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Canon 70-200mm lens advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Does anyone use the Canon 70-200mm f2.8/f4 lens (IS or non IS) for night ski photography? I am planning my next lens purchase to complement my 50mm f1.4 and want a zoom that can take decent ski shots. I really do not want to spend more than $1000, so I am between the f4 IS and the f2.8 non IS. I will be using it on a monopod. The body is a Canon 40D and I am thinking that i will not be using a flash as it may prove to be a distraction to the skiers (one of whom will be myself).

Thanks for the advice.
post #2 of 13
F4IS plus flash - it's necessary. There is no way you'd be able to get a high enough shutter speed without flash to stop the skier and not have shake without IS, during night-time. The monopod will be of very limited use.

Best combination will be f2.8IS plus flash or a studio strobe on a battery pack, but the second option's a bit bulky for non-professional photographers. What flash do you have?
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
Does anyone use the Canon 70-200mm f2.8/f4 lens (IS or non IS) for night ski photography? I am planning my next lens purchase to complement my 50mm f1.4 and want a zoom that can take decent ski shots. I really do not want to spend more than $1000, so I am between the f4 IS and the f2.8 non IS. I will be using it on a monopod. The body is a Canon 40D and I am thinking that i will not be using a flash as it may prove to be a distraction to the skiers (one of whom will be myself).

Thanks for the advice.
Maybe a better topic for the new dedicated photo forum. Anyway...

IS is not going to help you for ski photography (night or day), as the moving skier is too fast for the shutter speeds that can benefit for IS. On the other hand, one extra stop will be VERY useful, especially at low light, and will give you better AF performance to boot. Both are great lenses, but I would get the 2.8 if you can tolerate the weight and size. For disclosure: I have the old f4 (non-IS) and love it.

Skiing photography is tricky, and skiing photography at night must be even trickier: you don't have enough light to expose with the proper sutter speed to freeze the action, and you don't have enough light for the peak AF performance (you may have to prefocus and then hope that your reflexes are quick...) I don't know how much light you will have at your event, but you better have a lot of it, shoot at high ISO and use the spotmeter centered on a skier. Frankly, 40D may not even cut it at high ISO, a better high-ISO camera such as 5D or especially 5DMkII could be very helpful, especially if you plan not to use flash. Whatever camera you use, shoot RAW, not JPEGs, that would give you more latitude for postprocessing.

Flash may actually be very helpful, as it tends to give a very short pulse that freezes the subject (and if you set the second curtain sync and use slower shutter speed you may get cool motion effects). (I am a bit worried about the delay between ETTL preflash and flash, which may be enough to move your skier a bit out of focus, but I would at least try it out).

Good luck and if you get good pictures, post it here...
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Is it acceptable to use a flash on the slopes? I only have the canon 430EX, so I dont know how much light I will be able to get.

I did not know that there was a specific photo forum. Thanks for the pointer. Mods can move the post if you feel.

Thanks
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
Is it acceptable to use a flash on the slopes? I only have the canon 430EX, so I dont know how much light I will be able to get.

I did not know that there was a specific photo forum. Thanks for the pointer. Mods can move the post if you feel.

Thanks
I honestly do not know, but I'd imagine that a lot of other people will be trying to take pictures with their point and shoots, and those rarely turn off their flashes, so yours will not be the only one. 430EX is good, obviously 580EX has more power, but 430EX will do fine. Just take spare batteries and keep them warm;-)
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post
Maybe a better topic for the new dedicated photo forum. Anyway...

IS is not going to help you for ski photography (night or day), as the moving skier is too fast for the shutter speeds that can benefit for IS. On the other hand, one extra stop will be VERY useful, especially at low light, and will give you better AF performance to boot. Both are great lenses, but I would get the 2.8 if you can tolerate the weight and size. For disclosure: I have the old f4 (non-IS) and love it.

Skiing photography is tricky, and skiing photography at night must be even trickier: you don't have enough light to expose with the proper sutter speed to freeze the action, and you don't have enough light for the peak AF performance (you may have to prefocus and then hope that your reflexes are quick...) I don't know how much light you will have at your event, but you better have a lot of it, shoot at high ISO and use the spotmeter centered on a skier. Frankly, 40D may not even cut it at high ISO, a better high-ISO camera such as 5D or especially 5DMkII could be very helpful, especially if you plan not to use flash. Whatever camera you use, shoot RAW, not JPEGs, that would give you more latitude for postprocessing.

Flash may actually be very helpful, as it tends to give a very short pulse that freezes the subject (and if you set the second curtain sync and use slower shutter speed you may get cool motion effects). (I am a bit worried about the delay between ETTL preflash and flash, which may be enough to move your skier a bit out of focus, but I would at least try it out).

