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The Knimbies who say No

Canon 135Mm F/2 L And Canon 200Mm F/2.8 L

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Allo,

Current photo gear:

Canon EOS-30D (1.6 crop)

17-40 f/4 L wide angle zoom

50mm f/1.8 prime

85mm f/1.8 prime

Have tried a bit of sports photography recently (ice hockey) and the 85mm just doesn't have the reach I'd like, although it is a ~135mm equiv on my camera. Was thinking of shelling out on either the 135mm f/2 or 200mm f/2.8 to get that bit extra. While the sharpness is good, when cropping down it quickly deteriorates.

Could always buy a 1.4x extender at a later datefor the 135mm in future too.

Anyone have opinions of the 135 or 200 lenses? Or any other things I should consider? I consider f/2.8 to be as small as I can get away with. I know there is the well regarded 70-200mm f/2.8L but that's out the price range, and I'd prefer something a bit less conspicuous to be honest. I like primes because of their sharpness.

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Problem with a prime for anything moving is that sometimes it will be waaay to much....and sometimes it will not be enough. You'll be swapping lenses as the game moves from end to end.

No L lens is going to be crap - I love my 24-70 f 2.8/L, and the 135 is pretty much a longer version of it.

Having had some time on a modern DLSR, I would suggest that worrying about F stop in terms of sports and speed is probably not the future. My old D30 (very old DSLR, well before the 30D...) would go "noisy" at ISO 400. On the more modern one, I just left it on auto mode - and realised it was choosing ISO 2000 in low light. I expected the pictures to be crap, but they were perfect.

Given that the lenses will probably outlast the body...might be worth thinking about.

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Problem with a prime for anything moving is that sometimes it will be waaay to much....and sometimes it will not be enough. You'll be swapping lenses as the game moves from end to end.

No L lens is going to be crap - I love my 24-70 f 2.8/L, and the 135 is pretty much a longer version of it.

Having had some time on a modern DLSR, I would suggest that worrying about F stop in terms of sports and speed is probably not the future. My old D30 (very old DSLR, well before the 30D...) would go "noisy" at ISO 400. On the more modern one, I just left it on auto mode - and realised it was choosing ISO 2000 in low light. I expected the pictures to be crap, but they were perfect.

Given that the lenses will probably outlast the body...might be worth thinking about.

Thanks, food for thought. As it happens the 30D's high ISO performance is pretty poor, above ISO400 and it starts looking grainy (to my eye at least). I think ISO performance is something that has improved dramatically in the last few years, even since the 30D. I tend to shoot at about ISO 320, f/2.2, 1/250 sec or so. Seems to deliver the best results I've managed with the body so far.

I may upgrade to a full frame in future, but that is some way off. I have similar concerns about the reach of primes, but at the moment I'm only really able to capture the game at one net (which is fine as I'm only after shots of one team!) and that's where the action happens, so I sit about level with the goal line on one of the long sides of the rink. Even then I have to crop in a bit, and taking photos of action further down the rink are seldom useable so I generally don't bother anymore. The regions where the primes would have too much reach are often obscured slightly with the glass round the rink so it's not a huge loss. Ice hockey must be one of the hardest sports to shoot: poor lighting, fast movement; often poor vantage points.

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Nikon D7000 and the 70-300mm f4-5-5.6 Consumer grade VR (but full frame) lens.

Noise performance when combined with Adobe Lightroom is awesome. You could easily get away with ISO 1500, and even 2200 is fine.

The crop factor is giving you about 100-420mm and that's a damned good range for sport. Whilst the max aperture of f5.6 might not seem much, it's damned sharp wide open.

Of course, you have Canon kit but we all have our crosses to bear.

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Nikon D7000 and the 70-300mm f4-5-5.6 Consumer grade VR (but full frame) lens.

Noise performance when combined with Adobe Lightroom is awesome. You could easily get away with ISO 1500, and even 2200 is fine.

The crop factor is giving you about 100-420mm and that's a damned good range for sport. Whilst the max aperture of f5.6 might not seem much, it's damned sharp wide open.

Of course, you have Canon kit but we all have our crosses to bear.

That kit is beyond my budget, good as I'm sure it is!

Nice website btw, bookmarked.

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Allo,

Current photo gear:

Canon EOS-30D (1.6 crop)

17-40 f/4 L wide angle zoom

50mm f/1.8 prime

85mm f/1.8 prime

Have tried a bit of sports photography recently (ice hockey) and the 85mm just doesn't have the reach I'd like, although it is a ~135mm equiv on my camera. Was thinking of shelling out on either the 135mm f/2 or 200mm f/2.8 to get that bit extra. While the sharpness is good, when cropping down it quickly deteriorates.

