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Old Oct 26, 2009, 7:23 AM   #1
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Default Canon lens help needed

I am trying to formulate a short list of canon lenses for a 50D I plan to purchase. My budget is tight but I could use points to help with the expenditure.

I would like to have a zoom for outdoor sports but my shots will likely be from the stands. I've considered the EF70-200/2.8f USM IS but the cost is holding me back. I think it is the best lens for me except for the price.
I started to think about getting a prime such as the 200/2.8f but there is no IS. I've looked into the Sigma and Tamron zooms but not sold on their performance.

My other photo interests would be to take low light photos with ambient light. I'm new to DSLR so all I've seen from my indoor photography are horrible flash photos and I'm tired of it. With that said I know I could use the big 70-200mm f2.8 for indoor but I'm not going to want to carry a heavy lens all of the time.

I guess my question is what sport lens and what lens for low light indoor photography. Can a kit lens on a 50D produce decent low light photos?
Somehow I think not.

Would love to hear suggestions. I might get the 70-200/f2.8 if I could find a light weight walk around lens. Then again when I'm going to a game I could use the 200m prime with an extender for 300mm. Having no IS worries me I've read I don't need it for outdoor sports but it would be helpful in low light situations such as night games right?

I know I'm all over the place which is why I decided to post.

Thanks,
Mrs T
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 8:02 AM   #2
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For shooting outdoor sports from the stands, 200m isn't nearly long enough. From the sidelines, 300mm is good. From the stands, you should go to 400mm. And a teleconverter on a shorter lens will reduce the maximum aperture so autofocus won't work as well if at all.

Since the budget is tight, the Tamron 70-300 Di LD ($170) is nice, but it's short and it won't AF on a teleconverter. Canon's 70-300 IS USM ($550) is better, and it's stabilized. Tokina has an 80-400 ($550), but it's not very good and it's slow to focus. Sigma has a stabilized 120-400 OS HSM ($900) and the 50-500 HSM ($1,060) "Bigma".

And for shooting outdoor night games from the stands, your choices are very limited and very expensive.

For indoor, 'available light' shooting, Tamron's 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II ($450) is very good, and they've jsut released a stabilized version ($625) as well. Sigma has an 18-50/2.8 ($420) and a 17-70/2.8-4.5 ($370) that are both very good, and a new stabilized 18-50/2.8-4.5 OS HSM ($300). If you don't need to go so wide, there's the Sigma 28-70/2.8 ($350), the Tamron 28-75/2.8 ($420), and the Sigma 24-70/2.8 ($570).
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 8:22 AM   #3
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Firstly welcome to Steve's.

I've moved your thread to the Canon lens section to allow other Canon shooters to get involved.

You don't mention what indoor sports you are looking to shoot and if you are also in the stands for them or have better access.

IS is basically never used for sports, it is only if you were in really low light wanting to shoot at lower shutter speeds (some portrait situations..... I have this lens when using weddings) and needed to avoid camera shake.

The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 is a good lens with fast AF, I rate it as probably 90% of the Canon option. The Tamron is sharper but slower to focus so not good for sports.
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 9:49 AM   #4
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Mark covered the main points on 70-200 lenses. But the big question is still: is 200mm long enough? Please advise what sports you're going to be shooting and at what level? There's a big difference between shooting tee-ball from the stands and shooting HS varsity football from the stands.

As for indoor non-sports photos - please advise what types of photos you're talking about. Some shots are possible with wide aperture lenses and high ISOs and some things are NOT possible and still require the use of flash. Of course, like many aspects of photography, flash phototography takes practice and skill - and the right equipment. A good external flash, bounced off ceilings or walls can look much, much, much better than flash shots taken with the camera's built-in flash. I like to do available light shooting when I can, but there are just too many instances when it isn't possible - so the choices are: 1)don't take the shot 2) take a poor shot using available light 3) take the shot with flash.
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Old Oct 27, 2009, 9:15 PM   #5
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Hi,

To answer the question, I will be taking images of football and lacrosse.

I think I would like a quick auto focus and getting a fast lense allows me to use an extender to get 300mm at f4.

I really don't think I will be taking many indoor sports images.
I thought IS would be helpful for low light photography.

Hope I answered the questions, I'm kind of a zombie right now.

Thanks for the help,
Mrs T
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Old Oct 27, 2009, 9:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.T View Post
I will be taking images of football and lacrosse.
From the stands, 300mm probably won't be enough, especially if you can't or don't want to morve around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.T View Post
I think I would like a quick auto focus and getting a fast lense allows me to use an extender to get 300mm at f4.
You'd get better images with the Sigma 100-300mm f/4, than with a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 1.4X TC. That is, unless you want to spend more than you'd pay for the Sigma 100-300mm f/4. The 70-200 + TC would give you more flexibility, but the 70-200 wouldn't work very well unless you can shoot from the sidelines. So unless you've got something else in mind for the 70-200/2.8, you'd be better off with something longer, TC or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.T View Post
I thought IS would be helpful for low light photography.
It will.
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Old Oct 28, 2009, 12:25 AM   #7
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I have heard many times that the image quality with the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 is better than with a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 1.4X converter.

While that may be true, I had better success with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 non-IS and the 1.4x than I did with the Sigma 100-300mm f/4. Perhaps my biggest problem was that I did not spend enough time learning to use it properly (I rented it for three weeks and tried using it about four times).

As mentioned earlier even 300mm (or 280 with the 200+1.4x) is not ideal for football but you can get by when the action is close and this is true for soccer too.

However, the 2.8 adds more versatility and I will take that over the potential gain in IQ with the 100-300.

Here is one of my recent favorites with the 70-200 and 1.4x on a 50D.
(f/4 at 280mm)


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Old Oct 28, 2009, 8:42 AM   #8
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Yes - a lot depends on where you will be shooting from. If it's HS football and lax, then 200mm will be way, way too short from the stands - you'd want 400-500mm. A 200mm lens is good for about 25 yards of coverage. So for football you need to be standing on the sideline itself - even then you only have enough reach to cover middle of field toward your sideline - plays toward the opposite sideline are too far away. Lax is a bit different in how you shoot but you still are limited to only 25 yards. You can make both work IF you're on the sidelines. If you're outside the fence then even with a 1.4 you'll be too short.


You also didn't mention what level of play. For instance - is the football at night under lights or during the day?
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Old Nov 1, 2009, 7:15 AM   #9
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Thanks for the help.

Right now I am without a camera. So far I have needed a camera to take pictures of wedding gowns, bridal showers, as well as the sports. Next spring my daughter is getting married. I would like to take pictures of the rehearsal dinner and some photos of the bridal party getting ready.

Because of the investment I dont' want to make a mistake. I guess renting a lens is a good idea. Perhaps I should go that route. But that isn't exactly inexpensive either.

I like the reach of the Sigma lens. From the sound of it I will have to be on the sidelines or just behind. There will certainly be night games in the future. So low light will be an issue.

What other lens should I have for the everyday photos mentioned above?
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Old Nov 1, 2009, 7:55 AM   #10
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The Canon 18-55 IS kit lens is good if you don't mind using a flash. If not, Canon and Tamron both make stabilized, large aperture, standard zooms. The Canon is very good but very expensive. The Tamron is new, so there hasn't been much info on how ell it performs, but if it's nearly as good as their unstablized version, it will give Canon's lens a run for its money.
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