Canon 85mm f/1.8 for indoor

Discussion in 'Sports' started by sean_lee|4, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. I have a 50D and two zooms with aperture values of at least 4-5.6 and i want a lens that can focus quickly, so def USM and has a very wide aperture for those fast shutters.
    so 1. is this a nice lens? 2. is it far enough for most indoor sports? if so which sports?
    i also do a lot of portraits. I'm going to be doing senior portraits at my school and making money from it. Is this the best choice for portraits? if not, what is a better choice to look to? the 50mm looks okay, but its way too short for any kind of sport. :/
  2. Sean,
    I'm a Nikon-shooter but I dare to say, yes, Canons 85/1.8 is a nice lens and without a doubt very useful for shooting indoor-sports and portraits. Depending on the photographers position I can imagine this lens on a crop-sensor-body used for wrestling („classic“ wrestling) and judo, fencing, ice-hockey, handball, basketball and many other sports. It all depends on the photographers position - sometimes the 85 will be a bit short, sometimes maybe a bit long, but overall it will be a joy to use compared to the slow zooms.
  3. I've shot indoor basketball and volleyball with a canon 200mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8 and Sigma 30mm f1.4; I too have been looking at getting something a little in-between for sports and have come down to either the 85mm f1.8 or 100mm f2.8 macro. I also plan to use either one for portraits. Myself, I'm leaning towards the 100mm macro so that I can also get a dedicated macro lens (which I enjoy shooting from time to time). I've not seen a lot of comments about using the 85 for sports, but it is supposed to be a very good portrait lens.
  4. Maybe this can help.
    these are some recommendations of indoor sports lenses for canon and reviews on all of them. I too own a 50d and would say the 85 might be good for ya. Only issue is that you will need to be the zoom if any is needed (aka you move the lens where it needs to be). So if you see this as an issue, might want to try either a zoom or make sure you pick a good prime length that will suit you. I'd pop into a camera store if you have one anywhere nearby and ask to borrow a 50d and a the 85, 100 and any other lenses you'd like to try on it to shoot around the store. This can give you an idea of what you will be seeing with that lens on your camera, and you can visualize where you would be in proportion to the action and see if it covers it.
  5. I have a Nikon 85mm f1.8 and have had success using it for indoor chearleading competitions. As was said with a fixed focal length it is a challenge when considering that your zoom has to be your feet. So, one must think about access and where you can be and how you can move around. Sometimes I find that if the action is too close the 85 can be a bit too long on a crop sensor body as in the D80 I used to use. In that case as was also said a 50mm f1.8 is also a good and cheap choice to bring along too. The 85 is wonderful for portraits and will be great for indoor sports, just think about moving around to get in the right position and adding the 50mm if there's not enough room. A 70-200 F2.8 zoom by Canon or Sigma would be great too, but I don't know what your budget is so I'm not suggesting it.
  6. I've read some real good things about the canon 100mm f2.0 lens in the last few days, might be a contender as well...
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    1. is this a nice lens? Yes very good value for money.
    2. is it far enough for most indoor sports? Yes, very likely most indoors sports, where you need longer – (i.e. I would expect little use ringside for boxing) - the caveat is, can you roam?
    if so which sports? I use the 85F/1.8 extensively for swimming. It has saved my bacon on several occasions when my 70 200F/2.8L was too slow (aperture) for the Tv I required. I mostly have pool deck access and can roam. I have found it pretty handy for gymnastics, also.
    “I'm going to be doing senior portraits at my school and making money from it. Is this the best choice for portraits? if not, what is a better choice to look to?”
    On a 50D the 85 would be too long for Senior Portraits, if your set up follows our High School Formals – i.e. Half Shot (V) / Full Shot (V) / Tight Shot (H) of each couple and sometimes a group of 4 (H) . . .
    On a 50D, if a Prime were stipulated, I would use a 50mm lens for that, BUT I would need to know the amount of SPACE in which I had to work, before choosing a Prime for that particular job.
    IMO a better alternative for Senior Portraits / Formals is any zoom in the 17 to 55 or even 24 to 70 range. Assuming you are using a Flash set up, the 18 to 55 kit lens would suffice, and hold to quality 10 x 8 prints, if used at F/8ish
  8. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I too have been looking at getting something a little in-between for sports and have come down to either the 85mm f1.8 or 100mm f2.8 macro. I also plan to use either one for portraits." (NM)
    Nathan, I have both. I use a dual format kit. (20D / 30D /5D). Both the 85F1/8 and the 100F/2.8 macro are good portrait lenses. I bought the 100Macro, because I wanted the dedicated Marco also.
    The 100F/2.8 Macro falls short as an indoor sports lens (particularly when directly compared to the 85F1.8) because it is a stop and a bit slower in Aperture - if you need F/2 you need F/2 and for the extra 15mm of reach, you can crop an image from the 85mm in post, and loose very little IQ.
    Some say the 100F/2.8macro is too slow AF for sport - I have not found that, but then again swimming (and gymnastics) is somewhat predictive for focus and both sports have an intrinsic rhythm to time the shutter execution – so AF speed is not a particular concern, for me.
    All that said, IMO, the best indoor sports prime lens between the 85F/1.8 and the 100F/2.8Macro (and the 100F/2 also) is the 85F/1.8. The best indoor sports prime partners, for the 85F/1.8, is the 135F/2L and a fast 50mm.
    But, I think the choice between the two (for you) comes down to what you will use the most and what your passion might deviate toward: IMO, your inclination to the 100F/2.8 macro is your better choice for you: it is truly a wonderful, inexpensive lens.
  9. I shoot a 5DII and 70-200 f2.8 (non-IS) and 300 F2.8 for indoor (kids) ice hockey. I own the 85 f1.8 and have tried it but find the AF slow and the lens too short on full frame. I do not own the 135 F2 in EOS mount but the manual focus FD lens is very good and I used it for many years. The 300 F2.8 has the fastest Af of any Canon lens I have shot.
  10. I also use the 5D Mk II and the 70-200 f/2.8 non-is as my workhorse for hockey. I was shooting in a dark arena, and to get 1/500 and f/2.8 I ended up with an ISO of 2500. I rented the Canon 85 f/1.2 (which was useless in an arena, hallway or lockerroom - way too slow to focus) and the 135 f/2.0. I liked the 135mm so much that I bought one yesterday. It was quick to focus and more importantly reduced my ISO from 2500 to 1600. The focal length is fine if you are shooting at the glass. Any further away and you need the 70-200 or the 300mm. Granted this lens is much more expensive that the 85 f/1.8 but for hockey 85mm just isn't enough length. It may be fine for badminton or volleyball, as long as you can get courtside.

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