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Author Topic: Upgrading lenses  (Read 8382 times)

cheeseheadsaint

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Upgrading lenses
« on: September 19, 2011, 09:11:26 PM »
Hi! I am an amateur photographer that mostly focused on flying birds when they come into the area. But now, I'm thinking of shooting some high school night football games (time while I spend waiting for the birds to come back).

However, given the lack of light, and the uncertainty of being on the sidelines(although I'm going to try!) I am not sure if my ef-s 55-250mm mk 1 will be able to serve me well. The fastest lens I have is just the nifty fifty f/1.8 but I will need the zoom. and then I have the kit lens....

What lens should I look to be saving up for first, keeping in mind that I mainly to birds and now trying to get into night sports?

I'm looking for a light lens(to handhold) that will allow me to take photos with little noise/blur. Which lens do you recommend?

Meanwhile, any tips on using the 55-250 for football?

Currently I am using the Canon Rebel XSi -my first dslr, acquired 2 years ago.

Thanks to all who read! =D
Canon Rebel XSi, kit lens, 50mm f1.8, ef-s 55-250mm IS, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 6D

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Upgrading lenses
« on: September 19, 2011, 09:11:26 PM »

Khennjo

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 09:49:59 PM »
The 55-250 just won't cut it - especially at night. In order to freeze action in a football game, f/2.8 would be the least that you need. You'd also most likely need to boost the ISO of your XSi even if you're using a f/2.8 lens.

If the criteria is "light", and maybe budget - I'd go for a Canon 300mm f4 IS. This would be great for birding and for football games. The weight is actually light in comparison to the 300 f/2.8 version of this lens. And also a lot cheaper...

acoll123

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 09:50:32 PM »
Used 300 f2.8 and/or 70-200 f2.8. For night games, you will need the 2.8 and should shoot at least 1/500 sec. Kind of depends on whether you are using full frame or crop camera but those two lenses are good regardless. If you are using a a crop like the 7D, the 70-200 should give you enough reach. On a full-frame you might need the 300.

elflord

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 10:24:52 PM »
Hi! I am an amateur photographer that mostly focused on flying birds when they come into the area. But now, I'm thinking of shooting some high school night football games (time while I spend waiting for the birds to come back).

However, given the lack of light, and the uncertainty of being on the sidelines(although I'm going to try!) I am not sure if my ef-s 55-250mm mk 1 will be able to serve me well. The fastest lens I have is just the nifty fifty f/1.8 but I will need the zoom. and then I have the kit lens....

What lens should I look to be saving up for first, keeping in mind that I mainly to birds and now trying to get into night sports?

I'm looking for a light lens(to handhold) that will allow me to take photos with little noise/blur. Which lens do you recommend?

Meanwhile, any tips on using the 55-250 for football?

Currently I am using the Canon Rebel XSi -my first dslr, acquired 2 years ago.

Thanks to all who read! =D

The 70-200mm f2.8 non IS would be a good fit except that it's very heavy and you want something light.

If you're prepared to do without zoom you could look into telephoto primes like the 135mm f2 and the 200mm f2.8. You can pair these with teleconverters to get some extra reach (again without too much weight) for the bird photos.

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 10:27:02 PM »
What's your budget?

Have a look at Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS.  Not a light lens, though.

unfocused

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 11:22:25 PM »
Boy, does this bring back memories. Back in the 70s I used to shoot a lot of night high school football for small papers. Good luck.

Here is what I can recall (and I know things have changed a lot over the last 30-40 years, so take this for what it is.) Lighting on the field varies considerably from school to school. If it's a big school with a big budget, you may stand a chance of having some decent lighting. Small town fields are often very dark.

Lighting varies a lot over the length and width of most fields. Position yourself under the lights and as close as you can get to the sidelines and hope the action comes your way.

I wouldn't bother with a zoom. The 200mm F2.8 prime is cheaper and a better choice in my opinion. Trying to zoom is just one more complication and until you get really good, you're better off just framing the shot with a prime. The longer the lens, the harder that becomes. The 200 is a decent compromise.

You'll have to push the ISO to its limits to have any hope of catching any action. Learn to love noise.

As I recall, once it got past the first couple weeks of the season (and the sun started setting earlier) it was pretty much toast. Fortunately, these days the strobes are a lot better and more reliable, so try a 580 EX if you're allowed.

Finally, don't ignore the sideline action. You can get some great human interest shots on the sidelines that can tell the story as well or better than a standard action shot, and you'll have some hope of being able to actually capture something.

A few other random thoughts. Consider other sports. Wrestling is much easier to shoot because the action is slower, you can get closer and it's inside. You can see the wrestlers' expressions, which is much more interesting than many football shots. If you really want to shoot football, look for day games. Small colleges often play in the day and it may actually be easier to get on the sidelines for a small college game.

