Lens for Museum

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
BaseballShots Forum Member • Posts: 96
Lens for Museum

Future plans to visit National indoor and outdoor museums.

I have Sony A7III with following lenses already:

Sony 24-105G f4

Ziess 55  F1.8

Sony 100-400 GM (May not take)

Thinking of adding one more lens to either help w/ ultra wide for landscapes/architecture but more likely thinking something to help w/ indoor museum.

Should I try to get one of the following:

Tamron 16-28 f2.8 (might be backordered too long / unlucky)

sony 16-35mm G f4 (gets me wider but not sure worth $$$ & weight over just 24-105)

Rokinon 35mm f2.8 (no oss so any better than 24-105?)  like cheaper and small

Batis 40 f2 (worth the $$$ and weight over just using 24-105G?)  would 40 be different enough from my 55 thinking space in museum.

or just stick w what I have?? 24 wide enough & F4 w oss w/ibis good enough? Use 55 when really pushing things in low light.

 BaseballShots's gear list:BaseballShots's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016)
Sony a7
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jonpais
jonpais Senior Member • Posts: 1,510
Re: Lens for Museum

f/4 will be too slow for museum interiors. I’d go with either a fast wide prime or the 16-35mm GM and possibly the Tamron 28-75mm. Do not wait around for lenses that do not exist.

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Paul Barnard
Paul Barnard Senior Member • Posts: 2,762
Re: Lens for Museum
2

For indoor museums you will appreciate a wide and fast prime.  Also having a Sony body with a not too big prime tends to let you get past the no professional cameras policy that often turns up at museums today.

 Paul Barnard's gear list:Paul Barnard's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 +3 more
jonpais
jonpais Senior Member • Posts: 1,510
Re: Lens for Museum

True that.

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OP BaseballShots Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: Lens for Museum

Ok I hear/understand a  faster than f4 (has OSS) would be nice

Would the rokinon 35 f2.8 (not stabilized) be an improvement?  One stop of light.  Vs 24-105

I have the 55 F1.8 that I have really enjoyed but am concerned with the focal length being to long for some of the indoor situations.

 BaseballShots's gear list:BaseballShots's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016)
Guito55 Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Lens for Museum

Flash & tripods are usually prohibited too, so a fast lens is really important, since the lighting in many museums isn't great.

Paul Barnard
Paul Barnard Senior Member • Posts: 2,762
Re: Lens for Museum

BaseballShots wrote:

Ok I hear/understand a faster than f4 (has OSS) would be nice

Would the rokinon 35 f2.8 (not stabilized) be an improvement? One stop of light. Vs 24-105

I have the 55 F1.8 that I have really enjoyed but am concerned with the focal length being to long for some of the indoor situations.

I have the 55 and I find it too long in most situations indoors. I have a Batis 25f2 and Batis 18f2.8. The Batis 25 is the one I normally have on my camera in these situations.

Practical perspective:

Wide aperture is always a benefit indoors but is actually less important with the modern Sony sensors.  If you are looking for 'museum quality' images then wide and fast and a truck full of lighting gear is needed.  If you are looking to have images to remember visits you probably have the equipment you need already.

Here is an image from a day or two ago. It's not going to win prizes or make it to a print on the wall but will be part of my desktop and screensaver carousel. What it does show is that provided you have the FOV you need to capture the image, so wide is important, you can use what are traditionally stupid aperture settings indoors in poor light by making the most of IBIS and fantastic ISO capability.

This was shot at f11 through glass in a jostling scrum of Chinese tourists. I took a series from f2 up to attempt to get a reasonable depth of field to get the horses and the charioteer recognisable. This f11 image at ISO 32000 gave me an image I can use.

Bronze Chariot at Xi'an

 Paul Barnard's gear list:Paul Barnard's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 +3 more
OP BaseballShots Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: Lens for Museum

Paul,

Thank you for reply!! That’s what I have been thinking (might have what I need already).

I set out on this quest for a flexible lens that will let me get some memories of a family trip. I want to include people sometimes in the museum at exhibits, etc. that’s where my concern w the 55 comes in.

