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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Canon 200mm 1.8 - the sports shooter’s ideal lens?
Allen Lester, Photographer
Norfolk | VA | USA | Posted: 8:32 AM on 05.13.05
->> All,

Mr. Wimmer’s thread a couple of days ago concerning the Canon 200mm 1.8 has prompted me to ask the question, “Isn’t the Canon 200mm 1.8 the sports shooter’s ideal lens?” I realize that using the 200mm 1.8 is not in the same class with a 300/400mm 2.8, but given it’s large aperture and focal length combinations with the 1.4 on 1D/20D bodies, isn’t it hard to beat for most of us?

The combinations with canon bodies and the 1.4x cover a broad range of situations.
1D + 200 = 260mm @ f1.8
1D + 200 + 1.4x = 364mm @ f2.5
20D + 200 = 320mm @ f1.8
20D + 200 + 1.4 = 448mm @ f2.5

Packing a 1D/20D/1.4x combination, effective focal lengths range from 260mm to 448mm and all with apertures larger than 2.8.

So, why did they quite making it?

Allen
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Andy Mead, Photographer, Photo Editor
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 10:56 AM on 05.13.05
->> I was talking to someone at Canon recently and I asked about the lens.

Apparently the sales of the lens in the last six months that it was available were lower than low. It was only after they canceled production that folks came out of the woodwork looking for the lens. If the clamor for the lens that seems to exist today existed when the lens was in production, they wouldn't have stopped making it.

One thing that has kept them from making a newer version is that they have gone IS will all of their long "L" lenses, and it just isn't possible for them to make a usable IS group with that 1.8 aperature. At least not in a form factor remotely close to the size of the exiting lens.

At least that's what I was told. YMMV.
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Greg Ferguson, Photographer
Scottsdale | Az | USA | Posted: 11:32 AM on 05.13.05
->> It's a nice lens, and when you're shooting in a situation where you can carry multiple bodies, or have time to switch lenses, or don't have to deal with wide-ranging distances, then it's awesome.

A friend of mine has one for his wedding photography, and coupled with a 1D it's got to be one of the nicest balanced body/lens combos I've handled. It's also got a sweet background blur. For his stuff, it catches some great images.

For what I do I'd rather use my 70-200 f2.8. My subjects can close the distance between me and them faster than I can run, so I need that zoom capability. There are times I'd love to have a 28-200mm or 28-300mm that operates exactly like the L USM IS lens does just for the added range, but for 90% of what I do the 70-200 range is fine.
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Pablo Galvez, Photographer
Calgary | AB | CANADA | Posted: 11:34 AM on 05.13.05
->> I think it is the best indoor lens available. The extremely shallow DOF makes it a difficult lens to shoot with until you get used to it. You can't rely on your centre focus point when shooting players in full-body action as the face will probably be out-of-focus. You will need to use the focus point that is closer to the athlete's face for best results.

I use this lens for 95% of my indoor shooting and now I use it with a 4-stop Neutral Density filter for portraits outside.

It's a great lens if you can find one.

-Pablo
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Vern Verna, Photographer
Greenville | SC | United States | Posted: 11:45 AM on 05.13.05
->> In a word NO! i bet in my last 6 baseball games i have not shot a frame with my 80-200, all shot with the 400 and the 600mm. How many times do u have an opportunity to use it when u r shooting sports? most of us use a 70-200 and use it when we have a quick grab shot or something in the end zone close (i use a 28-300 when it is a day game). i love the ability to be able to carry a 400 and a 600 both to an nfl game but the weight makes it very tough. yeh it would be nice to have once a game when u have a shot in the end zone but again it is a lot of weight for one play/shot when the 70-200 works as well especially if they get too tight for 200.

Now for portraits, yeh or somewhere else where u r seated yeh. i have a friend that wants one for theater work and body building show. it is nice in dark light and it snaps in focus quick because of the 1.8 aperature. BUT in low light with the resolution of the mark ii, i would feel much comfortable with an is lens especially say the 300 if u were gonna put the 1.4 on the 200. i know it got a lot of its reputation back in the days of the 1st version of the 400. i knew a few people that put a 2x on it and swore it was sharper than the 400 ver. I.

Three options that make it very impractical now.
1.idiots r paying $5000 for the lens on places like fredmiranda and it isnt worth that.
2. a new version of the 70-200 has been made since then, a new 300 and 2 new versions of the 400 and a new 600. a lot of improvements in sharpness in all those lens. The 200 hasnt been redone since it was introduced at least from when i remember seeing the first one in 93. i would guess it came out not long after the eos line debut in 87 i think. at the minimum the lens was designed at least 12 years ago long before digital was thought of.
3. with the 400 vers. I not being serviced by canon any more (it has been too long since it was introduced.) i would think it would not be long before the 200 would be discontinued being serviced by canon (if they havent stopped already) also especially since their are a whole lot less of them than 400.

