100mmL IS Canon vs. 150mm Sigma

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by klotzishere20, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. klotzishere20

    klotzishere20 TPF Noob!

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    I've windled it down to between these two. The main use is macro of course, but I also want to use this lens for indoor sports.

    I've read in a review or two that the Sigma isn't very good for indoor sports.

    Wondering if anyone has opinion on either or both lens
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would never count on a macro lens to function well as an indoor sports lens because the autofocusing travel of almost all tele-macro prime lenses is extremely hair-trigger beyond about two meters. If you look, you'll see that the focusing travel usually starts at Infinity, and comes roaring in to three meters or 10 feet in just a scant few degrees of travel, so that at common indoor distances 40 feet is maybe one millimeter away from 30 feet...meaning that precision is low, and there's a good chance that on moving subjects, many cameras will have difficulty achieving accurate focus when under time constraints. I've tried to use quite a few different macro lenses as "field" lenses, and frankly, they are a poor choice compared to a field telephoto.

    Macro lenses have long,smooth, high-precision focusing at close ranges, which is where they are optimized for both image quality, and for focusing. At longer ranges, macro lenses have an annoying habit of missing focus with annoying frequency. They're simply not designed to shoot fast-paced action.
     
  3. klotzishere20

    klotzishere20 TPF Noob!

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    From now on I'm prolly just going to message you instead of posting lol
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey what about the rest of us!!! ;)

    Even though I am in agreement with Derral here - I've used a 70-200mm f2.8 IS L and a sigma 150mm macro and if I were doing any moving subjects the 70-200mm was the lens I always reached for. The 150mm could do it certainly, but as derral says the AF is not as fine nor fast and manual focusing is also just as tricky. The Canon 100mm IS L will have a better (faster) af than the sigma, but it still won't be in the same line as the regular telephotos with regard to speed.

    That said never let the above be an excuse for you not to use a lens like the 150mm for more active stuff: Sigma 150mm F/2.8 - a set on Flickr

    An example of a photographer who uses his 150mm for action work that I would mostly never do unless it were the only lens I could take with me on the day. The 150mm is also generally popular with nature photographers as it does have that little bit more reach for a wildlife grabshot if something comes close.
     
  5. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You know, I never really paid much attention to that (don't really use my macro lens for non-macro stuff often) - but damn!

    On the 100mm Macro, a full 95% of the focus ring travel covers from 1.02' to 5'. The remaining 5% of travel goes from 5' to infinity. (That's maybe 5 degrees. Minimum to maximum focus takes about 100 degrees of movement.)
     
  6. j-digg

    j-digg TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, using a macro may not be the best or most logical option for long distance stuff, but it can definitely get pretty good results.... I used my 100mm 2.8L at a pro BBall game in May, mostly wide open and it provided pretty damn accurate AF the entire game.... granted I wasnt shooting during peak action too much ( was mostly watching while there was any action at all ) but I did manage to get a really high tack sharp / in focus rate.

    The "L" also has the limiter on it which assists in focusing distance.. Not sure about the other lens listed.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes, that's what I am talking about,exactly. At longer distances, like j-digg was talking about, like at say a baseball game, the focusing distance is generally going to be relatively close to the hyperfocal distance, which for a 100mm lens used on a 1.6x Canon at f/8, is 216 feet. As long as the distance is LONG, you're going to be okay...but as soon as the distances get into the intermediate distances or close ranges, like say from 5 feet to 125 feet, the focusing travel is extremely fast...at the portrait type distances of 7,8,9,10,12,15,20,25,30,40 feet, autofocus macro lenses can and do easily miss the focus point, with just the slightest mis-aiming of the AF bracket in use, or if subjects are changing distances rapidly or unpredictably. Like, in the above gallery of the zoo animals---I do not consider that action work at all--the animals are in one spot, typically grooming,eating, or simply standing there.

    I tried using a spiffy Nikon 60mm Micro-Nikkor as a walkabout lens for about a month...I had so damned many out of focus shots at 10 to 60 feet that I just quit...it was around a 40% miss rate in good, summertime lighting. The new Zeiss manual focus macro lenses are about the only macro lenses I have ever seen that have a traditional "field" type slow focus rotation from Infinity into close-range; they are the exception to the rule.

    One thing many people are surprisingly unaware of is that is has been typical for the manufacturer of a lens to engrave it with focus markings and DOF marking for the optimized ranges and "typical,expected" uses. Looking at 85 and 105mm Nikkors for example, you see lots of individual markings at the "portrait" ranges, like 4,4.5,5,6,7,8,9,10,12,15 feet,as well as Meter-marked intermediate distances as well...those lenses are expected to be used "close". Some of the older supertelephotos were Infinity, 300,250,200,150,100,80,60,50,40,35,30,25,20,15,12,10 feet, as well as Meters for in-between distances...lots and lots of markings at the longer ranges...same on some of the semi-wide lenses and wide-angles, with the closest ranges broken up into very small units, like 1.25 feet, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7,1.8,2 foot,etc. Some other lenses that are really a PITA to focus are like the Nikon 45-P f/2.8...it has very good focusing from Minimum Focus Distance to about 6 feet...but from 6 feet to Infinity, it is really dicey...it's almost as bad as a macro lens. It's very easy to miss the focus with the 45-P at distances in the 6 to 50 foot ranges.

    I'm not trying to dissuade people from using a macro lens as a field telephoto if they need to or wish to, but am trying to point out that macro lenses really are not the best option for portraiture or action/sports work. There's a very common idea that a macro can be a "good" dual-duty lens, but that has never been my experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  8. AlexL

    AlexL TPF Noob!

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    this forum beats photography class! (If i had photography class that is :))
     

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