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Old Feb 24, 2007, 8:50 PM   #1
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I had a customer come to me today looking to buy the Canon EOS Rebel XT, but they wanted a few questions answered first. They need a lens that will work for capturing competetive diving (not scuba, nor underwater) indoors. They were willing to go for one of the professional sport lenses, but I'm not sure they need to. Any help?
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Old Feb 24, 2007, 8:57 PM   #2
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I would have them check if flash is allowed - that will make their life much easier.

If they can't, the right lens is a difficult question. It depends a lot on what level of competition (and thus high bright the natatorium is) and how far away they will be from the diver. Are they shooting from the pool deck or from stands?

In some natatoriums, f2.8 is enough - in which case either the 70-200 2.8 or 24-70 2.8 is a great choice (which one of course depends on where they are shooting from). If the natatorium is not bright enough for 2.8 and no flash then a prime is required: 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.0 or 135mm 2.0 depending again on their distance. But primes are restrictive because of course, you can't zoom. So, if the natatorium is bright enough, a zoom lens is always more flexible.

So, find out the following:

1. What level of competition? What types of natotiums are they in - college, high school or other?

2. Where will the photog be taking shots from?

3. Are they allowed to use flash?
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Old Feb 24, 2007, 9:07 PM   #3
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1. They are high level, college I believe, although it is for personal (their son)

2. Crowd

3. not sure, could I get suggestions in either case please?
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 8:27 AM   #4
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Well, I've only been in a couple smaller D-I college natatoriums so I don't have vast experience with the distances involved from the stands. But, they're going to need reach most likely. And, they'll probably have better light. Which means a 70-200 2.8 is probably a good choice.

A challenge they're going to face is the stands are often a story above the pool deck - great for when the diver is at the apex of the dive but poor for shots of entry. So you're spending a lot of money ($1100 for Canon lens, $850 for sigmas 70-200). Is it worth that to them? It might be possible to get by with the f4 version if the natatorium is bright enough but that's a stretch. Definitely nothing slower than f4 though. The f4 would definitely work with a flash. I would recommend the 580ex or sigma 500 dg super for the greater guide number than the 430ex but if they're within 30 feet of the platform the 430 would work as well. The challenge with using slower lenses (even with flash) is going to be focus speed - it's a moving subject so AI-Servo will be needed and a 5.6 lens will have trouble keeping up.

That's my .02
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 11:43 PM   #5
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I shot a high school swim meet last year for a studio covering yearbook use. I was told to turn my flash off on the divers but not the swimmers. It was a large meet here in Florida. I covered other meets with no issues with the flash but only the swimming competition. It can be a challenge as others have stated.

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