Telephoto lens for indoor school performances

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G from Sydney New Member • Posts: 12
Telephoto lens for indoor school performances


I'm looking for some lens suggestions so that I can take pictures of my kids at indoor school presentations and performances.

Background first:

Throughout the year, I occasionally attend various school events consisting of presentations and performances that my children feature in.

Usually, to take unobstructed shots of my kids, I have to stand up the back of the hall, which is 20-30m from the stage. (Kids in front, parents up back). Being indoors, the lighting, even during the day, isn't great.

As you may have noticed from my gear list, I have a GX85 and I'm using the Panasonic 45-150mm zoom. Usually I shoot between 100 and 150mm at these events, but spend most of the time at the full 150mm. At 150mm, I use the widest possible aperture of 5.6, shutter speed 1/60 and ISO3200. If I get my kids feet at the bottom of the frame in landscape, they are about 3/4 of the height.

In the hall, I can't use a flash and I can't use a tripod.

What I would like from a new lens:

Most importantly, in these conditions, I'd like a faster lens. 1/60 is about as slow as I can hold my current lens to get a crisp image. Getting a crisp image only holds true if no one is moving up on stage. My kids haven't done any plays or musicals yet, but at 1/60 of a second any movement up on stage is going to end up as a blur in camera.
After ISO3200, I find the image quality really degrades, so I don't want to push that any higher to get the faster shutter speed.
Aperture is currently as wide as it will go for this lens.

I'd like a maximum focal length of greater than 150mm and be able to zoom to go wide if I'd like to get the whole stage, instead of just focusing on my child.

Being a dark location and using a long lens, IS is important.

I have recently tried underexposing some shots by between 1-3 stops to see what can be done. I find 1-2 stops is good, but the image quality of 3 stops is starting to reduce. I'd also prefer to get it as close to right as possible in camera, rather than to fix things in post.

Current considerations:

The Panasonic 50-200mm would probably work, but it is at the very, very top of my price range. From various reviews, it seems to offer just over 1 stop of aperture improvement over my current lens at 150mm.

The Panasonic 100-300mm would also probably work, but I'm not sure if it would be fast enough to make much of a difference. I'm guessing at 150mm, it offers just under 1 stop of aperture improvement over my current lens.

If I was to use a prime, I think it would need to have a focal length of just over 100mm and then crop down to my child in post if I wanted a close up. Unfortunately I haven't seen a prime around this focal length.

Are there any other considerations either with lenses or techniques I should think about?

Just a note, I have found it hard to find examples of indoor stage performances to see what equipment other people are using. Wildlife and sport are popular with telephoto lenses on the internet, but school performances aren't. Admittedly, I don't and probably won't be posting pictures of my kids on the internet for other people to view.

Thank you for your help,

 G from Sydney's gear list:G from Sydney's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 OIS
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
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