Best starter lens for indoor photography?

edited March 2012 Posted in » Canon Lens Talk
Hi, I have a Canon 500D (T1i) with an 18-55mm kit lens. I am interested in clicking some indoor photos (mainly single portraits). Which lens is the best buy for this purpose? I am a starter in photography and expecting to shell out around 100£ - 150£ ($160 - $235) max. I have a tripod, but no external flash. Thanks in advance.


  • edited March 2012
    Hi - There are a number of threads with this question. Moose suggests the 'nifty fifty' which is the Canon EF f/1.8 50mm prime. It sells for about £80 here in the UK. Regards - PBked
  • edited March 2012
    Hi, thanks for the reply. I think 50mm prime is the best bet. Yeah, I noticed the other threads only after posting.
  • Howdy @abinanthanb - If you're just getting started with digital photography, the "nifty fifty" Canon 50mm f/1.8 is really a fantastic indoor portrait lens. It's a super affordable prime lens which will give you the ability to obtain an aperture of f/1.8. This does a couple things.

    First, it'll give you a shallow depth of field to isolate subjects against buttery smooth backgrounds (great for portraits).

    Second, it will give you faster shutter speeds at lower ISO's. This equals sharper images with less image noise in low light.

    Hope that helps. Happy shooting! :)
  • edited April 2012
    I'm in a similar position to the original poster, looking to get reasonable flash-free indoor photos without breaking the bank.

    I have already owned a nifty fifty, and was able to confirm both that it is a great lens and poorly built. It broke, but I liked it so much I am going to replace it. However, I sometimes get a little frustrated with the length. If I want to take a photo of my kids on one side of the room, I don't necessarily have enough space to get the shot.

    Is there any reasonably cheap, sub $315 (£200) way of getting good flash-free indoor shots from a bit closer up? How much of a difference, for example, does image stabilization make with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm? Are there any other options?
  • edited April 2012
    Have just been searching around and wonder if anyone has any comments on the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 as an option. It's slightly over my budget at $420 (£267) on Amazon UK, but I would be open to persuasion.
  • edited April 2012
    Howdy @timtranslator - Yep, the "nifty fifty" has a less than stellar build. In regards to the focal length giving you issues indoors, the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (see here) would be a fantastic option. It'll give you the freedom to compose shots between 17-50mm, while maintaining a low constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

    In regards to image stabilization, it really only makes a difference with subjects that are relatively still or motionless. If you're trying to capture kids as the run around the room, image stabilization won't help you out. In those situations, you'll need to rely on a fast shutter speed to eliminate blur.

    If you like the "non-flash" look, you might think about getting an external flash like the Canon 320EX (see here). I know it seems backwards, but if most of your shots are indoors, you can angle the external flash upwards and bounce it off a ceiling rather than directly at your subject. This spreads the light evenly throughout the room, giving you more natural looking shots indoors.

    Hope that helps and happy shooting! :)
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