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Old Nov 20, 2007, 7:33 AM   #11
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I understand that it's a fantastic lens. I can't seem to find a copy of it. But, it's my understanding that the German ColorFoto Magazine included 3 Minolta lenses in their 10 best lenses ever for 35mm cameras list, and this was one of them. Their G Glass is superb (color, contrast, bokeh, etc.).

But, that doesn't help the OP, since an A700 solution with that lens for night sports + a TC for daytime use would be well over budget, LOL

I'm hearing rumours that Sony is going to launch a new 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM that should be more affordable, as well as more lenses like the previously announced 24-70mm f/2.8G SSM (mentioned at last years PMA), as well as more Pro Grade Primes in longer focal lengths (probably the lenses represented by the mockups at last years PMA).

One respected KM and now Sony user in Thailand (that's had access to preproduction gear in the past) is expecting a lot of announcements going into PMA about new bodies (plural), lenses, etc. (quoting a source with Sony). We'll just have to wait and see if his source is correct.


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Old Nov 20, 2007, 8:15 AM   #12
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aj37167:

If that's a firm budget, here is one solution you may want to consider (20D versus 30D or 40D). The EOS-20D is an older, discontinued model. But, buydig.com still has some new bodies in stock.

Some of our Canon shooters can probably comment on it's pros and cons. Or, you could get a 30D for about $200 more.

Canon EOS-20D for $799 at buydig.com

Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens for $309.99 at buydig.com
(indoor sports)

Used Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM AF Lens for approx. $650 in excellent condition (I know where you can get one now from a reputable dealer and I can send you a link to it), or about $725 for the newest DG Macro Version used (and buydig.com has the latest DG Macro version new for $787). That would cover your night sports.

Sigma 1.4x EX DG Teleconverter for Canon EF mount for approximately $169 (to get you more reach for day games).

That would put you over $1900 assuming used on the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM, and you'd still be short a lens for general walk around use starting out wider.

So, your best bet would probably be to go with a kit lens (Canon 18-55mm) for family snapshots, etc. to fit into $2K (or as close to it as possible) if that's a firm budget. http://www.keh.com has some now starting out at $65 (look under Canon Digital Zoom Lenses):

Canon Digital Only Zoom Lenses at keh.com

That Sigma would give you a longer lens than you're used to from an angle of view perspective for daytime use with a TC on it (because of the sensor size in a DSLR like this) and it would be bright enough without a Teleconverter on it for night games (you'd get more motion blur trying to use one with a TC at night, since it's not as bright with a Teleconverter).

You may not have the optimum reach. But, you can't have everything on a $2K budget and you'll need f/2.8 for night games.

There are reasons someone like JohnG uses a lens like the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 he mentioned. That's the kind of lens you'll need for more reach in less than optimum lighting.

If you wanted to skip the night games for now, a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 would be your best bet for daytime games, and you could also use a 1.4x TC with it if you wanted something even longer. But, it's not bright enough for night games.

So, you'd need to compromise with a $2K budget. If you want to shoot both day and night games, I'd probably go with a 70-200mm f/2.8 with a TC (Teleconverter) on it for day games (which probably isn't going to be as sharp as the 100-300mm without a TC) so you'd have a lens you could use for night games, too.

JohnG can probably give some pros and cons to this type of solution (he shoots a lot of sports) and may have some better alternatives.


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Old Nov 20, 2007, 9:00 AM   #13
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Jim's solution is very sensible. It covers all the bases reasonably - EXCEPT your desire to shoot soccer from 50 yards away. That's just not going to happen with less than 400mm lens (not if you want quality shots). But you need to reign in your expectations - you've got a lot of expectations but not a lot of budget.

Of all the sports I shoot, soccer by far requires the most reach in a lens. The 200mm lens by itself will get you 25 yards of coverage. Throw on the 1.4x TC (it's an attachment that goes between the lens and the camera and works like a magnifyer - in this case a 1.4 magnifier - turning the 200mm lens into a 280mm lens). With the TC on you'll get about 35 yards of coverage. Still well short of your goal.

But, you have 3 goals competing for your limited resources (indoor gym requiring fast prime lens; full-field soccer requiring a LOT of reach ; night time sports requiring 2.8 ). You can't do all of them well for only $2000 (which includes buying the camera).

Jim's suggested kit covers the indoor sports as well as possible (85mm) - night time as inexpensive as possible (Sigma 70-200 2.8 ) and with a TC it will allow you to get some good soccer shots - just not as many as you would like.

