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Thread: Thinking of upgrading lens... Advice?

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    Member Jacko30's Avatar
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    Thinking of upgrading lens... Advice?

    Hi All, long time lurker, first time poster.

    I have been getting into the photography hobby over the last year. I snagged a bargain at a closing down sale and grabbed a Canon 1100D with the 18-55. Since then I have really gotten into the photography and upgraded to a second hand 50D. At the moment, I am mainly taking photos of mountain bike races. I have a 17-85 which stays on the camera and a 50 f/1.8 which only gets used in low light. The beauty of the sport is that you can stand as close or as far back as you want to get your photos and recently I have found myself getting quite close to the track with focal lengths averaging around 24mm

    Most of the time I am also using a Nissin Di622 speetlite to add extra light to the scene are make the riders stand out from the background. The limiting factor though is the max of 1/250 shutter speed which occasionaly results in a blurry photo.
    My current plan is to trade the Nissin for a Canon 430EXII, which has the high-speed sync that I am looking for. Is it going to be worth the money for that feature alone?
    Also I was thinking of getting hold of a 70-200mm f/4 USM because there are a lot of times where I am hitting the end of the 85mm and wishing i had that extra reach. My only concern is that 70mm might be a bit long for a 50D. I have heard nothing but great things from this lens and it seems many people swear by their 70-200. Do you think this is a wise choice for the kind of work I am doing or am I going to find it too long on a crop body? How far away would I have to be to get, say, 3/4 of a rider in the photo? Would this be too far away for the flash to be effective?

    Thanks for any advice.

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    Member gje38752's Avatar
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    There is no problem with a 70-200 on a 50D it would be best to ensure the lens has IS, you will not be disappointed. From memory the Canon lens you refer to is suitable for use up to about 40 or so ft.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that high speed sync will help you much. Even tho the Canon flash may cover up to 40ft, you'll find that it doesn't have enough power to reach this coverage in HSS mode!

    As you already have the 50/1.8, I'd suggest you try this lens for a bit to see if it helps any. You should be able to get some reasonable IQ from it when set to f/2.0 for a high shutter speed.
    Also using this lens will give you a better idea of the limitations of having a longer focal length in your chosen field.
    The problem you have at the moment is that it's all too easy for you to zoom out to a shorter focal length with your 17-85 lens.

    Other lens option could be the 24-105 f/4. While it's not as long as the 70-200mm, it won't feel as restrictive at the wider end.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Ausphotography Veteran Speedway's Avatar
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    I use my 70-200 2.8L for most of my motor sport photography. Dirt Go Karts, (my main subject) are shot from the infield fairly close to the edge of the track occasionally I would like something a bit wider and the 24-105 as suggested by A K would be a good choice. The next lens I am working toward is the 24-70 F2.8. As for the nifty 50, I have found it too slow in auto focus to be of much use. I have tried flash both on board and remote (1 & 2) units and have never been totally satisfied with the results. If you can the F 2.8 and is-os versions give you a big advantage in low light. Also look at the Sigma/Tamron versions of these lenses.
    Cheers
    Keith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedway View Post
    I use my 70-200 2.8L for most of my motor sport photography. Dirt Go Karts, (my main subject) are shot from the infield fairly close to the edge of the track occasionally I would like something a bit wider and the 24-105 as suggested by A K would be a good choice. The next lens I am working toward is the 24-70 F2.8. As for the nifty 50, I have found it too slow in auto focus to be of much use. I have tried flash both on board and remote (1 & 2) units and have never been totally satisfied with the results. If you can the F 2.8 and is-os versions give you a big advantage in low light. Also look at the Sigma/Tamron versions of these lenses.
    Cheers
    Keith.
    Yes, I was also finding that, without USM, the 50mm was a bit slow to focus and was missing quite a few shots.
    While I was at the London Olympics, my 17-85 got the dreaded aperture cable issue and was unusable. Luckily I had the 50mm and was able to take photos. It was usable, and I loved the quality of the images, but wasn't fully satisfied in its performance otherwise. I missed having both ends of the zoom that I had on the 17-85 and the lack of USM was a real bummer.
    Unfortunately the f/2.8 70-200 is a bit out of my price range, considering the entry level f/4 is approaching the upper limits of my budget.

