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Old Jul 9, 2006, 6:40 AM   #21
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Striderxl wrote:
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NHL it would be nice to have the ability to buy all of these lenses and have the options,but most of cant.And because we cant we we have to be ably to invest in one great lens.I listen to you and John and make my own choice based on best lens for my cash and what I want to do with it.I went with the Sigma 100-300 F4 EX with a 1.4 converter and love the results...
... again it all depends on what you shoot :idea:

I would argue that the 120-300 f/2.8 EX is still the most flexible: Where else can you take just one lens and cover anything from around 100 to 600 (with TCs), and fast enough to shoot actions from dawn to dusk?

While it's a heavy lens, wouldn't a 600mm be much heavier though?...
Ditto with cost - It's the most expensive zoom (but how much is a 600mm?)
So one has to take its capability into consideration, and that's what I usually do for trips in the wildlife - if need be you can take 1 more lens (an 18-125mm for example) and have everything you need from 18 to 600mm + having all the nice 'bokeh' of a 300mm f/2.8 to boot!!!
-> I normally don't take a camera bag, the TC's stack together on 1 pocket and the smaller WA in the other while I craddle the 120-300 f/2.8 in my arm... :-)



But then if I went on vacation in an urban area, like JohnG I would take the 100-400 instead (the 120-300 can do it just as well but it will be an overkill): http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=8
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 10:25 AM   #22
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Hi,

Newbie here. Just got my XT with the kit lens. Great post. A little overwhelming in sections.

Just to clear it up for me, I want to buy one additional lens, price is important, and I want it to take pictures of fast moving children (playing sports), professional sporting events, scenery, and family portraits (trying not to spend money having sears take them).

What one lens do you recommend for me?

thx,

Vinnie
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 11:23 AM   #23
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kc571 wrote:
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Hi,

Newbie here. Just got my XT with the kit lens. Great post. A little overwhelming in sections.

Just to clear it up for me, I want to buy one additional lens, price is important, and I want it to take pictures of fast moving children (playing sports), professional sporting events, scenery, and family portraits (trying not to spend money having sears take them).

What one lens do you recommend for me?

thx,

Vinnie
You've got competing needs here that one lens probably will not meet. And, in all honesty when you talk family portraits you're in the realm of needing multiple flashes or preferably strobes. But let's look at some of your criteria:

1. Fast moving children playing sports. What sports? That matters. If they're playing indoor sports you will likely need a lens with aperture 2.0 or better which means a prime lens, not a zoom. Which prime lens to choose is then a matter your distance. An 85mm lens is great for basketball and volleyball. But it's too short for gymnastics. For field sports like baseball, soccer, football you need a minimum of 200mm lens but that's really too short - you have about 25-30 yards worth of effective coverage with that lens. 300mm on that camera will get you about 40 yards worth of field so you'll get cross field shots but you're still going to have to move quite a bit.

2. Professional sporting events - what types of events? Many venues have restrictions on the types of gear you can bring in. Many places would not allow you to bring in something like the Sigma 120-300 although some might. And, if you're not in a good seat for baseball, hockey or basketball forget it - no lens is going to get you decent pictures. For football, you can pretty much forget it entirely - you're so far from the field the few decent shots you could get wouldn't be worth the money you'd spend on the lenses to get you that reach.

3. Scenery - typically you want a wider angle lens for this. Completely different category of lens than the sporting lens category.

4. Portraits - depends on the type of portraits. Face shots can be done to great affect with longer telephoto lenses as NHL indicated but you have to have the room to do that. And, that isn't the type of lens you would use for a family portrait. You need a wider angle lens (anywhere from 17-85mm depending on family size) and as already mentioned if you want good portraits you need more powerful lighting than a single flash can provide so that you get even light coverage. Also, when you are into family portraits you typically have a large DOF so you're not shooting at 1.8, 2.8, etc - you're typically shooting at f8-f16 range. So, for that requirement the kit lens could do the job as long as you had the lighting equipment/backgrounds/tripod to go with it. For family portraits the lens is not your limiting factor.

I guess the bottom line is this: A DSLR is NOT, NOT, NOT a point and shoot camera - there is no holy grail lens. You've covered a huge gamut of shooting with some very demanding criteria (the sports) so there is not a single lens out there at any price that can accomplish what you want.

So, pick one of the above 4 categories and concentrate your next purchase on that category. If portraiture is your biggest need than start researching tripods, light setups, backdrops etc. If it's sports I suggest concentrating on your childrens' sports and not worrying about pro sports. And if sports is the case, the specific sport will drive the lens you need - again, sorry to say, there is no single lens that works for every sport.
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 12:02 PM   #24
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Hi John,

Thanks for responding. After reading your posts, and seeing your pictures, I value your opinion.