Could always buy a 1.4x extender at a later datefor the 135mm in future too.

Anyone have opinions of the 135 or 200 lenses? Or any other things I should consider? I consider f/2.8 to be as small as I can get away with. I know there is the well regarded 70-200mm f/2.8L but that's out the price range, and I'd prefer something a bit less conspicuous to be honest. I like primes because of their sharpness.

On my 40D I've had good results at the ice hockey (Sheffield Steelers) with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM lens at around £360. The image stabilisation helps for fast moving sports like hockey. Nowhere near as conspicous as the white barelled L series lenses. Good for wildlife photography to.

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On my 40D I've had good results at the ice hockey (Sheffield Steelers) with a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM lens at around £360. The image stabilisation helps for fast moving sports like hockey. Nowhere near as conspicous as the white barelled L series lenses. Good for wildlife photography to.

interesting, you're the second to recommend a lens with f/4 max aperature. Perhaps it shows up the limitations of the 30D, it really is unsatisfactory at higher ISO. Being able to shoot at f/4 would be good for the depth of field, but it's not really possible with decent results on the body I have.

I thought the image stabilisation would be of limited use except for stationary elements eg goals, hoardings etc. You'll still get motion-related blur in the players/puck if you increase the exposure time.

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That kit is beyond my budget, good as I'm sure it is!

Nice website btw, bookmarked.

Thanks...Anyway:

You're looking at buying the Canon 200mm f2.8 and that's a grand.

The Nikon 70-300VR is about £350 and the D7000 is £850 at Amazon.

Flog your Canon kit, buy the above.

With anything left over buy the Nikon 50mm f1.8 and the 18-55mm kit lens. You won't look back.

(That's also the opinion of my business partner. A pro-photographer of some 20 years who looks at my Nikon kit with envy at the supreme noise performance over his Canon stuff...)

Seriously though, if I were buying into a system now I'd go with exactly what I've said above. The ONLY reason to buy very fast lenses these days is to look like you mean business. Chuck that cheap consumer telephoto on a D7000, bung stuff through Lightroom, and you'll rival the images of ANY sports photographer in the world when taking pictures next to him.

(Provided you have the ability. Plenty of bad phtotographers out there, but if you have the talent the kit wont get in the way)

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interesting, you're the second to recommend a lens with f/4 max aperature. Perhaps it shows up the limitations of the 30D, it really is unsatisfactory at higher ISO. Being able to shoot at f/4 would be good for the depth of field, but it's not really possible with decent results on the body I have.

I thought the image stabilisation would be of limited use except for stationary elements eg goals, hoardings etc. You'll still get motion-related blur in the players/puck if you increase the exposure time.

I find image stabilisation worth 1 or 2 stops, but I don't mind a bit of motion blur to emphasize the speed of a game like ice hockey or water skiing, e.g. hand held 300mm indoors

Sheff Steelers v Glasgow

or this one of water skiing

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Thanks...Anyway:

You're looking at buying the Canon 200mm f2.8 and that's a grand.

The Nikon 70-300VR is about £350 and the D7000 is £850 at Amazon.

Flog your Canon kit, buy the above.

With anything left over buy the Nikon 50mm f1.8 and the 18-55mm kit lens. You won't look back.

(That's also the opinion of my business partner. A pro-photographer of some 20 years who looks at my Nikon kit with envy at the supreme noise performance over his Canon stuff...)

Seriously though, if I were buying into a system now I'd go with exactly what I've said above. The ONLY reason to buy very fast lenses these days is to look like you mean business. Chuck that cheap consumer telephoto on a D7000, bung stuff through Lightroom, and you'll rival the images of ANY sports photographer in the world when taking pictures next to him.

(Provided you have the ability. Plenty of bad phtotographers out there, but if you have the talent the kit wont get in the way)

The 200mm f/2.8 II is under £600 new!

Cheers for the info though, food for thought alright. Might consider a swap, depending on how much I enjoy the sports stuff. Not sure I have the talent to be more than a hobbyist, but doesn't stop me trying.

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The 200mm f/2.8 II is under £600 new!

Cheers for the info though, food for thought alright. Might consider a swap, depending on how much I enjoy the sports stuff. Not sure I have the talent to be more than a hobbyist, but doesn't stop me trying.

Oh yeah, so it is.

However, give Lightroom a go and see how well it noise reduces what you shoot at high ISO speeds. You might be very surprised.

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My tuppence' worth...

