Lens Advice Canon 20D

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by finnschi, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. finnschi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    #1
    Hi guys, I own a EOS 20D, a really nice camera but i don't think my lenses are any good.... :(

    I have :

    EF 70-300mm 1:4-5,6 ( I know really bad aperture...)
    EF-S 18-55mm 1:3,5-5,6 ( also bad aperture)
    EF 28-105mm 1:4-5,6 (you know where i am going...)

    I have a really hard time shooting anything in low light situations, even with ISO 1600 F4 and 1/500 i still got really underexposed shots from my GF's Gymnastics meet... hell even with 1/320 it was too dark...

    The EF-S is too slow for something as fast as Gymnastics.. so I didn't even test it...

    So in order to not spend too much money, I am now looking at non-zoom lensen like the 50mm 1:1,8 , very good aperture but don't you think 50mm will be "too much" , since I have a 1,6x Crop.... :(

    I just need a lens that performs well at things like Concerts, Parties, Gym. meetings(Gyms with bad lighting).

    I hope i am right that with a lower aperture value, I can turn up shutter speed and still get a better exposed shot than with a lower F-stop(aperture value)???

    If thats true how do I calculate that?

    lets say I use the lens at ISO800 F4 1/500 and I get a nice picture, what would I have to change to get the same exposure at F2 ? I am guessing to lower the ISO or up the shutter speed? ( because thats what I am hoping)


    I am fairly new to this, I know how to take pictures but the whole F-stop shutter speed thingy is something I learned 1 week ago.. so please correct me on any mistakes :D

    If you'd like i could upload some pictures of that Gym meeting in order for you to maybe analyze what i did wrong ... (or the camera did wrong hehe)
     
  2. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    Mar 13, 2008
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    #2
    Your lenses are a bit slow - both in terms of aperture and focus speeds.

    Primes will generally have the faster apertures (ie: sub f/2.8) which is what you need for low-light conditions. The 50/1.8 is a good (and very cheap start), along with the 85/1.8.

    Another thing you need to look for is USM lenses, as these have faster AF motors in the lenses which means faster focusing.

    The problem with fast lenses is that they cost serious money - especially for telephotos.

    Now looking at the values you're stating, I'd try and get shots at 1/250th of a second (it'll still freeze motion unless its really fast) which should allow a little more latitude on the aperture. Tripods/monopods can be invaluable for this, as they keep the camera steady.


    f/4 + 1/500th = EV 13

    Now, f/2 is two stops faster than f/4, so you can shift your EV by two values. Now, that can be two stops with shutter (1/2000th) or ISO, bringing you down to ISO 200.
     
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #3
    At a party, the 50 will be a little long if you plan on shooting more than one person at a time. For three people, you are looking at 10 or 15' of separation. For gymnastics, it will likely be way too short and you will need to crop the pic a lot. That being said, if you pick up a used 50, you can pretty much get your money back if you sell it, so you lose nothing. Pick one up and see if it works for you.
     
  4. finnschi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Hamburg, Germany
    #4
    Thnaks allot!!!!! I finnaly got it... omfg :D
     
  5. finnschi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 30, 2008
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    #5
    Yea thats what I thought isn't there like a 25 1,8 ? i never found one... :D
     
  6. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    #6
  7. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #7
    I would see if a mono or tri-pod fixes your exposure problems...
     
  8. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    Location:
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    #8
    Buy the 50 1.8, sell the other 3 for however much you can and use that towards a good tele - the 135 F2L would make you giddy as a schoolgirl at those gymnastic meets. It's an L so it's pricey, but as far as getting a good reach + FAST Aperture it's a terrific deal. About $800-$900. Selling the the other 3 would get you.... halfway there. Maybe farther.
     
  9. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    #9
    This makes perfect sense, I'd second this plan.
     
  10. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    Dec 31, 2004
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    #10
    Yes, but the 18-55 isn't worth much so you might as well keep it. I'm keeping mine not only to keep the kit complete, but I've learned how to use the lens in its "sweet spot" and have gotten some really nice pics with it... :)
     
  11. JosephBergdoll macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    50/1.4
    85/1.8
    Tokina 50-135/2.8

    and sell your 28-105/4.0-5.6 and get the 28-105/3.5-4.5
     
  12. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #12
    Totally worthless.

