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Old Sep 7, 2007, 9:40 PM   #1
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hi guys! i'm back, basketball season kicks off for us in two weeks. yall were great in answering some questions for me last season and i need some advice. i would like to purchase a new lens. i have a minolta 50mm 1.7 that i used last year and borrowed my son-in-law's sigma 90mm 2.8a time or two. i would like something a little longer maybe like his but one of my own. i understand that i need something fast, probably not less (or is that more?) than the 2.8. i am kind of finally getting the relationship between the apperture, shutter speed and iso in the gym. i did read with great interest your posts on the guy asking about the lens for thebandrecently and picked upsome ideas there. please be patient with me, i'm still learning alot. anyway.... i've given these some thought.....

possibly something like my son-in-law's (but one of my own). i've seen a minolta 100 f2.0 for about $550 at bhphotovideo, i think. there was a minolta 100 f2.8 somewhere that wasn't much cheaper. or is the sigma 90mm 2.8 (like son-in-law's) a better lens than the minoltas. i did also see a sony 85mm 1.4 for 1299. whew! or a minolta 85 1.4 on ebay for around 850-900. is the 85mm 1.4 worth it? would i likely get a higher percentage of keepers?

one more question...sorry!! tomorrow i'm going to a friend's son's little league football game at 8:30 am. i've never shot football. i'm bringing the sigma 90mm 2.8 and also s-i-l's sigma 100-300 4.5-6.7. it should be pretty bright outside but with zooming and getting possibly around the 6 appeture, will i be able to get good shots using the 100-300 and does adjusting the iso outside help with this like it does in the gym ?? i know that is a dumb question. :? i was also thinking of getting the minolta 70-210mm 3.5-4.5 which i would think would be better for football. i think jim said this was a good lens. btw i should be able to get about 15 feet or so from the sidelines but would like to take some from the stands as well. i will prob try both lens and see what happens.

thanks for your help and Patience!!

darlene (sorry this is so long, i've been reading for days)
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Old Sep 8, 2007, 12:11 AM   #2
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The Sigma 90mm f/2.8 is a fine lens, as is the Minolta 85mm f/1.4 (either the G version or not), and I'm sure you could make good use of the extra 2 f-stops. Also good choices are the Tamron 90mm f/2.8, the Minolta 100mm f/2.0 (if you can find one) and f/2.8, the Tokina 100mm f/2.8, the Sigma 105mm f/2.8, and the Minolta 135mm f/1.8 and f/2.8.

But for indoor sports, you should get the brightest (fastest, largest aperture) lens you can. JohnG will tell you nothing smaller than f/2.0. How were the shots you took with the son-in-law's 90mm f/2.8?

As for football in daylight, aperture isn't as much of an issue, but instead of the 70-210 f/3.5-4.5, I think you should look for a 'beercan'. It's bigger and heavier, but it is a great lens. It's also a Macro lens, and it has a constant f/4.0 aperture throughout its zoom range. It's a very nice lens, and good copies are available for about $200. Of course, the 210mm focal length might be short for shots from the stands. Check the EXIF data on the shots you take (took) with the 100-300 to see what focal length you used. If you went longer than 210 more than just a few times, then maybe the 70-210 won't work for you.
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Old Sep 8, 2007, 1:11 PM   #3
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thank you for your reply!! i was pretty pleased with many of the shots today with the sigma 100-300 4.5-6.7. I used many focal lengths of course but i did go to the 280-300 quite a bit and LOVED those shots. Now i know that i would hate to go below the 300 end. i guess it depends on the difference in price on the next step up since i was looking at the 70-210. but i was very happy with this lens. i shot in auto and the shutter speed usually stayed from 1/650 to 1/1250 ish, apperture around 7.1, iso either 400 or 800. i set this manually because sometimes on auto it went to 100. some of the pictures were a little dark with the same settings, not sure why. i know i did take off the hood because the sun wasn't too bright at times. don't know if that was wise or not as i don't know much about the hoods. i neglected to note what pics were taken with and without. anyway i'm pretty happy. i did get some good shots of some of the other kids. the one i was taking pics of i got some good ones but not really face shots. i think that might be part luck and lots of shots!! i did learn that it is not always right at the snap close to the ball that the action is. it can be away from the ball catching tackles! anyway i would like to try to post some of them and see what you guys think.

now about the indoor lens. i guess my question at this point is would there be a great difference between an f2 and the 1.4 to justify the price difference?

thanks so much!
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Old Sep 8, 2007, 2:07 PM   #4
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Glad you had funat the game. Sorry you were able to rule out the 70-210; the Beercan is a heck of a lens.

Since you spent a lot of time out at 280-300, do you think you might have gone out further if you could have? The Sigma 50-500, 135-400, 170-500, and Tamron 200-500 seem to be very capable lenses, though none would be useful for an evening or night game (let alone indoors.) And they're all less than $1,000 (in case that matters [suB]:-)[/suB].)

Lens hoods are to block bright, off-angle lightwhich could bounce around inside the lens and cause flare. Shooting outside without a lens hood is not a good idea.

The difference between f/1.4 and f/2.0 is a full f-stop. That means you'll get to use a shutter speed that's twice as fast (or half as long) (to capture motion) or an ISO setting that's half as sensitive (to avoid noise.) The downside is shallower depth of field. I'm surprised that JimC or JohnG haven't replied yet, as they're the experts on this kind of stuff. But in my experience, I take all the light I can get. Depth of field doesn't matter muchif your lens isn't bright enough to take the shot.