I recently broke the piggy bank and bought a DSLR (Canon 550D). My main goal was shooting people on stage (musicians and dancers) indoors, with flash photography strongly discouraged. The photos are then mainly displayed on the web (personal websites/Facebook pages). So it's kind of similar to the OPs requirements (low light/fast movement), although the subjects move around a lot less :)

Anyway, it's been a revelation for me, a whole different ball-game to a 35mm SLR.

My observations so far:

  • High ISO noise is not a problem. It starts to get noticeable at ISO3200. At ISO6400 I've experimented with Noise Ninja to smooth out the noise, and got good results (the photos are still perfectly adequate for the web).
  • 18MP resolution, i.e. a ridiculous amount. I was worried that this would mean a lot of noise at high ISO, but it's not been a problem. In fact, it makes it a lot easier to use a 50mm f1.8 prime lens, as I can happily point and click at someone in the far distance, then crop away 3/4 of the image.
  • Shooting RAW and processing on the computer makes it easy to shift exposure by one or even two stops. In fact, I was speaking to a semi-pro photographer who claims to deliberately under-expose action shots by one stop, it's trivial to compensate for this on the computer and allows him to use a faster shutter speed when working (note: I haven't tried this... yet :) ).

On a related note, is Lightroom any good? I've tried Aperture, good functionality/UI, but it's horribly crash-prone.

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I almost always set my camera to underexpose, though by perhaps just 1/2 a stop.

I also ALWAYS shoot RAW. Anything else is a compromise. The amount of data that can be recovered from the likes of Lightroom is quite astounding. 14 bit RAW compared to crappy 8 bit JPEG is a no-brainer. Even though my files sizes come in at 25 Megs, I can still fit over 600 images on a 16 Gig card.

Lightroom is a total revelation. Easily my favourite piece of software of all time. Rock solid on my fairly old Windows XP machine, though a little slow. On my i3 laptop it's pretty quick, and when I upgrade to an i7 machine I'm expecting blistering performance.

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I almost always set my camera to underexpose, though by perhaps just 1/2 a stop.

I also ALWAYS shoot RAW. Anything else is a compromise. The amount of data that can be recovered from the likes of Lightroom is quite astounding. 14 bit RAW compared to crappy 8 bit JPEG is a no-brainer. Even though my files sizes come in at 25 Megs, I can still fit over 600 images on a 16 Gig card.

Lightroom is a total revelation. Easily my favourite piece of software of all time. Rock solid on my fairly old Windows XP machine, though a little slow. On my i3 laptop it's pretty quick, and when I upgrade to an i7 machine I'm expecting blistering performance.

I shoot RAW too, and use Adobe bridge/CS5. Pretty good stuff. Is lightroom a subset of CS5, in terms of image manipulation?

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My tuppence' worth...

I recently broke the piggy bank and bought a DSLR (Canon 550D). My main goal was shooting people on stage (musicians and dancers) indoors, with flash photography strongly discouraged. The photos are then mainly displayed on the web (personal websites/Facebook pages). So it's kind of similar to the OPs requirements (low light/fast movement), although the subjects move around a lot less :)

Anyway, it's been a revelation for me, a whole different ball-game to a 35mm SLR.

My observations so far:

  • High ISO noise is not a problem. It starts to get noticeable at ISO3200. At ISO6400 I've experimented with Noise Ninja to smooth out the noise, and got good results (the photos are still perfectly adequate for the web).

  • 18MP resolution, i.e. a ridiculous amount. I was worried that this would mean a lot of noise at high ISO, but it's not been a problem. In fact, it makes it a lot easier to use a 50mm f1.8 prime lens, as I can happily point and click at someone in the far distance, then crop away 3/4 of the image.

  • Shooting RAW and processing on the computer makes it easy to shift exposure by one or even two stops. In fact, I was speaking to a semi-pro photographer who claims to deliberately under-expose action shots by one stop, it's trivial to compensate for this on the computer and allows him to use a faster shutter speed when working (note: I haven't tried this... yet :) ).

On a related note, is Lightroom any good? I've tried Aperture, good functionality/UI, but it's horribly crash-prone.

I've heard noise ninja is worth a look. Impressed you can crop down so much, and still have something worthwhile. I just can't seem to do that.

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I shoot RAW too, and use Adobe bridge/CS5. Pretty good stuff. Is lightroom a subset of CS5, in terms of image manipulation?

No, it's a 'this is how to manage and edit photos' tool that sits alone. You can click on 'edit in Photoshop' but I rarely need to. Only for troublesome paint jobs.

