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Thread: Sporting Lens

  1. #1

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    Sporting Lens

    Could anyone point me in the direction of a good lens for shooting fast moving sports (motorcycle racing) both close up and far away, I am using a Canon 550D and have a budget of around £500-£600 !

    Many thanks.

    Paul

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    Could anyone point me in the direction of a good lens for shooting fast moving sports (motorcycle racing) both
    Paul

    I think the main question is - How close is close and how far is far? That's going to determine the advice that's given.

    Have you done research into focal lengths and formed any idea yourself about what sort of lengths you might be needing?

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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Perhaps I could answer your question generically... I would look for a lens that has very-good to excellent image quality along with fast and accurate auto focus capability. I would want a zoom lens because the distances between rider and camera position would often vary. I would also like a lens with a minimum f/4 throughout its range, but could live with f/5.6 at the telephoto end. I would "like" image stabilization since I like that in any long telephoto lens. However, if the lens did not have IS, it would not be a deal breaker for me. I would just resign myself to using a monopod for extra support.

    One lens which I thought of was the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens but, I have never used this lens and the Micro USM AF is not touted as being exceptionally fast.

    A lens which I am completely familiar is the 70-200mm f/4L (non-IS). The auto focus is USM, fast and accurate and it has a constant f/4 aperture throughout its range. The image quality is marvelous and the 70-200mm range would be equivalent to a 112-320mm which would probably cover your needs at most events. The downside of this lens is that it doesn't have IS capability. You need either a fast shutter speed or a tripod/monopod. A great + for the f/4L is that it is built like a tank. ON the other hand, I like my f/4L IS model better and use it 4-5x more often than I ever used my non-IS version. This is simply due to the fact that I was able to hand hold the f/4L IS at far slower shutter speeds.

    A final thought might be the new Tamron SP AF70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC Ultra Silent Drive (USD) Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon EOS Mount (http://www.adorama.com/TM70300VUEOS.html#ProductReviews). It is touted to be quite good but, I cannot personally comment on it since I have never used nor even seen one. I also don't know the U.K. price but, Adorama in New York City sells it for $399 (USD). This lens has a longer range than the f/4L above but, it tops down to f/5.6 at its longer focal lengths. I don't know what the aperture at 200mm would be so I cannot compare it to the f/4L. If I were not the loyal and loving owner of a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens, I would certainly look into this new Tamron before buying any telephoto zoom.

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    Re: Sporting Lens

    I have been looking at the Tamron, uk price is £369, thats the best ive found anyway, going to have a play with one tomorrow, just out of curiosity...Have been offered a Tamron AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens, its brand new for £100, is this any good ? whats this lens any good for ???

    Cheers

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    Have been offered a Tamron AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens, its brand new for £100, is this any good ? whats this lens any good for ???
    Hi Paul,

    With that focal length range, almost anything, as long as the quality doen't disappoint, but at a £100 and probably with closer focusing than I can with my Nikon, which cost 5-6 times that, it would be hard to be too fussy

    (that said, I'm not familiar with it and don't know what a new one normally costs)

    It also doesn't have IS/VR (I assume) and f/6.3 is getting a bit dark, although only a little bit more than the f/5.6 I'm used to.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Sporting Lens

    for me the 70/200 f4 is just a great lens for the price.

    would a cropped down photo from the 200mm look worse than a same size framing from a non-L glass 300mm - I very much doubt it. Of course what % of your shots will be at 250 to 300mm anyway?

    ...and the fast focusing will help you nail the shots.

    I haven't shot bikes but I guess you can just pick a spot and you could use the non IS and a monopod? Nice for panning...

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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Ok guys, went too have a look at a Tamron SP 70-300mm f4-5.6 Di VC USD Lens - Canon AF lens today, will be being used for shooting motorcycle racing from anything from a few feet to approx 20 meters away, but someone has pointed me in the direction of this...

    Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM or this Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Lens ?

    For what i want, I am not sure now what to go for or what would be the best choice, opions please !

    Thanks

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    Re: Sporting Lens

    anybody ???

  9. #9
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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Paul

    I realise it's frustrating to have to wait for someone to come along who can give you a full answer to your question.

