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Thread: Need a new lens for surf photography?

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    Need a new lens for surf photography?

    ok so my current setup is 1000D with the kit lens my longest is the EF-S 55-250 IS i do alot of surf photography but I am looking to uprage my lens. I originally wanted something with a bit more zoom for shooting from the beach but I think a longer lens is a bit out of my price range as Im looking for under $1000 so I was looking at the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens, I know its a bit shorter but I was hoping for a better image quality for cropping. I am also upgrading to a 60D in the near future too. would this lens be a better option than my current lens or should i save some more?

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    thanks

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Keep saving and get the 100-400 f4. You will be better off saving for longer and getting a lens that offers a longer focal length than 200 if surf photography is something you want to do for years to come. The 100-400 also is a great birding lens.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Rick is right, even 400mm is often too short, many surf guys are shooting 600mm f/4 glass. I have shot the Boost Surfsho (Yes that's how they spell it) at Bondi, and with the 400/2.8VR + 1.7TC I was still cropping quite heavily to fill the frame. I would have done better with the 2xTC @ 800mm.

    The Canon 100-400 is a proven, good longer lens with reasonable affordability. There is always the Sigma 50-500 and 150-500 but they are slow, especially at the 500mm end.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Best quality would be the 100-400mm canon (which will also be useful for a lot of other stuff) is your best option.

    Next best option, the 150-500mm sigma or 50-500mm sigma. There is also the older AF sigma 170-500mm (Mrs Mongo still has hers) which sell second hand in excellent condition for about $550-$650

    Now before you say they are all out of your price range - they are NOT !!! think mint second hand and all becomes possible ! Mongo has about 15 lenses (or more) and only 2 or 3 were purchased new. The rest were purchased mint (and close to mint) second hand and all have been flawless for more than 20 years and still going.
    Last edited by mongo; 23-04-2012 at 7:38am.
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    I'd agree.. def hold out for a minimum 400mm.. 500mm even better...
    I have the 60D already (love it) ...with a sigma APO 120-400mm which takes some gorgeous shots
    cost me around 1K about 2 or so years ago
    and if ya after new .. then the APO 150-500mm is just over the 1K but wheelin n dealin for ca$h should get it under
    like mongo says ... def check out 2nd hand stuff .. good deals can be picked up ..
    savin some $$ atm as I'd love a 2nd hand 70-200mm canon to have in the bag
    - Daz
    weathers good.. bird pics .... weathers bad .. storm pics..
    do or do not.. ...stop ya procrastinating!!!!
    Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 APO DG OS, EOS 300D, Canon EF 28-80mm 3.5-5.6 IV, Canon EF 35-70mm 3.5-4.5, Canon EF 50mm 1.8

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    Buying a longer telephoto lens for sport has been something which plays on my mind, looking at threads like this by far the most recommended canon lens is the 100-400. What do people think of using a 70-200 F2.8 with a 2X TC. It would give the same focal length and only a slightly slower aperture (5.6-6.4) as opposed to 4.5-5.6. Plus on top of that you'd have a great constant F2.8 shorter lens. Buying the non IS 70-200 would aslo result in paying a pretty similar price to the 100-400
    Last edited by Cyza; 23-04-2012 at 11:25am.
    Canon 60D - 24-105 F4 L - Sigma 10-20 - Kit lenses - 50mm F:1.8 - Tamron 90mm F:2.8 Macro - 430 exII _ Extension Tube Set


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    Other option is to get an EF 200mm L F2.8 prime with a Kenko 2X teleconvertor. Gives you 400mm at f5.6. Should be able to get these 2nd hand for $1000.

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    A second hand 300/4L IS and the x1.4MkII EF Converter is another option to consider and is on or near your budget.

    When considering all the options, also consider how the new lens will fit into your whole kit and WHAT ELSE (other than surfing) you want to photograph.

