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Old 9th of February 2009 (Mon)   #1
phanatic
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Default Which lens for horses?

I am currently shooting with the 40D kit lens. It does well for what I am doing now, but I am going to start shooting horse shows indoors and out. What would be a good lens for indoor arena shooting if I were in the middle of the ring? Would it be a different one for outside the ring as far as zoom goes? If I were in the center, I'd need to be able to reach the edges of the ring - which is oblong. Does anyone have any suggestions for light as well? A setting? I don't think I can "flash the horses" during a class. I set my camera on auto for my daughter's show and many of the pictures are too dark...I forgot to check, because I was so excited.
Any help? My budget is around $1000.00.
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Old 10th of February 2009 (Tue)   #2
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

I use a 70-200 F4 IS. I've had great results outdoors. Shooting in indoor arenas is very difficult, lighting is usually very poor. I usually max the ISO, aperture @ 4.0, At least 1/250 shutter, and hope for the best.

It's a little more then your budget, but it is worth it in the long run.
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Old 10th of February 2009 (Tue)   #3
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

Outdoors in decent light? 70-200 f/4

Indoors or in poor light? 85 1.8 or 100 f/2
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Old 10th of February 2009 (Tue)   #4
Karl Johnston
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

180L macro would be a great lens
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Old 10th of February 2009 (Tue)   #5
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

just shot my first indoor roping this past weekend. i shot it at the ashland MS. arena. i think the 40D kit has a few options, which kit lens do you have? i was outside the arena, mid day no skylights just bulbs and indoor. i used the sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5 and the 135 2.8 sf lens. i shot manual and had to keep shutter speed between 250 and 400 to not have motion blur. the 135 did the best but was a little long to get rider and steer in frame all the time. this is also a small arena maybe 150x100 or so. for indoor to stop motion without a flash you will need 2.8, 320/s to get iso at or below 1600. i like primes and am trying to decide between the 85 1.8 $350 and the 100 2.0 $410. pm me your email and i will send some pics i took and tell you distance i was at so you can see at least what a 70mm and 135mm shot will look like. also don't worry about IS on a lens for horse photos. since you will need a shutter speed of at least 250/s and better to be 320/s IS will make no difference. you can also get the 70-200 2.8 non IS for $950 or so.
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #6
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

Thank you all for your advice. Perhaps it's time to go test drive some of these? The show I am shooting in April is a fully enclosed arena. I have been in it, but not to take pictures, so I don't remember if the light is adequate. I would like to be able to offer my services at all shows - indoor, outdoor, and inbetween (covered outdoor arena). The kit lens I have is the Canon
28-135mm IS USM. It does okay.
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #7
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phanatic View Post
I am currently shooting with the 40D kit lens. It does well for what I am doing now, but I am going to start shooting horse shows indoors and out. What would be a good lens for indoor arena shooting if I were in the middle of the ring? Would it be a different one for outside the ring as far as zoom goes? If I were in the center, I'd need to be able to reach the edges of the ring - which is oblong. Does anyone have any suggestions for light as well? A setting? I don't think I can "flash the horses" during a class. I set my camera on auto for my daughter's show and many of the pictures are too dark...I forgot to check, because I was so excited.
Any help? My budget is around $1000.00.

Shooting indoors, if they won't let you use flash, is just plain tough. Many of the lens recommended so far are just not fast enough. The last show I did last year was a cutting in South Dakota. Here is a link to one of the images:

http://www.pbase.com/matonanjin/image/105517591

The light was really crappy and so I upped the ISO to 1600, used a 100 F/2 wide open and hoped that 1/250th was fast enough. I still had to push it about 1 stop in PP. Fortunately, I shoot with a full frame 5D which handles noise well.

For indoors you need a lens of at least a maximum aperture of f/2. No zooms have this. I like the 100 F/2. I know guys that love the 135 F/2L. The reason your daughters pictures were dark is because your 28-135 max ap is 3.5, I think.

For outdoors I use the 70-200 F/4L. It is incredibly sharp and fast focusing. Someone mentioned the F4/L IS. You don't need IS unless you are going to use the lens for other uses in low light. When ever you are shooting action you need fast enough shutter speed to stop action so IS will provide you no benefit.

HTH
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #8
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

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Originally Posted by matonanjin View Post
For indoors you need a lens of at least a maximum aperture of f/2. No zooms have this. I like the 100 F/2. I know guys that love the 135 F/2L.
For outdoors I use the 70-200 F/4L. It is incredibly sharp and fast focusing. Someone mentioned the F4/L IS. You don't need IS unless you are going to use the lens for other uses in low light. When ever you are shooting action you need fast enough shutter speed to stop action so IS will provide you no benefit.