The 20d is a very good camera. Virtually the same camera as the 30d. The 30d has a larger LCD (which is very nice but not critical to success), incremental ISO (so you can adjust in 1/3 stops) and spot metering.
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 8:12 PM   #14
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aj, I'm one of the few forum members I know of who uses a Pentax K10D for sports shooting, and I've got to admit to some frustrations with it because of some of the concerns mentioned. Were sports all I shot, I might go a different direction if I were starting fresh.

The K10d is a wonderful camera overall, but there is a serious lack of good sports lenses available. I have been hoping to buy a 70-200 Sigma f2.8, but they're scarcer than hens' teeth. The ISO limitation of 1600 with the K10d is also a problem, and for sports, I suspect the K100d is probably the better camera, although I haven't shot one. Indoors, I use the FA-50 and am starting to get some pretty good shots, although you have to pick your shots carefully. The narrow DOF at f1.4 combined with the limited reach of the lens greatly limits where you can shoot on the court. The FA-77 f1.8 would probably be wonderful for indoor sports, but it is pricey.

I chose the Pentax because of in-body stabilization, reviews of its overall quality, and a few other items mentioned in many of the reviews. I really like the results I've gotten from it for nature, macros, portraits, etc.....but I've had to work really hard with it to get quality sports shots.


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Old Nov 22, 2007, 10:00 PM   #15
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Well, let's see. . . Cancel the lens for indoor - More important to be able to take family type pics.

How do I tell which Sigma Lenses fit which cameras? or any other Mfter lenses?

I think the Sony had faster shutter speeds (don't have my notes) -

Would the Sony have any lenses that would take it up to 300mm? Affordably? Seems like I saw a 75-300 f3.5-6.3 mentioned, but I couldn't tell you where. 3.5 would be a bit better than 4.

at letsgodigital.org, I saw a Sony DT 18-250 f3.5-6.3 - that was due out in October 2007.

I also saw a Tamron 70-300 f?, and a discontinued Tamron AF 70-210 f2.8 SP LD was listed as a possibility along with it's Minolta equiv - but I don't know if I could find it, or how much. Dial up sure does make it slow to search!

I talked to the coach/photographer for all the highschool games, and he uses a 300mm - couldn't do with less. He is able to take pics with f4 - we must have strong lights. So, I'm not sure I want to go less than 300

So, Jim, what did you mean "That Sigma would give you a longer lens than you're used to from an angle of view perspective"

With the Canon: The 20-70mm + the teleconverter comes to about $820 - I don't think I will be able to get many night shots with 200mm (though I can think of other night shots that I would enjoy trying),

How much would using the teleconverter change my f2.8? Would I be able to take shots at least as well as his 300 f4?

Thanks again.
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Old Nov 23, 2007, 7:10 AM   #16
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aj37167 wrote:
Quote:
Well, let's see. . . Cancel the lens for indoor - More important to be able to take family type pics.
Then, remove the 85mm f/1.8 USM lens from the Canon kit I mentioned and buy everything else in it. ;-)

Quote:
How do I tell which Sigma Lenses fit which cameras? or any other Mfter lenses?



You have to look at the available lenses on popular dealer web sites and buy a lens specifically for the lens mount you're interested in (and just because one is supposed to be available, doesn't mean that you can actually find one).

For example, a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 for Canon EF mount would not fit a Sony/Maxxum Camera. You'll need to buy a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 in Sony/Maxxum mount instead. It's selling for $1099 at http://www.bhphtovideo.com (same price for Nikon, Canon, Pentax and and Sony/Minolta DSLR models).

Not all third party lenses are available in all lens mounts. The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 is an example of that (it's not on dealer shelves right this minute in Sony/Minolta mount, and they're bringing in the $900s used (there is one on Ebay now in the 900s).

Quote:
I think the Sony had faster shutter speeds (don't have my notes)


The fastest shutter speed a camera is capable of is not important for your purposes. Most any of the DSLR models in the market niche you're looking in are capable of at least 1/2000 second.

You can't just set a camera to a faster shutter speed and use it when you want to. So, just because you can set a model like the Sony DSLR-A700 to 1/8000 second, doesn't help you. If you tried to do that, you'd get underexposed (dark) images. ;-) The camera has to keep the shutter open long enough to expose the film or sensor for the amount of light, the aperture setting of the lens, and ISO speed you're using.