    For example, I would expect that the 100 to 400, when used for surfing, will be used as a Prime Lens – i.e. at 400mm . . . if that is all (or the majority of) the use it is going to get, then a Telephoto Prime Lens would be a better option: the 400/5.6 is well respected – a second hand 400/5.6 would be on your budget.

    On the other hand: IF you want a lens to also REPLACE the 50 to 250 range, and have superior IQ and Lens Speed, then saving for one of the 70 to 200/2.8L lenses (and a x2.0MkII or MkIII converter to get to 400mm), could be a better option for you, when you need 400mm for Surfing Photos.

    I suggest you think of the whole kit and not just of a “surfing lens”

    You also mentioned using a 200mm lens with good IQ for cropping (to get the equivalent of a longer lens for your surfing shots) – that’s a two edged sword and be aware of it apropos Lens Speed:

    A slower lens, like the 70 to 200/4L . . . requires to more stops of ISO to make the same Shutter Speed as the 200/2.8L – so value per each crop to make the framing of a 400mm lens – the Prime will always win: similarly the 300/4L has the same lens speed as the 70 to 200/4 – but there is less to crop – hence the Prime Lens is the better choice in this comparison, also.

    Also, apart from the EF 70 to 200F/2.8L USM and the EF 70 to 200F/2.8L IS MkII USM, it is only the (F/2.8) Primes which will perform Very Well to Excellent when used with the x2.0MkII (or MkIII) EF Converters.

    [With the 200/2.8L, I would prefer the x2.0 EF MkII Converter (i.e. Canon), there is a difference in IQ between it, and the Kenko, especially noticeable when the lens is at F/2.8~F/3.5 and the dif. in cost of the converter, is not that much in the long run].

    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyza View Post
    Buying a longer telephoto lens for sport has been something which plays on my mind,looking at threads like this by far the most recommended canon lens is the100-400. What do people think of using a 70-200 F2.8 with a 2X TC. It wouldgive the same focal length and only a slightly slower aperture (5.6-6.4) asopposed to 4.5-5.6. Plus on top of that you'd have a great constant F2.8shorter lens. Buying the non IS 70-200 would aslo result in paying a prettysimilar price to the 100-400


    Please see my post above.
    Specifically and further to that first post:
    The only combinations to consider (as mentioned above) are:
    > the EF 70 to 200F/2.8L USM and the x2.0MkII EF converter; or
    > the EF70 to 200F/2.8 L IS MkII USM and the x2.0 MkIII EF Converter.
    The latter mentioned combination, is slightly superior in all respects, except lens speed.


    The addition of a x2.0 converter, changes the zoom’s working lens speed (maximum aperture) to F/5.6 across all of the effective zoom range (140mm ~ 400mm) – i.e. there is no F/6.4 consideration.


    As a direct in field comparison of the EF70 to 200F/2.8L USM mounted with the x2.0MkII against the EF 100 to 400F/4.5~5.6 and both lenses used wide open – the 100 to 400 appears a tad better (at the edges) up to about FL = 280~300mm – and then the smaller zoom plus extender, makes up ground from the 300mm to 400mm region where there is not much in it.

    Some argue lens AF is faster on the 100 to 400: for practical purposes (Field Hockey and Soccer) I did not notice this.


    All F/5.6 lenses are a tad difficult to nail AF focus in failing light and failing soft light - and in this regard the 100 to 400 might (underscore MIGHT) have an edge as the night time comes in or the clouds approach . . . maybe.

    I don't shoot Birds (in flight) so no comment there.


    ***


    Your question hits on the value of the lens within the "whole kit" – and as you mentioned the 70 to200/2.8 is a nice bit of glass to have handy – IF you need F/2.8 and IF you use that ZOOM RANGE (i.e. if you use only 70mm and 200mm, then buy an 85/1.8 and a 200/2.8 instead of the zoom).

