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Author Topic: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?  (Read 7123 times)

lady

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Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« on: November 02, 2011, 03:26:26 AM »
I'm torn right now. I cannot afford a $1500+ lens, but I find myself in need of a telephoto with a wide aperture (indoor horse shows).  Perhaps the 100mm or 200mm f/2.8L. Both are great lenses and people I know swear by them. My budget is extremely tight for this, as I'm also saving up money to get a 5D Mk ii next year. I was initially looking at the 70-200mm f/2.8L without IS, used. Is it worth it to pay the extra $500+ it would cost me for that lens or should I save money and stick with a prime? I use a 7D.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kreebby

Thanks.

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Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« on: November 02, 2011, 03:26:26 AM »

Forceflow

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2011, 03:43:47 AM »
This is indeed a tough one.
The primes will give you better quality, and unless you shell out for the Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS II you will most likely really see the difference there. (The test images I found on the net from the old 70-200 weren't that great, especially wide open) a prime at 200mm can be quite long however for an indoor horse show. It really depends on how close you will be, something you often don't have control over. I recently did an indoor horse shooting with my 24-70 and sometimes wished for something wider. (But granted, I was actually on the course for this one)

For me you have two choices:
1. miss some shots completely because of the fixed focal length but get really great IQ on the ones you do get
or
2. be able to get all shots but loose IQ in the process (mind you, the 70-200 isn't bad, it's just not too great from the image samples I found on the internet)

Not sure which way I would go, though I would most likely try to save up enough for the Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS II. You could get both primes for a bit more flexibility, but then you'd have to switch lenses a lot and at a busy horse show you might not have enough time for this.
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PeterJ

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2011, 05:42:03 AM »
Agree with the all the above, one thing though is before you purchase do you have a chance to take a few test shots at the venue with a f/5.6 kit zoom or similar? Just thinking you could crank the ISO right up to give you a feel for what focal lengths you'll really need, I suspect 200mm on a crop will be too long for most shots. Just looking at a calculator to reasonably frame a horse and rider (assuming 4.5 x 3m FOV) you'd need to be about 40m away.

The 70-200 would be more versatile, but without IS depending on how steady you are and whether you're using a monopod or tripod you might end up needing to use a longer shutter speed than you'd normally want.

Edwin Herdman

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 06:24:57 AM »
If you're talking APS-C sensor size, an 85mm f/1.8 (or the almost identical 100mm version) might be a good option.  50mm could be too loose-framing unless you can walk right up to the horse (and I kinda doubt it, since it's a show), but if you have a little room you should be able to take a full-body portrait.  135mm would give you the ability to produce amazing images, but probably just a head portrait at a distance - on APS-C that is really tight framing.  It's also well more expensive than $500 - I was able to get one for about $870.  They sell new for $1000+ before shipping.

I would take along a simple, basic zoom lens and note how well it frames.  You don't need to take any photos, just imagine (if there aren't any appropriate sized subjects) there is one there and frame the scene with the lens accordingly.  If you can't to go to the place the show will be held, try to guess at the distances.  If you find that the basic 18-55mm lens covers it well, then you are set - a 50mm f/1.4 will be a good bet (at the wide end), though maybe not perfect on sharpness (especially at the corners wide open - stop down as much as possible).  If it's a bit loose, you might move to the 85mm.  If the long end of a 18-55mm zoom is way too short, then maybe it's time to think about the 135mm.  The 200mm and longer options seem like overkill to me.

I've got a 120-300mm f/2.8 zoom lens but I've discovered that it's no replacement for an 135mm f/2L, even if it's just as sharp.  Ease of handling and the bit of extra light are big factors for the 135mm f/2L.

ferdi

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 09:14:46 AM »
I shoot indoor baton twirling championships and the 70-200L lens sometimes is a bit tight on the 7D (especially for groups). Therefore I usually have a second body at hand with a wider lens; I rather crop in post than miss a limb (or group member) in the picture. The 1D Mark IV is still on my wish list to compensate somewhat for the 1.6x FOVCF.
Horses are even larger subjects than kids, but usually the venue is bigger too. Depending on the distance between you and the horses I would consider the 24-70L, the 70-200L or a fast prime like a 50 f/1.x, 85 f/1.x or the 135 f/2. Extra stops of light will compensate for the lack of zoom (more sharp images, better IQ, less noise).
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 03:57:02 PM »
I'm torn right now. I cannot afford a $1500+ lens, but I find myself in need of a telephoto with a wide aperture (indoor horse shows).  Perhaps the 100mm or 200mm f/2.8L. Both are great lenses and people I know swear by them. My budget is extremely tight for this, as I'm also saving up money to get a 5D Mk ii next year. I was initially looking at the 70-200mm f/2.8L without IS, used. Is it worth it to pay the extra $500+ it would cost me for that lens or should I save money and stick with a prime? I use a 7D.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kreebby

Thanks.


