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Author Topic: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses  (Read 5429 times)

bench

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Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« on: January 20, 2012, 02:41:52 AM »
I write and take pictures for a weekly paper. I'm sick to death of using kit lenses to do indoor sports - on a 20D, no less - and though I shouldn't have to consider buying my own equipment, I want to do better work. I'd also like to have something of my own in the event I decide to do stuff on the side, or if I choose to go out on my own. My current setup means I have to pick the lesser evil among noise, underexposure and motion blur. I still manage to get decent enough photos, so I honestly don't think I'm the limiting factor any longer. 

I'm painfully aware that newspapers will always be tight-asses, so I'm about this close to breaking down and getting a second-hand Mark III for about $1,500 and a shorter focal length lens to get me by until football season comes back around. What I have works, I suppose, although it would be nice to shoot with fewer trade-offs and compromises required to come back with usable shots. The low-light capabilities of the equipment I have combined with the conditions I shoot in makes for a degree of difficulty I could live without. 

Right now it's basketball and wrestling and crappy gym lighting season, so speed isn't negotiable. I'm afraid slightly cheaper f4 zooms are right out, and it would be hard to find a fast prime that would serve equally well for both sports currently in season. Hoops from anywhere along the baseline can be done, loosely framed, with a 24mm or 35mm lens on a 1.3 or 1.6 crop, though neither are going to be ideal for wrestling where I'm farther away and will usually want to use tighter framing. I'm not opposed to primes and would love to be able to use them, but given that most of my shooting is sports, I just don't think I can get away from a zoom of some sort.

The only option that seems to be practical is the 24-70 2.8L, but I've read enough bad reports to go along with the good ones to make me feel less than confident about picking one up. Pricewise, if I can stay below $1,250 new or used on whatever I get, I can probably make it work. Any savings I pick up beyond that is a bonus.

Keep in mind I'm having to use a 17-55 EF-S kitter as my basketball lens, and a slow 70- or 75-300 (can't remember which) for wrestling. Anything is going to be a step up.

Advice and input would be much appreciated.

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Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« on: January 20, 2012, 02:41:52 AM »

smirkypants

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 03:57:47 AM »
You're probably going to want more zoom than you think. It's nice to be able to get in tight to see the emotion in faces every once in a while. If you get the 24-70, you'll probably be at 70 for every shot. I really think that if you get the 70-200/2.8 II, you will probably do fine with your 20D. Your problem isn't the camera, it's the glass.

Go rent the lens for several days. Plan it around an event. I really do think you'll be fine.

briansquibb

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 04:02:15 AM »

Advice and input would be much appreciated.

Is that a 1D3 you are getting? If so you are dropping into that slot where there isn't a fast zoom other than the 24-70 - unless a 16-35 will do?

I am assuming a 70-200 is too long? and that a 50mm fails because it isn't a zoom?

candyman

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 05:22:34 AM »
If you are allowed to move around the playcourt then you can manage with primes like 85mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2. Both excellent lenses for indoor sport. I was able to move around a bit and solved "the problem" of not having a zoom. And one can still see the emotion on faces. I use a 7D
5DIII w/grip  |  6D  |  16-35L IS  |  24-105L  |  24-70 VC  |  70-200 f/2.8L IS II  |  70-300L  |  35 f/2 IS  |  50A  |  135L  |  1.4x III

Michael_pfh

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 06:04:40 AM »
Another option for you could be a used 7D. It would cost you less than 1,500 USD so you would probably have more budget for a lens which could then be enough for a used 70-200 f2.8 II which makes an awesome combination.
An advantage over the 1D3 would be that you could use the 17-55 f2.8 on it which I assume would not be possible on the 1D3 (or does the 1D3 work with EF-S lenses?).
1DX | 14 2.8L II | 16-35 2.8L II | 24 1.4L II | 24-70 2.8L II | ZE 35 2.0 | ZE 50 2.0 | 85 1.2L II | 100 2.8L IS | 135 2.0L | 70-200 2.8L IS II | 200 F2.0L IS | 300 2.8L IS II | 400 2.8L IS II | 500 4.0L IS

briansquibb

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 06:09:59 AM »
(or does the 1D3 work with EF-S lenses?).

Unfortunately not

tvde

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2012, 07:26:32 AM »
These pictures were taken with a Canon 500D and the 50mm 1.4
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150447112458646.411113.661028645&type=3&l=c553e00798

The 50mm 1.4 is sooo much fun in low light conditions!
The 500D is not ideal but that's why I'm waiting for the 5D mark III  :D

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2012, 07:26:32 AM »

Crapking

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 07:41:35 AM »
If you are allowed to move around the playcourt then you can manage with primes like 85mm f/1.8 and 135mm f/2.

Ditto ...The 135 on a 7D crop gives plenty of indoor reach...


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baks5523

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2012, 09:51:00 AM »
I do the same thing for the newspaper in the small town that I work in. Since my day job is a teacher at the high school it makes it very easy to cover sports. My usual set up for basketball is a 7d with a 16-35 f2.8 and a 1d mk2n with a 70-200 f2.8 non is. Obviously one is for when the action is on my side of the court an one for the far side.

