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Looking to invest in a new zoom lens for live events

Discussion in 'Lens Matters' started by mixedcolors, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. mixedcolors

    mixedcolors Member

    I'm looking to invest in a really good zoom. I normally don't care for zooms because as its said by many they tend to make you lazy. But given that I want to start doing more photojournalist shooting, there are times when getting closer physically isn’t possible.

    I also do videos and I've read that zoom lenses are not good with productions like that, but its not a big deal, I already have a 50mm lens that I use for interviews, but since I'm looking for another lens to use as a potential second view shot, it would be nice if it had good video quality, however my main goal in finding a new one is not necessary for video but for photography.

    I’ve notice from looking at most of the Canon zoom lens they’re not good in low light, the range tends to be stuck in the f4-5.6 range. It would be nice if I can find a lens that can do macro/upclose shots as well but also function in low light. I have a Canon camera, I don’t mind buying a non-canon lens, I’m not snobbish when it comes to that, however I don’t want to spend 500 bucks on adaptors either. I understand I’m not going to get everything I want in one lens, but I can get close it would be nice.

    Any suggestions for a lens that leans somewhat towards my needs? Thanks.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You won't get faster than F2.8 with a zoom. The Canon 'L' series are very good and will hold their value fairly well although I would not call them investments. If you were very serious about video/film then the cinema range in EF fit are designed for that purpose but I know nothing about them other than that they exist.
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Just because it's said by many doesn't make it true. And of course this is actually nonsense - a zoom can't make somebody lazy, it can only facilitate lazyness. But if you're intrinsically that lazy, chances are you won't bother moving around with a prime to get the precise framing anyway, whereas with a zoom, there's a chance you will at least try to frame the shot properly - which actually makes using a zoom slightly less lazy... ;)

    The point of a zoom, though, is not primarily to get your framing right from a given position, but to find the position that gives the perspective you want whilst retaining the correct framing. If you work to that, a zoom is superior to a prime lens and very much not the lazy option - except when it comes to carrying it, against a bagful of primes.

    In terms of your requirements, what sort of focal length range do you require? For a standard range of mild wideangle to mild telephoto, Canon's EF-S 17-55 f2.8 is probably the best option for your 550D. For anything longer, look to Canon's f2.8 L lenses - yes, they're dear, but nothing else touches them.

    If you only need relative wideangles, the Sigma 18-35 mm f1.8 is well worth a look.
  4. Steve Bell

    Steve Bell Well-Known Member

    If you want to get closer than your 50mm and need a fast lens for low light you're likely to need something like a 70-210mm F2.8 lens. Options are the Canon L lens, or similar spec lenses from the likes of Tamron or Sigma.

    It would be helpful to know what Canon camera you have, as if its a newer full frame model it would have good low light performance and you may be able to get away with a slower lens. What would you be shooting, would the subject/s be static or moving, what distances would be involved. Also by low light would you mean street lighting at night, a stadium or arena or at dusk?

    Edit - just looked through your other posts and seen you have a 550D. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe this camera has as good low light performance as more modern crop sensor Canon's, so to get the most from your camera a fast F2.8 zoom would be better.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  5. mixedcolors

    mixedcolors Member

    Since I've had some experience with event shooting I find that I'm in a lot of low light situations or where the lightning in general is just terrible, so that's why I would like to find one that's good in low light. Being that I want to shoot events/news material I have to assume a lot of my subjects are moving around.

    I've been looking at the 70-200mm lenses, or about that range, doesn't have to be exactly 70-200, though the longer the better(nothing more then 300mm). I think that will cover most of what I'm doing and then more.

    I don't want anything over $1,000. I notice some of the Canon lens do have the 70-200mm that can get to f2.8 but there very expensive and I don't have that budget now.

    I saw this 18-200mm lens which would be perfect but its not in the L series but it has good reviews and it is a F-stop lower then the other f/4 zooms. http://www.beachcamera.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=CN18200IS

    Some of the lenses can be just as expensive as photography ones. I'm only beginning and don't have the work to pay off that kind of investment. I'm aware there are lens for DSLR video work and I'm sure someday I'll get some.

    I take back what I said, I didn't think all the way of what I meant to say, because I actually agree with you. What I mean by zooms make you lazy (and that's not my opinion btw), is that I read all the time about how the "professionals" (then again what dictates a professional not sure, they just might be trolls online) snobs them off as being lazy. Its not even an issue with me obviously I need one, so I don't care what other people think.:rolleyes:
  6. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Well, as other posters have said, the f2.8 top range Canon zooms are very good, even for film.

    If you are serious about what you want to do ;), and what you have told us in bold above is true, you have only one option: save for a 70-200mm f2.8 F/f lens and get it. Buy secondhand from a reputable source if that helps financially.
  7. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    What you want exists, is used in huge quantities, and is out of budget. Canon and Nikon both produce 24-70 and 70-200 f 2.8 zooms. They are the standard tools of the trade for the photo journalist. Sigma have a couple of short f1.8 zooms which should be ruffling feathers at Canon and Nikon, but financially they aren't much help either.
    Of course if you look back at photo journalism, to say, the Vietnam war, you see what can be done with simple fast primes. In those days they were using f1.4 lenses with film rarely rated above 400 ASA. Today you could get away with f1.8 and 800 ASA.
    I would suggest that you just use what you can afford and don't fret about what you cannot afford.
  8. mixedcolors

    mixedcolors Member

    Yeah I'll just get what I can afford now and in a year or two when I get more money I'll upgrade then. Its just annoying that you want to have the best equipment but don't have the money for it.
  9. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Hi M_C,

    Are you in America or the UK/Europe and what camera are you, currently, shooting with and what kind of events are you shooting and, lastly, I'm guessing that you want a faster/zoom lens because you don't want to use a flash, is that correct?

    I ask, where you're located because it would be rather silly to recommend some shops in the UK if, in fact, you're located elsewhere :)

    Any, if you don't need a long (tele) 2.8 zoom but want something in the range of the kit lens that came with your camera, presumably, a 18-55/3.5-5.6, I would recommend taking a shoot for, either, a Tamron 17-50/2.8 (w/ or w/o VC) or a Sigma 17/18 - 50/2.8 or, as previously mentioned, a used Canon EF-S 17-55/2.8 or new Sigma 18-35/1.8, albeit probably only new ;).


  10. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    Make sure you know what you are looking at - when you say it is an f stop lower that f4 zooms. At the longer end it is one stop slower at f5.6 (ie: you will require double the iso or half the shutter speed to compensate). At the wide end it is 1/3stop faster - which isn't a lot of advantage.

    If you want a zoom lens fit for purpose than you want f2.8 and that simply doesn't come cheap. However, you are often working in low light and your camera is not a good low light performer so won't make the most of the lens.

    However, great photography doesn't rely on equipment its about using it to its strengths. Neither will give you exactly what you want since you don't have the budget but I would say that a fast prime will give you more than a slow zoom.
  11. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    Does your DSLR offer the electronic in-camera 2x option? That would mean, for very little degradation of image quality, you could instead buy a really high quality f2.8 ... If your camera does have the 2x option, try that out first with a lens you already have, and compare that to another image taken at the same time, with the 2x switched off. Having said that, some cameras, when using the 2x option, also save the same image without the 2x, at the same time. You might be pleasantly surprised with the result!
  12. joeybent

    joeybent New Member

    Done_rundleCams likes this.
  13. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Good tips, Joey :)



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