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06-24-2008, 09:48 AM   #1
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Best Lens for Ringside Professional Wrestling Photos

Hello all!

I will begin shooting low/theatrical light professional wrestling shows the first of August at ringside. I just got a Pentax K10D and am struggling to figure out which lens would be both affordable and best suited for the job. I need a zoom that will allow me to get both full frame shots and wide shots of the high-flying maneuvers. I can use flash if neccessary.

I have previously been shooting from the front row area and using a 28-200mm range lens and flash combo. Now, however I will be right up at ringside and will not need a zoom as close as 200mm.

I also need something that is fast and keeps up with the action. I have had issues with my flash not keeping up with my shooting at matches recently, but am using an older flash that can/will be replaced.

Thanks for your help!

06-24-2008, 10:40 AM   #2
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da* 16-50 f2.8 is perfect for the task.
06-24-2008, 11:45 AM   #3
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F2.8 is a minimum, but time for a science lesson

I would agree with attack11 that an F2.8 lens is the minimum, but I am not sure about range of focal lengths you need.

A quick search suggests the ring is 20 feet square, (this makes it 28'3 corner to corner)

I would estimate your shooting distance would be 2 feet to 30 feet.

At 30 feet to fit a 6' tall person (I assume wrestlers are tall) vertically in your frame, consider the following

Image size = focal length x object size / object distance

your frame is 16mm high (approximately)

if you make all the units the same and solve for focal length it suggests you need 78mm to fill a horizontal frame with a 6 foot wrestler.

At 1 meter you would need an 8mm lens

This means that you simply can't cover it all from ringside with the 16-50, or for that matter with any lens.

The question therefore is, what exactly is important to you assuming you are relitively confined to one place? (i.e. neutral corner)

I would think you might want up to 80mm, and perhaps give up a little on the wide end, since it will distort things any way.
06-24-2008, 12:03 PM   #4
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If you can use flash, you could try a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4. It is not a fixed opening, but it is a very good lens and would give you a little more "reach".

06-24-2008, 12:07 PM   #5
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Agree w/ Pentax DA* 16-50/2.8 here.

Or if you're in a budget, consider Sigma 18-50/2.8 EX DC Macro or Tamron 17-50/2.8.

But if you're using flash all the time, Sigma 17-70 or the new Pentax 17-70/4 (which I doubt will be available when you start your work) should do the work too.
You'll get more reach with these in case they are on the other side of the ring so you don't have to always chase them.
I think being too close with some wrestlers in action is not a safe environment
06-24-2008, 12:57 PM   #6
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flash and slow lenses

for Flyer and HermanLee there is a side issue with use of flash, it is not the distance that is important, but recycle time, using a faster prime (opened up to use the speed) will also cut the recycle time of the flash because it is not firing with the same light output as it would with a slower lens (or stopped down to smaller apature)

as a result a fast lens is needed just to reduce the flash recycle time. Note also that higher ISO may also be needed


Here goes the big point and I will have some fun here at the expense of those who who complain about the 3fps frame rate of the pentax k10/20 bodies. where is the battery powered flash that can run at more than 3fps?
06-24-2008, 01:41 PM   #7
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Best lens for Professional Wrestling?!? No offense, but "whatever comes with a Holga" springs to mind.



.
06-24-2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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Another lens suggestion would be the Tamron SP 28-75 f/2.8. As for the flash recycle time, cut your flash power down some and bump up the ISO slightly. In general, if it takes 2 seconds to recycle from a full flash shot, you can cut the output in half and recycle in 1 second. You don't always need full flash. Also, watch out for the ropes causing weird shadows in your shots.

Oh, and watch out for the flying blood and spit, but I guess you already knew that. Does Rick Flair still 'rassle?

06-24-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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You're right, Lowell.

I hardly use flash so don't really count how many fps the new flash can go for.
06-24-2008, 07:25 PM   #10
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I second the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. Fabulous lens that should likely fit the bill for you. Sigma 17-70mm if you are needing a little wider. Both are solid lenses in the $300 range.

c[_]
06-24-2008, 07:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
I second the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. Fabulous lens that should likely fit the bill for you. Sigma 17-70mm if you are needing a little wider. Both are solid lenses in the $300 range.

c[_]
I would also go for this as a possible option, I use it for TaeKwon Do photos, when I go to tournaments with my son. The reason I did not bring it us at first is I am not sure whether it is wide enough. It is, however a super lens, and I like the speed as I feel a flash is too distracting (or blinding if you let loose with an AF540 at full power and less than 20 feet)
06-24-2008, 08:06 PM   #12
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The most affordable fixed aperture lens is Sigma 24-60 f2.8. Its going for sub $300 online now. If budget is top priority take a look at this lens, I have my eyes on one right now.

Some how this lens is not as popular as other similar lens (ie: 17-50 or 28-75 f2.8), but I did see some favorable reviews.
06-24-2008, 08:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kei Quote
The most affordable fixed aperture lens is Sigma 24-60 f2.8. Its going for sub $300 online now. If budget is top priority take a look at this lens, I have my eyes on one right now.

Some how this lens is not as popular as other similar lens (ie: 17-50 or 28-75 f2.8), but I did see some favorable reviews.
It is an excellent lens, but it is big and heavy. Front end filter is 77mm vs 67mm for the Tamron 28-75. I took the 28-75 because of the 2 graduated ND and 1 polarizer that I already had in 67mm, which are used with 2 other lenses I own. going for the sigma would have cost a lot more because I would have to get more filters.
06-24-2008, 08:43 PM   #14
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Personally if I was to shoot a wrestling match in a low light situation I'd want something f1.8 or faster.
So your stuck with primes.

I'd probably try a 50mm f/1.4, and see how I liked it the first day, then go from there.

It really doesn't have to be the FA 50mm f/1.4, a Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 would probably give you a really good idea if it's the right size. And you can occasionally get them for cheap (even free like I did)

Then just step back from the ring when required, and don't be afraid to use the crop function.

You'll still get better quality images than with a slower lens and higher ISO.
06-24-2008, 09:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
It is an excellent lens, but it is big and heavy. Front end filter is 77mm vs 67mm for the Tamron 28-75. I took the 28-75 because of the 2 graduated ND and 1 polarizer that I already had in 67mm, which are used with 2 other lenses I own. going for the sigma would have cost a lot more because I would have to get more filters.
Agreed, the lens size/weight is one reason I am still looking (not yet buying) the Sigma 24-60. The good reveiws and sample pictures will probably push me over to pull the trigger (especially some Canon shooters claim to use the this one as a close substitue of the "L" lens).

If I am getting the Sigma 24-60 I would use that for indoor walkaround and portrait so I will only get the UV filter for protection.
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