200mm or 400mm?

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200mm or 400mm?

Postby daniel5600 on Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:55 pm

Hello people.

Im after some advice from those that know. In short, im trying to choose between a

Sigma 70-200 2.8 or Sigma 120-400 4.5-5.6

So, details... I am very experienced with photography and know the quality of these lenses, its more about what will suit best.
I want this lens to perform at its best for superbike racing, however id like to use it for a range of other things, including lower light stuff.

Has anyone shot bikes? will the extra 200mm help? is it worth the loss of those extra stops? id love the 2.8 goodness, but dont want to have to be cropping every picture from the race track
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby gstark on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:20 pm

daniel5600 wrote:Has anyone shot bikes?


Yes. Many here do this. Look at some of BBJ's images, including those from PI. There are too many to mention.

will the extra 200mm help?


If it's quality 200mm, then yes, but that also depends upon the circuit, and where on the circuit you are. At the Creek, you might not need it. At Albert Park, you probably would.

This is not an either/or situation: you need a kit, and that kit includes many lenses. 200 is great, and very useful, but some times it will be too long, while at other times it will be way too short.

And don't overlook the crop factor of your sensor: your 30D/40D/7D has a 1.6 crop factor, which means that your 200mm has a FoV more akin to a 320mm.

But it must be quality. The 120-400 doesn't cut it. It's a dog. A lame dog.

One that's blind.

In both eyes.

is it worth the loss of those extra stops?


IMHO, not with this lens. The Siggy 70-200 can produce some great images in the hands of a good operator. The 120-400 is closer to the Nikon 70-300G in terms of quality. I have the Nikon, and it does its best work as a doorstop.
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby Big V on Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:30 am

Using a 400 gives a totally different result than a 200 if you are shooting from the same spot. It depends on how tight you are prepared to shoot or what your focus is. Personally I will shoot with the 400 over the other focal lengths most of the time for sport. I started with the Sigma 80-400 and whilst the autofocus was slow the images I produced from this were very good in terms of colour and contrast. I then went over to the Canon 100-400 and this is a much faster to focus and has a slight improvement in contrast. Finally I decided that I use 400 so much that it was time to plonk down the big bucks and get the Canon 400mm F2.8 as it is in a class of its own and it handles the TC so well. You will find that for a lot of sport and the locations that you will get to shoot from that 200 is too short. Is the Sigma the right choice for you? only you can answer that but I will say you can produce quality work with any lens as long as your technique is solid and you understand the sport. As you are new here and welcome by the way, you can have alook at my work and see the transition over the last 5 years through these lenses here www.petelee.smugmug.com/tony to show that I have used these a great deal and the type of results which are obtainable. 2005 to 2007 was shot with the 80-400 Sigma, 2008 to sep 2009 was with the 100-400 and from Sep 2009 mainly the Canon 400 F2.8 although I still use the 100 -400 when needed.
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby daniel5600 on Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:28 am

Thanks Big V,

Good information, ill have a look at your shots now.
Im going Sigma because of the price, which is important right now.

I went into a store and tried both lenses back to back yesterday, still undecided. heres the same shot from each lens (200mm is cropped), guess which is which?
Keeping in mind, the 400mm has OS, the 200mm doesnt, both shot handheld

Image

Image

Answer: top is 400, bottom 200
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby aim54x on Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:56 am

daniel5600 wrote:Answer: top is 400, bottom 200


and neither is sharp... :twisted: :cheers:

were both lenses set at 200mm? were both lenses at the same aperture? both these things should be pretty important to you when you are actually looking at the lenses and testing them. IF they are at 400 and 200mm respectively there is a pretty big resolution disadvantage to the 200mm shot. If they are at different apertures then you are going to see a difference in shutterspeed/iso.

Whilst plain shots like this are useful, it may be an idea to test both lenses with the same focal length and aperture (ie 200mm f/5.6) as you will not be able to use the 400mm at f/2.8 at 200mm. If you get a chance (and if you really want to test these out) it would be good to shoot test shots with both lenses at 70, 120, 135, 200, 300, 400 at the largest aperture available down to about f/8 then you will get a good idea about how the lens performs. At the end of the day you really are testing two very different lenses so it will be difficult decision once you factor in the strong points for each lens. PS there is also sample variation between lenses of the same model as well (just to mess with you more!!)

Whilst you are at it...have a look at the Canon EF 100-400mm as well!
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby daniel5600 on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:19 am

this test was purely to see, with each lens individually set as best it could be at full zoom on something far away, will the 200 come close to the 400s image.

What im finding out is, if i get the 200, which is a faster lens, is it better to just have that and crop, rather than having a slower 400.

I cant afford the Canon.

Details of those shots...
top (400) f5.6 1/20th ISO200
bottom (200) f4.5 1/50th ISO200
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby kiwi on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:22 am

Well, if you wanted to test sharpness bumping iso to 800 and upping the shutter speed may have helped some

Anyhow, my view on this is that the Sigma 70-200 2.8 with a Sigma 1.4 TC is the best "compromise" of money, speed and length unless you go a second hand Sigma 120-300 2.8 with a 1.4TC that can be had quite "cheaply" these days
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby daniel5600 on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:34 am

im sure it could have been sharper on a tripod too, but what i was finding here is if i just use normal shitty lighting, hand held, on average settings, shooting fast, can i get a decent crop from the 200 that is about the same as the 400.

ill have a look around to see what i can find about the 120-300 2.8
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby gstark on Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:32 am

aim54x wrote:Whilst plain shots like this are useful,


I don't believe that they are. We have very little data here, and with these two lenses there are just so many variables that need to be brought into consideration.

If you get a chance (and if you really want to test these out) it would be good to shoot test shots with both lenses at 70, 120, 135, 200, 300, 400 at the largest aperture available down to about f/8


I would go even further, and use a tripod and remote. Most lenses have a sweet spot (or two) and the goal here is to try to locate that, and to then see how the lenses perform, within their sweet ranges. Just shooting an image with an ad-hoc focal length and aperture really doesn't do all that much for you.

then you will get a good idea about how the lens performs. At the end of the day you really are testing two very different lenses so it will be difficult decision once you factor in the strong points for each lens.


Correct.

Whilst you are at it...have a look at the Canon EF 100-400mm as well!


:agree:

And please also consider your earlier statement "I cant afford the Canon.". let's do the math ...

Canon lens is $x; Sigma lens is $y.

If you buy the Sigma and then buy the Canon (as most who buy a Sigma do) then your expenditure is $x + $y. If you just go and buy the Canon first up, then you will only be making the one purchase, for the value of $x, and thus you will be saving yourself $y, which you can put towards other purchases.

Just a thought - as mentioned in the other thread, it's the glass that becomes your investment, and you really should be aiming for the very best at the earliest opportunity.
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Re: 200mm or 400mm?

Postby photomarcs on Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:17 pm

gstark wrote:
And please also consider your earlier statement "I cant afford the Canon.". let's do the math ...

Canon lens is $x; Sigma lens is $y.

If you buy the Sigma and then buy the Canon (as most who buy a Sigma do) then your expenditure is $x + $y. If you just go and buy the Canon first up, then you will only be making the one purchase, for the value of $x, and thus you will be saving yourself $y, which you can put towards other purchases.

Just a thought - as mentioned in the other thread, it's the glass that becomes your investment, and you really should be aiming for the very best at the earliest opportunity.



I agree to that 100% :cheers:

I learnt that aiming for the best first time, should definately be the way to go. There are downsides like not knowing how some other lenses perform, but if your going for top stuff, you wouldn't bother as much with the little puppies unless your a lens whore. :biglaugh:
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