January 7, 2009

Q&A Fast Lenses

It’s time to introduce yet another feature we’re debuting in 2009 on the blog. It’s the blog version of Q&A. About once a week, we’re going to pick a question or two to answer right here on the blog. Use the address twipphoto @ gmail.com if you have a question.

Today’s question is from Jay Finn who wrote:

I’m in the process of researching for a fast zoom lens for shooting indoor sports. As you know, there are many makes and models to choose from in this category. My only question is: in your experiences, how much difference in performance is there between an f/2.8 and an f/3.5 lens when used to photograph indoor sports such as hockey, basketball, and wrestling? I know the faster the lens the better for such events, but would like to hear your opinions on this. By the way, I shoot sports with a Canon 40D and am leaning toward the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8.

Jay the faster the glass the better. That’s always my answer. And it’s not just because of low-light performance, which is certainly an issue during indoor sports – but also, it means the sweet spot is at a wider aperture. Each lens has an area known as the sweet spot. It’s where the lens performs at its best in terms of light fall off on the corners, sharpness, etc.

Now there isn’t a TON of difference between a 2.8 and a 3.5 lens (if you’re shooting outdoors in good light,) but there’s plenty when you need to shoot indoors.

I haven’t shot with the Tamron, but I believe their high-end lenses are quite good. The Canon 70-200 F/2.8 is the gold standard. It’s tremendous and worth a look.

Just remember, 98% of all lenses are better than 99% of all photographers :)

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store