Canon 70-200mm: f/4 or 2.8?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shaduu, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. Shaduu macrumors 6502a

    Shaduu

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Location:
    Southsea
    #1
    Okay, so school's asked me to cover the Easter production of The Wizard of Oz and I figure I'm going to need a decent long range lens.

    After checking out what kind of lighting I'll be dealing with (typical stage lights) I'm sure I could get away with an f/4 lens however, I'm curious as to what sort of DOF effects could be achieved with an f/2.8. Has anyone got experience with either of these lenses and is willing to advise? Bear in mind, there's £500 difference between the two and I'm not but a lowly student. :D

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Mr.Orb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #2
    If its stage lighting, it'll be hell using those lenses.

    Best off using a 50mm f/1.4 :)
     
  3. Shaduu thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Shaduu

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Location:
    Southsea
    #3
    I have the f/1.8 (A.K.A. The cheapo) version of that lens and I fully intend to use it although I doubt it'll give me the reach I need for certain shots that I have in mind.

    I have eight months to prepare and coordinate so there's little rush really.
     
  4. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #4
    I'd go with the 70-200/2.8 and the 50/1.4, at least.

    Other lenses to consider:
    - EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM ($661 on Amazon)
    - EF 135mm f/2L USM ($934 on Amazon)

    You might also consider a 1.4x or 2x extender if you go with a 2.8 or faster lens. It'll extend your reach, but it'll cost you a stop or two of light (i.e., f/2.8 becomes f/4 or f/5.6).

    The 50/1.8 is a great lens, but the focus on it is really loud and really slow.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    Shoot the actors in costume but not during the performance. The best shots will be taken from the stage and are set up to look like they were taken during a performance.

    If you do take them from the audience during the performance you will need a good tripod and the faster lens and make sure they don't sell seats in back of you because you will be standing.

    Remember perspective. Long tele shots will look "flat". Using a shorter lens from a closer location will make the images more interesting.

    If you must shoot a performance go to all the rehearsals so you know when the good photo opportunities are comming.
     
  6. walterm79 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #6
    Glass comparison.

    I bought the Canon 70-200 USM IS earlier this year and can't be happier. Well ok, if I had the 2.8 I would, but for the extra $500 like you stated it wasn't worth it to me. Then again, I mainly shoot nature photography / wildlife. Indoors you'll definitely want the 2.8. I also have the 1.4 50mm and it's pretty much my only lens I shoot with in low indoor light. It's good to hear you have the "fantastic plastic" 50mm 1.8 as you'll probably be using that more than you think.

    Like others have already mentioned, make sure you know where you can and can't stand, a tripod is a must (or a good monopod) and try to either stage your shots before / after performances, or attend the show a few times before so you know what to react to during the performance and can test the lighting conditions. Also something I haven't seen mentioned yet that works well for me, jot down a list of shots you know you want to have. That way at the end of the performance you know you have everything you need later, especially if it is a one time event.
     
  7. Poeben macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #7
    Typically, photographs like this are done during a 'photo call' which usually occurs during or after a full dress rehearsal. During this time you, along with the help of the Lighting Designer/Board Op and Director, you can pose the actors in full costume and under full stage light. This is your best bet for most of your shots.

    As for gear, I have shot a few photo calls with my 24-105 f4 IS/20D and a 50mm 1.4 on a Rebel XTi. I did not get a single usable picture with the 50mm. All the shots from the 20D came out great, all without a tripod. So I would say the best 70-200 you can afford would be a good choice.
     
  8. gwangung macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #8
    Can't emphasize enough to tell the board op to bring up the lights FULL. Designers are designing for performance; you need more lights for photography.
     
  9. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #9
    Are you using the 300d? At that point, its not going to matter which lens you buy. Its just not a strong enough camera to shoot dynamically or take advantage of that glass. It can't perform at the high ISO that stage lighting will require so your shots will be grainy regardless of the lens.
     
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #10
    Why won't it matter? It's going to be an improvement over cropping from the 50mm f/1.8 or using some cheap zoom like an f/4-5.6. If he's using the 300D, that's the camera he's working with.
     
  11. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #11
    Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 Macro is what I'm purchasing next. Heard great things about it, and it's only $900.
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #12
    If you are strapped for cash, then I definitely suggest you have a look at Sigma's and Tokina's offereings.

    You should definitely try the 2.8/50-135(150) mm zooms: they are much more compact and portable. And they cover the traditional 70-200 mm (on film since you have a crop sensor according to your sig). If you want a 70-200, then Sigma makes a very nice 70-200.

    I've held both 50-135 zooms in my hand, and I prefer Tokina's build quality. The lack of HSM/USM did not really affect focus speeds (although I cannot really compare as the Tokina was mounted to a 30D, the Sigma was on a D80).
     
  13. Shaduu thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Shaduu

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Location:
    Southsea
    #13
    Thanks for all your advice, I'll take as much of it on as possible.

    To answer a couple of questions, yes I will be shooting with the 300D and I have checked out the offerings from Sigma but I just don't like their build for whatever reason.

    Again, thanks to everyone. :)
     
  14. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #14
    Then you should have a look at Tokina, all of their lenses are made completely of metal and are much sturdier than Sigma lenses.
     
  15. thr33face macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    #15
    Just out of curiosity:
    Are you going to pay for the lens yourself?
    If you are, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I mean 'they' asked you to take images. 'They' get the images afterwards and can use them anyway they like.
    Are they paying you to take those photographs? If so, is it eneough money to justify the purchase of a 550/1200$ lens?

    In my opinion it would make more sense to rent the lens you need. in my region the 70-200/2.8 is about 30€ (~42$) per 24 hours.

    Again, I'm just curious.
     
  16. Shaduu thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Shaduu

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Location:
    Southsea
    #16
    Yes I'll be buying the lens myself but not just as a one-off purchase. I know having a long range telephoto in my kit will definitely have it's benefits, especially when shooting the dogs during their walks and nature in general.

    I also remember that my stepdad once told me that a lens is an investment and, unlike camera bodies, should be with you for life. I'd like to imagine a 70-200mm whatever the f number would serve me for good deal of time. :)
     

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