I have young children that are mostly outside playing sports. At times, it's possible that I'll need to take shots inside (i.e. gymnastics, tee ball (for my young one).

Another reason for my camera purchase, was to offset having to get the kids pictures taken (in the mall). So, I'd be interested in learning which tripod and backdrop would suit my needs (keeping costs down). Hey, maybe I can take pictures of the neighborhood kids (and charge to offset the cost of the camera).

My newbie thought was that I wanted a lens that focused fast, with a little more zoom capability. I attend occasional pro sports (hockey games, baseball, football), and would like to take some shots that I can frame and put in my basement.

I understand your point about having a lens for every need, but budget will not allow that. So with the kit lens, what do you suggest for a complimentary lens?

-Vinnie
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 2:28 PM   #25
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Vinnie,

Same answer as before - there is no one lens that will do all of that. If you rank your requirements (kids sports outdoors, kids sports indoors, pro sports outdoors, pro sports indoors, portraits) 1 thru 5 we can give you a recommendation for a lens that will best meet the needs of your top priority (within reasonable cost) and let you know which of the other priorities it will help meet.

But I believe anyone that tells you they have a single lens that will do all of the above is either lying or doesn't know what they're talking about. Given that, the best advice I can give is pick the areas that are most important and buy the gear for those the other areas are just going to have to wait until you can afford more gear.

So, rank the list of priorities and we've got plenty of people here that have experience in the above categories and they can give you suggestions on what gear is required.
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 2:36 PM   #26
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Suggest two lenses for me then.

1. For sports

2. For family portraits, etc.

thx again.

-Vinnie
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 3:32 PM   #27
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I'll let someone else chime in on portraits - that's not my fortay.

but,

kc571 wrote:
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Suggest two lenses for me then.

1. For sports

kids or pro, outdoor or indoor. Andit also depends on what sports and how close you can get (you can get a lot closer toa kids basketball hoop than you can get to uneven bars at mostgymnastics gyms - i.e. theytypically don't let you get right up to the aperatus).

THey're different lenses sorry to say.

For example, the 85mm 1.8 is the recommended lens for basketball below college level assuming you're shooting from the floor. For gymnastics, 85mm is typically too short so to get more reach you either substitute speed and go with a 70-200mm 2.8 or 120-300mm 2.8 (sorry no f4 is going to work) or you have to pay a premium for something like a 200mm 1.8 lens (about $3400) to get the reach you need.

Pro shooting from the floor you get into a 70mm-200mm or 24-70mm 2.8 lens (you have much better lighting at a pro arena). Now, you can shoot pro basketball from the stands with a 70-200mm 2.8 and get decent shots as long as you have good seats. Nosebleed seets? Forget it.

Let's take outdoor sports: baseball, softball, tee-ball, soccer - the best lens for us mortals is the Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 lens. It takes a 1.4x tc well but it costs $2000. Next step down from that is either:

Canon or Sigma 70mm-200mm 2.8 lens with 1.4x TC (optional) - gives you most flexibility

or

Sigam 100-300mm f4 lens gives the best image quality but the f4 can really be limiting when you get in low light situations. And low light can simply mean 8:00 little league game

I have the following lenses for possible use in field sports: Canon 100-400L, Sigma 120-300 2.8 and Sigma 70-200mm 2.8. Plus I have a Sigma 1.4x TC

The 100-400 is good for pro baseball games because of the reach - since you're shooting at a down angle you don't need the subject isolation of a 2.8 lens. I've only shot day games though so I have no idea if lighting is good enough at a night game for this lens to work. For a pro football game I still don't think 400mm is long enough from the stands. For kids sports outdoors I don't like this lens - the 5.6 aperture doesn't give you enough subject isolation - and kids sports are littered with annoying backgrounds - porta-potties, fences, cars, parents, etc. So having an in-focus porta potty or car in the background really ruins a sports shot. Now, if you're talking about a $200 lens (like a Sigma 70-300 lens) then it's a fair trade-off. But for a $1400 investment it's a poor result.

