EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

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Dee
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my previous topic here

<previous topic>

resulted in my purchasing the new Canon 20D.

Having gone to Jessops with every intention of comimg out with a f/2.8 lens with the camera, I was somehow persuaded to leave with the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. A nice lens some of you have said... but is it up to the job that I want of it?

my previous post above showed my poor previous attempts using a point and click sony p10. Although many of the photos I took during a training session this weekend were significantly better, I am left wondering if I should have insisted on a f/2.8 lens... :(

I have (I think) 7 days to return the lens and exchange it for another - a similar lens but f/2.8 is very much more expensive, so seeking advice as to whether giving up the 75-300 canon and switching to perhaps a lesser 70-200 sigma with f/2.8 would be beneficial or not... or indeed bighting the bullet and spending the extra for a 75-300 sigma.... :(

I have placed a handfull of examples (prefixed "IMG" which I would appreciate some advice on in this directory on my site. (sorry they are un-edited and BIG)

<MY TEMP DIRECTORY>

all shot using the sports mode at varying ldegrees of zoom...

IMG-0057.jpg / although I appear to have correctly focused on the subject - I am confused as to why everyone else is very blured - yes they are moving, but it wasnt as fast as they would be during a game...

IMG-0081.jpg / Stationarly shot... whilst I appreciate the lighting in these places is not great at all - sodium lighting I believe.... would a different lens (or setting) improve upon a simple shot like this? - compare this to IMG-0076.jpg - better?

IMG-0084.jpg / I'm hoping this is just an incorectly focused shot rather than due to his speed? and I guess I should limit to perhaps 1 of the 9 focus poins in the 20D somehow... similarily IMG-0060.jpg /IMG-0077.jpg & IMG-0096.jpg ?

thanks in advance
regards
Dee

harlequin
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when taking sports shots i always stick focusing to mid point only.
i have camera in sports mode and that with my canon 75-300 seems to do what i want.
i'll see if i can pop down to our games hall which uses sodium lighting and take a couple of shots.

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

cheers Gary - shout "free beer in the canteen!" and then take a picture of students running :D

harlequin
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it's not you ..... sodium lighting throws my 300d completely too.

sports mode doesn't fire as fast as i would expect and 99% of the shots i took are either blurred or too dark to use.

will have a think about this and see what i can come up with as a work arround.

manual mode might help if you stick speed up as far as you can , but if it is incorrectly reading light levels it won't help

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

Take the lens back - get the Sigma 70-200 f2.8.

You will only achieve enough shutter speeds with a wide aperture and high ISO.

The Canon 75-300IS lens is totally unsuitable for low light sports photography.

Gavin

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

Dee,

All is not lost on the lighting front - with your permission Dee I'd like to post a Photoshopped version of image IMG-0081.

Gavin

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

:( - but thanks for trying that

forgive my ignorance Gary.... when you say speed up... which setting should I be increasing manually? is it the "ISO" or "f", and I presume if you mean "f" - reducing the number makes it faster doesnt it??? therefore f/2.8 lens would be benficial since I can only to down to f4 with my lens?

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

Doh! Thanks Gavin...

photo shop away - I will look for the receipt and start wrapping up the lens....

Gavin Gration
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Dee
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...then there was light!

obviously not ideal for the 100+ shots I took but great for the few good ones for the future.... whadgyado huh, huh!? whadgyado?

... re the lens - assuming my understanding is correct and they will swap it out for me... will I miss the lovely long 75-300 and should I brace the account for a huge hit by considering the equivalent f2.8 - or in your opinion is the 70-200 (with I.S.) sufficient? - I will check my camera's picture details when home, but I suspect many were taken at the max 300 zoom setting..

harlequin
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dee:
:( - but thanks for trying that

forgive my ignorance Gary.... when you say speed up... which setting should I be increasing manually? is it the "ISO" or "f", and I presume if you mean "f" - reducing the number makes it faster doesnt it??? therefore f/2.8 lens would be benficial since I can only to down to f4 with my lens?

sorry , went for lunch.
either increase the shutter speed , i.e. 1/1000 sec or get a lens with lower f stop capability.

Gary MacKenzie

sepulce@hotmail.com ( an account only used for forum messages )

Thinkserver TS140 , 750ti Graphics card  & LG 27" uws led backlight , Edius 8

Humax Foxsat HD Pvr / Humax Fox T2 dvbt

JMCP
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Joined: Nov 21 2000

Hi,

is it possible the sports mode is expecting outdoor sports and hence using a slow asa speed ie asa100, maybe trying something like 800asa would overcome the poor lighting. The 10D and 20D are reported to produce very high quality images even at these film speeds.

