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Photography Question 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
 

Sigma Lenses With 20D


I wanted to know if anyone has used sigma lenses with the 20D camera and if so are they any good at fast reaction times? Specifically, my son motocrosses and I need it to focus really fast on him and on the bike in low light situations. I know that some lenses react faster than others does anyone know if this lense in particular is fast with THIS camera? Do they 'talk' to the 20D camera well?


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4/4/2005 10:47:09 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  I should have proofread that statement sorry for the grammatical errors!


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4/4/2005 10:50:47 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I don't have the 20D, but I have the Digital Rebel, which is not too different. I have a Sigma 28-300mm Compact Hyperzoom lens. It focuses quickly enough, but definitely not as quickly as the Canon USM lenses that I have.

For your fast-moving subject in low light, try to get the largest aperture you can. Or I should say, the largest aperture you can afford. Long lenses with large apertures get expensive.


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4/4/2005 11:24:56 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Chris,
So, what do you think I should get in your opinion. Give me two options midrange cost and higher end cost. (canon?) Thanks sooo much for your help.


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4/4/2005 11:59:16 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I'll make a couple of assumptions to get you started. Let's assume you want a 300mm lens to get close to the action. Let's also assume to make it easier to follow the action, you want to hand-hold and not use a tripod.

It would help if you could go to one of these events with whatever lens you have now, and take some shots to see what kind of exposure levels you'll be dealing with.

If you can get a good exposure at 1/250 and f5.6, then you might consider the Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 EF IS lens for about $415 or the Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 APO for about $209.

If you need a larger aperture to get a fast shutter speed, then you might need to look at the Canon 300mm f4.0 IS lens for about $1150, the Sigma 100-300mm f4.0 EX IF for about $899, or even the Canon 300mm f2.8 IS for $3900 or the Sigma 120-300mm EX APO IF for $1999. See how quickly the price goes up for larger apertures?

If you can afford it, I would go with one of the Canon lenses. All the ones I mentioned have the Image Stabilization feature, which will help make your images sharper when hand-holding.

I used B&H photo as a reference for all of these prices.

Good luck.


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4/4/2005 1:09:48 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Chris,
I can not THANK YOU ENOUGH!!!! I am on my way to the store right now to try on some of the lenses you mentioned!! I just want great pictures of my son at what ever the cost I just don't care at this point. He has a huge arena race this coming weekend in town and all his friends are going to cheer him on I want it to be a memorable weekend for him. Thanks for so much effort I apprieciate it!!! PS: all your assumtions were right on target!! :) -------off I go!
Melissa


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4/4/2005 1:25:50 PM

 
Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  I wanted to know if anyone has used sigma lenses with the 20D camera and if so are they any good at fast reaction times? ...

Melissa: Your best bet is to get one of the Sigma lenses marked HSM for Hypersonic focus motor. Faster and quieter to focus than the other Sigma lenses.

All should be fully compatible with the EOS 20D.

Peter Burian, www.peterkburian.com


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4/5/2005 6:32:12 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Good point Peter. The two higher-end Sigma lenses that I mentioned above have HSM, but the cheaper one does not. All three of the Canon lenses have USM.


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4/5/2005 7:08:42 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Peter Burian,
Do you think that the Sigma HSM would be faster than the canon because I tried on the canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and it seemed too slow to work for what I wanted. They didn't carry the sigmas where I went so I couldn't try them.


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4/5/2005 7:08:42 AM

 
Mark Strevens
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2005
  I had the Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM mounted on a canon 300D (rebel) until a rather unfortunate accident wrote off both lens and camera.

I now am the proud owner of a Canon 20D with the Sigma EX 70-200 f2.8 HSM

IMHO The focusing speed of the sigma is superior to that of the Canon.

I also use it with the sigma 2x teleconverter, which makes it f5.6 140-400mm (or you could use the 1.4 for f4
100-280mm equivalent)

I have had good results with the Canon 20D sigma combo even at high ISO settings.


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4/13/2005 4:31:39 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Thanks mark for responding! I borrowed a Canon 75-300 F4-300mm F4-5.6 IS USM and I can tell you it is not fast enough for indoor motocross. Not one of my photos really turned out that great. I am looking at that sigma lens again 70-200f 2.8 HSM I think that it will be faster. What do you think about it performing in an indoor situation with a fast moving object? Thanks for your response!
Melissa


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4/13/2005 6:13:27 AM

 
Mark Strevens
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2005
  I don't think I can give you a definitive yes or no.

If you can get close enough so that you do not need the tele-convertor. The 70-200 should do the trick but you will still need to shoot at a high ISO setting of 800 or 1600.

Without the tele-convertor you would be able to reduce the exposure time by a factor of 4 compared to the canon 75-300
(e.g. if the canon needs 1/100 the sigma would need 1/400). What exposures were needed with the Canon ?