    I shoot a lot of gymnastics events. They are among the hardest thing in photography because of several combined factors which include:

    1) almost always extremely poor light, both quantity and quality
    2) fast moving subjects (hence tripod worthless)
    3) Restricted access - you can't often get close enough
    4) You can't use flash

    If you're serious about gymnastics photography it will cost you. If you just want some snaps, then you will need to learn timing - shoot at moments of pause in movement (learn the routines) and at high ISO and denoise the photos in post.

    The best "starter" lens for gymnastics I think in the canon line is the 135L/F2 - it's a decent length and will get you up to the 1/500 range in most gyms at 1600-2400ISO if shot wide open. It's also relatively inexpensive. I also use the 85L/1.2 for extra light gathering, but it's SLOW to focus, so I get more misses with it and only use it for true light caves.

    Even 2.8 aperture is generally too slow in most cases. Fast primes are really the only way to go.

    The 200/F2 is the to die for lens for gymnastics, but it's a bit of coin.

    Again, depends on what you're wanting.
     
  13. glennp macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2006
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    Washington, DC
    #13
    The 50 1.8 is a bargain but wouldn't the AF be too slow and clunky for something like gymnastics? I'd recommend the 85 1.8 over the 50 for gymnastics and a fast 28mm or 35mm prime for parties (I come from the 'why buy one lens when you can buy 2' mindset). I do agree about the 135L though :)
     
  14. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #14
    Yes. The 50mm f1.8 is horrendous on autofocus in low light.
     
  15. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    Apr 7, 2005
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    Alpine, UT
    #15
    It wouldn't be very effective at Gymnastics - good point. But if he sells all 3 he'll need something in the normal focal range, Living life with a fixed telephoto (135) would drive anyone bonkers :)

    So, keep the kit or sell it and buy the 50. Aim for the 135F2L, it focuses fast tack sharp at F2, good enough reach... it'll be perfect.
     
  16. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    #16
    50mm f/1.4? It has USM so it should focus better in low light, no?
     
  17. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

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    #17
    Too short. The suggestion of a 50mm is to provide an "everyday" lens as an addition to the 135L, the 50 wouldn't necessarily be used at these gym events (although you could MF it).
     
  18. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #18
    Canon 135/f2L for longer reach = about 900
    Sigma 30/f1.4EX for everyday = about 300

    ==> total about 1200

    *OR*

    --in case you magically get more money--

    Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS for longer reach = about 2000
    Canon 50mm/f1.2L for everyday = about 1500
    Canon 16-35/f2.8L for landscapes = about 1500

    ==> total about 5000 :D
     
  19. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #19
    has to be something like this. 135 will get you the shots in the gym, though it will be too long for much of anything else except concerts...depends where you are. everything else can be covered with a ~30mm. you have three choices, from most expensive to least: Canon 35/1.4, Sigma 30/1.4, Canon 28/1.8, Canon 35/2.

    50mm is a pointless focal length for you. Don't bother buying one.
     
  20. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #20
    there are several other lenses that havent been mentioned.

    The 24-70 2.8L, the 17-55 IS, the 24-105L IS (although it is F4, but all the way through..).. i would also check into tamron/sigma lenses as well. A lot of them are very good,, maybe not on par with Canon, but you save quite a bit for almost the same image quality. Build quality may be a different story...

    A prime lens is good for portraits and such, but i don't know how ideal it is for a sporting/walk around lens. If you sell all your lens and just get one prime (ie; 135L) then you dont have anything with range....
     
  21. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    #21
    The relative aperture is only part of your problem. A 50 f/1.8 lens is quite slow, considering both its aperture and its focusing speed. Shooting indoor sports is not cheap, particularly when you need longer focal lengths. A concert generally requires at least a 200 mm f/2.8 lens.

    The best general-purpose lens for your requirements is probably a 70-200 f/2.8 lens. An alternative is the Canon 135 f/2 lens. There is also a Canon 100 f/2 lens which is slightly-slower, but still good enough for indoor sports, although not as good for concerts.
     
  22. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2008
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    SLC
    #22
    i should correct myself...

