Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

Started Jan 4, 2007 | Discussions
Shop cameras & lenses ▾
Chinoy Regular Member • Posts: 124
Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

I have a D50. I've been looking for a good low-light fast lens to take flash-less photos. I kept on reading in this group on the sharp pictures of the 50mm 1.8. Considering a 1.5x crop on digital SLRs, is this lens good for group pictures in tight places? Also what can be done to compensate on these kinds of situation? i.e. is there a stitch program for split photos like what the Canon p&s have? Help please...

gobongo
gobongo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,855
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

to make a wide photo on a tight place, you cannot use a "semi"tele. So you have to think about 20 mm, max.30 mm.You can stich photo's if you make several shots with software that goes with photoshop, there is also independent software to do this.There is not an incam solution like Canon's p&s have.

qrila New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

To get group photo with 50mm in tight space you need your group be still couple of minutes and lots of pictures with lots of overlap and http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html

As far as I at least can see it...

-- hide signature --

Trust everything you see in internet

PhoThomas Regular Member • Posts: 150
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

If you're shooting at F1,8, you'll have an extremely hard time (next to impossible) getting all people in focus - simply because you trade all depth for light sensivity.

threean2 Contributing Member • Posts: 710
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

Chinoy wrote:

I have a D50. I've been looking for a good low-light fast lens to
take flash-less photos. I kept on reading in this group on the
sharp pictures of the 50mm 1.8. Considering a 1.5x crop on digital
SLRs, is this lens good for group pictures in tight places?

Set your zoom to 50mm. This is the view that you will see with a 50mm prime. Is this tight enough for you? If you do ps you can crop.

Also
what can be done to compensate on these kinds of situation? i.e.
is there a stitch program for split photos like what the Canon p&s
have? Help please...

harry Veteran Member • Posts: 3,133
Re: Here is how to calculate....

Go to the link below:

http://www.howardedin.com/articles/fov.html

and plug in the numbers of your camera/lens combo, then you will get the field of view in the horizontal (X) and vertical (Y) dimensions.

If you recall your high school trigonomaetry, the width of your view through a 50mm on a Nikon DSLR body, relative to the distance between the camera and the object, is sin(degree * pi / 180). In this case, it's about 0.45.

That means, roughly you'd need more than twice the width of your objects (group of people) in distance to the camera to capture all people in the view. If the group spreads 6 feet, you'd need 12+ feet distance. For a large group spreading 10 feet, you'd need a 20+ feet distance, which is NOT possible in a very tight space.

Incidentally, a regular wide (18mm) on a Nikon DSLR body would give you a factor of 1.15. So you could roughly capture the entire group with only a distance as short as the width of the group.

-- hide signature --

Harry

 harry's gear list:harry's gear list
Canon PowerShot A20 Canon PowerShot A40 Nikon Coolpix P50 Nikon Coolpix P7000 Nikon Coolpix P300 +11 more
Dan Thorberg
Dan Thorberg Regular Member • Posts: 380
Re: Here is how to calculate....

On this same note how is the 18-55mm kit lens for doing group shots with a D50 and a SB600 ? I have a 50mm as well which is awesome for single portraits but is to long groups.

-- hide signature --
 Dan Thorberg's gear list:Dan Thorberg's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +6 more
howard1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,720
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

No, you have to step back very very far, not practical in most indoor locations. Also, the f1.8 for low light won't give enough depth of field for most group photos. You are really better off using a cheap 18-55mm lens at f3.5 or so and a tripod, or else use flash.

raymondox Veteran Member • Posts: 3,680
No(NT)
-- hide signature --

Bluenose

visionairy Regular Member • Posts: 213
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

it is terrible for group shots unless you have plenty of time (and room) to step far back.

howard1 wrote:

No, you have to step back very very far, not practical in most
indoor locations. Also, the f1.8 for low light won't give enough
depth of field for most group photos. You are really better off
using a cheap 18-55mm lens at f3.5 or so and a tripod, or else use
flash.

David Lal Veteran Member • Posts: 8,635
No, quite useless!

It's a great lens and great value for money but on a D70/50/80 quite useless for the kind of shot you mention since it's focal length equates to 75mm in traditional 35mm terms. If you must insist on no flash and use it wide open that just makes matters worse.

I use a Nikkor 18-35 for groups, social occasions and things - bought after discovering the 50mm was no good for this. The 18-35 is great but probably not fast enough for you if you don't want to use flash (personally, I loathe most available light indoor shots and always use one or more flash guns).

Cheers
David

Chinoy wrote:

I have a D50. I've been looking for a good low-light fast lens to
take flash-less photos. I kept on reading in this group on the
sharp pictures of the 50mm 1.8. Considering a 1.5x crop on digital
SLRs, is this lens good for group pictures in tight places? Also
what can be done to compensate on these kinds of situation? i.e.
is there a stitch program for split photos like what the Canon p&s
have? Help please...

Tom Christiansen Senior Member • Posts: 2,239
Re: Is the 50mm 1.8 good for group pictures?

visionairy wrote:

it is terrible for group shots unless you have plenty of time (and
room) to step far back.

Au contraire: it's excellent insofar as distortion is minimized.
There's also the matter of perspective.

But you don't want to use a wide-angle on people! Think of two
shots, one taken with a normal lens, one with a wide like the 12-24mm.
You have the same field of view with both shots by backing up with
the normal or closing in with the wide.

THESE DO NOT PRODUCE THE SAME PICTURES!