HTH
The 100 F/2 is in the $500 price range or am I looking at the wrong thing? I paid $$$ for a picture of my daughter from the center ring and when I got home and downloaded my pictures from the rails, I had the same picture - just from a little higher up. Neither picture was as sharp as the one you linked in your post.
You are correct about the aperture on my kit lens, btw.
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Last edited by phanatic : 11th of February 2009 (Wed) at 12:05. Reason: left out info
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #9
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phanatic View Post
The 100 F/2 is in the $500 price range or am I looking at the wrong thing? I paid $$$ for a picture of my daughter from the center ring and when I got home and downloaded my pictures from the rails, I had the same picture - just from a little higher up. Neither picture was as sharp as the one you linked in your post.
You are correct about the aperture on my kit lens, btw.

I think $500 is probably about right.
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #10
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

well, then I get something else, too! What else can I get?!
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #11
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

You sound like a woman shopping Whoops.

I love my 70-200 F/4L. It is just incredibly sharp. It is one of the best sports lens ever made for outdoors. It is not a fast lens so you can't use it indoors. You need the 2.8 version for that to almost squeek by. We already discussed that. You can pick one up for $5-600 range. You can do so much more with it. Kids, close wildlife, portraits, etc. It is sharp wide open! Here is one from it: http://www.pbase.com/matonanjin/image/89147172

Almost this entire horse show was shot with it:
http://www.pbase.com/matonanjin/john...morial_cutting

Do you get the idea I love this lens? Given the choice I would probably prefer the 2.8 but that is more money and a lot heavier. I may or may not go to it eventually.

But with your budget you can get two great lens to get you started. And the F/4 will definitely hold its value should you (or I) ever want to upgrade.

HTH
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #12
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

I hate shopping for anything except camera stuff and horse stuff and I am not sure which I like more. But I can shop for both of them from my desk at home.
I can see why you like that lens. I love the horse shots. And the dog is beautiful. I was actually "shopping" for the 2.8 yesterday. It was a little disappointing. What about the "non professional" 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ?
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #13
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phanatic View Post
I hate shopping for anything except camera stuff and horse stuff and I am not sure which I like more. But I can shop for both of them from my desk at home.
I can see why you like that lens. I love the horse shots. And the dog is beautiful. I was actually "shopping" for the 2.8 yesterday. It was a little disappointing. What about the "non professional" 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ?
The 70-300 is too slow for indoors, but will work for outdoors. If you're allowed to shoot in the middle of the ring, then I assume you are shooting English events. I shoot English and normally use an 85 f/1.8 indoors and a 135 f/2L outdoors, but I've never shot from inside the ring. A 50mm f/1.4 may be a better choice if you can get that close to the action. I have used a 70-300mm IS outdoors too, but most of your shots will be on the short end of the range. I tried shooting an outdoor event with a 200mm f/2.8 L, but it was too long for most shots so I went back to the 135L.
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #14
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Default 70-200mm f/2.8L (non-IS)

This would be one of the best lenses for your use. It doesn't have IS assistance and it is a bit on the heavy side but, for focal length and aperture it would probably be the best lens out there. This lens would be a great combination on your 40D, especially if you opt to use a monopod.

Not knowing the light level in the venue at which you are shooting, it is pretty difficult to make a calculated guess as to what your exposure might be. However, there is no zoom lens with a faster aperture or any zoom lens which has faster auto-focus (not the same thing) than the 70-200mm f/2.8L.

The 70-200mm f/2.8L lens should be within your budget or just above that budget price. Purchasing used, should bring that price down several hundred dollars.

On the other hand, I use my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens for just about any type of shooting. It is a stop slower than the f/2.8L but it is lighter in weight and IMO more versatile, in that I can hold this lens at slower shutter speeds than I can hold a non-IS f/2.8L. If I were faced with shooting this type of activity; I suspect that I could get along just fine using my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens at ISO 1600 or so.

I think that you will find that the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens doesn't focus as fast as you might wish in lower light levels. Additionally, the lens closes down to f/5.6 pretty quickly as you zoom. IMO, f/5.6 would be jut too slow for your purposes.
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Last edited by RPCrowe : 11th of February 2009 (Wed) at 14:05.
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Old 11th of February 2009 (Wed)   #15
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Default Re: Which lens for horses?

the 70-300mm was just an idea. After some looking and reading, I really had already scratched it off the list, but I just had to ask. I appreciate hearing from real people who know these things. I am shooting english and western pleasure. There won't be too much "action" but the light, I am thinking, isn't going to be good.
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