The 120-300 I bought last spring and it's the perfect field lens for us mortals. The only better options are the Canon 300mm 2.8 (a mere $4000) and the 400mm 2.8 (a paltry $6800 lens). So, at $2000 the Sigma is a great bargain. From the baselines on the field it's good for tee-ball and some little league and high school softball. For smaller kid little league it's a little short so I use the 1.4x TC. And for older baseball it's too short for outfield shots so again the 1.4x TC comes into play. I've shot one soccer game with it and it's about what I expected - long enough for about 1/3 of the field - you can get a cross field shot as long as it's directly across from you and if you're shooting from behind the goal line you can shoot almost to mid field but no farther. For football it gives you about 35 yards coverage for HIGH SCHOOL age kids. For midget football the players are smaller so you need to stay closer.

70-200mm 2.8 - a little too short for baseball/softball but you can use a TC to extend the reach. Also has flexibility of being used indoors for well lit gyms (think college and above).

So, here are recommendations by sport:

Kids basketball/wrestling/volleyball all from the floor = 85mm 1.8

Kids baseball/softball/track/football/soccer - Sigma 120-300 2.8 followed by either Sigma 100-300 f4 or Sigma/Canon 70mm-200mm 2.8 plus 1.4x TC and if you're on a tight budget the Canon 70-300mm or Sigma 70-300 (only $220 I think but f5.6 and slower AF) can get you started.

Pro sports - this is tricky. Every venue has their own policies. Jacob's field for the Indians didn't balk at me bringin in either a 70-200 or my 100-400. Other stadiums might have issues. When I took my 70-200 lens into a Cavs game 2 ushers had no problem but a 3rd usher/security guard questioned me on it - was it 6" or less. Of course I said. So, I'm guessing if I had the 120-300 I would not have gotten it in. And the 100-400 is too slow for indoor sports.

So, you're not going to nail me down to a single recommendation :blah: You wont get a single lens that can cover all sports - it doesn't exist. I've given you some examples of what sports a given lens is good at. I'm not trying to make this more difficult I just want to manage your expectations and help you find something that will help you accomplish your most important goals.

Here are some samples of what the various lenses do in the different venues:

Gymnastics with 70-200 2.8 (note 2 of the galleries I had to use ISO 3200 which the XT does not have so with only 1600 the lens would not have been really usable):

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/Gymnastics

Football with 70-200 2.8 lens from sidelines moving with line of scrimmage:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/Football/173313

HS football from sidelines with 120-300:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/1774443

HS football with Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/842640

College football with 100-400 (first dozen or so from stands, rest from field):

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/946097

Pro basketball from good seats in stands (not floor seats but good) with 70-200 2.8:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/437583

Teeball with 120-300 2.8:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/1669033

7 year-old baseball with 120-300 2.8

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/1642768

HS Track & field with 120-300 2.8:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/Track...20Field/173322

Pro baseball with good seats and 100-400:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/1463046

Pro baseball with 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC:

http://www.jagsportsphotos.com/gallery/853941

All the HS baseball and softball galleries on my site are from this year with the 120-300 lens.

Sorry don't have any kids basketball or vollyball pics on my site


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Old Aug 17, 2006, 4:14 PM   #28
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JohnG wrote:
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I'll let someone else chime in on portraits - that's not my fortay.
There's nothing wrong with the kit lens for portraits that JohnG already explained to you...
-> What you need there is lighting, and backdrops (just like Sears) :-)
You can check in the studio lighting/flash section for some of the more affordable option: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_forum.php?id=54

When people talk about portrait lenses with wide aperture to cut-out the backgroud clutter (which you can also do with any of the f/2.8 lenses listed out above) for outdoor, but you're not doing that - You're the opposite with group shot and indoor...
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Old Aug 18, 2006, 2:15 AM   #29
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NHL is correct, lighting is always key, and if you can control the light (which with flash you can) then your pictures are going to be much better.

For portraits it's generally not too important to have aVERY sharp lens. The kit lens is perfectly adequate in this regard.

And once again it can come down to creative use of what you have. It is true however that a shallow depth of field is sometimes very attractive in a portrait, and for that you have a couple of options.

Any lens that you do end up choosing for sports will give you a longer focal length and may well have a wide aperture too. And the king of the value-for-money chart, along with the kit lens, is the Canon 50mm f1.8, which can give some nice effects.

So as well as doing something about a decent flashgun, you can also get some good results with available light.

Here is a blurred background due to longer focal length. (170mm f4.5)




And when you go even longer, and get the subject close,you don't need a wide aperture either. 300mm f8.








Here is one you could take with your kit lens (17mm).





And here is some nice shallow DOF from the 50mm f1.8 @f1.8.




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Old Aug 18, 2006, 11:25 PM   #30
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Thx for all the advice.

The 50mm lens you spoke of, as I'm learning, is a prime lens, right? Therefore, no zooming. For a second lens, isn't that kind of restrictive?
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