I mean, think of what the wide has to do pull in the faces on
the edges compared with what the normal has to do. You're
just not getting the same persective either, because you're
not standing in the same place. Think about it.

People are not going to be flattered by the wide. If it's just for
snapshots, I guess it doesn't matter. But if you don't mind the
distortion, might as well go all the way and use the 10.5mm.
It's got a lot more light-gathering and hand-holding ability than
you might think. I use it all the time for parties and such, but
not everyone is wholly flattered by its rendition all the time.

-- hide signature --

tom

genece Forum Pro • Posts: 15,405
Re: No, quite useless!

Well I am not sure its useless but what focal length would you recommend?

I am considering the 30mmF1.4 for a wider low light lens than my 50mm and I am hoping its not much......I seem to use my 18 to 200 a lot around 28 to 30mm for indoor with a flash.
--
------------------------------------------------------------
Gene
From Western PA.

Panasonic FZ 20 and FZ30
D50 and lenses.

http://imageevent.com/grc6

Just trying to learn and it's slow going!

 genece's gear list:genece's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Nikon D50 Nikon D7000 Nikon D7100
jagge Veteran Member • Posts: 4,060
no (nt)

Chinoy wrote:

I have a D50. I've been looking for a good low-light fast lens to
take flash-less photos. I kept on reading in this group on the
sharp pictures of the 50mm 1.8. Considering a 1.5x crop on digital
SLRs, is this lens good for group pictures in tight places? Also
what can be done to compensate on these kinds of situation? i.e.
is there a stitch program for split photos like what the Canon p&s
have? Help please...

raymondox Veteran Member • Posts: 3,680
Re: No, quite useless!

It really does depend on what sort of groups you are talking about.

Is it a group of 4 people indoors, or is it a wedding group of 50 people.

It also depends an the amount of space you will have between the subject matter and the camera.

I would answer one of the previous posters about perspective. The normal H&S perspective is best served by a 80-135 mm lens on film cameras equivalent to approx a 50-85 lens on a digital camera. These will give you sufficent perspective for a head and shoulders shot.

Remeber the perspective is dependent on the facial features. Someone with a large nose may either need a longer telephoto to reduce the size of the nose or a shorter one if they're proud of it.

As a group picture normally considts of 4 people then by using a wide angle lens and standing back you will get the same perspective as a portriat lens. The perspective is defined by the distance from the subject.

So what do you use, again it depends on what sort of group picture. If you want head and sholders of 4 people thats different from full length of 4 people, and your composition of the group has to be different.

Sorry but there is no simple answer to this other than the 50mm is not suitable as a group lens unless you have the space to stand far enough away and then you're likely to get too flat a perspective.

Personally I've tended to use a 28mm lens on film cameras for large groups and a 35mm for smaller ones. Which is equivalent to 18mm or 24mm on DSLR.

-- hide signature --

Bluenose

threean2 Contributing Member • Posts: 710
Re: No, quite useless!

genece wrote:

Well I am not sure its useless but what focal length would you
recommend?
I am considering the 30mmF1.4 for a wider low light lens than my
50mm and I am hoping its not much......I seem to use my 18 to 200 a
lot around 28 to 30mm for indoor with a flash.

Nikon makes primes in 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm. One of the 35mm's is a f1.4 if you want fast but it is costly. The 28mm f2.8 is a very good lens and fairly fast.

-- hide signature --

Gene
From Western PA.

Panasonic FZ 20 and FZ30
D50 and lenses.

http://imageevent.com/grc6

Just trying to learn and it's slow going!

threean2 Contributing Member • Posts: 710
Why are we guessing?

The poster has a zoom lens. He can pase off his distance look thru his camera to judge the width that he needs. Now he has to look at his lens to see the focal length where he is....Da Daaaa!

Tom Christiansen Senior Member • Posts: 2,239
Re: No, quite useless!

genece wrote:

Well I am not sure its useless but what focal length would you
recommend?
I am considering the 30mmF1.4 for a wider low light lens than my
50mm and I am hoping its not much......I seem to use my 18 to 200 a
lot around 28 to 30mm for indoor with a flash.

I normally avoid slow lenses when I'm doing flash work, if I can.
The 50mm f/1.4 is my second-most used lens for indoors. What's top?
To be honest, I usually use the 17-55, plus bounce flash or multiple
flashes. The VR on the 18-200VR doesn't matter much since you're
using flash, but it's sometimes nice to get a longer shot. I was surprised
by how successful I was at Christmas sitting a couple rooms away
with the 70-300VR loaded. I was able to get tight headshots
with nice bokeh without being part of the group. I do not suggest
this for general practices, however.

You meantion the 30mm f/1.4, by which I assume you mean the
Sigma. Well, that's all well and good if you can get yours to work.
I've one that misbehaves in any number of annoying ways. The
first and biggest trouble is that it has a very low success nailing the
focus, even at f/2.8 and 8' away. I also have trouble with it over-
exposing, and I don't care for the urine-colored hue it seems to
impart at times. And the HSM full-time AF override does not
work the way Nikon's does, contrary to popular report.

That said, I still hold out hope and so am I going to send mine into
Sigma with the prayer that they might resolve my focusing trouble.
I have stopped using the lens because of that, although I very much
like its range over the 50s--which, unlike it, always AF correctly and
don't overexpose. Sigh.

You can probably use the Sigma at f/4 with flash and get acceptable
results if you keep a constant eye on its penchant for overexposure
and dial in regular and/or flash exposure compensation accordingly.

-- hide signature --

tom

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads