

    140mm (in FF)
    From the stage floor during dress rehearsal

    Canon EOS 5D    ---    26mm    f/2.8    1/125s    ISO 1600

    26mm (in FF)
    From the stage floor during dress rehearsal

    Canon EOS 5D    ---    70mm    f/2.8    1/125s    ISO 1600

    70mm (in FF)
    From the foot of the stage

    The ability to walk around the stage during dress rehearsal allows you to shoot into the light.

    Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II    ---    200mm    f/2.8    1/60s    ISO 1600

  9. stealthfixr

    stealthfixr Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 7, 2012
    I just took a bunch of photos at a dance recital with my OM-D and Pany 45-200 zoom wide open with an ISO between 800-3200. It worked just fine for my needs...



    View attachment 247668

    • Like Like x 1
  10. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    How sure are you about that 100-200'? That's a long way for a non-professional arena
  11. 00r101

    00r101 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2012
    i am not sure of the distances but he talked about a balcony at the rear of the theatre so I figured 100' minimum. Perhaps less but I am confidant that he cannot get stage left or right or in front of the seats. I am leaning towards the Oly 45 or 60 macro. Big budget choice is the pana 35-100. More opinions appreciated.
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