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Old Sep 30, 2006, 10:11 AM   #1
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will I get full potential with "L" series lenses with my rebel xt 8 megapixel? I need a good sports lens for baseball, basketball, and in future football, for taking pics of my grandson in sports activities. Will the flash on my rebel xt work with "L" series lenses also?
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 11:13 AM   #2
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If you couldn't get full potential pictures with L lenses, I'm not sure what would

But note there are lenses from other companies that can also produce high quality pictures for sports, like the sigma 70-200 /f2.8 EX, or the sigma 100-300 f/4 EX (this one has extremely good reviews).

And if you're refering to the built in flash on the XT, then there's no way it could help for sports. It's too weak. And even if you were close enough, having a large lens could block a part of the flash.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 11:16 AM   #3
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A couple comments:

First - don't fall into the marketing hype that all L lenses are perfect and any lens that isn't an L is complete garbage. That is complete garbage. Any and all lens purchases should be considered on a case by case basis. In some cases the L lens is the best - but it may be twice the cost of another lens which is very good. In other cases, a third party may offer a lens for which Canon does not have an L. You'll find many good photographers here who have a mix of L lenses, non-L canons and third party lenses. I think anyone who tells you to buy only L lenses is doing you a disservice. Now, lest you think I'm anti-L I also have L lenses and non L lenses because sometimes I feel the L is the best way to go and is cost justified.

The onboard flash will work with any lens the camera works with. But realize, the onboard flash is still pretty weak - it's useless for sports shooting (lack of power) and not very usefull beyond 10 feet. So, if you prefer to use flash you'll eventually want an external flash.

Now, as far as sports is concerned - you'll need completely different lens(es) for baseball/football than you will for basketball. For baseball/football you want a lens with a lot of reach - for indoor basketball you need a lens with a very wide aperture (f2.0 or 1.8) - that means a prime lens.

For basketball, your lens choices are pretty easy in Canon system - the preferred lens is the 85mm 1.8 (about $350) - it's extremely sharp, lightning fast to focus and shockingly enough not an L lens (I say this tongue in cheek - there are great non-L lenses out there). The second, lesser option is the 50mm 1.8 ($70) - it's a great bargain and fairly sharp but slower to focus. Consider it a stop-gap lens until you can get the 85mm.

For baseball / football there are a lot of options - some L and some not. I'm going to forget about the expensive L primes (300mm 2.8 for $4000 and 400mm 2.8 for $6700). So, forgetting those, here are my recommendations from most recommended to least:

Sigma 120-300 2.8 ($2200) - fantastic lens - it's what I use now for my outdoor sports - the only lens better is the Canon 300mm 2.8 (at twice the cost and without the zoom).

Sigma 100-300 4.0 ($1000) for daytime only

Canon 70-200 2.8 ($1100) and 1.4x TC ($250)

Sigma 70-200 2.8 ($800) and 1.4x TC ($170)

Canon 70-300 ($600) - problem now is you have a lens with only 5.6 aperture which means when lighting gets bad the lens is useless. And even when lighting is good you will not get the same amount of background blur you get with a lens with a wider aperture (4.0 or 2.8). Not a bad option if you also are interested in wildlife photography.

Sigma 70-300 ($200) - for the cost, it's a pretty sharp lens. But it does not have Sigma's HSM focus system and it's a little slow to focus to be a good sports lens - also has the same limitation of 5.6 aperture. I would consider this a stop-gap lens until you could get something better.

There are many other lenses out there but these are some fairly common solutions.

Let me give some other information that might be useful regarding what you can expect: On a little league baseball diamond - if you're shooting from the field you still need 300mm lens to shoot across the field (from 1st to 3rd base or vice versa) - in High School, 300mm is almost too short to make that shot. (and these are all factoring in the 1.6 crop factor of the Canon consumer DSLRs). So, that's why I think it's very important if you get a 70-200 2.8 you also get a TC - you'll need it.

On the football field, a 200mm lens get's you about 25-30 yards of coverage (which means you're not going to be able to shoot from one sideline to the other and get consistantly usable shots), a 300mm lens gets you about 40-45 yards and a 400mm gets you about 55-60 yards. So, you still need to shoot right from the field and move with the action. So, don't be fooled by the crop factor and thinking 200mm will let you shoot from endzone to endzone.