Good luck and if you get good pictures, post it here...
The IS will help with panning and general stability. At night-time, shutter speeds will be around 1/100 to freeze action. Even at 1600/3200ISO, this will not give you enough light, generally, to properly expose the subject without another source of light. The 40D is iffy at 1600, and I personally wouldn't use 3200 unless there was a very good reason for me to do so. The 5D, on the other hand... yum yum. The 5DMk2 ought to be better but I haven't had the chance to use one yet.

The delay between ETTL preflash and flash is negligible unless you have a very slow shutter speed set. Otherwise it's too fast to detect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesgig View Post
Is it acceptable to use a flash on the slopes? I only have the canon 430EX, so I dont know how much light I will be able to get.

I did not know that there was a specific photo forum. Thanks for the pointer. Mods can move the post if you feel.

Thanks
Yeah, it's fine. I doubt that it's going to attract that much attention, what Alexzn says about people with point-n-shoots is about right. Are you going to be bouncing the flash or direct flash?
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by roastpuff View Post
The IS will help with panning and general stability. At night-time, shutter speeds will be around 1/100 to freeze action. Even at 1600/3200ISO, this will not give you enough light, generally, to properly expose the subject without another source of light. The 40D is iffy at 1600, and I personally wouldn't use 3200 unless there was a very good reason for me to do so. The 5D, on the other hand... yum yum. The 5DMk2 ought to be better but I haven't had the chance to use one yet.

The delay between ETTL preflash and flash is negligible unless you have a very slow shutter speed set. Otherwise it's too fast to detect.



Yeah, it's fine. I doubt that it's going to attract that much attention, what Alexzn says about people with point-n-shoots is about right. Are you going to be bouncing the flash or direct flash?
All good points. Bouncing flash off what though? I bet it will be direct... On the other hand white snow will help with lighting. Are you sure 1/100 shutter speed is enough to freeze a racer? Those few time when I took pictures of skiers, I always used 1/500.
post #8 of 13
what you really need, is two wireless flashes and light up from the front and a side. I slaved a 420ex and a 580ex from my main 580ex for a few things, was neat.

I have a 70-200 F/2.8, it is a GREAT lens, but 2.8 is not enough for night. the rule for a telephoto lens like that is you want to avoid going under 1/focal lenght... so if you are at a focal lenght of 200mm you need to be at 1/200 so you dont pick up the shakes.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post
All good points. Bouncing flash off what though? I bet it will be direct... On the other hand white snow will help with lighting. Are you sure 1/100 shutter speed is enough to freeze a racer? Those few time when I took pictures of skiers, I always used 1/500.
You can bounce it off a flash-card? A posterboard? Aluminium foil? Be creative! I think 1/100 should be good enough, if not, bump up the shutter speed and bump up the flash power. It's a compromise between exposure and freezing action, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freeride21a View Post
what you really need, is two wireless flashes and light up from the front and a side. I slaved a 420ex and a 580ex from my main 580ex for a few things, was neat.

I have a 70-200 F/2.8, it is a GREAT lens, but 2.8 is not enough for night. the rule for a telephoto lens like that is you want to avoid going under 1/focal lenght... so if you are at a focal lenght of 200mm you need to be at 1/200 so you dont pick up the shakes.
Yeah, two flashes set up to fire wirelessly (PW, anyone?) would be the best set-up.

The IS will help compensate for shake when you're at 1/100 or so, which on a 40D actually needs to be 1/320 due to focal length multiplier. F2.8IS ftw! Or, if you have the cash, 200mm f2IS!
post #10 of 13

i have the 2.8 non-IS in perfect shape in my quiver not being used much

pm if anyone needs one
post #11 of 13
I'll give you some of my opinions as i have been shooting rollerblading for about a year. current setup is a NIKON D40 with the kit lens. IS will be awesome if you plan on doing some scenery shots at night. Night shots of landscape and scenery can come out really cool at some longer shutter speeds (~30 seconds) Such as this one, shot in downtown rochester, ny, around midnight.



However, if your're shooting action, you're not going to be able to use a longer shutter speed unless you are able to pan well with the skier to get an image somewhat like this... (Sharp subject, blurred background)



Thus, this leaves you with the option of spending some good money on an extremely fast lens or using flash to light the shot. You're going to get a much better picture using flash, but you may lose some background scenery. The main thing is to just play with the camera and see what works for you.

Personally i would save the lens money and buy a nice flash to use. I think you should be able to do plenty of good skiing photography with the 70-200mm
post #12 of 13
Don't bother with IS...if you're shooting action, like alex said, there's no need for it, you'll never be shooting with lenghty shutter speeds. I own both the 70-200 2.8 and the 4.0. I use the 4.0 during the day because it is MUCH lighter and a bit smaller. But at night...you need the 2.8.

So skip the IS and put the money towards the wider aperture!
post #13 of 13
i have a f4 non-is and it would say impossible for night ski photography
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