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Old Sep 2, 2009, 1:09 PM   #1
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Default Another n00b seeking lens help

OK, I'm planning on picking up a T1i/500D. I need a decent lens to go with it, mainly just a walk around lens to use for indoor portraits, birthday parties, Christmas, etc. Some outdoor use as well, as I have a soon to be 5 year old son. For this, I am really up in the air. I like the 24-105 f/4L IS as far as performance and quality. However, the 28-135 and 17-85 are much friendlier on the budget. I'm sure most will agree, but I just have to ask, is the 24-105 worth the extra price? This will be my first dSLR, but I've always wanted to get into better cameras and lenses.

Next, around the end of the year, I'll be looking to add a lens for indoor HS basketball. I really like the 85 f/1.8, but I see a lot of drawbacks to a prime, especially for indoor basketball where I'm not yet sure where I'll be allowed to shoot from. I think the 24-105 f/4 will be too slow, though. I also like the 50 f/1.2, though I'm concerned about available shots with a 50. I'm thinking about maybe the 24-70 f/2.8, though there's no IS available, and this would be a major overlap with the general purpose 24-105 (if I get that as the walk-around lens). Thoughts on this?

Finally, in the early part of next year I'll add another lens primarily for t-ball, though it will see some additional use at major league spring training. I'm heavily leaning towards the 70-200 f/2.8L IS, as my father has this lens and it's incredible. I think it will do a superb job for t-ball, yet fall quite short at spring training. However, a 300 or 400 may do a decent job at spring training, but would mean moving pretty far back at t-ball to get the shots. This brings up the option of the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS, which seems like a good lens, fits the right price range (the 300 f/2.8L IS is the absolute max I could justify, and that would be tough!), but has a small aperture.

In short, I'm planning three purchases: the T1i body and a walkaround lens, then indoor basketball, then t-ball/spring training. First purchase budget is topped at about 2,000 USD, second purchase about 1,000, third I'd prefer to keep around 1,500 to 2,000, but could push it to 4,000 if I really, really had to.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/suggestions. If I left anything out, just let me know and I'll clarify.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 4:02 PM   #2
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You may want to consider letting a 70-200mm f/2.8 perform "double duty" for both outdoor sports and indoor sports (so you'd have more framing flexibility with a zoom compared to the 85mm f/1.8 USM), especially if you're not sure where you'll be able to shoot from (where the 85mm focal length may be a bit limiting) , and you could also use a TC with it for daytime sports. The T1i does well enough at ISO 3200 that you may appreciate the flexibility of a zoom lens with f/2.8 available.

For outdoor sports in daylight, the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 would be a great choice based on user reviews and photos I've seen so far (and you could use a 1.4X TC with it for more range if needed). If you need 300mm f/2.8, I'd look at the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8. Some of our members like to use it for low light sports on Canon bodies (I think some of our members shooting a lot of sports like JohnG and Mark1616 have that Sigma lens).
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 4:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
You may want to consider letting a 70-200mm f/2.8 perform "double duty" for both outdoor sports and indoor sports (so you'd have more framing flexibility with a zoom compared to the 85mm f/1.8 USM), especially if you're not sure where you'll be able to shoot from (where the 85mm focal length may be a bit limiting) , and you could also use a TC with it for daytime sports. The T1i does well enough at ISO 3200 that you may appreciate the flexibility of a zoom lens with f/2.8 available.

For outdoor sports in daylight, the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 would be a great choice based on user reviews and photos I've seen so far (and you could use a 1.4X TC with it for more range if needed). If you need 300mm f/2.8, I'd look at the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8. Some of our members like to use it for low light sports on Canon bodies (I think some of our members shooting a lot of sports like JohnG and Mark1616 have that Sigma lens).
Thanks, Jim. I'll certainly consider letting the 70-200 f/2.8 do double duty. As for the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8, the review I had read noted some issues with AF speed, in particular commenting that it had trouble focusing quickly on action moving toward or away from the camera. If true, that's a pretty big draw back, especially for a lens in that price range. However, I'll certainly check out the comments and feedback from the members here.

Thanks again for your thoughts! It's greatly appreciated.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 4:31 PM   #4
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As Jim says I have the Sigma 120-300 and it's lovely, I've used it for all outdoor sports shooting and also some indoor gymnastics. It is a heavy lens so for basketball I choose the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS, if it is really badly lit then the 85mm f1.8 comes out so that I get over an extra stop of light.

Going back to focus speed, the Canon 70-200 f2.8 is faster than the Sigma 120-300 f2.8. The Sigma is very accurate so I can't complain. If you don't need f2.8 then as Jim says the Sigma 100-300mm f4 is pin sharp.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 5:48 PM   #5
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Thanks, Mark. On the indoor stuff, I think I'll start planning on the 70-200, even though it's a bit more than I anticipated spending at that time. On the Sigma 120-300, I really appreciate your feedback! It wasn't a lens I was really considering, but knowing that you find it to be lovely, I'll definitely put it at the top of my list. How do you like the reach of the 300 for outdoor sports? Have you added a 1.4 or 2.0 to it for a little extra? If so, how did you like the performance then?

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 6:31 PM   #6
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The first thing to be aware of with the 120-300 is that it is more like 280 at the long end, I'm not sure why but this is the consensus. The reach is OK as long as you work within the limits of the lens and depends what you want regarding a shallow dof. As for the TCs, I've got both 1.4 and 2x, with the 2x I find it works well with wildlife but never been as happy with sports, not totally sure why but think it is the reduced AF speed. The 1.4x is only a slight reduction in quality so can recommend using that.
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