Lens Questions

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by seattlescott, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    Fairly new to photography in terms of equipment and lenses so I needed a little help and wanted to see if you all could help guide me in the right direction. First I have a Canon T2i that I bought lightly used a few months ago, as I said fairly new and I wasn't sure how much I'd be shooting so I wanted to start with something cheaper. Came with a couple of lenses 18:55 and a 50 mm lens. I was doing a lot of sports photography so I bought a EF 75-300mm lens and it does a good job in terms of getting shots a quite a distance and I'm pretty pleased with it. I've been looking into more lenses, keeping in mind that I like to shoot sports most, what do you recommend?
    I was looking at the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM but also heard that I may want to consider a EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM may be the better way to go.
    I know in the next year or two I'll be upgrading the body but for now want to have a nice compliment of lenses. Any advice is most appreciated!
     
  2. It is easy to get caught up in the equipment side of photography - for a range of reasons including the allure of gear, wanting to own "the best," hoping that the key to good photography is found in gear, and much more.
    My first question to you is, can you articulate the ways that your current 75-300mm lens is falling short or inhibiting your photography? That is a first and important question to answer, as it helps you understand what you are trying to accomplish with your photography and your equipment, and knowing that is a necessary condition to making smart decisions about lenses.
    Dan
     
  3. It is easy to get caught up in the equipment side of photography - for a range of reasons including the allure of gear, wanting to own "the best," hoping that the key to good photography is found in gear, and much more.
    My first question to you is, can you articulate the ways that your current 75-300mm lens is falling short or inhibiting your photography? That is a first and important question to answer, as it helps you understand what you are trying to accomplish with your photography and your equipment, and knowing that is a necessary condition to making smart decisions about lenses.
    Dan
     
  4. It is easy to get caught up in the equipment side of photography - for a range of reasons including the allure of gear, wanting to own "the best," hoping that the key to good photography is found in gear, and much more.
    My first question to you is, can you articulate the ways that your current 75-300mm lens is falling short or inhibiting your photography? That is a first and important question to answer, as it helps you understand what you are trying to accomplish with your photography and your equipment, and knowing that is a necessary condition to making smart decisions about lenses.
    Dan
     
  5. Good point, I think if you look at my flickr stream the photos come out well but I'd like to get a bit tighter in on the subjects. I like my 75-300 and think it has been worth the money I spent on it for sure, I just want to be able to capture things a bit more tighter and get that feel you were there moment a bit better.
     
  6. I'd like to get a bit tighter in on the subjects.​
    Scott, I took a quick look at your photos on Flickr. Most of your photos are from a high perspective, far from the athletic field. And you are using a lens with a less than stellar reputation at the 300 end. In order to get "tighter", you'll need to either move down closer to the action, or think about investing in a longer focal length lens.
    The 70-200, would give you a tremendous improvement in image quality (IQ), but it will not get you closer to the action. The 70-300 has much better IQ than your 75-300 but it is nearly the identical focal range.
     
  7. Sounds like you need to think about saving up for the 100-400L. It is the most cost effective zoom lens to satisfy your demand of longer reach. It will also offer much improved image quality and image stabilisation.
     
  8. Pardon my earlier triple-post. Not sure what happened...
    By "tighter on your subject," I presume that you want to have subjects fill more of the frame. But you already have a 300mm lens and you aren't thinking of anything longer - and 300mm is quite a long focal length on a cropped sensor body already. (In angle-of-view terms it is equivalent to using a 420mm lens on full frame.)
    So, some issues in that regard:
    • To get tighter framing you either need an even longer lens (which I doubt you would actually want at this point), get closer to your subject, or crop.
    • Your existing lens is already quite long.
    • One of the lenses you are considering goes to only 200mm, which is not as long as what you have already, and the other goes to the same focal length, thus gaining you nothing here.
    As far as the "feel that you were there in the moment" goes, that may be more a matter of how you photograph the subject than of getting a new lens. Timing, which improves with practice, helps a lot. So does thinking more, when you can, about how you frame your subject. This works in several ways: what is behind the subject? which way is the subject facing? where do you position the subject within the frame?
    Since you aren't looking for lenses that have any functional capabilities beyond what you already own, it might make the most sense to focus on these shooting issues and hold off on a lens purchase.
    Dan
     