    I cannot be specific because I've never used any of the lenses you're referring to. However, in general terms, it is, I think, beyond dispute that the Canon 70-200 f4 L will be the best quality lens. But:

    a) I don't know how good the quality of either of the other two are and,
    b) I don't know what quality level you want

    I know you might say that you want the best quality that you can afford. And that's fine. But what are you going to be doing with the images. Are you going to be printing them or loading them up on the web, or both? If you're going to be printing, how big to you envisage that you will want to print them? All of these are factors in the decision that you need to make. Maybe you'll find that you don't actually need a 'L' quality lens.

    As Neil said above, how often do you see yourself needing to shoot at above 200mm? That's a crucial factor. If a lot of your stuff is going to be at that length, then the 70-200 is not going to be any good.

    But on the plus side for the 70-200, it holds to f4 right through the focal range. With either of the other two, you're going to lose 1-stop as you go to the longer end of the range. And for something like motorcycle racing I would have thought you needed as fast a lens as possible.

    BUT ......... The Canon 70-300 you're looking at has IS (Image Stabilisation) and the version of the 70-200 you cited doesn't. So what you lose on f-stop will be more than made up for by having the IS.

    So, as you can see, there's is no 'right' or 'wrong'. And in the same vein, no-one else can tell you what you should buy. There are number of varying factors to weigh-up. Have you thougth about doing a list with a column for each lens? Write down the advantages and disadvantages for each based on the reserach you are carrying out via this thread and the other information-gathering you'll be doing via lens reviews sites, etc. Once you've completed that, see which lens has the longest list under 'advantages' and the smallest list under 'disadvantages'. That's the lens to buy.

  10. #10

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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Thanks Donald, it is hard when its all new to me, I just want to make sure that I dont waste my money on something that is not suitable when I could have spent it better on something that is.

    The point you raise about the non IS on the L lens but it being on the Canon 70-300mm, that was a thought of mine but i didnt know what the pros and cons were in relation to the IS or the lens holding f4 right through the focal range, which one would be the best choice ? If the IS would more than make up for the loss of f-stop then surely...... Ha Ha, I think the canon 70-300 with the IS is the way forward unless someone comes along who has experinced the Canon L lens and would pick that over the one with IS.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    If the IS would more than make up for the loss of f-stop then surely...... Ha Ha, I think the canon 70-300 with the IS is the way forward unless someone comes along who has experinced the Canon L lens and would pick that over the one with IS.
    That's certainly the way my mind was working, but I didn't want to put my words in your mouth.

    Now, the 70-300 is not an 'L' Lens. But there are very few people in the world, relatively speaking, who need an 'L' lens. Wanting one, or more, is an entirely different matter!

    I'm sure there have been discussion on here about the quality of the 70-300 IS (but I can't remember what they said - If you hit the 'View Tag Cloud at the bottom left of this message and then choose lenses, you will find something about it in there). But the bottom line is - It's not going to be a 'bad' lens and for 99.9999% of what you will probably want to do it will be great and 100% (less 0.0000000000001%) of the people who view your work will never know the difference.

    So, if we look at IS versus non-IS. The 70-300 has got a 3-stop IS system. But beyond it's shorter end, you lose 1-stop on aperture. So, you're still going to be 2-stops to the good in terms of being able to handhold steadily.

    What you have to remember is..

    If you were wanting to capture fast action at, say, 200mm focal length the 70-200 would allow you to shoot at, say, 1/250th @ f4. The 70-300 will only allow you to shoot at 1/125th @ f5.6. You're going to be okay for steadiness because you've got the IS. But you also need to think if the loss of that 1/125th of a second in speed is going to make the difference between grabbing a good image or having something blurry.

    That's why I said what i did about maybe needing a faster lens for a fast-action sport. Buit, to compensate, maybe what you'll need to master is the art of panning so that even at the slightly slower shutter speed, you still capture your sharp image.

  12. #12
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Sporting Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruffy View Post
    anybody ??? ... will be being used for shooting motorcycle racing from anything from a few feet to approx 20 meters away, but someone has pointed me in the direction of this... it is hard when its all new to me, I just want to make sure that I dont waste my money on something that is not suitable when I could have spent it better on something that is.
    It seems to me that you are crying out for a definitive answer . . .