Cheers John

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

me too. bon apetite!

i'll dim the lights at home a take a couple of shots (not sodium though) but at a guess, if I increase the shutter speed using the existing lens, the picture will only get darker wouldnt it?

thank you John - will play with ISO(?) too - maybe I ought to make a trip to the rink before the exchange option expires - although from what Gavin said - its a definate return

Keitht
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Joined: Jan 8 2001

If the lens is already operating at maximum aperture and you manually use a faster shutter speed the picture will be darker. Most (all?) lenses work best a couple of stops down from maximum aperture i.e. down from smallest f number.
The ideal combination for indoor action sports would be high ASA number, fast lens and therefore the ability to use higher shutter speed to freeze the action. I would be inclined to play around with the ASA setting to get a sense of how it affect results. Generally speaking the higher the ASA number the noisier the picture. Similar effect to grain in fast conventional film.

Regards Keith

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

Go back to the rink.

There are two issues that relate to shutter speed.

The first is camera shake, the second is motion blur caused by a moving subject.

Set the camera as follows:-

Mode Av (Aperture Value) f4.0 @ 75mm (wide zoom) this will drop to f5.6 @ 300mm (long/telepohoto zoom).

Set the ISO (this is like gain-up on a camcorder) via the menu to 1600.

Frame up and press the shutter release button half way down. Take a look at the "shutter speed" being offered by the camera.

To avoid blur caused by you shaking the shutter speed would normally be at least the focal length (zoom value). However, there is a multiplication with the EOS300D of 1.6.

e.g. Zoom length 100mm needs a minimum shutter speed to avoid camera shake of 100mm x 1.6 = 160th/sec.

The image stabilized lens will compensate for some shake and allow you to shoot slower than this without shake affecting the picture provided the subject is relatively static.

Fast'ish moving subjects need a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second to avoid motion blur.

A faster lense (f2.8 being faster than f4.0/5.6) will allow more light to hit the sensor, as a result the shutter doesn't need to stay open as long for a correct exposure (higher shutter speed).

It's not always possible to make good photographs of fast moving subjects in low light. If there is not enough light have to rely on flash, try to pan with a moving subject, be crafty and try to choose an angle where you can shoot the subject moving towards you or use a combination of all three.........or give up.

The 70-200mm EX-DG Sigma is a good lens for around £500. An image stabilized Canon version is available for almost triple the cost of the Sigma but it won't help you to shoot a fast moving subject in low light.

Gavin

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

thanks Keith and Gavin

a trip to the "public skate session this eveing is in order - although I might be on tomorrows news.... taking pictures on council premises.... :mad:

Gavin - are you saying the image stabilization will not help me get a better photo in these conditions - or just that the sigma 70-200 doesnt have it but I shouldnt worry?

....and is the infamous L series from canon (Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L USM lens) going to have a noticable diference in picture quality to the Sigma would you say?

regards
Dee

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

This is simplified a little but with your camera you should be able to play with all these settings and pick up what each one does quite quiclky.

There are 3 adjustable things on your camera that you can use to correctly expose a picture.

(1) Aperture
(2) Shutter Speed
(3) ISO Sensitivity

Undertsanding what these three things do will greatly improve your chances of getting pictures to meet with your expectations.

You need to balance (1), (2) and (3) to best match the subject, lighting conditions and the amount of the image you want to be in sharp focus.

(1) Controls the amount of light entering the camera when the shutter is released. This also controls the zone of sharp focus a.k.a. depth of field. Smaller number = smaller zone of sharp focus. Almost all sports action photos you see published are shot with a wide aperture - i.e. The subject is pin sharp but the background is blurred.

(2) Shutter speed controls how long the shutter remains open. Shorter (bigger number) is better for fast moving subjects because it freezes the action.

(3) ISO is the sensitivity of the image sensor. Higher number means more noise caused by artifically boosting the light hitting the sensor. More percieved light allows an increased the shutter speed.

Image stabilisation will not give you a faster shutter speed - but a wider aperture (f2.8) will.

A faster shutter speed freezes the image and reduces motion blur and the effects of camera shake.

Image Stabilisation reduces camera shake allowing the user to shoot at a lower shutter speed than normal - just the opposite of what you need for sports action.

SLRs do need to be driven by the photographer for best results.

Hope this helps.

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Dear Dee

http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=777_4_409_40910&products_id=98413&PHPSESSID=a45b0a891c65befbba37b18ed31f50fa

A good 70-200IS USM L 2.8 is indeed a fantastic lens, I would definately suggest a 2.8 as this will always help with low light/poor light, fast action shots.

Whether it is worth you paying top dollar, is only for you to answer, the L series lens IS great quality, and the IS system does work extremely well, you get top quality but also pay for it.

The good thing with the 2.8L is that you can also add an extender for other forms of photography to entend its use (No pun intended).