You may also wish to consider altering your technique slightly, Try for a panning shot. But I appreciate this will be difficult given the nature of motocross. But it does give you the opportunity of increasing the exposure time whilst retaining a sharp subject (well, with practice!)


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4/13/2005 7:22:41 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  I was shooting the canon with an ISO setting of 1600 and the shots were relatively in focus (not by far perfect) but dark and grainy for my taste. I can brighten them up in photoshop but geesh I think that I should be able to do better than what I got. Not even worthy of posting. I bought a 420 flash I was thinking I would add that next time it might help a little. I probably will go ahead and buy that sigma it seems like the best bet and buy for what I am trying to do. Concidering the canon version is well over $1000. I just wish that there was a formula out there for indoor motocross photos to make this much easier! DARN!


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4/13/2005 8:43:32 AM

 
DANIELA A. JORDAN   When I upgraded to my Canon 20D from my Rebel 2000, I took my two Sigma lenses along. The f2.8 70-200 lense works BEAUTIFULLY. However, the 28-80 lense was not at all happy with the new camera. I got continuous "Error 99" -- always at the most inopportune moments. I broke down and bought a Canon lense and everything has been fine since.


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4/13/2005 3:46:13 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  That is strange daniela, thanks for responding.

Have you or anyone else experianced any backfocusing issues with this lense? The f2.8 70-200 sigma?


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4/13/2005 5:58:29 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Melissa, try panning your subject. This will give you a blurred background with the subject mostly in focus except for the moving parts. A shutter speed of 1/60 should blur background nicely. I have the 70-200 with the 20D and it performs well in low light. It's a good performing fast lens. It's very high quality and GREAT for the cost. Enjoy it if you buy it. I use mine with the 1.4 TC too. But remember, this is a VERY heavy lens. Practice your panning shots BEFORE you go so you get a good feel. Just go to a road and pan cars that go by. You need to follow the subject and keep it at relatively the same shot in your frame as you snap--a bit tricky but well worth it. You'll have superior shots using this method!

Karma


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4/13/2005 6:06:55 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Thanks Karma for your response. I have done the panning that you mentioned with an auto action focus and I have taken fantastic photos--outside. I just can't get it to work the same --inside-- a stadium? And I am not quite sure why (except for the major light differences) I can not think of any other reason I can't get this right. Could someone suggest any settings? The speed of this sport and the low light are a nightmarish combo.


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4/13/2005 6:21:55 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Hmmm....Auto action modes do not usually use the settings I'm talking about. These modes (the ones I know of) are designed to "freeze" action using a very fast shutter speed. Panning with intentional background blur is not the same thing and should in theory be better in low light situations than freeze action settings. You're actually going to use a somewhat slower shutter speed for this type of shot. I have panned, though not extensively. I have not panned in very low light, but I would start in shutter priority mode with a speed of 1/60 second since you're shooting very fast moving subjects. Try it and see what you get. Here are some more tips. Prefocus your camera where your son will be riding by. Set your shot mode to multi shot burst. As your son goes by start snapping him as he goes, keep him in the same spot in the frame and follow him with the camera until no longer possible. You should get a few shots each pass. Experiment from there.

Good luck,

Karma


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4/13/2005 6:50:55 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Thanks Karma,
Now that I here what you are saying I think what you are doing is different than what I am doing. I will try the shutter priority mode as you mentioned the next time. You are right if I get a few shots each pass then maybe I can time it for a jump after I get the feel of the panning method you mentioned. Thanks for your explaination!


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4/13/2005 7:25:24 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Melissa, here's a really good example of what I'm talking about.

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?cat=&photoID=114430

Notice that the background is blurred out nicely and the subject is still relatively close. The key to this type of shot is getting the hang of following your subject and keeping it at the same spot in the frame as you move with the subject. It takes a steady hand and quick eye and that's why I suggest you practice on cars before the big event. You'll get it though, and it's a great technique that will offset your son from his surroundings in an asthetic way.

Karma


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4/13/2005 8:04:57 PM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Yes, this is definately different than what I was doing. I have never done that type of shot with him this will be a cool experiment. I will keep you posted on how this comes along. :) He's going riding this weekend I might have a chance to try it then (not indoors though) Melissa


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4/13/2005 8:15:54 PM

 
Mark Strevens
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2005
  Hi Melissa,
Apologies, I didn't realise you were shooting in sports mode.

Shutter priority is a half manual mode. you set the shutter speed and the Camera selects the ISO and Aperture (f-stop).

Given that there are only 3 parameters, you may wish to take the leap in full manual.


1) Shutter speed - minumum of 1/250 for action shots, around 1/60 for panning shots.


2) Aperture : each step upwards lets in half as much light as the step before.