If your real passion is bird photos, then don't buy a lens for sports photography, buy one that you want for birding (like the 100-400 mm zoom) and then shoot other things as practice and entertainment.

I will say this. One of the things I really enjoyed about sports photography was the challenge. Trying to capture the action and keep everything framed and focused in a split second really builds the discipline and helps the reflexes.

I wouldn't buy anything until I've tried it a few times to decide what I need.

Good luck and have fun.
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UncleFester

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 01:58:09 AM »
Hi! I am an amateur photographer that mostly focused on flying birds when they come into the area. But now, I'm thinking of shooting some high school night football games (time while I spend waiting for the birds to come back).

However, given the lack of light, and the uncertainty of being on the sidelines(although I'm going to try!) I am not sure if my ef-s 55-250mm mk 1 will be able to serve me well. The fastest lens I have is just the nifty fifty f/1.8 but I will need the zoom. and then I have the kit lens....

What lens should I look to be saving up for first, keeping in mind that I mainly to birds and now trying to get into night sports?

I'm looking for a light lens(to handhold) that will allow me to take photos with little noise/blur. Which lens do you recommend?

Meanwhile, any tips on using the 55-250 for football?

Currently I am using the Canon Rebel XSi -my first dslr, acquired 2 years ago.

Thanks to all who read! =D

Get a 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. You'll want the 2 stage IS for panning. (That's your football lens)

For birds EF 500mm f/4L IS.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 02:05:26 AM by UncleFester »

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 01:58:09 AM »

Hillsilly

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2011, 02:12:30 AM »
Depending on how dark it is, I will often use a 50/1.8.  If I was doing more night sports photography, I'd consider the 135/f2 or the 70-200/2.8.  Nice balance between reach and speed. 

But I'd worry that the percentage of keepers probably wouldn't that much different to your 55-250.  For mere mortals, shooting at night is hard!!  So why bother changing - just use what you've got.

Another interesting question might be "fast lens vs better high ISO capability of a full frame camera".  This is something that I'm trying to weigh up myself.

Also, as mentioned, see if you can use a flash. 

Then, if you want to get really creative, you could even buy a cheap flash trigger and locate your flash at a different point down the field closer to the action.  In fact, you could set up multiple flashes covering the same area.  They don't have to be Canon flashes, just the cheapest high power ones you can find (Of course, Canon ones will work better...).  Then, when the action moves into your flash zone, just shoot away.  Haven't tried this myself, but I read about it often and apparently it works well.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2011, 04:38:27 AM »
Back in the 70s I used to shoot a lot of night high school football for small papers....Here is what I can recall...
You'll have to push the ISO to its limits to have any hope of catching any action. Learn to love noise.

Don't forget to tell the lab that you pushed the film.  Oh, and I think we called it grain back then...   :P

What lens should I look to be saving up for first, keeping in mind that I mainly to birds and now trying to get into night sports?

I'm looking for a light lens(to handhold) that will allow me to take photos with little noise/blur. Which lens do you recommend?

Tough question.  For birds, generally, the longer the better - I usually shoot birds with a 7D and 100-400mm, and still find it not long enough.  But while the 100-400mm is fine for daytime sports, it has the same issues as your 55-250mm at night - a narrow aperture meaning not enough light.

As for 'night sports' and 'light lens for handholding,' those two don't really go together.  A faster lens (wider aperture) means more glass, and that means heavy.  As others have stated, for night sports I'd say you want f/2.8 at a minimum to be able to stop action.  Given the cost of a 300mm f/2.8 (I assume you don'e have $5-7K laying around), that leaves you with the 200mm f/2.8L II ($800), the 135mm f/2L ($1000), or one of the 70-200mm f/2.8L zooms (which range in price from $1400-2400), or if a shorter focal length would work (probably not), the 100mm f/2.0 ($500). 

The 70-200mm zooms weigh about 3 pounds - I don't have a problem handholding my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II for long periods, but they're not light lenses.

Probably the best compromise would be the 200mm f/2.8L II recommended above.

Hope that helps...
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ecka

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2011, 10:44:59 AM »
Considering your current gear, you probably don't want to spend a fortune on new lenses. IMHO, a long prime is not the best choice for sports if you are using just 1 body. I suggest you try (borrow or rent) the EF 70-200/2.8L USM first. You will need that f/2.8 aperture along with ISO1600 to retain a decent shutter speed, at least 1/400.
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LuCoOc

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2011, 11:17:58 AM »
I shot an evening soccer game last spring and used my 100L macro lens because my 70-200 4.0 L just didn't "collect" enough light.

I attached one of the shots. The settings are Iso 800 f2.8 1/160sec.
I highly recommend a longer lens and if you only a one body (may I ask which body you have?) I'd go for a zoom on a crop body the 70-200 f2.8 should be enough. If you have two bodys and enough money laying around :D you could also go for the 135 2.0 and the 200 2.8. However that would bring you close to the Sigma 120-300 (it's 2000€ at Amazon here in Germany). Your (budget's) choice.


« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 11:23:52 AM by LuCoOc »
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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2011, 12:48:46 PM »
Hi! I am an amateur photographer that mostly focused on flying birds when they come into the area. But now, I'm thinking of shooting some high school night football games (time while I spend waiting for the birds to come back).

However, given the lack of light, and the uncertainty of being on the sidelines(although I'm going to try!) I am not sure if my ef-s 55-250mm mk 1 will be able to serve me well. The fastest lens I have is just the nifty fifty f/1.8 but I will need the zoom. and then I have the kit lens....

What lens should I look to be saving up for first, keeping in mind that I mainly to birds and now trying to get into night sports?

I'm looking for a light lens(to handhold) that will allow me to take photos with little noise/blur. Which lens do you recommend?

Meanwhile, any tips on using the 55-250 for football?

Currently I am using the Canon Rebel XSi -my first dslr, acquired 2 years ago.

Thanks to all who read! =D

Rent a 135mm f/2L and 70-200mm f/2.8 L non IS,  and see how it works with your XSi.  Even f/2.8 is going to be a struggle in low light.  Don't even think of f/4 or slower.


A refurb 70-200mm f/2.8 non IS runs about $1159 from Canon.

  http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductListingViewAll_10051_10051_-1_22751#

cheeseheadsaint

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2011, 10:13:51 PM »
Thank you all for replying! Certainly gives me more of a better idea of what I should be looking for. I do not really want to go over $2000 at this point but then again this is something I'm going to save up for, so I have time.

I'm going to try out using the 55-250mm for football, just to really see for myself how bad the noise/light is and see if the reach is ok. I never considered primes before, but now I see there is a nice price difference. Hmm.. but there is no IS..

and between 70-200mm L mk 1 and mk2, is the $500 difference justified?
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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2011, 10:13:51 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2011, 11:24:15 PM »
how bad the noise/light is and see if the reach is ok. I never considered primes before, but now I see there is a nice price difference. Hmm.. but there is no IS..

and between 70-200mm L mk 1 and mk2, is the $500 difference justified?

RE noise, if you don't already, and you can live with shorter bursts, shoot RAW.  Your computer is better at noise reduction that the in-camera JPG conversion.  Also, not all RAw converters are created equal.  I initially used Canon's DPP, but have switched to DxO Optics Pro mainly for the better NR (1-2 stops higher ISO is tolerable, compared to DPP, with less loss of sharpness due to the NR).  Noise Ninja also works well, and I've heard good things about Topaz Denoise.

RE no IS, keep in mind that IS mainly helps correct camera shake.  It does nothing for subject motion.  So, with a 200mm lens on a 1.6x body, the 1/focal length guideline suggests you'll get a decent keeper rate if your shutter speed is 1/320 s or higher.  For most sports, you'll want to be at at least 1/400 s to stop the action, meaning you won't derive much benefit from IS anyway (although it can help steady the viewfinder when you frame a shot with a long lens).  Also, bear in mind that for IS to be effective, it needs to operate for ~0.5 s before you take the shot, for full stabilization - and with fast-moving sports, you're often pointing and shooting faster than that (which is one reason the new - and exhorbitantly expensive - MkII superteles have a Mode 3 IS, which is instant-on at the moment of shutter press.

RE the difference between the original and MkII 70-200/2.8 IS - I've never shot with the original, but accoring to many reviews, the original 70-200/2.8 IS was the least sharp of the 70-200 series (f/2.8 and f/4, IS and non IS).  The MkII version is clearly the sharpest of the 5 versions.  But, it's not like the original could be called soft - but, on an APS-C body at 200mm, the lowly EF-S 55-250mm is sharper than the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS (MkI) with both wide open (but of course, the L lens is two stops faster); at comparable apertures, they're close in sharpness.  The MkII, on the other hand, is significantly sharper than the 55-250mm, even at f/2.8.
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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2011, 11:28:13 PM »
I shoot HS football and Pro soccer at night, and love my 7D and 70-200 f2.8 IS.  We have a few club members who shoot with f4 and 5.6 and it's alot harder.  One guy has a 70-200 f4 IS.  He tried this on an Xti and had very little luck, but has upgraded to a 60D and it works much better.  Anothe rjust bumped from kit 18-135 f5.6 to Sigma 70-200 f2.8 and loves the difference, also on a 60D

Essenially get the best gear you can afford or beg borrow and steal (or rent) it.   

I generally shoot +1/3 ISO 3200, Tv at 1/200, and end up at f2.8-4. Oh and i have a 580EX II set to M 1/64 for just a little fill.

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Re: Upgrading lenses
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2011, 11:28:13 PM »