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Old Dec 31, 2009, 4:56 PM   #1
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Default Lens vs Flash

On an Amazon forum w/questions about Canon EOS XSi someone asked about a flash for indoor sporting events. Someone there posted to skip the flash and get this lens.....
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras


Then the person went on to say he only used flash for night football games.

What do you guys think?? I was going to put a flash on my next wish list for Valentine's Day or Mother's day.

Sorry for my MILLION questions...but I truly appreciate all your help!!
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 6:11 PM   #2
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For indoor sports, you usually can't use a flash. In that case, the Canon 85/1.8 is a very good choice.

Flash for night football games? That would be one powerful flash.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 8:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
For indoor sports, you usually can't use a flash. In that case, the Canon 85/1.8 is a very good choice.

Flash for night football games? That would be one powerful flash.
Here you can see some of John's shots with the 580EXII so it doesn't have to be a stellar flash when it comes to power.

Finally got out for Friday Night Football - part II

Karen, lots of sports will not allow flash, especially indoors so the 85mm f1.8 is a fantastic lens. It depends what you are wanting to shoot and the local rules.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 12:48 AM   #4
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For indoor sports, you usually can't use a flash. In that case, the Canon 85/1.8 is a very good choice.

Flash for night football games? That would be one powerful flash.
As far as I know, flashes are allowed around here. I work at a High School and I just assume it's ok! I'll have to ask about that! I've not paid attention at the games that I've attended.

Not sure abou that football flash...that's just what the post said!!!

I'm just trying to make a plan and prioritize my wish list! : )
My daughter's first game is Saturday. I'm excited to see how it goes w/my new camera!!! A friend has a 75-300. I got to play w/it tonight and LOVED it!!! I can't wait until my new lens comes in. It only goes to 250, but I'm still excited!
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 1:20 AM   #5
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For wrestling, flash is usually ok, but for basketball and volleyball it's usually prohibited.
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 11:54 AM   #6
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Hi Karen,

Until sometime this spring I was using a Canon XSi. I also used the 85 f/1.8 for most of my basketball pics. I also used the 50 f/1.4 some right under the basket.

In our rec league you will see some parents shoot occasional shots with flash but I tend to shoot a bunch of shots during a game and do not want to even attempt to use on camera flash. I have the 430EX and it could not keep up with a burst of frames while a player is driving to the basket. The 580 probably does much better at burst mode.

Actually, I would be annoyed if someone continuously flashed right in top my son's eyes while they were playing. I know the major sports guys often use strobes and that would be better than right in the face.

The downside to the XSi (and why I decided to switch to a 50D) is the limited ISO at 1600. If you want, you can take a look at a gallery from winter 2009 using mostly the XSi, 85mm, and ISO 1600. The image info is available for each photo in this gallery if you wish to review. Than was my first season trying to shoot with a DSLR and I was very happy over my previous P&S images.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!
Andy
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 12:13 PM   #7
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One other think to consider is that shooting in continuous mode lets you capture a rapid sequence of images, some of which might be better than others, for a particular purpose. Since the camera can take photos faster than the flash can recharge, using a large aperture lens means you'll have more shots to choose from, all of which will be technically as good as the few shots you would get from a flash.
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 12:29 PM   #8
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Karen - are you still talking about your 7-year-old cheering for basketball? Or is this something different?

Which camera did you land on? Did you get a t1i or still with the XS?

In most cases you would not have ANY restrictions on using flash for 7 year old cheerleaders at a basketball game. If you're still talking about these types of photos then the pros/cons of 85mm vs flash are the same as I posted in your last question on what lens to buy for this purpose.

The devil is in the details though. Shooting basketball is NOT the same thing as shooting basketball cheerleaders. So a lot of the negatives regarding flash use go out the window. But you still have some (namely red eye if you're far away, shadows on the wall if you can't bounce).

Here are pros/cons FOR YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS - i.e. 7 year old basketball cheerleader. Pros/cons for other shooting situations may be totally different.

85mm 1.8 pros:
  • fast focusing
  • sharp lens
  • allows fast shutter speeds - plenty fast for 7 year old basketball cheer at ISO 1600-3200
  • no issues with burst rates
85mm 1.8 cons:
  • for basketball cheer, the cheerleaders are most often behind the baseline against the wall - worst lighting in the gym AND with no overlapping light fields you run into more WB issues. Custom WB essential but highly probable you'll need to shoot RAW due to cycling lights and lack of overlapping light fields.
  • shooting at ISO 1600-3200 in darkest part of gym so facial tones will suffer on many DSLRs
  • Need for noise reduction software. Not a huge issue - it's readily available.
  • need to be within 25 feet of cheer leader - but too close and you can't get full body in frame (due to 1.6 crop factor of camera). So less flexibility in framing.
Flash pros:
  • can shoot at low ISOs
  • because this is basketball cheer you don't need AI-Servo so you can use one-shot which means you can use focus-assist beam - combined with fact cheer leaders aren't moving through focal plane allows you to use longer lenses with slower aperture (i.e. an f5.6 lens).
  • if properly used, cycling lights are no longer a factor.
Flash cons:
  • recycle time - you're going to have to wait for flash to recycle. You may get a couple shots before this is necessary but then your photos will be underexposed until flash recycles.
  • can't spray and pray - if you sit there and take 300 photos in 15 minutes you'll burn out the flash. So if you're the type of shooter that likes this approach, you'll have to change your approach
  • If you're further than say 15-20 feet you'll need a flash bracket or you're going to have red-eye. Red eye is caused by flash being too close to lens/sensor. A bracket will reduce this and allow you to shoot from further away. Of course if the ceiling is low enough and reflective you can bounce the flash - but you'll need a powerful flash to do so in a gym (i.e. not a 430ex).
  • shadows - unless you can bounce the flash, using a direct flash will result in shadows behind your subjects - when they're close to the wall the shadows are more noticable. If you can bounce the flash this is reduced.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 9:45 PM   #9
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I bought the XSi and used the kit lens this past Saturday. I used the "sport" mode and a lot didn't turn out too great!

I have to find time to read and LEARN!!!

John, my dd cheers and my niece plays b-ball. But I was most concerned about my dd. I was able to get pretty close to her and get some good shots. Well, I call them good!
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Old Jan 6, 2010, 6:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenWHowell76 View Post
I bought the XSi and used the kit lens this past Saturday. I used the "sport" mode and a lot didn't turn out too great!

I have to find time to read and LEARN!!!

John, my dd cheers and my niece plays b-ball. But I was most concerned about my dd. I was able to get pretty close to her and get some good shots. Well, I call them good!
Would you be willing to post some of your results? Perhaps some of the ones you're pleased with, as well as some of the ones you're not.
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