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Thread: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

  1. #1

    novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    Hi everyone, I'm VERY new to photography and have been on your website that past few months taking the tutorials and playing with my camera. I have the Canon Rebel XT from two years ago and with 3 kids I'm just starting to really "play" with the camera. The more I play the more I realize how much my lens that came with my camera sucks.
    I'm looking for 2 lenses:
    1. Sport photo's i.e. cross country/ track and field, and soccer. Sometimes I'm 50 yards away or more from the shot I would like to get. Tamron? Pentax? 18-250, or 70-200 2.8 VR, or...
    2. Portraits

    Since I'm a novice I'm trying to keep price reasonable. Put it this way I'm not shelling out a grand for a zoom lens at this point in my "career".

    Thanks in advance for helping me out.

  2. #2

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    Re: novice needs help on next lens

    Quote Originally Posted by sharlo99 View Post
    Hi everyone, I'm VERY new to photography and have been on your website that past few months taking the tutorials and playing with my camera. I have the Canon Rebel XT from two years ago and with 3 kids I'm just starting to really "play" with the camera. The more I play the more I realize how much my lens that came with my camera sucks.
    I'm looking for 2 lenses:
    1. Sport photo's i.e. cross country/ track and field, and soccer. Sometimes I'm 50 yards away or more from the shot I would like to get. Tamron? Pentax? 18-250, or 70-200 2.8 VR, or...
    2. Portraits

    Since I'm a novice I'm trying to keep price reasonable. Put it this way I'm not shelling out a grand for a zoom lens at this point in my "career".

    Thanks in advance for helping me out.
    Hi "Sharlo99"

    For shooting sports - from a distance - on a budget - I'd give some thought to the Canon EF75-300/4.5-5.6 III. The likes of the EF70-200/2.8L IS USM is an awesome lens, but you'll be well over the grand mark, although it's also great for portraiture (I shot the first two of these with one just the other day). (Note that "VR" is Nikon terminology for essentially the same technology).

    For portraiture, it's going to depend on whether your meaning head and shoulder shots - 3/4 - or full length, and how much room you have. Typical portrait lenses are around the 85mm mark, but that's with a full-frame camera; yours is what's called a crop-factor camera which means that essentially, focal lengths are multipled by 1.6, so an 85mm lens looks like it's a 136mm lens which is getting a little long if your doing full body shots, so something like an EF50/1.8 II might be a better choice.

    Does this help?

  3. #3

    Re: novice needs help on next lens

    Thanks Colin for the quick reply. Your kids are soooo cute!
    My priority right now is the zoom for sports, I've got 3 very active kids and I hate the fact I can't take a picture worth anything with my current lens. I'll go check out your options, are there any off brand lens that are good as well? I'm going to go to my local ma and pop camera shop this afternoon. I printed off your reply and will take it with me.

    The tutorials here are really great, I was quite impressed. I'm an engineer and can appreciate good, concise information. Anything else you recommend I read/ buy? I don't do anything halfway, so now that I want to learn it, I want to do it all the way.

    Again thanks a lot!

  4. #4

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    Re: novice needs help on next lens

    I have a Canon 75-300 4.5 and think its a piece of junk....its cheaply contructed and feels realy cheap. Its not very sharp either.. infact I dont even use it at 300 mm because i know anything I shoot at that distance will come out fuzzy... seriously the kit lens 18-55mm non IS was alot sharper....

    in 70-200 f4L , they cost about 650 including tax right now with a 40.00 rebate.... I just bought one and its very sharp and reviewed as one of the best in its class...its a million billion times better than my 75-300 4.5...

    If u can afford the 70-200 then get it ...you wont be dissapointed and youll spend less time editing photos...

  5. #5

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    Re: novice needs help on next lens

    For sports, consider the Canon 70-300 with IS which is probably my most used lens (apart from wildlife) and comes at a reasonable price and IS really does make a difference with hand held shots. Although if you want a really fast top quality lens for sports etc then I'm afraid your ideal lens is going to be expensive.

    So I think the 70-300 would just about suit. I fear that 200mm might sometimes be a bit short for sports but it is a good option if you would be happy with that distance. The Canon 55-250 gets good reviews but I don't personally have any experience with it.

    My other general purpose lens is the Canon 28-135 IS which is a good average use reasonable priced zoom. But if you just want a portrait lens then I would consider a prime (fixed length) lens. Possibly 50mm upto 90mm might suit. 50mm is a popular all round size but consider how close you want to get to your subject and are we talking about indoors or outside? Some people like more distance between camera and subject but when your back is against the wall you can't go any further.

  6. #6

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    Re: novice needs help on next lens

    I think it's difficult to advice somebody about what lens to buy.
    Make in your mind 3 category's.

    1 Low price and image-quality (IQ)
    2 Medium price and image-quality
    3 High price and image-quality

    What IQ do you want, and more important, what IQ do you want in the future?
    Save money until you get in your category, if you buy a category lower you will regret soon and buy something better.
    Wich is more expensive in the long run.