Quote:
Would the Sony have any lenses that would take it up to 300mm? Affordably? Seems like I saw a 75-300 f3.5-6.3 mentioned, but I couldn't tell you where. 3.5 would be a bit better than 4.


Yes, but the lens you're talking about is a consumer grade (not really so hot for sports) type of lens. That's true for the entry level 70-300mm lenses from Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Tamron, etc. Most are slow focusing, and not very sharp on their long ends (zoomed in more). As for the lens ratings, you're more concerned with the second number in the specs (in that case, f/6.3, which is very dim). That means the camera's autofocus sensors won't get as much light for focusing purposes and you'll need better light to keep shutter speeds up (these types of lenses are suitable only for use in very good light). In addition, you could not use a Teleconverter on one (they are not bright enough for that purpose).

You also can't go by specifications alone. You have to take each lens on a case by case basis and examine things like Brightness, Focal Length (zoom range), Focus Speed (which is impacted by things like brightness, gearing, focus motor type, and sharpness, Flare Resistance, Contrast, Color, Chromatic Aberrations/Purple Fringing, Sharpness at various apertures and focal lengths, size, weight and more)

There are reasons that lens like the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 that JohnG mentioned cost more than $1000. ;-)

Now, if you want to try and get by with a 300mm consumer grade lens, you can do that. On the downside, you're not going to get the quality of photos that you would from a better grade lens and you may not get all of the shots you want due to slower focus speed. One of these would also be limited to very good light use.

This is what you'd need in a Sony kit to match what I mentioned earlier in a 20D kit to get roughly the same coverage. But, the Canon 85mm f/1.8 would probably be a faster focusing lens for the indoor sports use (even though the Sony 85mm is approximately $1000 higher than the Canon 85mm f/1.8 ). The Sony lens is brighter. But, it's not really designed for sports use.

Sony DSLR-A700 with 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Kit lens..... $1499
Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM....................................... $1999
Sony 1.4x G Teleconverter..................................... ..... $449
Sony/Zeiss 85mm f/1.4............................................. $1299

I know someone that has a DSLR-A700 and a 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM lens. They also want to shoot basketball and looking at primes to get faster shutter speeds than they're getting with the zoom. They're probably going to give the Sony/Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 a try. But, because this is a very bright lens, it's got heavier optical elements to move around and it may not be optimum for that purpose. If I get any feedback as to how one works, I'll let you know. But, this kind of solution is *well* outside of your desired budget. A used Minolta 85mm f/1.4 Autofocus lens would still set you back over $800 (see the listings at http://www.keh.com for examples)

A used Minolta 100mm f/2 would probably be a better bet from an AF speed perspective for light low sports indoors. They're selling in the $500s used now (but, they're hard to find on the used market right now). I've got this lens. The current Sony lens lineup is composed mostly of either very high grade premium lenses (like the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G and 85mm f/1.4G) mentioned above; or consumer grade lenses that are not bright and sharp enough for sports in all conditions.

So, I'd keep lens prices in mind for any solution you go with if you think you may want to shoot in more conditions later.

There are more choices. Just not with the quality you seem to be looking for (i.e., "facial expressions at 50 yards away) for your outdoor photos. ;-)

Quote:
at letsgodigital.org, I saw a Sony DT 18-250 f3.5-6.3 - that was due out in October 2007.


It's out now. But, it's not really bright enough, long enough, or fast enough from a focus perspective for your sports considerations. These types of lenses (with huge ranges from wide to long) also tend to have more optical quality issues (for example, distortion, purple fringing/edge softness). For a lens of it's type, it's one of the better ones. But, I wouldn't suggest it for sports.

Quote:
I also saw a Tamron 70-300 f?, and a discontinued Tamron AF 70-210 f2.8 SP LD was listed as a possibility along with it's Minolta equiv - but I don't know if I could find it, or how much. Dial up sure does make it slow to search!
Again, you have to take each lens on a case by case basis. You can have huge differences in quality, even between lenses with the exact same specifications.

The Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 type lenses are dirt cheap. You can buy one for *under* $100 used (and not much more brand new). Could you use one? Sure. Just don't expect the same quality you'd get from a better grade of lens.

In the budget grade of lens, the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 EX DG APO is usually considered the best choice. It runs a bit over $200 brand new. But, like most consumer grade zooms in this focal range, it's not that sharp on it's longer end (zoomed in more), which is the end of the lens you're going to be using more often shooting outdoor sports.

