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Old Jun 3, 2005, 5:05 PM   #1
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I'm pretty new to the digital era and Steve's forums and I'm looking for some opinions on various telephoto options. I'm mostly taking sports photos of my teenaged kids. I'veborrowed an old Tamron 200-400mm/F5.6 and got some reasonably good outdoor pictures (at least to my neophyte eye). My friend has offered to sell it to me for $200but it has definite limitations in lower light which I'm in when trying to photograph basketball and hockey events.

From what I've read, a good alternative may be the Sigma 70-200/F2.8, and then to recover the reach I'd add a 2x converter giving me a net 140-400/F5.6.This would seem to give me a goodlower light capabilityout to 200mm indoor and stillhopefully decent performance up to 400mm for outdoor events. Total cost may be something like $900.

A few questions:

1)Any comments onthe idea?

2) Which extender would you recommend?

3) Alternative ideas?

thanks for any feedback
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 5:50 PM   #2
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  1. Good workable idea :-) [/*]
  2. Sigmas matched extender [/*]
  3. Alternatives are [/*]
    • Canon 70-200 F2.8 L,(for more $) [/*]
    • Sigma 100-300 F4 & 1.4x Tc, about same cost. [/*]
    • Sigma 120-300 F2.8 & 2x Tc, expensive.[/*]
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 6:35 PM   #3
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Good idea on a 70-200 plus TC. I personally have a 1.4TC and it works great. The problem is 5.6 is a little slow so you'll be limited to good sunlight in order to get the 1/500 shutter speeds you need. The lenses Peter recommends are very highly rated - my only issue would be if you are shooting from the floor, 100mm is a bit too tight. Even 70mm is a little tight so you have to back away from the floor a bit. You also don't want anything slower than 2.8 for indoors - even that will be pushing it in some cases. You may find if you do a lot of basketball that you will want a 85mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.8 or 1.4. The nice thing about the 50mm 1.8 is it's only $60 or so and it really is a great lense.


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Old Jun 3, 2005, 7:55 PM   #4
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First, take whatever lens you already have and check the shutter speed you get in the gym. For every fstop you increase/decrease the shutter speed by 2X. So if you have a f4 lens and your shutter speed is 1/100, a f2.8 will yield 1/200 and f5.6 yields 1/50. That will tell you if f2.8 is fast enough for your indoor shots or if you need to get a faster prime. If you can't project getting 1/350 consistently, then I would go with a prime for your indoor shots.

Second, it would help if you did a search on 2x tc or teleconverter. There are dozens of threads of people with the exact same idea as you - like me for example. Use the search feature for this forum and on google. Detail and sharpness are reduced using a 2x as compared to a 1.4x tc. While a 1.4X tc can give fairly good results at f5.6, a zoom with a 2x tc needs to go to f8-f11 to get good results.

There is always someone that claims to have gotten a great shot using a 2x and f5.6 but dozens of threads and several internet articles (like Bob Atkins' tests) show that f8 - f11 is the norm. If you can live with that, then yes, get a 2x tc - I did. Also, your autofocusing speed will go down so rapid movement of the lens and shooting different distances quickly is not really an option.

I went with the Tamron SP but Kenko Pro 300 is supposed to be virtually identical. The problem with the Sigma tc is that they only guarantee it will work with some Sigma lenses and they are very specific to state Sigma lenses so if you purchased another brand lens in the future, you may be out of luck. Tamron and Kenko basically work with whatever lenses are compatible with your camera body (well the "pro" versions only work with "good" lenses while the "consumer" version works with practically any lens).
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 8:28 PM   #5
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The Sigma TC's (like the Canon TC's) are only designed to work with their longer focal lenght lenses - The reason being theses TC have more correcting lenses than the 'generic' TC. Theses 5 to 6 elements devices are thicker in the middle and would protrude inside the rear of the lenses that they are attached to -> which will not work for lenses with shorter rear focus

They also tend to perform a little better than general purpose TC - Here's an example of the 2x TC matched to a wide open Sigma 120-300 f/2.8: http://www.pbase.com/nhl/image/38124221/original


However I will agree that if you want the reach, the 100-300 f/4 EX with the Sigma 1.4x TC tend to perform better than the 70-200 f/2.8 EX with its matched 2xTC...
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Old Jun 4, 2005, 3:34 AM   #6
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I do have the 50/1.8 and I used that to check the light at the hockey rink. At 2.8 and ISO set at 1600 (max for the Rebel XT) I was getting 1/320 to 1/500 on the shutter speed which is why I'm really focused on a 2.8 lens rather than a F4.0.

NHL - the sample you posted with the 2x appears to my eye to be pretty sharp, meaning I would be happy to get such clarity. Could I expect similar quality results (excluding my own lack of skill of course) out of the 70-200 as the 120-300? I don't think I can swing that big a price tag.

thanks for the input

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Old Jun 4, 2005, 5:49 AM   #7
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russperry wrote:
Quote:
Could I expect similar quality results (excluding my own lack of skill of course) out of the 70-200 as the 120-300? I don't think I can swing that big a price tag.
FYI - http://www.pbase.com/nhl/image/31252082/original

... but then you may lose some focusing speed depending on the condition
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Old Jun 4, 2005, 7:13 AM   #8
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I use the 70-200 as my primary lens, and after using the teleconverter for about 1000 shots, ive found that its not really worth having it on. The autofocus becomes sluggish, the shots are rarely focused well, and the clarity isnt great either. Its great for the times when you need the extra reach, however i think that the canon 100-300 USM does a much better job if a little extra reach is what your after.

Have a look at the 50-500 Sigma aswell, its not fast, but it does everything all in the one lens.
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