  9. I had a look at the first few new images on your Flickr page. Can you get closer? If you can get to within earshot of the side line, your 300mm maximum focal length along with your APS-C DSLR would be a great starting point. If you cannot get any closer than from where you were in your latest photos, then you need at least a fast 500mm super telephoto which will enable you to have better control of the shutter speed.
    ...but for now want to have a nice compliment of lenses.​
    Enter "sports photographers" on Flickr and you will see examples of lenses used on the field by professionals. This should enable you to make a better choice on either a zoom or prime for your area of work. Go on eBay and look for Canon's 400/2.8 IS, 400/4 DO IS, etc. You can get away with the first generation non-IS super telephotos greater than 400mm provided the lens is supported by a headless monopod. Most of your images are going to be panned rather than static. So, IS is not as crucial for the panned shots. It may not even be as crucial for the monopod supported static images if your settings of the shutter are higher than that of your usable focal length.
     
  10. Keep in mind that all is not sweetness and light when you simply put a longer lens on your camera. People who haven't
    used very long focal lengths often focus on the magnification potential and miss the other issues.

    300mm is already quite a long focal length for hand held shooting on a cropped sensor camera. As you go even longer
    you have to deal with some of the following:

    1. Camera stability will require you to use higher and higher minimum shutter speeds. For example, if you are comfortable
    shooting a 50mm lens at 1/80 second on crop (a decent guesstimate for many semi-careful shooters) you would want to
    shoot a 400mm lens at a minimum of close to 1/600 second.

    2. Your maximum available aperture will likely be significantly smaller on the longer lens, perhaps f/5.6 or even f/8. To
    compensate in low light you would want to lengthen you exposure time... but see point #1.

    3. Since your ability to lower shutter speed and/or increase aperture size will be much more limited with the long lens, you
    only alternative may be to increase, perhaps quite significantly, the ISO. This can create issues with image quality, so this
    option carries coats as well.

    4. With a very long lens on your camera, there are other issues, too. It can be harder to find and track a moving subject in
    the viewfinder, and doing this requires a fair amount of practice. Related to this, AF becomes a bit more challenging with
    moving subjects. In addition, when you have a very large lens attached, it become quite a trick to also deal with
    larger/closer subjects.

    Food for thought...

    Dan
     
  11. Great advise everyone, thank you!
     
  12. Dan is right. Buying a new lens will not help you get better shots. Most, if not all of your shots are already taken at max sensible ISO (3200) at the min shutter speed you can get away with, and almost none are critically sharp (due to not holding the camera still enough).
    Getting a longer lens will just let you make blurrier pics, until you can learn to make sharp pics with your current lens - it takes lots of practice to take good shots with a 300mm lens (on a crop body like the t2i). So keep practising.
     
  13. Most, if not all of your shots are already taken at max sensible ISO (3200) at the min shutter speed you can get away with, and almost none are critically sharp (due to not holding the camera still enough).
    The shutter speeds do appear to be marginal, not only to avoid the appearance of camera shake, but possibly also to stop the action (normally I don't like to shoot sports at less than 1/500 s, and generally prefer 1/1000 s). But I'm not sure we can reach firm conclusions about the cause(s) of the evident unsharpness. Camera shake is probably one factor. The lack of focus speed and focus precision, and the potential for focus 'hunting', with that camera-and-less combination, when used to shoot sports, may be factors. This is especially so in what must have been (based on the exposures) comparatively low light levels (about six stops below full sun). And I'd also consider lens performance at 300mm, which I tend to suspect is poor with that lens, especially wide open.
    To get a better idea of what is limiting your results, you might want to, say, shoot a daytime game on a sunny day (lots of those in Seattle ; ) ) and see what you can get. With full sun at your back, you ought to be able to shoot, say, ISO 400, 1/1600 s, and f/8. This combination would reduce the effects of camera shake, motion blur, lens performance problems wide open, and noise / noise reduction. Also, in full sun, your gear would probably auto-focus faster and more accurately.
    Last but not least, just maintain appropriate realism in your expectations: there's a reason why the Sports Illustrated shooters are using high-end bodies and $5000 lenses on monopods--even when they're on the sidelines. And they shoots tens (hundreds?) of thousands of pictures every year. Those sorts of factors do tend to affect the results a little bit.
     

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