    I was also considering the 24-105, but I think that it would then become my general-purpose lens and I would really miss the 18-24 range. Also, how does the IQ compare to the 70-200?

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    i recently upgraded my kit lens 55-250 to the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens as i mainly to equestrian/eventing photo's the main reason for the move was the oh slow focus of the kit lens i have nothing but good quick/pin point focus with the f4 lens and highly recommend it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacko30 View Post
    [EOS 1100D] . . . I am mainly taking photos of mountain bike races. I have a 17-85 which stays on the camera and a 50 f/1.8 which only gets used in low light. The beauty of the sport is that you can stand as close or as far back as you want to get your photos and recently I have found myself getting quite close to the track with focal lengths averaging around 24mm . . . [Full Frame shot of a bike at about 30° to the Camera and the Photograph taken in Landscape Orientation means you’d be about 8ft to 10ft 93~4mtrs from the action (with some air around the bike)]

    Most of the time I am also using a Nissin Di622 speetlite to add extra light to the scene are make the riders stand out from the background. The limiting factor though is the max of 1/250 shutter speed which occasionaly results in a blurry photo.

    My current plan is to trade the Nissin for a Canon 430EXII, which has the high-speed sync that I am looking for. Is it going to be worth the money for that feature alone?

    Also I was thinking of getting hold of a 70-200mm f/4 USM because there are a lot of times where I am hitting the end of the 85mm and wishing i had that extra reach. My only concern is that 70mm might be a bit long for a 50D. I have heard nothing but great things from this lens and it seems many people swear by their 70-200. Do you think this is a wise choice for the kind of work I am doing or am I going to find it too long on a crop body? How far away would I have to be to get, say, 3/4 of a rider in the photo? Would this be too far away for the flash to be effective?


    The question of the effectiveness of the Flash WITHOUT HSS to Arrest Subject Motion will be determined by the AMBIENT Light Level and the Bike's speed and distance from the camera and the lens used - but for most cases and a simple rule of thumb - IF the scene is DARKER the FLASH will be more efficient at arresting Subject Motion.

    Ambient Light levels also will determine the maximum WD (Working Distance) of the Flash, when you want to use the Flash as Fill.

    Therefore - the question of whether buying a flash with HSS will be worthwhile, or not, will be best decided upon how close you can actually work and also how bright the ambient light levels are likely to be.

    But yes, as a general rule HSS will allow a faster shutter speed: but it is important to understand these two things:
    • Using HSS will rob you of effective power, and thus rob you of effective WD.
    • The brighter the Ambient Light the shorter the Flash’s effective WD.



    ***


    For example.

    My expectation of your blurred shots would be when you are working in Full Sunlight or close to it - and you want the Flash to come close to balance the Ambient Exposure

    So let’s assume you are in full sun - IF you use the F/16 Rule for your exposure AND let’s say you are about 3mtrs from the Bike.

    For this following example we will be using a Nissin 622mkii Flash Unit.

    The Specs (I found) say the Guide Number, (GN) for this particular Flash unit, are:
    GN - ISO100 / meters (for 135 format camera):
    GN25 at FL = 24mm; GN35 at FL = 50mm; GN44 at FL = 105mm.

    You’re using a 1100D and are at about FL = 24mm, so I will use the GN for a 50mm Lens (that’s a generous extrapolation, as the GN for your set up will be – at a guess, closer ot about GN =28).

    Note I added a bit to your question and extrapolated the SD (Shooting Distance).
    At about 9ft (3mtrs) from the Subject when we frame the shot in Portrait Orientation, the Flash’s WD is also 3mtrs (because it is mounted on the Camera’s Hot-shoe).

