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06-02-2009, 02:41 AM   #1
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Fast Zoom Recommendations

I need some help from the experts on finding the right zoom lens for my needs. I am looking for a zoom that I can use in indoor performance venues, such as gyms and school auditoriums where the lighting is poor and flash photography is ill advised.

I recently tried in vane to get some shots of my boy's violin recital with my old, trusted Promaster (Tamron?) 28-200 F 3.8 - 5.6, and was completely dissatisfied. I have had much better luck with my FA 50 1.4- its an awesome lens, but I always seem too close or too far away to get a well framed shot.

I have a few ideas, but before I chime in, let me know what direction I need to head....

Thanks,

cicak


Last edited by Cicak; 06-02-2009 at 02:42 AM. Reason: spelling
06-02-2009, 03:04 AM   #2
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The standard solution for such venues is a 70-200/2.8 - I personally have been using the older Sigma 70-200/2.8 (non-macro, non-HSM) and find it to be a very good performer in almost any situation. You can add the 1.4x Sigma Apo-tc and will get a 300/4 (nearly) which still performs excellent, even fully open.

Ben
06-02-2009, 03:56 AM   #3
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The DA*50-135. A little short on the tele range, but it's a good balance between speed, performance and quality.
06-02-2009, 04:01 AM   #4
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I would recommend the 50-135 as well. I had the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 for a week: it's a monster and I was sure I would not carry it around very frequently. IQ was amazing though, even on the 200mm end.

06-02-2009, 05:09 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
I would recommend the 50-135 as well. I had the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 for a week: it's a monster and I was sure I would not carry it around very frequently. IQ was amazing though, even on the 200mm end.
I choose the Sigma, because I found the Pentax 80-200/2.8 to be the monster and the Sigma quite sleek and lightweight in comparisson... These things are subjective and I prefer the longer reach over the smaller form factor.

Ben
06-02-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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If you are really finding the 50 sometimes too short and sometimes too long, then a zoom that only goes longer (eg, 50-135 or 70-200) will only help with half that problem. You'd also need a the DA*16-50 or the Sigron (like Canikon) :-) equivalent. Or, get something like the Tamron 28-75/2.8, which might not be long enough still, but would would at least give options on both ides of 50.

Personally, I find it pretty rare to want anything wider than 50mm for performance photography, but it all depends on the type of performance and your photographic tastes.

As a person who shoots primes mostly (was going to say primarily :-), and mostly cheap MF ones at that, I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention that option. For less than half the price of a 50-135 (much less 50-135 plus 16-50) you could get a whole bag full of MF primes. Not that you'd need a whole bag full - my experience is, once you understand what you are doing and what you are looking for, you can do an awful lot with just a couple of focal lengths. I could show up for a concert with just my M100/2.8 (the most expensive of the MF primes I own, but still often available for under $100!) and be happy. Or if you want longer and shorter than your 50, that plus an M28/2.8. Or if you're concerned 100mm isn't long enough either, an M135/3.5 and M28/2.8 that together shouldn't cost more than $100.

Here's the M135/3.5 at recent violin recital (I was about five rows back):



06-04-2009, 10:43 PM   #7
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Marc (and everyone else),

Thanks for the good advice. I have to this point been hunting around for a fast zoom, but most of the available options are either big monsters and extremely expensive (or both!)

I went back through all the EXIF data on the past few performance shoots I have been to and find that I defnitely tend toward using the longer focal lengths- It all depends on where your sitting, but to get a shot that highlights a particular peformer I typically need much more than the 50 can provide. I also noticed that I rarely zoom out to less than 50. Good things to know before making a purchase commitment.

Investing a much more modest sum on a manual prime or two is and excellent suggestion- definitely worth giving a try before dropping big bucks on zoom. I plan to do some hunting around and see if I can find a good -M 100 or 135 to try.

Cheers,

Cicak

Last edited by Cicak; 06-04-2009 at 10:44 PM. Reason: spelling
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