help nikon users: recommended settings for the 35mm f/1.8 lens

endervalentine

Senior member
Jan 30, 2009
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yay! finally got the little lens! I've been mainly using the 18-200mm but wow the size and the sharpest I can get from the 35mm is a nice change!

i'm still a noob when it come to the dslr, but i'm trying to shoot w/ the "A" setting on the d90 w/ the 35mm. I can't seem to get the settings right indoors w/ low light. I want to avoid using the flash, but I can't seem to get the settings right, any suggestions?
 

Sid59

Lifer
Sep 2, 2002
11,879
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yay! finally got the little lens! I've been mainly using the 18-200mm but wow the size and the sharpest I can get from the 35mm is a nice change!

i'm still a noob when it come to the dslr, but i'm trying to shoot w/ the "A" setting on the d90 w/ the 35mm. I can't seem to get the settings right indoors w/ low light. I want to avoid using the flash, but I can't seem to get the settings right, any suggestions?

Just bump the ISO if you dont want to use flash indoors. the D90 doesn't have a a fast flash sync, i think 1/200th, so no luck with using 1.8 there.

Other than the ISO bump, what settings were you thinking you want to adjust to take indoor pictures with the flash?
 

CuriousMike

Diamond Member
Feb 22, 2001
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When I first got the lens, I errantly thought "Oh man, I'll just set the aperature to f/1.8 and I can take awesome photos in the dark... handheld!"

Oddly enough, that isn't the case.

As was suggested above, depending on what your definition of "low light" is, you will just have to keep bumping ISO up until you get an acceptable hit.
This is all presuming you're doing this handheld.
 

BigSmooth

Lifer
Aug 18, 2000
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I'd recommend reading a basic primer on exposure like this one: http://photo.tutsplus.com/tutorials...-ultimate-beginners-introduction-to-exposure/

To avoid flash in low light you're probably going to want to use a large aperture (f/1.8 or close to it), but keep in mind that will give you a very shallow depth of field. Depending on the subject you may not be able to keep everything in focus.
On the "A" setting your camera should adjust shutter speed accordingly; depending on the situation you will likely want to increase ISO as mentioned above (higher ISO makes your sensor more sensitive to light but it can therefore sometimes cause "noisy" pictures).

If you're trying to take low-light pictures of a moving subject, it can be very difficult to get away from using a flash. If you don't use a flash in that situation, sometimes you just have to get lucky.
 

twistedlogic

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Feb 4, 2008
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tdawg

Platinum Member
May 18, 2001
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When I first got the lens, I errantly thought "Oh man, I'll just set the aperature to f/1.8 and I can take awesome photos in the dark... handheld!"

I did this when I got the 50. Set it to 1.8 and fired away. When I got the prints back, I learned a valuable lesson about what I wanted from DOF; a couple of promising shots were "lost" to a too-shallow DOF.

These f/1.8 lenses are great learning tools, in my opinion. And with digital offering cost-free shooting, a lot of experimentation is there for the taking.
 
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endervalentine

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Jan 30, 2009
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Thanks for the posts guys! yeah, I'm taking the pictures handheld, the problem is, the pictures light is not really accurate, it's really yellow-ish and playing with the ISO, the shutter speed is really slow, meaning it takes a few seconds before it takes the picture.
 

xchangx

Golden Member
Mar 23, 2000
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The yellowish is the white balance and can be fixed in postprocessing. The slowness is possibly a setting in the camera to only take a picture when the camera is in focus.
 

CuriousMike

Diamond Member
Feb 22, 2001
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Or, the slowness is the fact that he's taking a 1/2 ( or greater ) second exposure.
 

JohnnyRebel

Senior member
Feb 7, 2011
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yay! finally got the little lens! I've been mainly using the 18-200mm but wow the size and the sharpest I can get from the 35mm is a nice change!

i'm still a noob when it come to the dslr, but i'm trying to shoot w/ the "A" setting on the d90 w/ the 35mm. I can't seem to get the settings right indoors w/ low light. I want to avoid using the flash, but I can't seem to get the settings right, any suggestions?

Take a look at this "users guide" for the D90. Ken "full-of-hype-but-often-right" Rockwell explains how he would set up the D90 and why:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d90/users-guide/d90.pdf
 

endervalentine

Senior member
Jan 30, 2009
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Thanks! One question about setting the ISO.

On Menu > ISO senitivity settings > I have the ISO sensitivity auto control turned on.

But the first line I'm still able to select an ISO value, in this case I selected 400, and even though I have ISO sensitivity set to auto why are all my pictures on ISO 400?

One other question, I have the sb400, is there a case where I don't need the sb400 w/ the 35mm lens? From trial and error, the pictures w/ the sb400 are much better.
 
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CuriousMike

Diamond Member
Feb 22, 2001
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I thought the D90 has a wheel that lets you set ISO on the fly?
On my D5000, I have my Fn button assigned to set ISO, so I set it on the fly.

The SB400 is going to let you take photos in darker places with a smaller aperature, giving you a deeper depth of field.

If
- you are in a dim environment
- and you wanted to take a group photo of your friends with the 35mm f1.8
- and you didn't want to use flash
-- you'd need to open the aperature up, perhaps all the way to 1.8
-- which in turn would mean you'd create a very shallow DOF, and depending on the positioning of your friends, they might not all be in focus.

However, if in the above position you threw the SB400 on, you could narrow your aperature to, say, f8 or f11, and ensure you have a greater DOF and have everyone in focus.

If you haven't, I'd recommend Bryan Petersons "Understanding Exposure."
 

twistedlogic

Senior member
Feb 4, 2008
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On Menu > ISO senitivity settings > I have the ISO sensitivity auto control turned on.

But the first line I'm still able to select an ISO value, in this case I selected 400, and even though I have ISO sensitivity set to auto why are all my pictures on ISO 400?

Page 166 Nikon D90 Manual

"When On (Auto ISO) is chosen, ISO sensitivity will automatically be adjusted if optimal exposure can not be achieved at the value selected by the user........"

Basically if SS isn't slow enough, your ISO will not change or MAX ISO is set to 400.
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
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Aug 23, 2003
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It's pretty easy.

1) Turn the mode dial to "A" (aperture priority).
2) Use the control dial to set the aperture to a large value (which correlates to a small number). Setting it to f/1.8 is considered "wide-open", meaning it is the maximum aperture value, and is best for low-light situations.
3) Go into your camera settings, set your ISO to its base value (usually 200, or Lo1), and turn on Auto-ISO. Under Auto-ISO settings, set the maximum ISO value at something relatively high, like 6400 or Hi1. Also under Auto-ISO settings, set the minimum shutter speed to 1/60s (or 1/30s if you've got amazing steadiness with your grip).

Voila.
 

endervalentine

Senior member
Jan 30, 2009
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You guys rock! Thanks for all the advice! yeah I definitely need to do more reading but this will get me a head start so I can start playing with it!