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Old Sep 24, 2007, 12:13 PM   #1
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I bought a Canon Xti in July. It was my first digital SLR. I would like to to start photographing my daughter's dance competitions. The auditoriums are typically dark except for stage lightsing and they typically seat between 1500 to 2000. I usually sit 15 to 20 rows back from the stage. What lens would be best suited for this application.

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Old Sep 24, 2007, 2:53 PM   #2
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This can be a tough question to answer. 30 rows back could be75-100 feet from t he action. That's a good amount of distance.

The lighting plays an important part - it doesn't matter how dark the seating is - it's only the stage lights that matter.

Here's the problem:

You've got some movement, so I wouldn't recommend any lens below a 2.8 aperture. If the lighting is poor enough, 2.0 might be needed. The problem here becomes the distances.

If you could use a 2.8 lens: you would almost certainly need a 70-200 2.8 (although you might get by with a sigma 50-150mm 2.8). Sigma 70-200 2.8 is $850 or so. The canon version is $1100. The canon 70-200 2.8 with IS is $1600 - and you may indeed be at shutter speeds (around 1/250) where IS could be a benefit to you. An alternative is the Canon 200mm 2.8 prime lens - about $600 - sharper and faster to focus than the 70-200 but because it's a prime lens you're somewhat limited in how you can use it.

However, if the stage lighting is poor enough you may need 2.0 lenses - and there are no 2.0 zoom lenses in the canon system - you would have to use a prime lens. The problem there is your distance. The longest 2.0 prime currently made in Canon is the 135mm 2.0L (they used to have a 200mm 2.0L) which sells for about $1000. However 135mm is really only good for about 40 feet - so you would have to move quite a bit closer.






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Old Sep 24, 2007, 6:14 PM   #3
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JohnG wrote:
Quote:
This can be a tough question to answer. 30 rows back could be75-100 feet from t he action. That's a good amount of distance.

If you could use a 2.8 lens: you would almost certainly need a 70-200 2.8 (although you might get by with a sigma 50-150mm 2.8). Sigma 70-200 2.8 is $850 or so. The canon version is $1100. The canon 70-200 2.8 with IS is $1600 - and you may indeed be at shutter speeds (around 1/250) where IS could be a benefit to you. An alternative is the Canon 200mm 2.8 prime lens - about $600 - sharper and faster to focus than the 70-200 but because it's a prime lens you're somewhat limited in how you can use it.
Quote:
I also had one other person recommend the Sigmaf2.8 50-150. He said that I would need to be within about 20 to 30 feet of the stage, shoot at an ISO 800 and 1/125th setting. Sound about right?




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Old Sep 24, 2007, 6:22 PM   #4
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you can get a little further away. 150mm will get you about 50 feet.

as to 1/125 - that's very slow and will show quite a bit of motion blur in hands/feet. The shutter speed you need to use will depend on how fast the action is in the shot. In general 1/125 is a bit slow. 1/250 is a little more reasonable. What ISO to use is completely dependent upon the lighting. I'm guessing you'll be using 1600 and accept whatever shutter speeds you get.
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