Guess the real question is would I be missing anything with only having down to 24 mm?

I am so very comfortable shooting outdoor field sports (100-400) or gymnasium (55 F1.8) that am questioning if my walk around 24-105 f4 is really enough for a vacation. I am questioning this as I am not experienced with this yet.

Looking for better than cell phone memories which I know how to get for sports.

 BaseballShots's gear list:BaseballShots's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016)
cgomez
cgomez Junior Member • Posts: 38
Re: Lens for Museum
1

I would stick with what you have, unless you were already looking to get a 24mm or 35mm lens. While in Europe last fall visiting many museums, I found that the 24-105G which had been a very reliable all-arounder was more than sufficient for museums. The 24-70 f/2.8 GM is too heavy for the marginally better low light performance it offers and while I now have the 24mm f/1.4, in many cases it would be too wide for my taste.

Example: https://photos.carlosgomez.me/Cities/Paris/i-c8NNFtp/A
Quite a few museum and tight indoor shots from the 24-105 here.

If you were already looking for a new lens and can justify using it afterwards, go for it. Otherwise, learn to love the 24-105 and remember that with bodies like the A7RIII, you can comfortably shoot up to ISO 4000 with minimal noise.

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??: carlosgomez.me/photos

 cgomez's gear list:cgomez's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM +2 more
Paul Barnard
Paul Barnard Senior Member • Posts: 2,762
Re: Lens for Museum

BaseballShots wrote:

Paul,

Thank you for reply!! That’s what I have been thinking (might have what I need already).

I set out on this quest for a flexible lens that will let me get some memories of a family trip. I want to include people sometimes in the museum at exhibits, etc. that’s where my concern w the 55 comes in.

Guess the real question is would I be missing anything with only having down to 24 mm?

I am so very comfortable shooting outdoor field sports (100-400) or gymnasium (55 F1.8) that am questioning if my walk around 24-105 f4 is really enough for a vacation. I am questioning this as I am not experienced with this yet.

Looking for better than cell phone memories which I know how to get for sports.

The 24-105 is a fantastically versatile lens.  If you don't run scared of ISO then you can be pretty confident of getting fantastic images even in poor light indoors.  24mm should be great for 90% of situations you will find in museums.  It is always the case that "if only I had" will pop into your mind but thats going to be a surprisingly small number of times.  I'm predominantly a prime shooter so almost always have the wrong focal length on my camera.  As a consequence I generally have to find a way to make it work by moving my feet of reluctantly look for another subject.  That's in a ridiculously small number of cases for me...

A final point is that if you are including people in your images then be aware of the shutter speed or all your images will be blurred.  The good news is that people tend to move slowly in museums, not like on your normal sports shots. But if you have small children the f1.4 might be essential

Ironically I was walking in China at 2700m yesterday, 15km with 800m elevation change,  carrying a back pack with three primes and the A7Riii.  I'm off shopping this week for a 24-105 so I can leave the backpack behind next time...

 Paul Barnard's gear list:Paul Barnard's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 +3 more
OP BaseballShots Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: Lens for Museum

Thanks for the insight!! I am starting to strongly feel my initial 24-105 f4 purchase for a walk around was smart and sufficient. I’ve gotten many excellent outdoor good daylight photos with and trust indoor dim will work out good enough for me.

Outside the vacation I don’t think I’d use the <50mm focal length enough to be worth it.  Saving up for the 135mm F1.8 for indoor sports down the road would get much more use.   Or any future longer & faster lens of some kind.

Thank you all again for the sounding board advice.   I honestly spend a very high percentage of my shooting time with the exact opposite focal length and lighting from indoor museums.

cgomez wrote:

I would stick with what you have, unless you were already looking to get a 24mm or 35mm lens. While in Europe last fall visiting many museums, I found that the 24-105G which had been a very reliable all-arounder was more than sufficient for museums. The 24-70 f/2.8 GM is too heavy for the marginally better low light performance it offers and while I now have the 24mm f/1.4, in many cases it would be too wide for my taste.

