Canon Low Light Choices and Fall Rebates


Since I had to swap back my 24-105 F/4L for repair, it gave me some time to reflect on the right lenses. Also Canon is having its usual “Fall Rebate”; program that includes $125 off of their 70-200 F/2.8L and 85 F/1.2.

Lately I’ve been taking lots more photos in low light (e.g., rainy days) and also in indoor, so the thought of what lenses to get really strikes home. While I like the 24-105 F/4L as a good medium range all around lense, the fact is that it is kind of slow with older cameras (with the newer D40 able to take shots at ISO 800, its less of an issue), still I do wish I had F/2.8 lenses (a full stop faster). So what are the choices?

Right now with the Sigma 18-200, there is a nice daylight lense at a relatively slow F3.5-6.3, but what if you need faster?

* “Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS USM:// is by most folks notes an incredibly high quality lense. It is fast but it is big. So you’d use the 18-200 in bright daylight and for travel, but if you are carrying everything, this $1600 beauty (“Pricegrabber”: has it at $1545 including shipping less the $125 rebate). Its faster than the 100-400 F/4.5-5.4 and the 24-10 F/4L IS, but is huge.
* “Canon EF 85mm F/1.2L II USM”: I have the 50mm F/1.4 and it is truly amazing what an additional stop buys you. Unfortunately, the 50mm is a little too short for say a dance concert or indoor basketball, so this is a really expensive (“Pricegrabber”: ahs it all $1600) but it is so fast it might work. Most folks would probably use the 70-200mm and push to ISO 1600 but the 1.2L is a superb indoor lense.

So if you have infinite cash then the killer combination is:
* “Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III”: Ok its $8000 but it has 21 megapixels, is full frame and works up to ISO 3200. What an amazing low light camera
* “Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM’: If you happen to have $6500 lying around, this is a 13 pound monster, but is indeed incredibly for any kind of outdoor sport photography. Weep to use it or better yet rent it when you need it for a few hundred bucks.

Finally a side note, “”: has a great review of the B+W Circular Polarizer MRC are really the worlds finest if the most expensive. It is fantastic for making the sky really blue and for reducing water relections.

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One Reply to “Canon Low Light Choices and Fall Rebates”

  1. On a crop camera like the 40D, my fav low-light/indoor lenses were the 17-55 f/2.8IS and 35 f/1.4. The 17-55 I had blew the pants off the 24-70 that I tested it out against in sharpness. Now on the 5D, my main indoor lenses are now the 24-70 f/2.8 and 50 f/1.4. I have a 50 f/1.2 on the way but the first copy of that lens I tried was actually softer than my current 50 f/1.4 so I sold it. Hopefully this second copy will fare better.

    Or if you don’t want to dish out for the Canon name, the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and 17-50 f/2.8’s have gotten pretty good reviews for their optics and they come in at a significantly lower price point.

    The 85 f/1.2 is a spectacular lens but its AF may be a bit too slow for sports and dances. Most people stick with the f/1.8 for those purposes. You lose 2 stops of light but I doubt you’d want to use anything lower than 1.8 anyway in those situations due to the extremely thin DOF. I have no reservations bumping ISO up to 1600 on the 30D & 5D. It’s nothing a good NR program (like Noise Ninja) can’t make useable.

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