So for a correct exposure at 1/100 f2.8, at f4 a correct exposure would be 1/50


3)ISO : each step upward the sensor require half as much light as the step below

So for a correct exposure at 1/100 ISO 100, at ISO 200 a correct exposure would be 1/200

So in terms of exposure the following setting are identical

1/100th f4 ISO 100
1/200th f2.8 ISO 100
1/100th f4 ISO 200
1/100th f8 ISO 800

(before I get flamed "note: the resulting pictures will be slightly different but the exposure for them will be correct")

How to set valueson 20D

1. Exposure : front wheel next to shutter trigger
2. aperture : Rear Wheel on camera back
3. ISO : Press ISO/Drive button Then use Rear Wheel on camera back
4. Drive mode : Press ISO/Drive button Then use front wheel next to shutter trigger

Shoot in raw mode, It gives you more wiggle room when post processing.

There should be no problem with a new Sigma lens and Canon EOS bodies. some older sigma lenses require rechipping (more modern electronics).

Happy shooting at the weekend.

Mark

Ps. I consider the Sigma f2.8 a particularly heavy lens but then I am 62" and 210lbs


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4/14/2005 1:09:50 AM

 
Mark Strevens
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2005
  that should read :

Ps. I don't consider the Sigma f2.8 a particularly heavy lens but then I am 62" and 210lbs


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4/14/2005 1:12:10 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Wow! This is great mark! I am really trying to work on my manual mode but with action shots and motorcross I haven't quite figured it out! This is awesome! Thanks I will try these settings this weekend and keep you all posted as to how this is working!
I really apprieciate all your help!
PS. As per weight-I guess my attitude is anything for the shot :) I decided to buy that sigma lens.
Thanks
Melissa


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4/14/2005 6:07:43 AM

 
Mark Strevens
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/13/2005
  Do you shoot in manual mode at other times ?

The camera should be set up prior to the action taking place. It's all about being prepared.

Find a location you like, work out where the shot is going to be.

Take a few test pictures (without any motorcycles) check the picture and histogram. Adjust settings and repeat until satisfied with setting.

Then all you need to do is wait for your son to fly by!

minor tweeks after that.

good luck


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4/14/2005 6:40:11 AM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Mark, I'm laughing about you saying the sigma isn't heavy. Woman muscle just isn't the same! :-(

Maybe I've inadvertantly set up my camera differently but I have the 20D and I still have to set the ISO in AV mode. I know because I've accidently left it high and shot in AV mode and gotten grainy pics. I just tested it and yep, the ISO stayed the same.

That's one of the reasons I thought it might be a little more simple for Melissa in this case. If she's not used to manual it's one less wheel to turn! She just has to preset ISO before she shows up. But full manual is always good to figure out too. And yes, RAW is a necessity. I conisder it a necessity in ANY shoot!

Karma


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4/14/2005 8:07:32 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Mark,
I am doing manual shots in photos with subjects that don't move much like flowers and buildings where I have time to think and compose my shot. I just haven't figured out how to do this with a moving subject yet and keep it focused and move quickly enough not to lose the shot. I am still working on my manual skills to say the least- reading everything I can. I am getting there but it is so much to learn. I really apprieciate your suggestions.

Karma,
I think that I will try both of these suggestions I like them both. I am a little worried that the panning might not work with motocross because the subject moves not just from left to right but up, down and twisting as well. The panning shot might be good for moving objects on a flat surface, where one plane is stable.(I could be wrong) Which is posible and I can still try to get that shot there are just not that many flat spots in a motocross track. (We do not allow him on any concrete surfaces.) I think that this is a really cool idea and I think I know of a place I can 'stage' this shot on dirt. --Please let me know if I am way off on my assumptions here-- Thanks

Thanks a lot this gives me a lot to play with! I can't wait!!!!

Melissa


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4/14/2005 8:49:41 AM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Melissa, I think you should try a little of everything. Keep your ISO fairly high--and you might want to turn on your in-camera noise reduction in the special function menu (in the manual). Try panning at 1/60th in ap priority mode and if he jumps, follow him through the air! He doesn't have to be on a flat level for this--you just have to keep him in the same spot in the frame--tricky but not impossible. Practice, practice, practice! Also try several shots at 1/250 or higher. Remember, the more wide open your aperture the more light in and the Sigma has the ability to stay at 2.8 aperture through the entire zoom. However, that will really chop down on your depth of field, so your point of focus must be spot on, so take several test shots in similar light to see what will be best. The lens you are getting should open up some new options to you.

Karma


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4/14/2005 9:54:49 AM

 
Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Ok, I am printing this screen out with all these instructions and taking my camera manual and my understanding exposure book by bryan perterson to the track. I think I am equiped! :)
Wish me luck! I'll NEED it :)

Thanks sooo much!
Melissa


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4/14/2005 10:25:35 AM

 
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