Example: https://photos.carlosgomez.me/Cities/Paris/i-c8NNFtp/A
Quite a few museum and tight indoor shots from the 24-105 here.

If you were already looking for a new lens and can justify using it afterwards, go for it. Otherwise, learn to love the 24-105 and remember that with bodies like the A7RIII, you can comfortably shoot up to ISO 4000 with minimal noise.

 BaseballShots's gear list:BaseballShots's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016)
OP BaseballShots Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: Lens for Museum

Paul,

Thanks again for the posts.  Very informative and has assisted a great deal.  I also think my wife likes the idea of holding off on another lens.

I am more excited in the idea of saving up for something I’d use more frequently.  135mm F1.8 would be awesome for late evening baseball or indoor gym basketball, etc.

 BaseballShots's gear list:BaseballShots's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016)
ZodiacPhoto
ZodiacPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,351
Try a different approach...
4

When I am at a museum (or a similar, relatively poorly lit indoor place, sometimes with flash photography prohibited), and my subject (sculpture, painting, etc.) is stationary, I use a completely different approach - image staking. Not for every image I take, but for those I want to keep.

Set the camera to AUTO ISO, the aperture you need for DOF, and fast continuous shooting. Keep the camera steady and take at least a dozen of photos.

Later at home, looks through the photos, and delete frames that are out of focus or show motion blur, if there are any. All remaining frames should be sharp, but noisy.

Load them in Photoshop as layers. Auto-align all layers, and then crop to your framing preference. Then select all layers, and convert them to a Smart Object (in Layers menu).

Then, change the Smart Object Stack Mode to Median. Done!

This is a very quick example I just tried in my poorly lit room, with a slow lens (f/4) at high ISO (6400):

One of 8 layers, JPG strait from the camera

8 layers stacked

If you use more than 8 layers, you will get even better results.

http://www.zodiacphoto.com

 ZodiacPhoto's gear list:ZodiacPhoto's gear list
Sony RX100 III Sony RX100 VI Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sony a7R II
richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,088
35mm

BaseballShots wrote:

Should I try to get one of the following:

Rokinon 35mm f2.8 (no oss so any better than 24-105?) like cheaper and small

I like the small 35mm lenses because they are so inconspicuous.

 richj20's gear list:richj20's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Leica 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 ASPH Panasonic FZ1000 Sony a7R II
OP BaseballShots Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: Try a different approach...

ZodiacPhoto,

That tip is awesome and something I only vaguely new about.

Really appreciate you going through the effort to write detailed enough instructions that I can follow it without further research!

Actually copied and pasted it into a note for easy access.

Thanks again.

 BaseballShots's gear list:BaseballShots's gear list
Sony a7 III Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 Sony 1.4x Teleconverter (2016)
sakura1 Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: Lens for Museum
2

Paul Barnard wrote:

BaseballShots wrote:

Ok I hear/understand a faster than f4 (has OSS) would be nice

Would the rokinon 35 f2.8 (not stabilized) be an improvement? One stop of light. Vs 24-105

I have the 55 F1.8 that I have really enjoyed but am concerned with the focal length being to long for some of the indoor situations.

I have the 55 and I find it too long in most situations indoors. I have a Batis 25f2 and Batis 18f2.8. The Batis 25 is the one I normally have on my camera in these situations.

Practical perspective:

Wide aperture is always a benefit indoors but is actually less important with the modern Sony sensors. If you are looking for 'museum quality' images then wide and fast and a truck full of lighting gear is needed. If you are looking to have images to remember visits you probably have the equipment you need already.

Here is an image from a day or two ago. It's not going to win prizes or make it to a print on the wall but will be part of my desktop and screensaver carousel. What it does show is that provided you have the FOV you need to capture the image, so wide is important, you can use what are traditionally stupid aperture settings indoors in poor light by making the most of IBIS and fantastic ISO capability.

This was shot at f11 through glass in a jostling scrum of Chinese tourists. I took a series from f2 up to attempt to get a reasonable depth of field to get the horses and the charioteer recognisable. This f11 image at ISO 32000 gave me an image I can use.