Note the lenses JohnG mentioned in his first post for budget choices (that Sigma was the least expensive lens he mentioned).

In a budget lens for a Sony DSLR, I'd grab a Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Autofocus Lens (around $325 used at vendors like keh.com) for daytime use. Note that the non-APO version can be found for around $100. You want the APO version (it's a much better lens, which is why it sells for 3+ times as much on the used market, even though the specs appear the same). Again, you have to take each lens on a case by case basis.

Keh.com also has a used Minolta 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 Autofocus lens right now at around $569. But, from most reports I've seen, it's slow to focus on it's long end in less than optimum lighting (as you'd expect for a lens that dim).

There are more choices (from Minolta, Sigma, Tamron, etc.). You can also find a used Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 for one (there is one on Ebay now in the $900s). But, you're going to exceed your budget if that $2k is firm trying to find a solution suitable for everything you want to shoot, since the body price for the DSLR-A700 is going to cost you about twice as much as you could buy that 20D for, and you'll also spend more for lenses suitable for low light use.

Quote:
So, Jim, what did you mean "That Sigma would give you a longer lens than you're used to from an angle of view perspective


You will have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) using one of the entry level DSLR models, compared to the same focal length lens on a 35mm film camera. That's because their sensors are smaller than 35mm film.

For a Sony, Pentax, or Nikon DSLR model, multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x to see what focal length lens you'd need on a 35mm camera for the same angle of view.

For example, a 300mm lens on one of these DSLR models (using a Sony APS-C size sensor) would give you the same angle of view that a 450mm lens would give you on a 35mm camera (300mm x 1.5 = 450mm). Use 1.6x for the Canon models being discussed.

Quote:
With the Canon: The 20-70mm + the teleconverter comes to about $820 - I don't think I will be able to get many night shots with 200mm (though I can think of other night shots that I would enjoy trying),
That was a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM lens we mentioned, and that was a used price on the lens.

Quote:
How much would using the teleconverter change my f2.8? Would I be able to take shots at least as well as his 300 f4?
Whose 300mm f/4? I doubt the zoom you're mentioning even has f/4 on it's long end. A lens like the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 would (it can maintain f/4 throughout it's focal range). But, most consumer grade lenses lose a lot of light as you zoom in more.

A 70-200mm f/2.8 would behave more like a 112-280mm f/4 lens (you lose one stop of light with a 1.4x Teleconverter). That's still *twice* as bright as you'd have using a consumer grade lens like an f/3.5-5.6 or f/4-6.7 (f/4 is *twice* as bright as f/5.6). But, f/4 is not bright enough for night games, unless you plan on taking photos of the players when they are very still.

OK -- let's try this again.. What is it that you do not like about the solutions mentioned (budget, going used, etc.)? That way, we can try to find something else that fits in better.

If you want to skip *both* the night games and the indoor sports, then you could probably fit into a Sony DSLR-A700 solution using a consumer grade lens for daytime use. Lenses like the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 would put you over budget though. So, you'd need to go with a lower quality lens if 2K is firm. I'd probably go with one of the kit lenses for walk around use. Then, grab a used Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO for around $325 and see if you can get enough keepers with it. It's a very good lens by most accounts (and I'd probably choose it used over a new lens like a Sigma 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 EX DG APO if given a choice, even though the new Sigma can be found for less.

Look, I now shoot with this Sony. It's a very nice camera. But, with your budget, and the type of shooting you want to do more often (sports), it's just not a real great fit (because of higher body cost, and lens availability/cost for night sports and indoor sports use). With a $2k budget, your choices are going to be more limited, if you want the kind of quality you seem to be after. ;-)

So, you'll need to decide what type of photos are more important to make a better informed choice and stay within your desired budget going with that type of solution.

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Old Nov 23, 2007, 8:00 AM   #17
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Look, quality is very subjective, and the print/viewing sizes for images also comes into the equation.

For what you want to accomplish, you may be just fine with the inexpensive lens choices, provided you do not want to take any photos in less than optimum lighting, and don't mind a slower focusing lens (which may not give you all of the shots you want), and don't mind one that may not give you the coverage you want (zoom in enough to catch those facial expressions from further away as well as have subjects filling the frame enough for acceptable AF speed/accuracy), and may not be as sharp as the higher grade lenses, etc.

