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Old Jul 21, 2009, 9:26 PM   #1
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Default Zoom lens help

Hi folks

I need guidance. I have a digital Canon Eos Rebel Xsi. I finally indulged and bought a good zoom lens - Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L. I love it and am finally getting the shots I want. HOWEVER I am struggling to figure out how to get inside shots of moving kids that aren't blurred. I work for a summer music camp and take a lot of indoor shots without flash and the kids move!

From what I have read I need a lens with a wider aperture, like a f 2.8 but as that's not an option, I'm wondering if you can advise on the settings I should go for (its a large room, low ceiling and bright sunlight coming in some windows). I've tried increasing the light, sports settings, portraits, etc. all with similar results.

Do I really have to get a 2.8 as well???


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Old Jul 21, 2009, 11:42 PM   #2
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At your shortest focal length of 70mm, you really are still a bit long for indoor shots, and this will contribute to some of the blur you are seeing. With a shorter focal length, the subject motion will be relatively less in respect to the overall angle of view of the lens. Your max aperture of f/4 is not too bad ( it will result in shutter times twice as long as f/2.8). You can try raising your sensitivity up to ISO 1600 or so, which will allow faster shutter speeds, but you may see increassed noise.
A shoe mounted flash will probably be your best friend for these type of shots. Though I have always liked shooting with available light for the artistic effects possible, (grainy, contrasty and blurry), if I want clear, sharp pictures, I use a flash inside.

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Old Jul 22, 2009, 5:33 AM   #3
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Your best bet would be to post a downsized sample so members can see the exposure information. Images contain a header that includes information like ISO speed, aperture and shutter speed used. That way, we could get a better idea of the lighting.

When I use Windows, I use the free Irfanview for downsizing images (but, most image editors can resize if you're using something else).

With this software, after you open an image, select "Image>Resize/Resample" and make the width around 640 to 720 pixels wide for posting (since many forum members don't have higher resolution screens and they'd need to scroll back and forth to see the image at larger dimensions).

Leave the Preserve Aspect Ratio box checked. After you click OK, use the "File>Save As" menu choice and give it a new filename, saving it as a jpeg image. Leave the "Retain Exif" box checked. . I'd set the Quality slider you see come up at around 80% to keep the file size within limits.

Depending on the lighting, you may need something brighter than f/2.8 at ISO 1600 (for example, f/2), which means you'd need a prime (like a 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8) versus a zoom. Or, you may need a flash to prevent blur from subject movement.

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Old Jul 22, 2009, 6:29 AM   #4
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While your Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens is a fine lens, it's not very good for indoor shooting.

If you also have the kit 18-55mm lens, that might work better if you use a flash. The built-in flash on the XSi isn't very strong and can't bounce, but it might get you some of what you're after.
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Old Jul 22, 2009, 8:21 AM   #5
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The reality is - unless you have OUTSTANDING indoor lighting, you need to use flash. Even with good lighting, you'd need to use a prime lens - f2.0 or 1.8. But that's not a good solution either. I would recommend an external flash unit. And, as others have mentioned, 70mm is going to be a bit tight indoors so you may have to switch back to the kit lens.
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Old Jul 22, 2009, 4:31 PM   #6
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Many thanks for the speedy responses. I'll try and upload a sample image. It looks like though that I could easily justify getting an shoe mounted flash. I was also toying with getting Canon f1.8 too.

Too much?
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 12:36 AM   #7
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An external flash is a good tool to freeze the action of moving kids. Unless you can convince them to stay perfectly still for your indoor shots.
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