Bronze Chariot at Xi'an

Second Paul. I used the same Batis 25/f2 lens when we visited the Terracotta museum last year. With the A7R2 great DR and ISO, I didn't have to do much in post processing to get some decent photos.

 sakura1's gear list:sakura1's gear list
Sony RX100 II Sony a7R II Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-200 F4
BruceRH Senior Member • Posts: 1,523
Re: Lens for Museum

The Loxia 21mm f2.8 is what I like to use indoors. Here is a church image but it does just as well for landscapes. It is not cheap put it is without a doubt, my favorite lens. Take a look on Fred Miranda, there is a whole thread dedicated to Loxia images.

 BruceRH's gear list:BruceRH's gear list
Sony RX100 III Olympus PEN-F Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Olympus E-M1 II Sony a7R II +23 more
James Stirling
James Stirling Senior Member • Posts: 4,512
Re: Lens for Museum

Although museums tend to be low light scenarios they are not pitch black . The "art" tends to be illuminated to facilitate folk viewing it the subjects are also typically static. So a combination of a wide { ish }  field of view { such as your 24-105mm at 24mm } , which allows one to use slower shutter speeds { with IBIS }  a static subject and very good ISO options , will allow for good results in most situations.

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Jim Stirling
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams

 James Stirling's gear list:James Stirling's gear list
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LenRivers Contributing Member • Posts: 740
Re: Lens for Museum

BaseballShots wrote:

Future plans to visit National indoor and outdoor museums.

I have Sony A7III with following lenses already:

Sony 24-105G f4

Ziess 55 F1.8

Sony 100-400 GM (May not take)

Thinking of adding one more lens to either help w/ ultra wide for landscapes/architecture but more likely thinking something to help w/ indoor museum.

Should I try to get one of the following:

Tamron 16-28 f2.8 (might be backordered too long / unlucky)

sony 16-35mm G f4 (gets me wider but not sure worth $$$ & weight over just 24-105)

Rokinon 35mm f2.8 (no oss so any better than 24-105?) like cheaper and small

Batis 40 f2 (worth the $$$ and weight over just using 24-105G?) would 40 be different enough from my 55 thinking space in museum.

or just stick w what I have?? 24 wide enough & F4 w oss w/ibis good enough? Use 55 when really pushing things in low light.

If you are allowed to use flash and some do and some do not at all and some ok here but not ok with a special exhibit.  I would take a flash to have it.  Like the Nissin i60 or Sony HVL 45 or 43 I forget the number

A fast aperture lens will not help with certain things.  I make an assumption that if the object is Three dimensional you want it all sharp (not on same focal plane) so you have to stop down anyway, raise the ISO and I would set the shutter to the reciprocal value as a starting point in manual exposure.

The other problem is physical distance.  If you are far and want to fill the frame you need reach so the 24-105 mm is perfect.  You may also need to crop in camera.  Getting a shot can be hard if you have people in the way, not like you have the exhibit room to yourself unless you get lucky, shoot fast, dont think...

Then You may need wider than 24 mm so if it is the 24-105 the 12-24 is nice or the Batis 18 mm.

IF you want a wide zoom then yes the 16-35, dont get the Batis 40 mm too close to the 35mm of the 16-35 mm for it to matter.

***

I think the 24-105 with a smaller flash with a bounce and swivel head even if you can't use it inside the museum you 100% can always use it outside for fill and just other stuff it is a great investment.

Next, a travel tripod or table top tripod that you can hold to your body or to a wall for an extra point of contact

SO 24 mm is plenty wide unless you need to show the entire room for some reason.

***

Batis 18 and the sony 24-105 is what I have and what I would do.

vett93
vett93 Senior Member • Posts: 4,534
Re: Lens for Museum
1

I also like Batis 25mm for indoor photos.

I asked the guard to pose so that it could show the scale of various things. He saw the Zeiss logo on the lens and followed my request promptly.

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"Keep calm and take photos"
Photography enthusiast, from 12mm to 500mm

 vett93's gear list:vett93's gear list
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