Shooting at a distance in low light

I have the opportunity to shoot inside a monastery chapel with it's beautiful architecture problem is no flash, no lighting plus I will be 10-15 feet from the altar. Looking for recommendations for a lens that does well at a distance in low light. I have a 55mm-200mm which does an OK job.


  • If you have the 18-55 kit lens as well as the 55-200, this should allow you to estimate what focal length works the best for you, and within that range, basically the faster the lens the better. The more you can avoid high ISO, the less digital noise you'll get in poor light.

    Consider the 35/1.8, which will give you a normal view and is reasonably fast. If you need more tele, the 50/1.8 is another possibility. Those are about the least expensive fast lenses you'll find new.

    Remember too that auto focus can be difficult in poor light, so you may do better switching to manual focus, depending on whether there's something like a rose window or other contrasty detail to focus on.

    And remember that if your view is a bit too wide you can crop, but if it's too narrow to move back, you're stuck.

    Some of this may depend on how much time you have, and what resources you have. If you are willing to experiment with no metering and manual focus, even a relatively inexpensive manual prime lens such as the 50/1.8 or 50/2, or a 35/2.8 can give you a nice image with some practice. Although it can seem pretty expensive on a per-shot basis, renting a fast lens can be a lot cheaper than buying it.

    You'll still probably have to crank the ISO up some to make sure your shutter speed is fast enough. And don't stint on images. Even pro photographers get blurs at times, and the sharp shots may be a small percentage of those made. Fire away!
  • Thanks Bruto! I was thinking about renting a lens from "Borrow Lenses" because the shoot is in Boston where they are located.
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