Lightroom is not a pixel editor and probably never will be, it's software designed by photographers (probably) for photographers.

I love it.

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No, it's a 'this is how to manage and edit photos' tool that sits alone. You can click on 'edit in Photoshop' but I rarely need to. Only for troublesome paint jobs.

Lightroom is not a pixel editor and probably never will be, it's software designed by photographers (probably) for photographers.

I love it.

yeah, what I meant was, 'Are the noise reduction facilities available in Lightroom also available in CS5?'

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yeah, what I meant was, 'Are the noise reduction facilities available in Lightroom also available in CS5?'

Ah, don't know. I only have an old version of Photoshop.

I'd imagine that they might be, but I don't even open RAW files in Photoshop. I'm sure the Adobe forums can help.

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I'm thinking of getting myself an SLR for Christmas. I don't know much about them and budget is about £350. What would all you experts recommend for a good quality beginners SLR that will last me a good few years?

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off topic, but is anyone here into HDR?

I've been experimenting with it in the past few days, mainly with night photography ie light trails etc. I don't own an expensive DSLR though. I'm using a Praktica that allows basic night shots, timed shutter release and exposure adjustments (with a few simple tripods).

Once I got hold of Adobe Photoshop CS5, high dynamic range was too easy.

Some HDR shots look those old colour postcards. I assume they processed them that way because too many areas without detail were regarded as unacceptable for commercial use. They can look very unreal though.

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I'm thinking of getting myself an SLR for Christmas. I don't know much about them and budget is about £350. What would all you experts recommend for a good quality beginners SLR that will last me a good few years?

If you already have some Canon lenses then I can't help. If you already have some Nikon lenses then the Nikon D3100 is a no-brainer. If you have no lenses then it's equally a no-brainer. Superb camera and for many people all they'll ever need.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-VBA280K001-D3100-18-55vr-Kit/dp/B00403MA4M

That's a little over budget at £399, but worth every penny. Just look at those reviews.

After a while you might want the 50mm f1.8 for really great low-light shooting. It's a consumer grade wonder and at around £100 an absolute steal.

Then....well it depends on what you like to photograph, but please please please....shoot RAW and give Adobe Lightroom a go. It might feel a little bit complicated but I promise you'll love it.

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If you already have some Canon lenses then I can't help. If you already have some Nikon lenses then the Nikon D3100 is a no-brainer. If you have no lenses then it's equally a no-brainer. Superb camera and for many people all they'll ever need.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-VBA280K001-D3100-18-55vr-Kit/dp/B00403MA4M

That's a little over budget at £399, but worth every penny. Just look at those reviews.

After a while you might want the 50mm f1.8 for really great low-light shooting. It's a consumer grade wonder and at around £100 an absolute steal.

Then....well it depends on what you like to photograph, but please please please....shoot RAW and give Adobe Lightroom a go. It might feel a little bit complicated but I promise you'll love it.

Thanks,

That's a little more than I can spend really. I do want RAW looks good. Maybe I'll try a second hand one?

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Thanks,

That's a little more than I can spend really. I do want RAW looks good. Maybe I'll try a second hand one?

I'm pretty sure that every Nikon DSLR will shoot RAW. The thing to look out for is that some low-end models don't have built-in focus motors. That's a slight niggle as it can restrict your choice of lens.

I'd avoid the Nikon D3000 too, it's not well regarded, but I'm not really familiar with other Nikon bodies.

Other than that, a 2nd hand D3100 would be a fine choice, and you'll find all sorts of Nikon loveliness over at www.kenrockwell.com

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The 135/2 is an amazing piece of kit. Good for fast indoor as desired, but also possibly the best portrait lens you'll ever own. Fantastic bokeh and gives a good working distance also. Go for it!

Allo,

Current photo gear:

Canon EOS-30D (1.6 crop)

17-40 f/4 L wide angle zoom

50mm f/1.8 prime

85mm f/1.8 prime

Have tried a bit of sports photography recently (ice hockey) and the 85mm just doesn't have the reach I'd like, although it is a ~135mm equiv on my camera. Was thinking of shelling out on either the 135mm f/2 or 200mm f/2.8 to get that bit extra. While the sharpness is good, when cropping down it quickly deteriorates.

Could always buy a 1.4x extender at a later datefor the 135mm in future too.

Anyone have opinions of the 135 or 200 lenses? Or any other things I should consider? I consider f/2.8 to be as small as I can get away with. I know there is the well regarded 70-200mm f/2.8L but that's out the price range, and I'd prefer something a bit less conspicuous to be honest. I like primes because of their sharpness.

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