if u have a specific use for one and can justify the price maybe??? but i think the sharpness is overrated because of its aperature. a brighter aperature focuses faster regardless of the autofocus camera u have cause it is brighter and gives the camera info better info as a result (might not be the correct way to express that). but when a 300, 400 , 500 or 600 and even a 70-200 is tack sharp, i dont think u can get a lens that is sharper or at least that u r gonna see on a print smaller than 11x17,
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Vern Verna, Photographer
Greenville | SC | United States | Posted: 11:49 AM on 05.13.05
->> let me add one thing if u shoot a 70-200 a ton like the wedding case above at 200, it would be nice in that situation but i would ask is not a 300 a better choice?? would it be too tight? if it is not then i would get a 300. i think if u have to put a 1.4x on it at all get a 300. the is makes the 200 obsolete.
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Arthur Carvalho, Photographer
hooksett | NH | USA | Posted: 7:24 PM on 05.15.05
->> My favorite canon lense has got to be the 200 1.8. I shoot a ton of figure skating and gymnastics events that are held in dungeons, and that 200 is the perfect length to use on these hockey rinks and for shooting the balance beam. It is a little tight for the floor events though, from where I usually shoot. It always seems to grab the subject and give me a tack sharp shot. I remember the first time I saw the lense, an SI guy was hand holding it at a synchronized skating event. After that we picked up a few. I am glad we did, they have definitely been useful.
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Julian Jenkins, Photographer
Canyon Country | CA | USA | Posted: 6:50 AM on 05.16.05
->> I think someone's about to sell some Amway products!

Wow guys, there's reviews in the equipment profiles.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/gear_profile.html?id=83


Let's get the board back to what's important like what airline sucks, posting at SS.com can get you canned and who has the rights for old images.

Best-

Julian
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Allen Lester, Photographer
Norfolk | VA | USA | Posted: 8:58 AM on 05.16.05
->> Thanks to all the professionals who took the time to provide me some constructive feedback. Vern your comments and feedback on the other post were very enlightening to say the least. I recall that I saw one about a year ago for about $3000; $5000 is way, way out reason!! My hidden agenda was finding the poor man’s 300/2.8 with the bonus of being able to shoot in low light at 200/1.8.
Thanks,
Allen
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Greg Bartram, Photographer
Dublin | OH | USA | Posted: 9:38 AM on 05.16.05
->> Well, let me say enter this into the record...

Love it. Hands down. I think Vern's comments need to be tempered slightly in that, if you're shooting baseball, you don't need the extra light flexibility. If you're indoors, that difference can be huge. It doesn't seem like a long way between 1.8 and 2.8 'til you're shooting in the Batcave.
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Greg Bartram, Photographer
Dublin | OH | USA | Posted: 10:29 AM on 05.16.05
->> Update on my last post...I am posting some images with this lens onto my member page. Just concert stuff so far, but lemme see what else I can find...
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Vern Verna, Photographer
Greenville | SC | United States | Posted: 10:51 AM on 05.16.05
->> Greg, i have just seen too many of them sell on miranda and seen too many discussion on that board. if u read much over there u would think it is the greatest lens ever made and every other lens is an off brand lol. There r people over there on their 4 or 5th copy of the lens trying to find the "perfect" one. like i mentioned if u have a specific use for it then ok, but i find on the mark ii the resolution of it is causing motion blur more than i have ever seen before, like a strobe ghosting effect so when shooting in the dark i opt more for the is than the 1.8 aperature. and too i never get in a place that is that dark (no high schools for me) so that does make a difference for me.

hey does anybody know if canon still repairs em? now that they have discontinued repairing the 400 vers. 1.
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Neil Brake, Photographer
Nashville | TN | USA | Posted: 12:54 PM on 05.17.05
->> Allen,
I just got a loaner this past weekend from Canon to shoot the SEC Track and Field events. See my first image shot with the 200. This was taken at 9:45pm central time, it was dark as you know what on the track. I was able to shoot this frame at 1600 @ 320 at F/1.8 with the Mark 2. No depth of field what so ever but what a sweet lens for low light situations. If I could afford one I would have one of these bad boys. I think I would much rather have this lens for digital that the 300 because you could put the 1.4 on it or the 2x on it. I would still have a 70-200, but this lens can't be beat for low light. The only thing I which Canon would do is to make this lens with an image stablizer like my 400 F/2.8
Just my two cents on the subject.
Cheers,
Neil Brake
Vanderbilt University
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Allen Lester, Photographer
Norfolk | VA | USA | Posted: 1:29 PM on 05.17.05
->> Thanks Neil, what a great example!! We have been shooting quite a few track and field events this spring and I could see many opportunities to use this lens. We’ll need to see if CPS can dust one off for a spin at an upcoming event.
Allen
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Neil Brake, Photographer
Nashville | TN | USA | Posted: 4:48 PM on 05.17.05
->> Allen,
Images 9 and 10 are also with the lens at dark thirty.
Shooting 250 and 125 @ f/1.8
Call CPS and get it early if you know of an event. Like I said sweet lens.
Cheers,
Neil
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Pablo Galvez, Photographer
Calgary | AB | CANADA | Posted: 10:42 AM on 05.19.05
->> I have never encountered an indoor gym that I couldn't get at least ISO 1600 1/320 with this lens. Most of the time I can easily shoot ISO 800 in HS gyms.

Let's be clear, here, this lens is NOT a 300 f2.8. It would not replace having a 300. I decided to go with a 200 1.8 and 400 2.8 combo and skip the 300. This is only because I can't afford the extra bucks for the 300. So for now I will be using a 200 1.8 with the 1.4 for extra reach. The quality is slightyly less with this combo than with the 300 2.8. Also, the 300 has the option of again going with a 1.4 for more versatility in your focal lengths.

The difference here is that (as Neil has discovered) there is no substitute for FAST glass in LOW light. It allows you to take photos that normally wouldn't be possible even with expanded ISO ranges.

This makes the 200 f1.8 lens the ideal lens (IMO) for indoor sports or night-time outdoor events.

-Pablo
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Thread Title: Canon 200mm 1.8 - the sports shooter’s ideal lens?
Thread Started By: Allen Lester
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