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Old Jan 6, 2013, 2:07 PM   #1
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Default What sports lens should I buy?

I've had my A33 for about 3 years and I'm looking for a new lens. My primary shooting challenge is indoor sports photography. I shoot my daughter's competitive cheer team in high school gyms--these gyms have fairly decent lighting but it's still indoor/gym with high motion. I like to get close up action shots of the girls as well as larger group shots of the team's dance segments and pyramids. The kids use the center 60% of a basketball floor end to end. I shoot from the floor edge or in 1st or 2nd row of seating depending on the available space around the floor and with the DT 4-5.6/55-200 SAM lens that came with my camera using the AF sports mode. I've had pretty good success--200 works great for close ups while the 55 is sometimes too cropped for the group shots if they are positioned forward on the mats (crowds don't allow me to move back while shooting). Is there a better lens option? They perform for 2.5 minutes 7 times a year and then it's over. Should I consider an 18-200 or 250? Will it be fast enough to allow for consecutive shooting and deliver crisp images? Thanks for your help.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 2:28 PM   #2
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A superzoom, like the 18-200 or 18-250 will be too slow to focus and have too small an aperture to allow you to use a fast enough shutter speed.

For any kind of action indoors, you need a lens with a maximum aperture of at least f/2.8, and larger (numerically smaller) if possible. 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses are popular for most of what you want to do, but at 70mm, it sounds like they're too narrow for your group shots. There really isn't anything else unless you want to go with primes, but that means a lot of lens changing.

You might be able to use a 70-200/2.8 if, instead of being directly in front of the chear team, you were off to one side a little. In that way, you could get the entire team in the frame at 70mm and you might have the freedom to move around a little bit more.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 12:39 PM   #3
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There's also the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8. Occasionally refurbished units show up on the Sigma site for a great price in the $500-600 range. New units featuring OS and HSM are about $1100 but I'm not sure if these are available in the Sony A-mount. The only negative I've heard about this lens is a few users have reported back focus - they send them back to Sigma and this is corrected.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/sigma-outl...CID=0&sCSID=4#

Keep checking this link as you never know when a bunch of 50-150 will show up and they are usually gone within a day.

Dyxum reviews.... http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Sigma-50...M_lens440.html
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 1:06 PM   #4
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The Sigma 50-150/2.8 was never very popular in any mount, so don't get your hopes up.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 1:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
The Sigma 50-150/2.8 was never very popular in any mount, so don't get your hopes up.
I have to agree. The lens is the ideal focal length for crop sensor cameras indoors. But it never seemed anyone was actually using it. I used to be a big fan of sigma lenses but their quality control really went down hill - at least for the telephotos (their short primes and macros get high marks). They've revamped their telephoto lens lineup but since they never acknowledged any QC issue they can't exactly say it's fixed. With the new lenses came much higher price tags.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 3:38 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for the feedback everyone... I've opted to use my daughter's new Canon 4Ti with a Tamron 18-270mm for the next performance. We have 2 this weekend, so worst case, I'll revert back to my A33. It's served me well up to this point.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 4:16 PM   #7
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The 18-270 will be slower to focus, and it will actually be dimmer than the 55-200 you have now so the shutter speeds will be slower and you'll have more motion blur.

The focal length won't solve your problem if you don't have a larger aperture (numerically smaller f-number.) That's the problem: you need a large aperture (letting in more light so you can use faster shutter speeds) with a significant medium telephoto zoom range.
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