    A prime lens is NOT a good choice to use IF you ONLY HAVE ONE body to use:)

    as others have said, for indoors, the 70-200 2.8IS would be the way to go, but i do believe they make a 70-200 2.8, that is about $500 cheaper than the IS version...

    The 70-200 2.8IS is on sale for $1700 at B&H after rebate. The 70-200 2.8 is $1299. i would do the 70-200 :)
     
  23. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #23
    How many of you recommending 2.8 and slower lenses have ACTUALLY shot gymnastics events?

    I own the 70-200/2.8L IS, the 28-70L, the 85/1.2L, the 135/2L, the 17-40/4L, the 300/2.8L IS and the 50/1.4. I have used all of them for years. None of them except the 85 and the 135 are worth much shooting gymnastics (and the 135 is way better). Gymnastics is fast, the light is crap (at least in almost every gym I've been in), and you need both focal length AND the ability blow out distracting backgrounds as best possible.

    Yes occasionally I'll get into a gym where i can shoot 2.8 aperture (I used the 300 quite a bit at state in a large high end gym, but that's not typical), but HBOC (and others) I'm telling you the 70-200 is NOT the best all around lens for gymnastics by any stretch of the imagination and since that's a big part of the OPs original inquiry it's a complete waste to spend twice the money on that lens over the 135/2.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my 70-200 lens, it's probably one of my favorites, but not for THAT application.

    Here is what I would suggest the OP do - if you have some pictures already taken (most of which will probably be blurry I would guess) at the gyms you will likely be shooting in the future - look at what shutter speed / aperture and ISO settings you got, and look at the results. Let's say you're shooting iso 1600 (which will be VERY noisy on that body), I would guess you're getting shutter speeds of maybe 1/60 to 1/125 at 5.6 aperture in a lot of gyms. That is nowhere close to be able to shoot reliably. If you buy the 2.8 lens and make no other changes, you're up to 1/250-1/500 (2.8 is 2 steps away from 5.6, so speeds are 4 times faster). that's CLOSE, but still not enough speed for moving athletes. going to a 2.0 lens doubles the speed again (another stop) so now you're at 1/500-1/1000 which in my experience is the minimum speed needed to shoot gymnastics.

    Thus my point, that a 2.8 aperture lens is just almost there, but not quite.

    I frequently shoot 2400 or 3200 ISO (which again doubles shutter speed over your 1600 setting) and 2.0 aperture to keep speeds over 1/1000 sec.

    You do the best with what you have, and of course you can get some very good pictures with the 70-200/2.8 in gymnastics, but many many times you'll struggle and they'll be blurry and you'll wish you had that extra stop of lighting. The real tradeoff is typically focal length vs. speed. As I said, getting from 135 to 200 gets real expensive at 2.0 aperture, and you can't even go higher than that.

    As higher ISO cameras come around, this will become less critical. Someday we'll have low noise ISO 12800+ capabilities. But that is a few years off, I would guess.

    OP - you have to decide your priorities. There is NO single lens that will do all you want and do it well. It doesn't exist.
     
  24. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #24
    thought i should add, for parties and such, you can just use a flash. a good bounce/swivel head starts around $200 (original 430ex, Sigma 500 Super). a simple bounce head is a little cheaper - $150 for the 270ex, which i think is the most expensive.

    for reference, the 35mm f/2 is the cheapest of the fast, wide-angle primes, and it costs $250 new. also, you lose flexibility over working distance, depth of field, amount of light, and quality of light.
     
  25. romanaz macrumors regular

    romanaz

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #25
    I agree. I do similar photography, olympic weightlifting, which is just like this gymnastics, save for I can get within 10 feet of the platform, so 50mm is perfect, 85 a bit on the long end but perfect. Well for local events.

    The 85 f/1.8 is good if you can get within 30-40 feet. The 100 f/2 is probably good for 40-50 feet, and the 135 f/2 would be good for 50-60 feet away. Just judging from experience. Be warned though, at these low apertures, like f/1.8, f/2, you will get well exposed images, but not completely sharp all the way for a person. f/2.5-2.8 will get most of a person in focus, from what I have seen.

    here's a shot @ f/1.8, ISO 800 and shutter @ 1/400 from about 30 feet away. This lifter is in most of a soft-focus. But, I was able to get the shot, which is what counts!
     

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