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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts...Was on another forum and no one could decide what lens would be good to get pictures without blurring with ...
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Old 22-03-2007, 00:04   #1 (permalink)
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good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

Was on another forum and no one could decide what lens would be good to get pictures without blurring with no flash of gymnast on apparatus. (no flash photography for fear it will startle the gymnasts and they will hurt themselves) Talk is that a lens at f2.8 is not fast enough while other disagreed and believed it would give good pics. Any opinions here?
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Old 22-03-2007, 00:15   #2 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

You can increase the ISO settings and shoot in lower light situations. If you want to capture movement, you will need to experiment with the balance between ISO and shutter speed to get the required result. Sometimes a bit of blur can add to an image depicting movement.

You do not say what focal length lens you are using. The longer the lens, the highr the shutter speed will have to be to prevent camera shake.

Don't forget that you will probably have to change the white balance too.
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Old 22-03-2007, 00:52   #3 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

there was several lens discussed the Canon EF 24-105 f/4 IS USM , the 70-200mm, the 70-300mm, some were discussing using a prime lens of 85mm f1.8.
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Old 22-03-2007, 01:14   #4 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

There are quite alot of variables here, a bit of background info would be really helpful -

Straight away budget comes to mind... How much are you willing to spend on the lens?. Does it have to be a Canon lens or would you be just as happy with a Sigma or Tamron if it did the job? (I'm assuming you'd be using the Canon XTI/400D)

Info about the venue would also be good if you know... What positions and distance are you able to shoot from, is it just in the stands with the other spectators or can you move about and get closer? What is the lighting in the venue like, dull, bright? (big venues are normally pretty bad for camera lighting ).

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Old 22-03-2007, 21:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

For many of the events that I attend I am stuck in the stands with the other parents so I am not able to move around unless we are in our own school gym. The gyms are not huge venues. Lighting is overhead florescent lighting. Right now I am just looking for answers. Price is important but I need the right information to make that decision. There were so many opinions on the other forum it was hard to get it all straight. Having not had any experience with the Sigma or Tamron I am unsure about them. And anyways not one camera shop in our province has the Tamron and only one has the Sigma and with very little price diference from the Canon. Do all the automated functions of the camera still work with the Sigma lens? Reason I ask is my husband who sometimes uses the camera relies heavily on the automated functions.
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Old 22-03-2007, 23:15   #6 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

OK - there are a few more things to think about here. Given the situation you will be in, it might be that the autofocus system of your camera may not funtion well, so you'll need the lens to be easy to focus - that is the focus ring has to be easy to access, some lenses have very thin focus rings, and they can be at the front or the rear of the lens. You need it where it feels best. You might be able to pre-focus a lot of the time, so it is not a huge problem.

Image stablisation would probably be an advantage. This will enable slower shutter speeds to be used, bearing in mind if you want to freeze any action, you will need higher speeds. So while for indoor/low light situations using a fair bit of zoom IS will let you get away with relatively slow lenses, the opposite applies to freeze the action. Here you have to have high shutter speed, and this requires fast lenses.

Don't forget you can increase the ISO to ease the problem, only you can decide if the increase in noise is acceptable. Sometimes noise can add to an image, and there are always noise reducing programs to fall back on too.

I doubt you will need more than 200mm at the top end unless the stadia you are going to be in are HUGE, but a 70-200 f2.8 lens will be quite heavy compared to a similar lens that is slower. A prime lens will be lighter. You could use a 70-200 with a monopod to make it less of an issue to hold for any length of time. Back to your choice again!