With your 20D do you shoot raw +jpeg? shooting both will allow you to alter all the raw files at home, (very easy to change the light settings in raw format) while you are learning the ropes.

Also with the 70-200 you should have x2 IS modes, IS 2 allows you to pan as well which would be a massive help to your types of shots.

Kind Regards and good luck with your choice..

Few reviews here..

http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/

Trevor Page
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Joined: Oct 4 1999

I've got an F2.8 70-200 Sigma EX APO to go with my 300D, and still being a bit of a novice, find it difficult to use with moving subjects. (In my case the nephews playing cricket). Whilst it is possible to 'freeze' a ball travelling in excess of 70 mph, the narrow depth of field at F2.8 makes using the autofocus virtually impossible. The default 7 focus points continually had the focus too close for crisp images and the lens would hunt for focus all the time.

It helped me if I set a single focus point and then for example use the stumps to get the correct focus. Then switch to manual focus before taking the shots.

To give you some idea, at F2.8 200mm with the target 20m away, the DOF is only about 1m.

I guess i've learnt that the best way to use this lens on moving subjects is to pre-set the focal length and focus manually then wait for the subject to enter the frame at the right distance.

Another trick I've recently been experimenting with in low light is using Tv mode to set a suitable shutter speed and ignoring the flashing Aperture value. Then even if the shot is badly underexposed, it's amazing how much detail and colour photoshop can pull out of the image.

Trev

Gavin Gration
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Joined: Jul 29 1999

Press the DOF Preview button after half-press/focusing.. this will lock focus and keep it locked

More info DPReview.com

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002


125mm 1/125 f5.0 iso 1600

waited until the kids got off the ice - thought it best to avoid the litigation.....

the wheels were turning quite fast but I think its quite well focussed and not blurred..


135mm 1/125 f5.0 iso 1600

this is one of our pro player training after hours last night.... relatively little blur given the speed at which he was moving!!!! single point focus helps!!!

I have yet to compare lighting to my last attemp but I'm pretty sure the overall result is better than sports mode - thanks Gavin for all your time, Gary, John and Trevor I really appreciate all your advice

Stuart - I am very tempted, thanks for all the info... going to see man at Jessops now...


(testing kit lens) 55mm 1/100 f5.6 iso1600

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

...THIS WEEK I SHALL BE MOSTLY EATING - SPINACH!

wow... what a Lens! :D

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

...well I'm still learning

[url=http://www.elliotdervish.com/Solent and Gosport U12b's 3oct2004/index.htm]PHOTOS[/url]
a big improvement - but a long way to go still

thanks for your help all.

harlequin : sorry dee , i tried to fix your url but it won't fix

[ 04.10.2004, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: harlequin ]

DV Ed
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Joined: Jun 10 2002

If I were you I would brighten up a few of those images. Try an auto equalise in a graphics package or something. Many are far too dark and you just cannot see the facial expressions etc..

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

cheers DV-Ed - yeah... i know :( (i did purposely edit/blur out a couple just incase you are wondering - no forms back from those parents..)

and I did adjust the contrast using paint shop pro on 446 / 480 and 502
but it loses something.... so I left the rest as they were bearable... for a 1st attempt...

I might need a pointer to adjust my shoot settings though..

used ISO 1600 F2.8 and let it auto select shutter speeds - which I will check on the camera tonight if reqd

cheers :D

JMCP
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Joined: Nov 21 2000

Dee,

you should have a look at www.dpreview.com as they have a notice stating that Canon have just released a firmware update for the 20D.

Cheers John

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

Cheers John

firmware update seems to be on hold due to reported problems.

Chris.
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Joined: Nov 5 2000

Have you tried setting your white balance manually? I think sodium lights are 2800k off the top of my head.

No, I don't mean when they are shining on the top of my head

If light's poor I switch to ISO 400, then I employ a different method, instead of AV mode, I switch to TV mode and set a fast enough shutter to freeze the action. (The camera will then set aperture.)

I know some of you will think that's crazy, but it means your shutter speed is guaranteed, so instead of blurring when light is poor, the shot gets underexposed.

When you get to Photoshop, it's a lot easier to adjust the sharp but underexposed shot than it is to correct a really blurred shot. Especially if you're importing RAW files.

Chris

Stuart B-M
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Joined: Apr 6 2001

Firmware update now sorted and new release version 1.05 i think.
http://web.canon.jp/Imaging/BeBit-e.html
Kind regards.

Quote:
Originally posted by Dee:
Cheers John

firmware update seems to be on hold due to reported problems.

Dee
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Joined: Nov 19 2002

thanks Chris - I'll give it a try too

cheers Stuart... I'm diving this weekend so no photography - will work out what I need to do to update next week.