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Old Dec 15, 2006, 10:45 PM   #1
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guys, I am looking for oppinions on what lens I should go for , and here is the description of what I am shooting:

Most of the time I shoot latin american/ballroom dancing that my daughter competes in. I usually sit in the front row and that means they dance anywhere from stepping right on your toes to 50-65 feet away. Each dance lasts for only couple of minutes and they move arround fast. The lighting in most cases is poor as the events take place indoors with no external light sources. Rooms are large, ceilings are high light is low .

Right now I got Canon 300d with Sigma 24-70mm EX 2.8 and Promaster 7500DX flash

I am planning to replace the body with 30d or its successor in the next few month.
the 24-70mm lens is not wide enough AND not long enough to cover the dance floor.

what lens should I be considering? I can not be changing the lens as I just do not have time for that.

any suggestions / oppinions will be highly appreciated
thanks in advance
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Old Dec 16, 2006, 6:58 AM   #2
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It looks like your choice is quite limited...

Fast lenses that can go wider AND longer do not exist and if they do are probably not affordable anyway - Your main problem is lighting so why not start there? Upgrading the body will not improve the lighting

IMO if you have to use flash anyway why not upgrade the flash - Once the lighting is improved then the lens will be less of an issue since you can then use slower lenses with aperture of f/5.6 and greater: The sigma 18-125 for example is both wider AND longer: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic2/143791

-> You need a better flash (or flashes) with higher Guide Number: the Quantum Q-Flash or dual-heads fan-cooled Metz 70's series can light up an entire church for example: :-)
http://www.qtm.com/QFlash/?res_set=y...&resh=1200
http://www.samys.com/newsletters/200...02118d0881ce68
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Old Dec 16, 2006, 11:58 AM   #3
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Would it be possible to work with two cameras? One with a fast wide and one with a fast zoom.
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Old Dec 16, 2006, 12:09 PM   #4
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I was hoping for you to chime is NHL .... thanks!

the reason I thought I need to upgrade the body is I can shoot at ISO 1600 and even 3200 with acceptable image quality. 300d is acceptable at 800 but is unusable after that. I do make some shots at 1600 but image quality is quite poor to my liking lots of lost detail and too much noise. I am also looking for a better continous focus too. I am not blown away with 300d.

I was planning to get a 430ex or 580ex to get more consistent results with flash. With promaster 7500 I get too many under/over exposed images.

Metz is a quite expensive option - I would consider it - the question is - how much better the results will be? Do you think there is much to gain using Metz 76MZ-5 then 580EX not just with the amout of light but the image quality?

is thereother decent quality lens out there with fast focus? Looking at the shots below - what can be done to improve quality? better body, more light, better lens?Another body with a different set of lens?

Most of the time I shoot using f4 (to get more or less decent sharpnes) , ISO 400, with flash at shutter speeds of 200 and sometimes 60.

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Old Dec 16, 2006, 12:12 PM   #5
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dr_spock wrote:
Quote:
Would it be possible to work with two cameras? One with a fast wide and one with a fast zoom.
That's what I was thinking! Get another body like 30d or 40d

get another lens ... which lens on which camera then ... and what flash?
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Old Dec 17, 2006, 9:12 AM   #6
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Your fundamental problem is lighting - changing the ISO only increases the camera sensitivity, it does not solve the problem...
(While high ISO picture are possible I haven't had any luck with any wall-hanger yet)

Let think about this for a moment with a 2nd body:
1. Aren't you still going to lose a few shots in the pace of the action when you switch camera back and forth?
2. You'll end up with two flashes anyway, but on two different bodies which is not significantly different from one another, the Promaster 44 vs 58 guide number for the 580EX at full zoom
3. You're currently shooting @ 1/60-1/200 f/4 and clearly at ISO400 your current flash have enough reach - since it froze the action @ 1/60s (even on those wider shots)!

-> IMO you can safely go to a 18-125 (which is only 1-stop slower @ f/5.6) which will then let you frame your dauther more tighly with your existing camera (compensate with ISO-800 if needed).

If you can afford it, you can then improve the quality of the lighting with a Metz (it'll cost less than another body or about the same as two 580EX), but it's GN is 76 for the main head which can easily bounce off that ceiling in the picture. It will overwhelm any hot-shoe mount camera flash which can only shine directly for that kind of reach (see shadows on the walls).
You can then vary the fill with the Metz's 2nd head with the slide switch with your thumb (and it'll recycle faster too)
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 9:35 AM   #7
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NHL - thanks for your suggestions... your persistent advice about the lighting being my problem and not anything else made me think and re-think how I shoot. I will try to use what I got for now and see how much I can get out of it. I'll try to play with FEC and flash bounce - I may have everything I need already, but not enough skill.

The shots above were taken at the toughest / darkest venue my daughter competes in. The other ones are not as bad though still are not a photographers dream.

I will give it a try and if I need more advice I know where to come to get it.

I am not too excited about the sigma 18-125mm lens as it is not the best quality glass out there. I understand why you made that suggestion and that was because I asked for one wide and long lens. I researched a bit more and found that there are just no such lens out there that I would want to shoot with other then may be 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens , but I have a canon body and that one does not really fit

If you or any one else have some suggestions on how I can creatively improve the lighting I would love to hear it. Any tips /shooting techniques I can use to improve the resuls of what I am getting are verry welcome.
thanks
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 10:31 AM   #8
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If you notice all the tall shadows on the walls are coming up from the shiny dance floor...

Only way to get rid of them are from an overhead bounce: the issue is with all hot-shoe mounted flashes bouncing you'll loose several stops (depending on the ceiling height) -> You won't then get the distance required when your daughter is far away

As to the Sigma 18-125, it's sharper than any full-frame 24-70: :idea:
http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...3556/index.htm
-> In fact it's quite close to the 18-200VR in sharpness, but its distortion number looks even better than the Nikon! :roll:
(as to the built quality according to Photozone: "Regarding its rather steep price tag the build quality is somewhat disappointing with lots of rather average quality plastics. It´s not remotely comparable to the pro grade lenses within the Nikon lineup. The zoom action is very uneven across the range and it suffers from zoom creeping when tilted downward.")

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Old Dec 19, 2006, 10:43 AM   #9
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does that mean that the only avenue in my case is to get a metz 76mz-5, bounce the main head off the high ceiling and use the second head fro fill?

that's 1000 bux when all is said and done (as much as all other photo equipment I got - COMBINED) and everyone will think that I am a super professional photographer that I am not .

tell me there is another way- please!
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 10:49 AM   #10
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as for Sigma 18-125 do you think that the reported autofocus issues will hinder my sports shooting?

I think I will go to a local photostore and take one of these for a couple of days of tests....
you are very convincing
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