Can you get to a store to try a couple of lenses? you will know the sort of range you will be shooting at, so will probably be able to narrow the choice down to two or three that are suitable, then go for the one you find easiest to use.
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Old 23-03-2007, 00:21   #7 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinemom View Post
For many of the events that I attend I am stuck in the stands with the other parents so I am not able to move around unless we are in our own school gym. The gyms are not huge venues.
Due to this I would recommend a zoom lens, if you had been able to move around then a prime lens might have been a better bet but a zoom lens will give you more shooting options for the different events held around the arena. As Dabs has mentioned previously, try taking a look at the 70-200mm range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinemom View Post
Lighting is overhead florescent lighting.
Probably not the best condition's for getting high enough shutter speeds from your camera. There's the Canon 70-200L f/4 which is a great lens but to be honest I think you will struggle getting the speeds you want with an f/4 lens. The problem is moving up to f/2.8 will bring quite a price hike with it. Canon's 70-200 f/2.8 is highly regarded and is definitely one you should look at but if you find the price too high I'd recommend taking a look at the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, a highly regarded, very sharp, well built lens that should be cheaper than the Canon equivalent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinemom View Post
Having not had any experience with the Sigma or Tamron I am unsure about them. And anyways not one camera shop in our province has the Tamron and only one has the Sigma and with very little price diference from the Canon.
Well that kinda rules out Tamron then Like all lens companies (including Canon) they make good and not so good lenses but the one mentioned above is a good one, price's are normally cheaper than the Canon equivalent, if not at that particular shop then you can always look online if you feel that's the way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinemom View Post
Do all the automated functions of the camera still work with the Sigma lens?
They do indeed, just make sure you get the correct lens mount if you choose to get one.

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Old 23-03-2007, 10:36   #8 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

In this month's Digital Photo magazine they have a telephoto zoom lens test. Eight lenses in the 70-300 range.

Gold awards went to the Canon 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM at 370 UK price (and the Nikkor equivalent), but the silver award went to the Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 APO DG Macro at 160. This appears to give the best value in this range.

I'm pleased with my Sigma 70-200 f2.8, but have not used it in the situation you will be shooting in, and it is heavy.
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Old 23-03-2007, 12:43   #9 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

I am led to think the Canon EF 135 F2.0 is a good choice for this sort of thing and the performance is generally described as "Stellar".
Sports hall lighting is not your friend however and, without IS, you may well have to push the iso higher than you would like.
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Old 23-03-2007, 22:47   #10 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

Thanks for all the advice. I am making my way to a camera shop this weekend. Hopefully i can find something that will work. I think that I am going to have to find a sugar daddy to pay for all the lenses I want.
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Old 24-03-2007, 15:18   #11 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

Depending on how far away you are, I'd be looking towards the 135mm f/2 or the 85mm f/1.8.

I own the Nikon equivalents of both and couldn't be without either.
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Old 24-03-2007, 18:23   #12 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

hi pinemom,

try this site , it might help you, it shows some nice pics with canon f1.8 85mm

Review of Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II Lens and Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Lens


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Old 31-03-2007, 14:58   #13 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

I have taken pictures at 2 gymnastics shows for my daughters club and have used a nikon 80-200mm f2,8 a 50mm f1.4 and the nikon kit lense 18-70, which I found surprisingly good.

I think that the trade off between iso and shutter speed is the key.
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Old 31-03-2007, 22:14   #14 (permalink)
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Re: good lens to take close up pics of gymnasts

The lighting is the only thing that's going to give possible cause for concern... if there's enough of it, you should be safe.

Anyways, from a technical standpoint you need shutter speed of around 1/200 - 1/500 second to freeze a body in motion relative to the speed that most gymnasts perform at... the tradeoff will be: shutter speed vs. lens aperture vs. ISO setting.

Noted sports photographer Soenar Chamid (just google his name!) regularly photographs many different sporting events - his settins of choice for indoors action start at ISO400 and 1/400 sec exposure at f/2.8 using a 70-200 f/2.8 lens. Note: at those shutter speeds VR / IS doesn't come into play, so you don't need a lens that offers that feature.

If you're relatively close to the action you'll be best served by either a Canon or Sigma 70-200 f/2.8; the Canon lens has better optical qualities vs. the Sigma, but is quite a bit more expensive... I know that $2.2K is a lot to throw down on a lens but it'd be worth it - of course the Sigma is half the price but, as ever, you pay your money and take your choice
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