We're just trying to help you figure out what may be more suitable for these types of images, in more conditions, at a higher quality level, within your desired budget (and let us know if you want to look at a different budget range and give up some of the conditions you wanted to shoot in originally).

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Old Nov 23, 2007, 9:09 AM   #18
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http://www.circuitcity.com has a DSLR-A700 Kit (Body + 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 DT Lens) showing up for $1259.99 right now (online special, and that may be today only, as it's the cheapest price I've seen on this type of kit). Many dealers are getting $1399 for the *body only* right now. Even if you wanted a different lens later, this is one heck of a deal *if* you want a DSLR-A700 solution:

http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/oid/....do#promotions

Then, grab a Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Autofocus Lens from http://www.keh.com (under 35mm Lenses, Minolta Autofocus, Zoom Lenses) with hood and caps for around $300 to $350 for the APO versions (with the latest D selling for around $350). Non-D versions of the 100-300mm APO are selling for around $300 with hood and caps (and I'd make sure to get one with those items). The difference is that the D versions have ADI (Advanced Distance Integration), which sends more information about focus distance to the camera for flash exposure purposes (not very important in this type of lens from my perspective).

Do not buy the cheaper, non APO versions of this lens (they have higher chromatic aberrations, etc.).

There is a reason the price is very different between these lenses (with the non-APO versions selling for around $100, and the APO versions selling for around $300). In a Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, the APO versions have better optical quality with better color, contrast, sharpness and more. You can't go by specs alone. You have to take each lens model on a case by case basis.

That would put you in a kit for daytime use only for under $1600 in a 12MP Camera model (so, you'd have a bit more room for cropping), going with the Sony DSLR-A700 + 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Kit from Circuitcity.com + a used Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO lens from keh.com. This Minolta lens is not going to be as nice as something like a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 (which would run you over $1000 at most vendors), and you can't use a Teleconverter with this Minola lens (like you could with the brighter Sigma 100-300mm f/4). But, it's probably *much* better than you were used to with your Pentax 35mm camera/lens combination.

But, I would not go that route unless you are willing to give up the night games and indoor sports for now on your budget.

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Old Nov 24, 2007, 4:09 AM   #19
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Jim, I didn't mean to be difficult, or to appear to disregard your advise. I appreciate your efforts, and patience, VERY MUCH.


The Sony hadn't come up, and Sony came to a tournament and let parents try them out, and then the issue of Popular Photography spokehighly of it, as well as suggested the Pentax for soccer parents. I think the reason that I discardedthe Sony initially was the $$$, I've just looked at so much that I didn't remember why.

Also, I was trying to be a little less dependant and helpless by looking around atlense possibilitiesmyself. OBVIOUSLY, there's aWHOLE LOTmore to it than I realized. I had NO idea you were looking at so many qualities for lenses!

Now, I'm afraid to look for one by myself!

Since the 100-300 f4 lense,wouldn't reallyimprove on what I could do a couple of years ago, I think I will go with the f2.8 lense for the Canon that you've been talking about.



It sounds like the 120-300 f2.8 lense is out of $ range, so I'll end up getting a 70-200 f2.8 USED, Plus a Teleconverter USED. Then I'll have to decide betweenaUSED Canon 20d, 30d, and 40d, and a decent walk-around lense USED.



It's too late now - I'll try looking tomorrow at keh.com, and buydig.com . It's slow work on dial-up.



Thanks again for your help!


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Old Nov 24, 2007, 5:05 AM   #20
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The A700 a very nice camera. It's what I currently shoot with (I bought one as an upgrade to my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D).

But, on a $2k budget, you won't be able to do everything you want going that route (your night sports and indoor sports would have to wait).

There is one other alternative in an indoor sports lens for a Sony if you can get close enough.

You could use a 50mm f/1.7 (under $100 used) or 50mm f/1.4 (around $200 used, or around $300 new for the Sony 50mm f/1.4). But, a longer lens would probably be a better bet for more keepers.

If you are willing to give up the night games and indoor sports, then a model like that Sony would fit into your budget, and you could also get by with a smaller and lighter lens solution for day games only. Chances are, your choices in brighter lenses will improve next year, too. BTW, make sure to try out lenses you consider (there is a big difference in size and weight once you start going to brighter zooms).

For now on your budget, if your primary focus is sports (and you want to shoot both indoor and night sports, too), I'd probably go a different route like the Canon solutions mentioned.

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