Taking into consideration your budgetary canstraints I would recommend looking at getting the 70-200 F2.8 L (non IS). I use it with great results and you can pick one up in your price range. I know how the lighting in these gyms can suck as our gym is imo, one of the very worst when it comes to lighting. That being said, I can still shoot at 1/320, iso 800(on the mk2n), f2.8 and get shots that are more than good enough for print in the paper.

papa-razzi

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2012, 10:20:56 AM »
I agree with the recommendations on the prime lenses.  Vastly less expensive, and faster.  For your $1,200 budget you could get 2 or 3 lenses to cover the focal lengths you need.  That 1 or 2 extra stops makes a big difference.
135 f/2L - excellent
85 f/1.8 - very fast AF, excellent value
50 f/1.4, or even 50 f/1.8 (it's $100)
35 f/2 - loud AF, but good lens

If you get a 70-200 zoom, get the f/2.8L, non-IS.  You don't need IS shooting sports, it adds cost, weight, and gets in the way.
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bench

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2012, 10:58:33 AM »
A lot of good ideas to consider. Thanks, all.

A 70-200 2.8 is definitely on my list, but I think I can hold off until football season. The only decent lens on my desk is a 200mm f2.8 prime, and it does a nice job for baseball and softball. Right now a 70-200 wouldn't be much help, since our basketball gym is set up such that a longer zoom can't be used to face the offense in the half-court. It's what I'm used to by now, true, but the 18-55 3.5-5.6 with the 20D's reach is a pretty handy length for basketball. It just doesn't let enough light in, nor does it have the sharpness I would like.

The 1D Mk III would cut my lens options considerably for sure. I was looking at a 7D with a grip versus the older frame, and with the price being that close, the extra $300 or so seemed to be worth it. I could be persuaded otherwise, of course. 

Crapking

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2012, 11:47:34 AM »
If you have no plans to upgrade to FF, then gripped 7D with the 17-55 2.8 EF-S IS should definitely be on the list - would overlap your current kit lens, but the 2.8 proves invaluable in your situation.  Not an L - but behaves like one I'm told.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 12:38:59 PM »
Keep in mind I'm having to use a 17-55 EF-S ...Anything is going to be a step up.

This confused me, because the EF-S 17-55 is a damn good lens (IMO, the best general purpose lens for APS-C), until...

...but the 18-55 3.5-5.6 with the 20D's reach is a pretty handy length for basketball. It just doesn't let enough light in, nor does it have the sharpness I would like.

Which means that what you need is the lens you erroneously mentioned in your first post - the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  There's a world of difference between the 17-55mm f/2.8 and the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens - the former is L-series optical quality (it actually outperforms the 24-70mm L on the same APS-C body), constant and fast (for a zoom lens) f/2.8, and has IS to boot.  The build quality is decent, not L-level, though.  But if you want a fast zoom that will deliver moderate wide angle to short telephoto on APS-C, there's no other good option from Canon.  Tamron makes a pair of 17-50mm lenses, and the non-VC version is nearly as good optically as the Canon 17-55mm (the Tamron VC isn't); the Tamron lens is much cheaper, but the tradeoff is the AF is not as good as the Canon lens, so for sports, the Canon would be the better choice. 
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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 12:38:59 PM »

bench

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 12:49:31 PM »
Keep in mind I'm having to use a 17-55 EF-S ...Anything is going to be a step up.

This confused me, because the EF-S 17-55 is a damn good lens (IMO, the best general purpose lens for APS-C), until...

...but the 18-55 3.5-5.6 with the 20D's reach is a pretty handy length for basketball. It just doesn't let enough light in, nor does it have the sharpness I would like.

Which means that what you need is the lens you erroneously mentioned in your first post - the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.  There's a world of difference between the 17-55mm f/2.8 and the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens - the former is L-series optical quality (it actually outperforms the 24-70mm L on the same APS-C body), constant and fast (for a zoom lens) f/2.8, and has IS to boot.  The build quality is decent, not L-level, though.  But if you want a fast zoom that will deliver moderate wide angle to short telephoto on APS-C, there's no other good option from Canon.  Tamron makes a pair of 17-50mm lenses, and the non-VC version is nearly as good optically as the Canon 17-55mm (the Tamron VC isn't); the Tamron lens is much cheaper, but the tradeoff is the AF is not as good as the Canon lens, so for sports, the Canon would be the better choice.

Yeah, I screwed that up. I realized my mistake when I got to work. Sorry 'bout the confusion.

Going with the Mark III would eliminate that as an option, but it does sound like a good lens and a suitable compromise. I just wish it wasn't an EF-S mount.

katwil

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2012, 06:47:10 PM »
I would agree on the EF-S 17-55.  It’s a fine lens, and it’s much easier to crop that to try to compensate for insufficient light.  As far as it being an EF-S, I wouldn’t worry about that too much.  An APS-C camera can compliment a FF body nicely when it comes to things like extended range on your lenses or high FPS (compared with the 5D).  And you’re probably going to want a back-up body anyway.  One would think Canon will have a  high-end prosumer camera like the 7D in the market quite some time to use with EF-S products.

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Re: Photojournalism/indoor sports lenses
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2012, 06:47:10 PM »