Indoor Sports Lenses 135mm F/2 or 100mm F/2 or 70-200 F2.8

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Well with the lenses I know I have, I cover just about every situation well but indoor sports for things like basketball.

The 100-400 is just too slow but has great zoom with the 1.6x lense factor, so everything looks blurry.

The 24-105 F4/L is also too slow as I need 1/500-1/1000 second to freeze movement and I can’t get this without shooting at ISO 1600-3200 which looks really bad on my now old Canon Digital Rebel XT. (The biggest reason to upgrade now is not to go from 8megapixel to 10 megapixels, but to get the faster sensors with good quality at ISO 800-1600)

* The 50 F1.4 is actually really good on speed, but unfortunately in basketball, you need quite a bit more zoom. It is really good for portraits indoors and it is wicked fast.

The folks at “The Digital Picture”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/Canon-Indoor-Sports-Lens.aspx have the problem well nailed. Basically, you should either get the 135mm if you have the dough or the 100mm if you don’t or the 70-200 F/2.8 is you have dough and have a really fast modern camera like the Digital Rebel XTi that can take decent ISO 1600 pictures:

“Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L USM”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-135mm-f-2.0-L-USM-Lens-Review.aspx. This is the fastest lense you can get with the equivalent of a 200mm with the lense factor. It has incredible image sharpness. It does add another 1.7 lb or 750g to your kit though and it is $800 so expesnive, but with a Canon Digital Rebel, it is the equivalent of a 200mm lense, so perfect for taking those indoor available light ballet recitals or basketball games.

Canon EF 105mm F/2.0. This lense is relatively cheaper at $400 and also throws pretty well to an equivalent of 165mm.

“Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM”:http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-70-200mm-f-2.8-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx. You can use this lense only if you’ve got a camera with great performance at ISO 1600 which isn’t the Digital Rebel unfortunately. For instance the “Canon Digital Rebel XTi”:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos400d/ a.k.a. the EOS 400d is just a little less noisy than the 350d or Rebel XT, so doesn’t help that much. Actually the Nikon D80 shows the best noise characteristics at high ISOs, but that’s the wrong family. This by the way is a function of the in-camera noise reduction programs. Most cameras today are good to ISO 400 and then at 800 and 1600, the noise reduction software is key.

The last problem with the current setup is that Canon really doesn’t have a completely versatile superzoom like the “AF-S Zoom -Nikkor ED 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF DX VR”:http://www.bythom.com/18200lens.htm. I realize this is 10x level of zoom, but for really on the go use, that would be ideal. In fact, right now, if I were to start over, a Nikon D40x plus their 20-200mm lense would probably be the right way to go. Too bad, it is hard to know which way to jump. Nikon or Canon. Test show right now that in terms of image quality, the Nikon D80, D40x and Canon Digital Rebel XTi EOS-400D are identical in picture quality. The main thing is that sharpness is excellent although at the long end 200mm, you should use F/11-F/16

For $750, it’s expensive when paired with a $800 camera, but for most folks it is the only lense they’ll ever need. (Or get the 12-24mm F/4G AF-S DX is you need a really wide angle).

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