Finally, I would strongly urge you to consider the XTi being released rather than the XT. The XTi inherited the 9 point focus system of the 20d/30d and I think that's a big boon for a sports shooter. In the end, the XT is a very capable entry level camera and is capable of meeting your needs - it's just with sports shooting you need all the extra features you can get.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 3:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I was told that the rebel xt wasn't enough megapixel (8) to get full potential from a "L" series lens. I was told it would take at least 10 megapixels to justify an "L" series lens. I have a Tamron 18-200mm that I'm not at all happy with! I wish I would have gotten the Sigma lens. I also was told that Tokina has a good lens. I alsowas told that I need image stabilization. Do the Sigmas have IS?

Thanks again.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 3:38 PM   #5
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JohnG, thanks for all your info you provided. I appreciate any and all information from everyone. I used to be into 35mm photography years ago, now I am into digital and kind of bewildered. By the way, I am also from Ohio, near Dayton. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 5:00 PM   #6
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fingo18 wrote:
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Thanks for the info. I was told that the rebel xt wasn't enough megapixel (8) to get full potential from a "L" series lens. I was told it would take at least 10 megapixels to justify an "L" series lens. I have a Tamron 18-200mm that I'm not at all happy with! I wish I would have gotten the Sigma lens. I also was told that Tokina has a good lens. I alsowas told that I need image stabilization. Do the Sigmas have IS?

Thanks again.
*scratches chin*

I'm going to take a wild guess that the person who told you all that was a salesman...

First off, there's more to a lens than sharpness. You have distortions, chromatic abberations, ghosting, flare, etc. etc. A higher quality lens will (usually) help reduce these effects.

Although I don't shoot sports, I doubt IS will help you a lot in terms of sports (where you want a fast shutter speed to freeze actions). The sigma's IS varient is called optical stabilization (OS). But there are very few lenses with OS (I think there are only 2).

I've only tried a tokina pro (12-24) in a store, but I liked it very much. I would definitely consider tokina pro lenses (but, as johnG said, you have to look at each individual lens). The only bad thing is that they don't any type of USM/HSM varient on their lenses. In terms of sports? maybe their 50-150 f/2.8 will be good, but I don't think it's been released. I think sigma will be your best third-party lens maker for sports.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 7:17 PM   #7
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Thanks again for the info. I'll just have to keep reading and maybe I'll get what I need. There is so much to learn about digital as opposed to 35mm. I was pretty well versed in film photography. I took courses in film, but that was 30 yrs. ago. I wouldn't know where to start to learn all about digital. I had a pro darkroom and equipment etc., back then.Now, there is Photoshop and a vastarray of other applications fordigital work apparently. I just discovered this website this morning and I was reading a lot of different forums. I was lost when I started reading comments about all the different things pertaining to Photoshop etc.!:!:All the terminology is completly new to me, and doesen't correlate to what I knew way back then. I got away from it all until my grandson got into sports, so I want to be able to get quality pictures of him, like I used to get on film of my daughter. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 10:13 PM   #8
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fingo18 wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the info. I was told that the rebel xt wasn't enough megapixel (8) to get full potential from a "L" series lens. I was told it would take at least 10 megapixels to justify an "L" series lens.
Quote:
I alsowas told that I need image stabilization. Do the Sigmas have IS?

Thanks again.
OK, On point 1 - whoever told you you need at least 10mp is a complete and utter moron. Canon's 1dMk II N camera used by about 80% of the professional sports shooters for major newspapers, magazines, UP, Getty etc is an 8.2mp camera. Guess all those pros waster their money on L lenses. So, while I still stand by my original statements that there are great non-L lenses - you certainly don't need 10mp to get the benefit.

As for point 2 - my response is: did you have IS 30 years ago when you took great film shots? Hmmm - I'm guessing NO, you didn't. So, again, I'd be leary of people who tell you that it's a necessity. It is absolutely nice to have - but not necessary. Like any other feature, it should be considered against your shooting constraints. In general, IS will allow you to keep a shot steady at anywhere from 2-3 stops slower than you could normally handhold. It does absolutely nothing to freeze your subject if it is moving. So, if you like to handhold shots that require slow shutter speeds then it is very useful. If not, then it's a feature that you'll use occasionally but not often (and, yes, I have 2 lenses with IS so I'm not bad mouthing a product I don't have)
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Old Sep 30, 2006, 10:54 PM   #9
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Thanks for the information. You guys are really knowledgable:!:I just put up another question about an old Sunpak flash I had for 35 mm years ago. Take a look if you're interested. Yes, you're right, I didn't need IS way back then, but since I'm older and less steady:?I figured IS would help me. I wish I would have stayed in photography and kept up with all this new stuff. How did you learn all of it? Thanks for your help.
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