Covering 70-200 Indoors.

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
I know some people don’t like these threads but a similar post about what camera to purchase last year was very helpful to me. Reading everyone’s thoughts and opinions was very useful so here I go again . . . I think I know what the best option is but would very much appreciate the thoughts of others

I’m trying to cover a gap I see in my lens collection. For indoor sports, especially my youngster’s swimming galas and for concert photography I have the following options:-

24-70L F2.8 (original version)
100L Macro F2.8
70-300L
Camera is a 70d

All lenses I’m very happy with but the problem is that the 100 doesn’t have quite the reach and the 70-300L struggles in low light even if it is better than I expected!

So, naturally one of the fast 70-200 F2.8 zooms is the answer I thought. Eventually having read reviews I settled on the latest Tamron lens in that category. Yes, would love to opt for the Canon but it’s out of the price range and living near military bases I don’t fancy being mistaken for a hostile rocket launcher ;D. The Tamron looks relatively discrete.

So job done? Well I happened to notice just how positive everyone was about the 135L F2.0 which gives me a bit more reach than today and a stop more light and is apparently very snappy in the focus department . PLUS, it apparently works well with a 1.4 extender at F2.8. All in for a similar price to the Tamron given the deals that are available to me.

I really like the sound of the 135L, when it’s long enough I get that extra stop of light and it sounds like a killer lens for various uses. I can well imagine it would produce the best indoor pictures that I take over time. And with the 1.4 extender at F2.8 I get pretty much the reach of the Tamron zoom. But the Tamron has decent IS which particularly at the longer end and in concert lighting can be crucial so it’s probably my best bet overall.

Make sense? Are there other options out there that I should consider? I’m happy to listen to all and any advice. Obviously I will refer to Ken Rockwell for the authoritative answer if opinion is evenly split :D.

One last point, I know some people are going to talk about a full frame camera but bear in mind that even though indoor photography is important to me my main interest is outdoors and needs the reach of the crop camera and my distance issues become more pronounced too on FF. So yes a 6d is a "one day" idea it's not for now I think.
 
The 135 f/2 is pretty much the ultimate indoor sports / concert lens, especially on a crop body and I'd recommend it as well. Keep in mind that despite what you may heard, it does not work very well with the 1.4x, at least wide open.
 

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
Guys, thanks for the replies. My heart is heading for the 135 I think as per your suggestions. It may not be as flexible as the zoom but I'd rather get 2 excellent pictures than 20 good ones.

Thanks also for the tip about it not working so well with the extender. Do you have any reference for that or has it come through good old experience?
 

bholliman

EOS R
Dec 6, 2012
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0
USA
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Since you already have the 70-300L, which is an excellent outdoor lens with a terrific zoom range. I think the 135L would meet your needs for a fast indoor tele option nicely.

I have a 70-200 2.8 II and a 135L and often choose to leave the 70-200 at home due to its weight when I'll be carrying the camera for extended periods. My equipment choice for festivals and day-long events is my 6D with 24-70 and 135L. Occasionally, I take an extender along as well. I often use my 135L for my nieces and nephews swimming and wrestling events in very poor light. It works well in smaller areas where you can get pretty close to participants, but I take my 70-200 when I need more reach.

I have 1.4xIII and 2.0xIII extenders that I use occasionally with my 135L. As Mackguyver pointed out, the extenders do not work well with the 135 wide open for some reason, but they work brilliantly with the 70-200. In my experience (not formal testing) the 135mm / 1.4xIII combination seems to work well from f/5.6 and up, but my shots at wider apertures seemed soft with high CA's.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
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I loved my135mmL, but it has not been used since I bought my 70-200mm f/2.8 last year. I'm keeping it, but I need to start using it again.

I have FF, and have had almost every crop body, they just don't compare. The so called longer reach is generally not useful when you are indoors in lower light. you can get much better images at very high ISO levels by cropping on a FF. I do find that I like the crop bodies with my 100mmL for Macro's.
A good compromise is a 1D MK IV, which will produce nice images at ISO 12800 with a 1.3 crop.

Sooner or later, you will get the 70-200mm f/2.8L, but it may not be fast enough for a crop body in low light unless you are willing to deal with high ISO noise and lots of it. It depends on the lighting levels.
 

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
533
8
St. Paul, MN
I shoot lots of indoor stuff from figure skating and grade school basketball to concerts and plays. Before going full frame, I used a 7D with a 70-200 f2.8 IS II and a 60D with a 17-55 f2.8 IS. I used the 7D/70-200 combo the most, perhaps 80% of the time.

Now that I shoot full frame with two 5D3's the 70-200 gets more use. Because its "wider" than on the crop body, the I don't fall back to the short zoom as often. For sports events, I often leave it home.

One thing to note. I feared the loss of reach with going to a full frame body. In truth the 70-200 is a more useful range on full frame for both indoor sports and candids at events. But, when using higher ISO (1600 and up), I would rather crop a full frame image at 200mm than use a crop body image at 200 (effectively 320mm). I find that the cropped full frame image is sharper and richer in color depth.

