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04-18-2013, 06:33 AM   #1
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Hockey & Lenses

Yos suggested I post this here. Thanks, Yos.
Hey all,
My name is Bill and I just purchased my first DSLR a Pentax K30. I'm ever so slowly learning the functions and the operations of the camera, but it's coming along....slowly
My wife and I are huge hockey fans and we'll be flying up to Ann Arbor MI from our home in Texas for the NHL's Winter Classic on 01 Jan 2014. The game is going to be outside at "The Big House", the Univerisity of Michigan's football stadium. Of course the question is what lens would be suitable for taking pictures for a fast sport like ice hockey being played outside. Our seats are about the middle of the stadium so I wasn't sure if a 200mm lens would be enough - It is a very large stadium. I'd love to have the WR 300mm due to possible inclement weather, but it's not like money is no object.
As you can tell my knowledge of lenses - and cameras - is almost non-existant.
Any advise you guys could put fourth would be appreciated.
One thing: I haven't checked with the NHL, but usually there is a limit on the size of lens you can have. That, at least, has been my experience in the indoor arenas I've visited.
Regards,
Bill


Last edited by Parallax; 04-18-2013 at 07:15 AM.
04-18-2013, 08:21 AM   #2
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Bright sunlight, outdoors, far away...hmm..the 55-300 is a great lens with good IQ that has significantly more reach than a 200mm. Of course there are longer lenses but to get one with descent IQ will cost a good bit. You can use a rain sleeve on the 55-300 and still be able to take photos in inclement weather.
04-18-2013, 08:22 AM   #3
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70-200 will suffice, with some cropping. 300+ would still be ideal, though.

Other than buying a longer lens, I don't know what to say, other than focus on getting steady shots so they can be cropped reasonably later.
04-18-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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Well, we're hoping for bright sunshine, Docrwm. It is Michigan soooooo......I can swing a 55-300, which is what I want. I'll just do it when the wife isn't looking Thanks, all.I

04-18-2013, 11:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 18 mths Quote
Well, we're hoping for bright sunshine, Docrwm. It is Michigan soooooo......I can swing a 55-300, which is what I want. I'll just do it when the wife isn't looking Thanks, all.I
Please go into your profile and update your Location setting so we can see at a glance where you are calling home.

Yeah, love my 55-300 ... enjoy watching hockey more than shooting however.
04-18-2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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That subject line made me wonder about what I'd see here!

I poked around a little but couldn't find any actual rules about limits on lens sizes. That's going to be the most important limit. They may not let you bring a camera with a detachable lens like some venues.

Indoor lighting would be a significant problem. You'd probably want a lens that opens to f2.8 to get any shots of players moving. Outdoors, you're probably going to be fine at f5.6 or so, maybe raising the ISO to get a decent shutter speed if it's cloudy. Focal length will probably be a choice between 200 and 300 because of cost or size limits, though you might end up cropping even at 300mm.

Your camera will probably underexpose the players on ice because the ice is mostly white. Follow the suggestions for taking photos in snow, using +1 to +2 Ev to get the players exposed better.

I took some comparison shots to give you an idea of the lens size on the cameras. The cameras here are the *ist DS and DL, close but not quite a K-30. On the left is a DA 18-55mm kit lens for size reference. The first photo shows the DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR version, about the same size as all the the DA 50-200s. The second shot is pretending to be the DA 55-300mm f4-5.8, which I don't have so I simulated with extension tubes and hoods - diameter should be close. This lens is usually a bit smaller than the inexpensive Sigma or Tamron 70-300mm f4-5.6 alternatives. The third shot is simulating the DA* 300mm f4 or one of the 70-200mm f2.8s. The lens I used is just slightly longer than the DA and shorter than the Sigma 70-200/2.8, diameter is close for both.





04-18-2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 18 mths Quote
Well, we're hoping for bright sunshine, Docrwm. It is Michigan soooooo......I can swing a 55-300, which is what I want. I'll just do it when the wife isn't looking Thanks, all.I
It's not bad on overcast days, particularly with a modern dSLR like the K-30 and its high ISO capability. It's just a constant f4 or even more so an f2.8 in that length will break the bank usually. A really nice 55-300 used can be had for $250ish.
04-18-2013, 12:50 PM   #8
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Speaking of different lenses, do those of you who own them, are you pleased with the Sigmas?

04-18-2013, 01:37 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
They may not let you bring a camera with a detachable lens like some venues.
That would devastate me!
04-18-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
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Prior to spending a dime, I would seriously investigate what size lenses are allowed through the gate. Professional sporting events are now highly selective about what gets in--often they determine what's allowable by requiring DSLR lenses to be below x number of inches long--perhaps under 2.5. Considering the size of the stadium, I am doubtful you would get anything better than what a superzoom P&S would offer--unless you are sitting near rink level. Even at that, a 400mm may be troublesome because it may get in the back of someone's head or block a side view.

M
04-18-2013, 02:05 PM   #11
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Hi Miguel,
When we were in Detroit in February, they only allowed certain size lenses into the Joe Louis Arena. My wife has a contact (he works for Olympia Entertainment) who helped us get tickets and is going to ask him specifically what the rules are. I certainly don't want to make that mistake!
Thanks,
Bill
04-18-2013, 02:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by 18 mths Quote
Hi Miguel,
When we were in Detroit in February, they only allowed certain size lenses into the Joe Louis Arena. My wife has a contact (he works for Olympia Entertainment) who helped us get tickets and is going to ask him specifically what the rules are. I certainly don't want to make that mistake!
Thanks,
Bill
See if he can get you a press pass. . .now that would be an experience you'd never forget, except for the bill for the lens you would just have to purchase.

M
04-18-2013, 02:33 PM   #13
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Yeah hahaha. Have one of those HUGE lenses sticking through the hole in the glass!!! That would be a dream come true!!
04-19-2013, 01:03 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by 18 mths Quote
Yeah hahaha. Have one of those HUGE lenses sticking through the hole in the glass!!! That would be a dream come true!!
Scott Kelby posted a picture on his blog of what happened to another pro shooter's lens when a fast-moving puck hit it head-on while he was shooting through the little hole in the glass. Not much was left of the front of the lens housing and the front element was broken. Total loss of a $2000+ lens!

Back on topic, I don't shoot hockey but have had pretty good results with other sports, including sailboat races, with the 55-300, moderately higher ISO to keep shutter speed up and some cropping where the reach was insufficient. For hockey, you will want a shutter of 1/500 minimum, 1/1000 would be better.
04-19-2013, 04:14 AM   #15
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A lens is no competition for a 5 oz piece of frozen vulcanized rubber.

I'm leaning towards the 55-300. At the very least, it'll be good training.

Thanks, abmj
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