    The 100 to 400 is a very nice lens: I have used three copies and will likely never ever buy one – the lens drives me nuts for various small and tedious reasons, which others find not an issue: therefore for me the answer is I always carry BOTH Canon tele-extenderswhenever I pack my 70 to 200/2.8, even if I am carrying a 300 or 400 prime as well as the smaller zoom.

    This is an image and enlargement made with the 70 to 200F/2.8L USM + 2.0MkII used at 400mm.
    F/6.3@ 1/640s @ ISO250 Transverse Motion - Hand Held.
    Note: this is the lens stopped down only 1/3 stop
    At 1/640s I am reasonably confident to HH - though 1/1000s is easier:




    This an image and enlargement made with the 70 to 200F/2.8L USM + 2.0MkII used at 400mm
    F6.3@ 1/1600s @ ISO250 Head-On Motion - Hand Held
    Agian the lens stopped down only 1/3 stop:



    IMO the x2.0MkII (or MkIII) is a pretty handy device to have in any kit if you already own the EF70 to 200/2.8L USM or the EF70 to 200F/2.8 IS MkII USM.

    The 400F/2.8L IS and the 300/2.8L IS are both an heavy and bulky lens to carry everywhere and the 100 to 400 is not a lens which fits into my “Whole Kit” concept – but it does for others.


    The other lightweight combination to consider for the “Whole Kit” concept is the (already mentioned) 300F/4 IS and the x1.4MkII – but that does not give the zoom range capacity of the 70 to 200.

    Whether a 70 to 200 plus tele extender suits your kit - only you will know after due consideration: but do not let folk sway you in that choice, with incorrect chatter, that the IQ is severely compromised by using a Canon X2.0 Extender on those two 70 to 200 zoom lenses which are specifically mentioned - those combinations work and they work very well: especially for Outdoor Sports applications - which is specifically what your question and the OP's question, are about.


    WW
    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    . . . A slower lens, like the 70 to 200/4L . . .requires to more stops of ISO to make the same Shutter Speed as the 200/2.8L –so value per each crop to make the framing of a 400mm lens – the Prime willalways win:. . .

    TYPO – and would not allow correction, it should read:

    A slower lens, like the 70 to 200/4L . . . requires two more stops of ISOto make the same Shutter Speed as the 200/2.8L – so value per each crop to makethe framing of a 400mm lens – the Prime will always win:. . .

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    William has made some good points and shown some impressive backup images.

    The only thing MOngo will add is if you are going to consider a used 70-200mm f2.8 , do not discount the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. Mongo has found it to be very impressive in this category of lens. However, you need to check how good it is with converters of course. William has already covered this point as far as the canon option is concerned.

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    I realise this has already been said multiple times but the 100-400 is an amazing lens. Maybe consider hiring or borrowing a lens from a friend and try the options out and see whats best for you. I have used the 100-400 to photograph military aircraft at airshows and it is an amazing lens for any fast sport. Check my shots for the Avalon Airshow, it was very dark and overcast but I still managed to freeze aircraft traveling over 200km an hour! But honestly, try before you buy, hiring is really cheap for a day or half day and then you can make a more informed decision

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    wow thanks alot for all the info guys, I will have to read again to really take in all those numbers haha some good options that i never thought of. Sounds like a converter would be a good option to have in the kit for a number of reasons. Ill have a look at some of the options you mentioned. Can anyone suggest some good second hand sites and how would i go about hiring a lens?

    thanks

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    For clarity, Post #9 in response to Cyza, I only considered CANON Lenses.
    I have no experience with the Sigma 70 to 200/2.8 and therefore I was not making any comment on it or comparison to it.

    WW

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    I do a fair bit of surf shooting with my 100-400mm "dustpump". Usually you have to crop a bit to get a good composition, but the lens quality is very good and allows for that. Also it focusses well and fast - even on my older 5D Mark II. Havan't done any surf shooting on my new Mark II yet but expect even better results.


    And more of that on Flickr in the surf set.

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