For outdoor shots with baseball and soccer, I'll switch between the 5D3 and the 7D with the 70-200. With kids soccer, I find that the full frame is more useful. I can position myself along the sidelines near the goal and wait for the action to come to me. It's true that I have more reach with the 7D and can get shots across the field, but I rarely like these. With baseball, I tend to rely more on the 7D.
 
fragilesi said:
Guys, thanks for the replies. My heart is heading for the 135 I think as per your suggestions. It may not be as flexible as the zoom but I'd rather get 2 excellent pictures than 20 good ones.

Thanks also for the tip about it not working so well with the extender. Do you have any reference for that or has it come through good old experience?
From experience - it's very soft at f/2.8 up to about 5.6 and you can see that here as well, using a 60D:
http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=108&Camera=736&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=108&CameraComp=736&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=1&APIComp=0
 

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
Thanks again! Especially for the info about the way that the 135 and the Extender aren't such a hot combination. It seems I will be limited on my focal length choice with it and can't match the reach of the Tamron 70-200. I think I'm still most tempted by the 135. I think it will be less "useful" overall but would give me the best route to getting a few excellent pictures.

On the points about full frame. I agree. If all I did was indoor photography I'd get one instead of the crop in a heartbeat. However, the majority of my time is outside watching fast flying birds and trying desperately to lock on to them as they whizz past or in sports / action photography. I do intend to do more landscape but for me it's less "fun".

What I really need of course is something that combines the low light capabilities of say a 6d with the reach and focusing ability of the 70d in the same price bracket :). A pipe dream as things stand so as most of the time I'm outside and it's cheaper the 70d was a clear choice for me.
 

Haydn1971

UK based, hobbyist
Nov 7, 2010
593
1
49
Sheffield, UK
www.flickr.com
I have the 135L and have used it with the 1.4x extender for aircraft shots, worked wonderfully on my 450D and more recently 6D, I've now upgraded my non L 70-300 to a 70-300L which is amazing on aircraft shoots, but I digress...

Essentially, the 1.4x extender and 135L works very well and you get an amazing portrait lens in with the combo - at fast f-stops you don't miss the IS especially with fast paced action shots... The IS would help with slower moving stuff, but hells bells, the 70-200 f2.8 II is twice the weight of a lone 135L, which will hurt sooner on a longer shoot

70D ? Loads of pixels for cropping into

Get the 135L, it's one of Canons most amazing lenses, can't explain in words, but it produces just a yummy image
 

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
Haydn1971 said:
I have the 135L and have used it with the 1.4x extender for aircraft shots, worked wonderfully on my 450D and more recently 6D, I've now upgraded my non L 70-300 to a 70-300L which is amazing on aircraft shoots, but I digress...

Essentially, the 1.4x extender and 135L works very well and you get an amazing portrait lens in with the combo - at fast f-stops you don't miss the IS especially with fast paced action shots... The IS would help with slower moving stuff, but hells bells, the 70-200 f2.8 II is twice the weight of a lone 135L, which will hurt sooner on a longer shoot

70D ? Loads of pixels for cropping into

Get the 135L, it's one of Canons most amazing lenses, can't explain in words, but it produces just a yummy image

To join your digression I totally agree, the 70-300L is a great lens, I went through the same progression and while the non-L was pretty good the L really does move things up to another level. It's also such a comfortable lens to use, I'd rather it was black but other than that find it hard to fault.

I'm almost definitely I think going for the 135. I've mostly been a zoom guy but I think that lens will be a more interesting one to use. I know this will sound strange but as well as thinking it will get me the best shots in the scenarios I want to use it in (capturing movement in low light) I also like the idea of trying to talk around with a 135 on a crop to see how creative I can be.

The key point is getting those "best" shots but that sounds like it could be fun too!
 

expatinasia

EOS 5D Mark IV
Aug 18, 2011
1,721
12
Asia Pacific
The 70-300L is a great lens. I have one thought it has not moved from its storage space for quite some time. The 70-200 f/2.8 ii is an amazing lens, so I personally would recommend you sell some of what you have (namely the 70-300L) and get it.
 

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
expatinasia said:
The 70-300L is a great lens. I have one thought it has not moved from its storage space for quite some time. The 70-200 f/2.8 ii is an amazing lens, so I personally would recommend you sell some of what you have (namely the 70-300L) and get it.

I'd love to buy it but I need the reach for birds, wildlife and action / sports so need to keep my 70-300 - until I get a 400 or similar but that's a story for another year!
 

Random Orbits

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 14, 2012
2,435
307
The 135L is a nice lens, but if you need more flexibility for indoor framing, then a 70-200 f/2.8 is your best bet. Sure, you can crop for a tighter frame, but you can't go the other direction with a prime. For kids events indoors, I use the 70-200 with shutter speeds as slow as 1/30-1/60 spraying and praying that I get one in a series of 3-4 that doesn't have subject motion blur in order to keep the ISO down. That is the benefit of IS. Other times, the lighting may be better so that you can increase the shutter speed, but having IS helps the keeper rate especially at the long end.
 
fragilesi said:
expatinasia said:
The 70-300L is a great lens. I have one thought it has not moved from its storage space for quite some time. The 70-200 f/2.8 ii is an amazing lens, so I personally would recommend you sell some of what you have (namely the 70-300L) and get it.