Consider renting a lens.  I really think that f/2.8 may not be fast enough if the horses are moving and you need a fast shutter speed.

A 85mm f/1.8 is fairly inexpensive, I'd check and see if it is long enough, or if you can get close and crop.  Otherwise, you are in the much higher dollar range for a prime faster than f/2.8


briansquibb

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 04:45:45 PM »


A 85mm f/1.8 is fairly inexpensive, I'd check and see if it is long enough, or if you can get close and crop.  Otherwise, you are in the much higher dollar range for a prime faster than f/2.8

100 or 135 f/2 - attached is pic at from 135 f/2 - would blur out the background of the ring. Goat is about 2 foot high, taken with 7D


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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 04:45:45 PM »

byuen

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2011, 05:02:29 PM »
I don't know if this would be a paid shooting event or just something you enjoy doing but you can always rent the lens you want or need.

Prices to rent is alot cheaper than buying if you don't mind the process. Check your local photography store or go online.

Lensrentals.com  Prices look good and cheap if you're in the US
Lensrentalscanada.com   little more to rent but at least your $$$$$ lens is not sitting on the shelf waiting for spring to come along.

Something to really consider IMHO.

Bob

I'm torn right now. I cannot afford a $1500+ lens, but I find myself in need of a telephoto with a wide aperture (indoor horse shows).  Perhaps the 100mm or 200mm f/2.8L. Both are great lenses and people I know swear by them. My budget is extremely tight for this, as I'm also saving up money to get a 5D Mk ii next year. I was initially looking at the 70-200mm f/2.8L without IS, used. Is it worth it to pay the extra $500+ it would cost me for that lens or should I save money and stick with a prime? I use a 7D.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kreebby

Thanks.

awinphoto

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2011, 06:34:17 PM »
As others have really said, are you going from horse show to horse show (different locations) or are you at one location... How far away are you shooting?  Is this constant or varying?  What focal lengths are you finding yourself shooting at when you're at the show... Do you find yourself wanting the 200mm area or is that too close and too tight?  I have heard many praises on the 85mm and 135mm... both superb lenses... and both wider than the 100mm or 200mm.  The 200mm isn't quite as sharp as the other primes and long in the tooth but if you need that length, only you can answer that.  Zooms are very helpful but not anything you should skimp on... It would "in my opinion" be better to save money on getting the cheaper primes and save up later for the 70-200 2.8 IS II.  Just my opinion. 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L, Canon 100L 2.8, 430EX 2's and a lot of bumps along the road to get to where I am.

mr.ranger

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2011, 12:06:31 AM »
i agree i would wait and save up for a zoom. primes are nice give great photo quality but they also have there set backs. like they said before go rent one. i have a 70-300 zoom and i love it.

bycostello

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 05:28:33 AM »
why u think u need a 5dmk2?  I'd stick with the 7d and spend the money on lenses

Forceflow

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 12:24:45 PM »
why u think u need a 5dmk2?  I'd stick with the 7d and spend the money on lenses

True, especially for any kinds of sport the 5D Mk II is not exactly the best camera. It has slow FPS and a lot of folks are not really pleased with the AF on it. Both are the reasons why I bought a 7D and not a 5D Mark II. Horses move fast, so a good fast AF is really important, also in order to catch the right moment the 8 FPS the 7D pumps out can be a real lifesaver. You might really consider in using the money for the 5D for some lenses. Does depend of course what else you want to shoot with the camera.
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TexPhoto

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2011, 02:19:58 PM »
I'd pick up a Sigma 80-200.mm f2.8 while they are still $800 new, or even look for a used one.  I think you need the zoom.

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2011, 02:19:58 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 11:34:56 PM »
Sometimes people think that they need a long lens, but animals are large.

Here is a image taken up in the stands with a 35mm lens on my 1D MK

III and cropped.



With my 85mm f/1.8 and 7D under extreme poor lighting clear accross the arena and cropped.






Halfrack

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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 09:10:09 PM »
You need to figure out if this is for fun or profit first.  If it's fun, get the 70-200 F2.8 non-IS or the F4 IS.  If it's for profit - you'll want a second body (7d) and thus you can then do a 35f2/50f1.4/85f1.8 on one and a 100f2/135f2 on the other.  Moving between bodies is always faster than switching lenses, and you will need a second body to CYA.

All of these options together are cheaper than a 5dMII - so unless you're looking to do horse portrait shoots, don't bother with FF.
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Re: Telephoto Zoom or Prime?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 09:10:09 PM »