    I used a Canon EF75-300/4.5-5.6 III for a year and it wasn't that bad at all IF you take in account the price.
    My main problem with it was that it needed really a lot of light.
    However,[COLOR="Lime"] i think a EF-S 55-250 4.0-5.6 IS is a better option for tele, i read good comments about it (don't have experience with it myself)

    To add some:
    - don't overestimate ImageStabilisation
    - pay attention to a adequate/fast autofocus (important for sport)
    - don't overestimate build-quality (lots of people, and i am one of them, treat there L-lens as carefull as a box raw eggs anyway)

  7. #7

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    Re: novice needs help on next lens

    Quote Originally Posted by sharlo99 View Post
    Thanks Colin for the quick reply. Your kids are soooo cute!
    No worries BTW, if you were looking at the two photos that I referenced above, they're not my kids (although they were better behaved than mine!) -- they just belong to the client.


    I'll go check out your options, are there any off brand lens that are good as well? I'm going to go to my local ma and pop camera shop this afternoon.
    There are other brands, although personally, I generally shy away from them as build construction usually isn't as good as Canon - there can be compatability issues with some - and if you get to a situation where you have a back-focus / front-focus error then you can't just send both the Canon and say "don't care which part's causing the problem, just fix it".


    The tutorials here are really great, I was quite impressed. I'm an engineer and can appreciate good, concise information. Anything else you recommend I read/ buy? I don't do anything halfway, so now that I want to learn it, I want to do it all the way.
    Well to be honest, I think that the advice from the others is probably better than mine; I'd been working from the assumption that price was a high priority, but now that I've read your reply I suspect that there's a lot more "room to move" than I initially thought, so my apologies for being a bit limiting there.

    In a nutshell it really comes down to the old "you get what you pay for"; if you can afford to go for the higher end lenses (especially L-Series) then you'll definately get improved image quality. Whether or not you need or want that quality is going to depend on what you want to do with the images and personal standards (big difference in quality needed between something that's printed post card size for a photo album and one that's printed 4 feet wide to be framed and hung on a wall).

    My two biggest concerns for you are zoom length and speed; for the sports side of things - even taking into account the effective focal length multiplier of your crop-factor camera, I think that 200mm may be too short a lot of the time (although with some lenses like the EF70-200/2.8L or EF70-200/4.0L (both either with or without IS) you could add a 1.4x Teleconverter). Probably best of all would be an EF100-400, but your starting to get into the big bucks category. Keep in mind though that even though some of these are quite expensive, they'll last a long long time - chances are you'll have them much longer than the camera you have now -- AND they hold their value well, so you can always sell them at a later stage and not lose a lot of money.

    Lens speed may also be a factor if your shooting on anything less than a bright and sunny day. You'll generally want a shutter speed about 1/640th to freeze action and you won't be able to get anything faster than 1/800th on a perfect day with a F5.6 lens (at 100 ISO) - so you may have to increase your ISO setting on darkish days and live with the extra noise.

    If you not in an immidiate hurry, you might also find food value in picking up a copy of Canon's EF Lens work v10 - it lists each and every lens in the current lineup and gives detailed information and sample images for each, along with a lot of other "insider information".

    Might help if you could give us an idea of the budget too ?

    Hope this helps!

  8. #8

    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    Wow you guys are awesome. I so appreciate you all taking the time out for a newbie like myself.

    My price range was around 800. That is what I have saved up so far, could I go a little more, sure....

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    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by sharlo99 View Post
    Wow you guys are awesome. I so appreciate you all taking the time out for a newbie like myself.

    My price range was around 800. That is what I have saved up so far, could I go a little more, sure....
    No worries

    If you can, the one I'd look most seriously at would be this.

    Pretty much the best your going to get in a zoom over that range - not cheap though.

  10. #10

    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    Found it on ebay... going to try it out

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    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by sharlo99 View Post
    Found it on ebay... going to try it out
    ... Just "the usual cautions" about buying from those kinds of sites (if it seems too good to be true, it is).

    www.bhphotovideo.com are the gold standard for service & integrity - most others report good experiences with Adorama and Amazon as well.

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    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    "Put it this way I'm not shelling out a grand for a zoom lens at this point in my "career". "

    Please, can somebody tell me what "a grand" is?
    Is it $1000?

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    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by d3debian View Post
    Please, can somebody tel me what "a grand" is?

    Is it $1000?
    Yes - although on sites like this one has to also be mindful of the currency (a "grand" for someone in the USA is close to "two grand" for me here in New Zealand).

    Favourite saying for me (especially since becoming a parent) ...

    ... "Life is grand" ... "Grand after grand after grand"!

  14. #14

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    Re: novice needs help on sports and portrait lenses

    I am surprised somebody don't want to spend a grand and subsequently ends up with a 1,5 grand tool.
    Anyway, Canons' 100 - 400 is a good choice for telezoom.

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