I'd love to buy it but I need the reach for birds, wildlife and action / sports so need to keep my 70-300 - until I get a 400 or similar but that's a story for another year!
fragilesi, just FYI, the 70-200 2.8 IS II takes both extenders extremely well, and I use the 1.4x with it all of the time as an intermediate wildlife lens. You might miss the last 20mm when combined with the 1.4x, but it would still be a stop faster, plus you gain the 70-200 at f/2.8. It is a lot of money, though...
 

bdunbar79

EOS R6
May 16, 2012
3,152
0
41
Wadsworth, OH
I'm just the opposite. I had the 135L and once I got the 70-200 f/2.8L II IS lens, the 135 stayed at home. The best indoor sports lens period, IMO, is the version 2 zoom lens.
 

Haydn1971

UK based, hobbyist
Nov 7, 2010
593
1
49
Sheffield, UK
www.flickr.com
mackguyver said:
fragilesi, just FYI, the 70-200 2.8 IS II takes both extenders extremely well, and I use the 1.4x with it all of the time as an intermediate wildlife lens. You might miss the last 20mm when combined with the 1.4x, but it would still be a stop faster, plus you gain the 70-200 at f/2.8. It is a lot of money, though...

Not only is the 70-200 2.8 IS II plus 1.4x extender, nearly twice the price, it's almost twice the weight and nearly twice as long ! Whilst I'd accept that the 70-200 2.8 IS II is an amazing lens (I've not used one) the 70-300L has a lot of advantages over the former with the exception of f-stop. If I was looking from fresh, I'd perhaps consider, but having got a 135L a few years ago, then picked up a 70-300L more recently, the 70-200 2.8 IS II seems like a lens I'd not need, just as the OP is looking in the reverse with a 70-300L already, sometimes the "obvious" choice isn't the same for everyone for a variety of different reasons ;-)
 

Random Orbits

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 14, 2012
2,435
307
Haydn1971 said:
mackguyver said:
fragilesi, just FYI, the 70-200 2.8 IS II takes both extenders extremely well, and I use the 1.4x with it all of the time as an intermediate wildlife lens. You might miss the last 20mm when combined with the 1.4x, but it would still be a stop faster, plus you gain the 70-200 at f/2.8. It is a lot of money, though...

Not only is the 70-200 2.8 IS II plus 1.4x extender, nearly twice the price, it's almost twice the weight and nearly twice as long ! Whilst I'd accept that the 70-200 2.8 IS II is an amazing lens (I've not used one) the 70-300L has a lot of advantages over the former with the exception of f-stop. If I was looking from fresh, I'd perhaps consider, but having got a 135L a few years ago, then picked up a 70-300L more recently, the 70-200 2.8 IS II seems like a lens I'd not need, just as the OP is looking in the reverse with a 70-300L already, sometimes the "obvious" choice isn't the same for everyone for a variety of different reasons ;-)

I have both the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II and the 70-300L, and I use the 70-200 much more (my second most used lens after then 24-70). I find the 70-200's servo AF to be better than the 70-300's. The 70-300 might be a bit better at 300 than the 70-200 + 1.4x at 280, but it also loses a stop. I find the 70-300's key attribute is its compactness -- it's an ideal travel lens.

The good thing about this thread is that it forces you to reconsider your kit. Perhaps the OP might be better off getting a Tamron 70-200 and then swapping the 70-300L for a 150-600.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
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Random Orbits said:
I have both the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II and the 70-300L, and I use the 70-200 much more (my second most used lens after then 24-70). I find the 70-200's servo AF to be better than the 70-300's. The 70-300 might be a bit better at 300 than the 70-200 + 1.4x at 280, but it also loses a stop. I find the 70-300's key attribute is its compactness -- it's an ideal travel lens.

+1

I use the 70-200 II for indoor sports, portraits, and event shooting, and it's my second most-used lens (after the 24-70/2.8L II). When traveling or going on local outings with the kids, I take the 70-300L.
 

fragilesi

EOS RP
Sep 2, 2013
468
1
neuroanatomist said:
Random Orbits said:
I have both the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II and the 70-300L, and I use the 70-200 much more (my second most used lens after then 24-70). I find the 70-200's servo AF to be better than the 70-300's. The 70-300 might be a bit better at 300 than the 70-200 + 1.4x at 280, but it also loses a stop. I find the 70-300's key attribute is its compactness -- it's an ideal travel lens.

+1

I use the 70-200 II for indoor sports, portraits, and event shooting, and it's my second most-used lens (after the 24-70/2.8L II). When traveling or going on local outings with the kids, I take the 70-300L.

I certainly won't argue with you guys on that point. But given my budget, I'm looking at the Tamron 70-200 not the Canon one OR the 135L. Would your answers be the same based on that . . . ?
 
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