    If the outer limit is racing at 20mtrs (about 65ft) then a zoom with a compass to FL = 200mm using an APS-C body will be suitable.
    At 65ft the FoV(h) [Horizontal Field of View] will be a little over 7ft, which will make a nice tight frame.

    At the other end shooting motorcycle racing from a distance of “a few feet” does not compute to me, no offense implied. For me “a few” in distance terms, means “a little more than two” - ???

    So let’s assume you are in the pit and that is about 20ft from the track (6mtrs) then using a lens at FL = 70mm will just frame one bike quite tightly. I maybe am assuming wrongly, but there must be a safety distance from the track when the bikes are racing?
    If you mean that you will getting closer than 20ft and taking Photos of Bikes - then I think you need a lens in the range of 18 to 55 or 17 to 50 etc.
    I suggest not a super zoom, I feel that will disappoint.

    On the issue of IS – there will be very little, if any application of IS for motorcycle racing. There is a small argument for using panning IS, but as motorcycle racing is a linear sport, panning techniques are much easier and Panning IS really is not necessary.

    BUT – I very much doubt that your new lens, once purchased will be ONLY be used for motorcycle racing – and therein is the use of IS.

    The EF 70 to 200 series of lenses are NON-varying Maximum Aperture Lenses.
    For the application you cite, just for the moment trust me this is important.
    Also these lenses will allow the x1.4MkII Tele Extender (and the 2.0MkII also) – this might be important.

    The time of day and the weather conditions will determine the amount of light you have. If you want crisp images you need fast Tv (Shutter Speed).
    The 550D is good at ISO1600.
    On a cloudy day, let’s say I need to pull F/5.6 @ 1/1000s @ ISO1000 (F/16 Rule) – but in the shadow of the hill that might blow out two stops to: F/2.8 @ 1/1000s @ ISO1000.
    So I suggest you have a think (and a practice on cloudy days – in shadow areas) and see what Apertures and ISOs are actually required to pull shots at ≤ 1/1000s

    So where am I heading?

    Buy what you can afford – and buy the fastest aperture lens you can afford.
    Buy a NON varying maximum aperture zoom.
    Realistically evaluate whether you will use the lens for any OTHER purpose other than motorcycle racing – and apply that to whether you want IS or not.
    Realize that F/4 is pretty fast for a telephoto zoom, and ISO 1600 is pretty fast for daylight shooting – BUT BOTH Aperture and ISO can be eaten up very quickly when one NEEDS a fast Tv and the Clouds and Rain come overhead or sunset approaches rapidly . . . and I think you are in England, no?

    I steer you towards one of the EF70 to 200L lenses.

    I have the 70 to 200F/2.8 L USM and I do NOT use that lens for much else other than sport – but that is unusual as I have already mentioned.
    I shoot a lot of Field Hockey, in daytime, and I could not pull some of the shots if I only had an F/4 zoom. I regularly use ISO800, sometimes IS0O1600 and have needed to use ISO3200, on a few occasions to keep the integrity of the Shutter Speed I required.


    If you buy keen, I would think that you can always sell a 70 to 200L for not much loss.
    I expect that the IS versions are in more demand than the no IS versions as second hand items.


    Quite possibly there could be an EF70 to 200 F/2.8L IS USM floating around at a good price, consdering the MkII version's release not so long ago.


    WW

  13. #13
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    Re: Sporting Lens

    I have quite a few lenses to my Pentax cameras, but the one I love is the Tamron 70-200/2.8 (which is also available for Canon & Nikon users), which I use for everything from portraits to bird photography. According to dpreview.com's test it can rival the best, at a fraction at the cost of those lenses.

    It has no OIS, but frankly I have not missed it once :-)! I also have the Sigma 120-400, a capable lens, no doubt, which has proven to be far more demanding to use, even though it has OIS!

    As someone here wrote, it is a good investment to buy a faster lens, if there is a choice! Beware of lenses that vary widely with zoom, as it will undoubtably affect the results a lot - some lose more than three aperature steps when zooming in. Not so with the Tamron, it is 2.8, period!

    If I'd be forced to sell my cameras and lenses, I'd keep that Tamron till the end :-)!

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