I am new to the DSLR world and quite some time removed from the SLR world. Also new to Nikon. I have a D5200 en route to my home now and expected to be delivered late this afternoon. It will include the 18-105mm lens and the 70-300mm lens. Shortly after it arrives (maybe an hour or two later) I will be attending an event for one of my kids. Likely I will be mid to back of an cafeteria converted to auditorium at an elementary school with my child on a lit but probably not well lit stage. Audience will be dark to semi dark and I will be in it. Pictures I have taken in the past with my Canon point and shoot have not come out well. Can anyone provide some quick recommendations on getting good shots with what I have?
The lenses you will be getting do not have very wide maximum apertures especially at the longer focal lengths. All you can do is use the lenses at maximum aperture and up the ISO to get shutter speeds that will stop motion. You will get more noise at high ISO's but the D5200 may be quite good in this case. If you use Aperture Priority mode the camera will set the shutter speed but watch to see if the shutter speed will be fast enough. Auto ISO could be helpful, too.
Thank you. Will one lens be better than the other? While I have a tripod it is a somewhat short one and I believe it will be crowded so I don't think I will be able to use it. Side note - I have the 50mm f/1.8G portrait lens coming as well. It was backordered so I won't have it today. Would it have been a good lens for this situation?
The 50 f/1.8 and 85 f/1.8 would both do OK in this situation. You should use the lens according to focal length, as they're both pretty slow lenses, but you should be able to get at least OK shots. Shoot in Aperture priority with the lens wide open, and adjust the ISO to keep the shutter speed around 1/125-1/250 and you should do OK.
The focal length you use would depend upon how far away you are from the stage. If you are not too far away, the 50mm f/1.8 would be good. An f/2.8 zoom would work, too, but here again the focal length depends. A 24-70mm f/2.8 if you're close, a 70-200mm f/2.8 if you will be further away. Either will cost you some bucks, though!