    I understand the 1100D's Max Sync Speed is Tv = 1/200s
    (Not 1/250s)? (
    This is the FASTEST shutter speed useable, with Flash).
    You might check that out?
    Anyway, the difference doesn't matter that much for the sake of this example

    For the EXPOSURE, we use the F/16 rule – so let’s use this exposure:
    F/11 @ 1/250s @ ISO100

    Now let’s look at the Guide Number of the Flash unit.

    The GN (at ISO100) and for a 50mm lens is: 35.

    The formula is: GN = D x f
    (GN = Guide Number; D = Distance; f = f/number of the aperture used)

    So substituting in the Distance and the f/number for this particular shot, we get: 3 x 11 = 33.

    So therefore we now know that using a flash with a GN = 35, we are right on the absolute limit of the Flash’s capacity to fill the shadows to match the Sunlight Exposure and this also assumes the manufactures have NOT been elastic with the truth about the GN.

    This is why some Flash Fill in Sunlight shots which are attempted; are indeed, just impossible to make.


    +++


    I believe that the GN- ISO100 for the Canon 430EX MkII is GN =43, at FL = 105mm (135 Format).

    So (in theory) the Canon Flash has about the same power as the Nissin you already have.
    So therefore on Sunny days, HSS might not be all that helpful for Flash as Fill: I expect you might as well just use a faster Shutter Speed and no Flash at all.

    However, IF you shoot in lower ambient light levels – then that might be different story: you would need to calculate backwards (as per the example) from the Ambient Light Level you expect, then you can get a reasonable idea of what the WD for the Flash could be.

    You could use an "Off Camera Cord" or “Remote Triggers” which will allow the FLASH to keep its working distance from the Subject and yet allow the camera to be farther away from the Subject.

    You can calculate (roughly) that the Flash will be robbed of about 30%~40% of WORKING DISTANCE when you engage HSS in reasonably daylight (i.e. soft cloud to full sun).


    ***


    On your lens question -

    Framing ¾ of a Bike (side on to the camera) at FL = 85mm, means that you are working at about 18ft (6mtrs) from the Subject. If you have Flash on Camera, I doubt you’ll get much Flash as Fill, from either the Nissin or the Canon Units shooting in any type of daylight.

    Framimg ¾ of a Bike (side on to the camera) at FL = 200mm, means that you are working at about 42ft (13mtrs) from the Subject.
    I expect either Flash will be useless in this shooting scenario.

    You can work this out for yourself using most DoF calculators - most of them have a FoV (Field of View) calculator in them.

    ***

    I would buy the EF 70 to 200F/4L IS USM, rather than the EF 70 to 200F/4L USM.

    ***

    Addendum:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacko30 View Post
    I was also considering the 24-105, but I think that it would then become my general-purpose lens and I would really miss the 18-24 range. Also, how does the IQ compare to the 70-200?
    In the real world, I expect one would be struggling to notice any difference with either of the two 70 to 200/4L lenses, especially used on an APS-C Camera.


    WW
    Last edited by William W; 12-03-2013 at 11:50am. Reason: addendum added

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    Try this link. This was shot with my 50D and my 70 - 200 mm F2.8 L at 70mm.

    The big fella closet in frame, if you look at his feet there is a blue line on the grass, that's the 5 meter line, I was probably two to three feet behind the side line.

    The 70 - 200 is a fantastic lens, fine on my 50D (F2.8 that is - I haven't used an F4), but if the riders are in deep shadows and fading light, as in most shots I've seen, the F4 and high ISO's on the 50D may not yield the best results.

    I'd steer you to a F2.8, as it's faster, can you borrow say a 17 - 55 mm F2.8 ans trial it, the F2.8 is going to give you faster shutter, more open Aperture and more forgiving ISO settings.

    If your budget can stretch, a S/H 70 - 200 MM Non IS F2.8 L will do the job easily. You'll have to lift the ISO either way, the 70 - 200 mm will also sink with a flash.
    They call me "Blue" it's a red head thing.
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