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Old Dec 3, 2007, 10:26 AM   #1
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Hi

I am hoping someone could help. I am looking for a lens to use with a Canon Rebel XTi to shoot my kids playing hockey and lacrosse - both in indoor sometimes not so well light arenas. I am trying to get away with not busting the bank. I would be willing to shoot right from the boards and would be satisfied to only shoot action in the half of the arena I would be in so shots would be from 10 to maybe 50 feet away. What length and speed would give me decent results? I talked to Canon and they recommend their 28-105mm with an f/3.5 USN. Would this be fast enough? I don't think the person I talked to was all that knowing.

Thanks for your time.

Carson
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 10:58 AM   #2
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On the 28-105:

No it would NOT be a good choice. It's a pretty poor quality lens ANd it's variable apertue, 3.5 at wide end but 4.5 zoomed out. With only ISO 1600 available on the XTi, you're not going to get fast enough shutter speeds to get many action shots.

A sigma 70-200 2.8 is probably the least expensive option. But you have to realize you'll get some fairly slow shutter speeds - around 1/200 or so in poorly lit places. That means motion blur - and, until you develop GOOD holding techniques camera shake (the 70-200 2.8 is a heavy lens if you're not used to lenses like this) - this is an area where the 70-200 2.8 IS is nice (although also $1600).

Other options are fast primes:

135mm 2.0 ($1000)

100mm 2.0 ($380)

85mm 1.8 ($380)

These prime lenses will DOUBLE your shutter speeds. But you lose a lot of flexibility. A prime lens. The 85 would be good for action up to about 20 feet away. The 135 good to about 40 feet away (but WAY too tight for action close to you).

For hockey you get some light reflection off the ice so you will get slightly faster shutter speeds. But the indoor LAX is going to be TOUGH. Without that reflection I doubt a 2.8 lens is going to get many great shots at ISO 1600

You've got a VERY tough challenge here.

One suggestion - check with local camera stores and see if they rent lenses. See if you can rent a 70-200 2.8 for a game. That way you can find out if it will be bright enough or if you'll need to use prime lenses.
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 5:17 PM   #3
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Hi

Thanks for your reply. It does seem like there isn't much of a good solution ulness I am willing to spend some significant cash. Forgive me if this is a very dumb question but I am just a point and shoot right now. As far as magnification goes what does the mm rating/length on a lens traslate into. IOW a 100mm lens gives what magnification?

Carson
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 5:21 PM   #4
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Hi again.

I should have mentioned that the Rebel XTi hasn't been bought yet. Is there a different choice for about the same $ that would be better for action shots?

Thanks

Carson
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 6:32 PM   #5
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Carson wrote:
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Hi
As far as magnification goes what does the mm rating/length on a lens traslate into. IOW a 100mm lens gives what magnification?

Carson
I assume you mean the 3x, 4x, 12x that you see digicams marketed for? This is a fairly misleading number. All it is, is a ratio between the longest focal length and shortest (rounded off). So a zoom with 50-150 would be a 3x zoom. Of course a zoom of 100-300 would also be a 3x zoom. That's why it's fairly misleading. Most digicams start in the 28-35mm range. So a 10x zoom is likely a 28-280 or 35-350 equivelent.

But, there's MORE to it. DSLRs have what is called a "crop factor" - because the image sensor is smaller than 35mm film, a given lens gives the same angle of view of a longer lens. For the camera you're considering, the factor is 1.6. So a 100mm lens behaves on that camera like a 160mm lens on a film camera would. A 70-200 is like a 112mm - 320mm lens.
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I should have mentioned that the Rebel XTi hasn't been bought yet. Is there a different choice for about the same $ that would be better for action shots?
For the same money? No. Not new. A used 20D would be a good choice as you get 5 frames per second instead of 3. But the focus systems are the same and the 20d has a smaller LCD - but better build quality. There are better sports DSLRs but they cost more money.

I should also point out - sports shooting is NOT a point-and-shoot style of photogrpahy. It's very difficult - especially low light sports. It's very rewarding but takes a lot of practice on the photographer's part. So, if you want to go down this path you have to be willing to put in time and effort into understanding HOW to shoot sports. Having the right gear is a pre-requisite but it doesn't guarantee success. You have to learn the techniques involved to get success. Unfortunately there are very few shortcuts in terms of gear and experience. Low light sports shooting is probably one of the most demanding types of photography there is.

So, the cost goes beyond the $$$ - there's a cost in learning, practicing and a lot of post processing on the computer afterwards.




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Old Dec 3, 2007, 9:21 PM   #6
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Thanks for your time and thoughts - lots to think about.

Carson
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Old Dec 22, 2007, 10:26 PM   #7
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Here's the deal on sports shooting, in terms of cameras:

NOISE
You need a camera that can shoot ISO3200 or ISO6400 with little noise. Most cheapo DSLR's produce horrendous hallloween shots at high ISO's, but the more expensive ones can pull off that kind of performance.
SHUTTER LAG
You need a DSLR that has almost no shutter lag (time between pressing the button and the shutter open/closing). Most mid to high range DSLR's are so fast you can get shots at the last possible moment (that you probably don't deserve - lol).
LENS
It's all about the lens. Get a fast (F2.8 or wider) lens, at whatever focal length is appropriate for your sport. Chances are a decent lens will cost as much as the DSLR body.

Yah, sports is very demanding on DSLR's and lenses, so it all boils down to the fact you have to spend until it hurts to get quality.
Personally I'd budget at least $1,000 US dollars for a decent DSLR body and $1,000 for a decent fast lens for sports, if you want half a chance of getting decent shots.
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