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Old Sep 8, 2007, 8:23 PM   #5
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TCav wrote:
Quote:
... Lens hoods are to block bright, off-angle lightwhich could bounce around inside the lens and cause flare. Shooting outside without a lens hood is not a good idea. ...
addendum: Lens hoods block some twigs, some flying stones, ... as well as blocking some unwanted light. They do do what TCav said and are really good to have out in the woods/beach/... Much better than filters to protect a lens in terms of optical quality: a lens hood will add no distortion whatsoever.
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Old Sep 8, 2007, 9:08 PM   #6
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BillDrew wrote:
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addendum: Lens hoods block some twigs, some flying stones, ... as well as blocking some unwanted light.
Yes. Thank you.
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 2:13 PM   #7
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Hi there! I felt my ears burning :-)

On the basketball front, TCAV is correct in that my advice is to forgo any lens that isn't 2.0, 1.8 or 1.4. It's a different matter if you already own a lens and only want to shoot a game. But if you're looking to acquire a lens, 2.8 isn't fast enough for HS basketball unless you want to shoot at ISO 3200.

I'm not familiar with the specifics of the lenses being mentioned, but I only see two lenses mentioned which meet the below 2.8 threshold:

85mm 1.4

100mm 2.0

Now, in general you aren't going to shoot sports at 1.4 - that's just way too narrow DOF. You'll shoot at 1.8 or 2.0 most often. But unless there is also an 85mm 1.8 you might not have a choice but to get the 1.4.

Besides aperture though, there are 2 other important considerations:

1. focal length

2. focus speed

Focal length is critical since we're dealing in prime lenses. Selecting the proper focal length is dependent upon where you are shooting from and what types of shots you want to get. Ideally basketball is best shot from the floor itself and not from the stands. If you're shooting from the floor, 85mm is a very good focal length. If you're shooting from the stands, 100mm might be better. The important thing to realize is these lenses aren't designed to focus on subjects 50 feet away. an 85mm lens is good to about 20 feet or so. Beyond that, focus accuracy really takes a big nose dive. So don't expect to shoot from one end of the court to the other - in fact if you're shooting from the baseline your keeper rate by half court will be pretty low.

Press photogs often use a 70-200 2.8 (I'm speaking canonese here - not sure what the corresponding lens is in Sony) BUT they use a flash. This gives them flexibility to cover most of the court - and since they only need 10 shots or so they can deal with others having bad red-eye and such. But, flash is a pain in the butt to get good shots AND you'd have to make sure it's even allowed in the gym. Some places allow it some don't. In Ohio it varies by sport - basketball and wrestling allow it but volleyball and gymnastics do not.

Focus speed - you're looking for a lens to use in sports shooting so focus speed comes into play. Not all lenses are created equal in that regard. For instance, if you were looking at third party lenses (which I don't think you would be since 2.8 isn't fast enough) - no third party lenses I've heard of are fast enough for low light sports except Sigma's lenses with HSM (hyper sonic motor). Maybe JimC has used either the 85mm 1.4 or 100mm 2.0 and can speak to the focus speed. Since I'm not a Sony user I can't say one way or another if either lens has a leg up in that department.
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 4:02 PM   #8
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so glad you felt the "burn" john! i printed and highlighted your response. i didn't even consider the dof on 1.4. although i could use it at 1.8 or 2.0 (right?) butwhy pay for the 1.4 if itreally isn't useful for my purpose. that particular lens is 1300.00. i don't see any 100mm 2.0 although there are plenty of 100 2.8 (which i don't think i want). it may come down to the 85 1.4 tho.

the other thing i didn't realize was that an 85mm lens is only good for about 20 feet. i do get some decents pics with my 50mm 1.7 tho i do get as close as possible. maybe that's why i get so few real keepers.

now as far as focus speed, how do i determine that on a particular lens? reviews?

so what i'munderstanding is that the 85mm 1.4 would be a good lens but don't shoot at 1.4 or only a nose might be in focus:G(dof)

the 100mm 2.0 would probably be a good fit if i can find it!

thank you for your input!!
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 4:17 PM   #9
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If budget can warrant one, you may want to consider the Sony/Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, too. The 135mm f/2.8 isn't bad in this focal length either (but, you'd only have f/2.8 available).

The 85mm f/1.4 would probably be about right though (and I'd probably use it a stop down at f/2 for basketball if I had one).

As for the 100mm f/2, you should have bought the one you saw at B&H for $550. They're pretty darn hard to come by. ;-) It took me a while to find one, even before the 5D was shipping (looking for one on popular vendors web sites, including keh, adorama, B&H and Ebay, multiple times per day). I finally nabbed one at Adorama. For primes, I've got the Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8. The 100mm f/2 is superb. But, I think the 135mm f/2.8 may have a slight edge for focus speed shooting basketall.

But, I'd probably consider the 85mm f/1.4 instead for basketball, as the only time I shot basketball with my 5D, the 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8 seemed a bit too long from my vantage point (and DOF gets pretty darn shallow filling the frame much at wider apertures).


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Old Sep 10, 2007, 4:21 PM   #10
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Unfortunately for us, Canon, Nikon and Pentax have the best selection of fast wide-angle to medium telephoto lenses. Sony's 135mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.4 are all we can get new, and Sony wants $1,400 and $1,300, respectively, for them.

KEH.com has the 85mm used for $1,120. That's too rich for my blood. Others show up sometimes, but you'd better be quick, 'cause I'm looking too.
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