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Old Jun 18, 2005, 9:45 AM   #1
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Currently the longest lens I have is the: Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 EF IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens

Filter Size 58mm
f/Stop Range 4.0-32 / 5.6-45
Minimum Focus Distance 4.9'
Magnification 1:3.9
Zoom/Focus Control 2 Touch
Angle of View 32 (75mm) - 8 (300mm) Deg.
Groups/Elements 10/15
Length 5-7/16"
Maximum Diameter 3-1/8"
Weight 23.5 Oz.

I will be doing a lot of marching band photography over the next six months (daytime and nighttime) with my Canon 350D. Most times I am up in stands shooting down onto the field.

The testing I have done recently (at marching band practive sessions) with my 75-300mm leads me to believe that I need as much reach as I can afford.

The Canon lens above what I have are out of my budget range. The two I am considering that do fall in my range (under $900) are both Sigmas:

Sigma 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 ASPHERICAL for Canon EOS

Filter Size 77mm
f/Stop Range 4.5-38
Minimum Focus Distance 6.6'
Magnification 1:5.3
Zoom/Focus Control Two-touch
Angle of View 18 to 6 Degrees
Groups/Elements 11/13
Tripod Collar Yes
Length 7.1"
Maximum Diameter 3.5"
Weight 2.67 lb

Sigma APO 170-500mm F5-6.3 ASPHERICAL RF for Canon EOS

Filter Size 86c
F/Stop Range 5-32 / 6.3-38
Minimum Focus Distance 9.8'
Magnification 1:6.6
Zoom/Focus Control Two-touch
Angle of View 14.5 to 5 Degrees
Groups/Elements 11/13
Tripod Collar Yes
Length 9.0"
Maximum Diameter 3.6"
Weight 2.90 lb

Right now I am leaning towards the 135-400mm lens because it is smaller, lighter and less expensive.

Does anyone have an opinion on my situation? :O
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 8:40 PM   #2
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I'm wondering about your shots at nighttime. The aperture for all those lenses seem kind of slow for night time... even if there are stadium lights. And if you are using the longest focal length, your minimum aperture is going to be around 5.6. You COULD spend a lot of money for something like the sigma 100-300 f/4.0 ex, but f4.0 still seems kind of slow...

So if I was in your shoes I wouldn't really think about the aperture, since there's no long focal length with a very larg aperture... At daytime with sunlight this will not really be a problem anyway... But during the night, I would suggest you use a tripod (which will probably mean you wont be on a stand), so you can be at 300mm (for example) and still have shutter speeds of around1/60 - 1/125 to capture the motion of a band. Or if you have those guys spinning sticks really fast, then you'll have it make the shutter really fast... time to bump up that ISO :shock:

But either than that I think the real differences between those lens choices are your focal lengths and image quality.
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 11:21 PM   #3
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Once you start getting into focal lengths over 300mm you'll be looking at a lot of camera shake unless you have a steady holding position and/or an image stabilized lens, but shooting at 5.6 after dark is absolutely do-able. I took the below shot at my daughters UIL marching contest. The overall band shot was taken with a 17-40L lens. The two images of my daughter were shot in an evening halftime show with my Canon EF 100-400L lens with image stabilization, shot when the movement was at a minimum, at 400mm and f5.6 at ISO 1600, then the overall image was cropped to print at 11x14.

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Old Jun 20, 2005, 5:39 AM   #4
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Nice photo Greg!

Further research had shown me that both of the lens I listed were probably inadequate for my needs and that I was goingto have to stretch my budget a little farther. (Who needs to eat!)

Idecided to move the Sigma 80-400 OS to first place on my consideration list. Sigma4Less.com has this lens for $949.95 and Amazon lists it for $899.99 (but they do not have any), which moves it more into my financial comfort zone.

The old #1 on my list was the 50-500 but I decided to be realistic, I'm just not sure that I have the skill to hold the camera still enough to get clear shots at 500mm. I almost always use a monopod (as there just isn't enough room at some events for a tripod) but even using it I forsaw problems. So I decieded to giveup a little distance for theOS. (I did consider the Canon 100-400L IS but $1400 was just to far to stretch.)

Does anyoneknow anyonethat uses the 80-400 on a Rebel XT? I read somewhere that this lens does not work on the XT, which I find hard to believe.

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