Dark and somewhat static shots


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Sep 5, 2010
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This is the ages old question but with a slightly different twist. I need a decent tele to shoot at darkened events. The stage will be lit but the audience sits in the dark. I can actually move up near the stage to get really tight shots so shooting offhand with no tripod is my MO. Perhaps with a mono, though, I tend to pop up and down so as not to block the audience in the front row. Most of the people on stage are sitting or at a podium. They do walk around the stage but not much.

I have a Tamron 17-50 2.8 and that works nicely for wider shots and shallow stages and my reliable 50 1.8 is always in the bag. But I'm finding I need a 70-200 or 70-300. I'm shooting a Canon 30D with a 430ex flash. Sometimes I can use the flash, other times not. I can safely push up to iso 1600 and occasionally 3200. I'd love to get a 70-200 2.8 or even a f/4 IS but that's a bit out of my budget. So my three choices are the 70-300 IS, 70-200 f/4 non IS and the 200mm prime 2.8. The latter is at the edge of my budget but doable. The lack of zoom flexibility might be tough, though. I like the idea that the "L" glass would be far sharper throughout the range so almost like having an extra stop over the 70-300. But that IS really seems to be right for this situation. Any advice? Thanks.
I've used a Tamron 75-300 on my T1i and had pretty decent results. It was relatively cheap as well, but the high f/stop (f/4, I think) is kind of a downer.
Thanks for the reply. I like Tamron a lot, but I've seen mixed reviews of aftermarket teles. Is it f/4 throughout and pretty sharp? What's the weight like on that? I'm wondering if I can manage f/4 handheld in the dark. Perhaps with some flash assistance from afar.
Sigma or Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8. Sigma for AF, Tamron for optics. :thumbsup:

Maybe I'll check the Sigma out. I was kind of worried about quality issues reported on the digital picture.com site. The review said the two copies they tested front focused and was soft on one side at 135mm. Sounds a lot like so-so quality control at the factory. But a lot of other people seem to be happy with them.
I'm wary of the tamron longer zooms due to their slower outdated and noisy AF system.
I love my tamron 17-50 f2.8 but wouldn't even consider them for longer. The Sigma is lightning fast and quiet. And their 70 and 80-200 f2.8 and 50-150 f2.8 is highly regarded.

Yes with third party you have to be more diligent in testing your copy. And buy from a reputable dealer with good exchange/return policies. And test it out throughly during the exchange period. But always had good results dealing with Sigma.

1) Always check the date of reviews by how long the lens has been out. As the first months of release is not the best time to buy the lens. But wait for them to get a handle on any first Q.A. issues.
2) I trust actually users and few reviewers on determining a lens for consideration. Flickr lens groups,Amazon customer feedback and the few reviewers that I trust. Give me a good picture on the actual lens I'm considering.
Thanks that's great info and it makes me feel better about going long with a third party lens. I guess going used is too risky?

And I agree with you on the Tamron 17-50 (non vc version). Best fast wide for the money.

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