Dance photography can get tricky many times, so choosing the best lens for it will have a great impact on the photos you will take and your comfort while shooting. So, first of all, let’s have a look at how to choose a lens for dance photography.
How to Choose a Lens For Dance Photography
Usually dancing shows and performances can get pretty lengthy. So having a lens that is not heavy is a must. Especially when the place is tight and you can’t have a tripod, so you’ll have to handhold your camera. So, the first criterion for choosing a lens for dance photography is to be as light as possible.
Again, the mere nature of dance performances puts some limitations on us, the photographers. Usually they are inside, taking place in the late afternoon or even in the evening (that means many times we won’t have light from the outside). Moreover, the room will be dark only with the stage lit. So, we will need a fast lens with an aperture at least as wide as F 2.8.
The last thing, depending on the size of the room and the stage, you might as well need your lens to be of a decent focal length.
With that said, let’s have a look at the best lenses for dance photography. We will go over both Nikon and Canon lenses, having a look at both full-frame and crop-sensor lenses for both brands. Here we go.
The Best Nikon Lenses For Dance Photography
Here are the best Nikon lenses that you should use when shooting dance photos. First, we’ll have a look at the full-frame lenses.
The Best FX Nikon Lenses
Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 AF-S E FL ED VR – The Perfect Lens
This lens is the first that comes to mind when we are thinking about dance photography. It is both a telephoto lens and a fast lens having the aperture of F 2.8. It is ideal to get both close-up shots of the dancers and (provided you are in a larger room with a larger stage) great wide photos with all the dancers (if there are more than one, anyway).
The only drawback for this one would be that it is heavier. It weighs almost 1.5kg (or 3.3 lbs). But in spite of that, many photographers on the DPReview forum find no problem using it (here we are talking either Nikon or Canon, we’ll see that both have similar weights).
Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S – The Great Lens That Won’t Make Your Wallet Cry
If you don’t have the budget for the lens above, or you want a lightweight one, the Nikon 85mm F 1.8 is the best lens for dance photography for you. This lens weighs about 350 grams. With a pretty decent focal length (85mm or 127.5mm if you are on a crop sensor) you will get an awesome subject from background separation that will be great for your dance photos.
Needless to say, the large aperture of F 1.8 will get you an impressive bokeh.
Even more, it is fully compatible with any Nikon DX camera. The price also is more accessible, ranging from around $450 – $470. Should you want one, you can buy it from Amazon following this link.
The Best DX Nikon Lenses
These lenses are cheaper and can help you get pretty decent dance photography shots, but they are not as performant as their full-frame counterparts. Here is the first one:
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR – Best Nikon DX Lens
This lens is on the more expensive side of crop Nikon lenses. It is still a lightweight lens (weighs less than 500 grams), but it has a major drawback. At the longest focal length, this lens has an aperture of F 4. This is better than other crop sensor lenses, but still, it is less than ideal.
If you are looking for a good all-around lens and are on a budget, the Nikon 16-80mm is perfect for you. The focal length equivalent for a full-frame is 24-120mm. You can get both great wide shots and close-up shots with this one.
It is not cheap but is cheaper than its full-frame counterparts. The price is usually around $1070. You can check it out on Amazon here.
Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-6.3G ED VR AF-P – The Runner Up
This lens is still a good one for dance photography, but only if you are on a really tight budget. Again, the greatest drawback for this one is the limited aperture which gets narrower as you zoom in. You can still get decent shots, but only if your room is more illuminated, or you go higher with your ISO settings.
Overall, this is a good lens for the price-sensitive shopper, costing about $400 (or around $200 if you buy used). As always, here’s the link to Amazon where you can check it out and buy the lens if you are interested.