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Old Jan 6, 2007, 12:02 AM   #1
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I have purchased a Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 EX for my 20D to shoot basketball. So far I am real diapointed. It could just be me but most of my shots are out of focus. It got so bad at the last game that I switched to my 1.8 50mm. Is the 2.8 EX good for sports? :? What should I do to get the focus beter or is it some sort of portrait lens that is not good for sports? Do I need to sell and buy a differnt lens?

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Old Jan 6, 2007, 3:39 AM   #2
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Where are you shooting? What sort of quality gym lighting? What settings have you been using?

A max aperture of 2.8 generally isn't going to be bright enough for most high school gyms unless shooting iso 3200.

People like JohnG have shown that this can work with cleaning up of noise etc.

I suppose the best you can do is try and test different settings.


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Old Jan 6, 2007, 3:42 AM   #3
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You need to post some examples and the settings they were taken at.
It's possible that f2.8 is too slow in the available light of your gym and your shots are showing motion blur. Gyms for professional sports are usually well lit enough for f2.8 but not your local school gym.
For indoor sport you need the fastest lens you can afford. The 50mmf1.8 is a pretty good sports lens though the focal length is a bit short if you can't get right up to the court and the autofocus is not the quickest. An 80-100mmf1.8 with a fast focus motor would probably be better for indoor basketball. Canon do an 85f1.8 that's not too expensive.
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Old Jan 6, 2007, 8:59 AM   #4
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RP33 - as others have suggested, 2.8 may not be fast enough. Also the Sigma is not the fastest focusing lens in low light (as compared to the canon primes or canon 24-70) so that will hurt you as well.

50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8 are definitely better choices.
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Old Jan 6, 2007, 10:59 PM   #5
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Here is an example. Some I get are better some worse.

2.8a 70mm 800ss


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Old Jan 6, 2007, 11:07 PM   #6
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Here is a sample.

2.8 800 70mm

I get some better and some worse. Not very happy. Hope it is me and I can learn to get it right.
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Old Jan 7, 2007, 3:42 AM   #7
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Looks simply like the lens is working at it's maximum end. Have a look at the focus scale on the lens and see how accurately it can focus up to a certain distance. It looks like these shots are being taken above that maximum range.
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Old Jan 7, 2007, 2:46 PM   #8
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Can you tell me what the max focus is for my lens by looking at this information?

www.sigmaphoto.com/images/LensesDepth/24-70mm_F2.8_EX_DG_ASPHERICAL_DF(e).pdf

IfI am too far away at the base line what lens would you sugest in the same price range?

I would like a zoom but not a must.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 4:57 AM   #9
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I can't tell no, I'm not good at those tech tables. Infact, I'm sure what I'm about to say will get real pro toggys going mad, but this is basically lehmans explanation.

There'll be a scale on your lens when you focus that tells you how far away your subject is. What's the last number before infinity? Thats your MAX distance at MAX Zoom where the lens can isolate the subject from the other subjects / background.

On a zoom lens, you have to take your zoom position into account as well. On a 70-200mm zoom. It's normally about 40ft @ 200mm. But your max at 70mm will be about 10ft.

Hope this explains a bit better.

I've seen excellent basketball results with the 85mm 1.8 from canon/nikon. That said, I've also seen excellent results from JohnG with his 120-300. Just depends what you can afford.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 6:14 AM   #10
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StevenC wrote:
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I've also seen excellent results from JohnG with his 120-300. Just depends what you can afford.
Dear God, not for the basketball I've shot :G. I use the 85mm.

There are probably a couple factors at play:

1. Distance

2. Focus performance of that lens in low light

Steven is right about focus distance - a 70mm lens is designed to focus accurately out to about 10-15 feet and will work for about 20 feet max. Beyond that you don't get reliable focusing in servo mode. A 24-70 is a better fit for shooting from under the basket. If you can't get there, then the 85mm is a better corner lens.
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