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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-02-2019

Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

Or perhaps something else?

 

I'm looking for recommendations for the best lens option for indoor volleyball, typically shot in poorly-lit high school gyms. I'd also use it for indoor flag football, but this is not as critical as the volleyball. I hate noise!  I recently upgraded from an 80D (still own) to a 5D Mk 4. I own the Canon 24-70 2.8L II. (also own the 100-400L IS II for outdoor baseball, softball, and football).  While the 24-70 is a great lens, I do a lot of cropping (I prefer the close-ups).  Even at ISO 3200 (or 600!), cropped images are just too noisy for my preference.  I'm wondering if adding another lens will remedy this, and I'm considering one of the following:

 

EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM  (I've heard the III is not worth the additional cost)

EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

 

Will the f2.8 at the longer focal length where I don't have to crop as much, give me enough light to limit the noise?  Or should I go with the faster f1.4 and sacfrifice the 86-200 length and the zoom factor? I'm aware with this lens I'd need to watch the DOF at the faster fstop.

 

I also shoot in RAW and process (including noise reduction) w/LR and ocassionally PS.

 

I know I can rent to try, but an overwhelming consensus one way or the other might remedy the need for that.

 

Thanks in advance for recommendations!

 

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,786
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

The 5D4 should be pretty good at ISO 1600, and begin to drop off at ISO 3200.  Can you post a sample photo?  

 

Too much cropping can make noise more visible.  I try not to crop by more than 1/3 horizontally and vertically, which results in a photo that is 1/9 the size of the original.  LR can remove all of the noise, if you wanted, but you will sacrifice resolution and details.

 

Was the aperture setting with the noisy photos f/2.8?.  I do not think you need to buy an expensive lens just to find out if a wider aperture lens would help resolve your noise issue.  A noisy photo shot at f/2.8 on one lens will be just as noisy as a photo shot at f/2.8 with a different lens.

 

So, the EF 70-200mm won’t cure the noise, but it could reduce how much you would need to crop.  How close to the court are you shooting?  Shooting volleyball with a 24-70, you would practically need to be sitting in “the chair”.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-02-2019

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

Thanks for the quick reply!

 

I agree with all you said, and I think the biggest issue (aside from being a noise snob) is the cropping factor.  I went back and looked at some of my images and found the ones where I don't have to crop as much are somewhat better.  There were even a few with ISO at 6400 that were not too bad as they were in better focus due to a faster shutter speed.  I also have to admit I've only had the 5D for a few weeks and all shots have been on the flag football field as volleyball tournaments have not started yet.  Lighting should be sightly better at volleyball due to the wood floors providing a better reflective surface.  The flag football field is green turf and it's pretty dark in there. I'm definitely going to add one more lens as I want something that fits in between the 2, so I'd still like to know which one would serve me the best...

VIP
Posts: 10,842
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

This is easy. Buy the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens not even a choice.  The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens may not be a great upgrade form the Mk II but if you are buying first time get the Mk III.  It has a new lens coating that is impressive.  Not that big a deal from the Mk II but it is for the first time buyer.

 

Here is the rule for sports, never use a prime when a zoom will work. However are you forgetting the main most important three things about sports photography?  Yes, it is location, location and location.  Yeah where you shoot from is paramount.

I did the corporate challenge last yest in KC. I was allowed to be right at the boundary of the courts. Got some great shots with my 1D Mk IV and ef 24-70mm f2.6L II

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV, along with less and less other stuff.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,786
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...


@lilh wrote:

Thanks for the quick reply!

 

I agree with all you said, and I think the biggest issue (aside from being a noise snob) is the cropping factor.  I went back and looked at some of my images and found the ones where I don't have to crop as much are somewhat better.  There were even a few with ISO at 6400 that were not too bad as they were in better focus due to a faster shutter speed.  I also have to admit I've only had the 5D for a few weeks and all shots have been on the flag football field as volleyball tournaments have not started yet.  Lighting should be sightly better at volleyball due to the wood floors providing a better reflective surface.  The flag football field is green turf and it's pretty dark in there. I'm definitely going to add one more lens as I want something that fits in between the 2, so I'd still like to know which one would serve me the best...


Shooting indoor sports can be as much a challenge for the gear as it is for the photographers.  With a little practice, trial and error, it is not too hard to find your own “best practice” to get the shots that you want.

 

I am by no means an expert on shooting indoor sports, but you cannot go too far wrong with a high shutter speed.  What works best for me is shooting in Manual mode with ISO set to Auto.  I then go into the menus and cap Auto ISO at some value.  This gives me complete, independent control over SS and Av, while the camera sets ISO for the exposure.  The only tweaking that is needed is dialing when AEC when I need it.

 

I have found using AEC can be beneficial.  I shoot with a 6D2 in low light scenarios.  When ISO wants to go to 25600, or higher, then I like to dial in up to one stop of negative AEC to stay within the 12800 cap put on the Auto ISO.  If I need more than one stop of negative AEC, then I start slowing down the shutter speed.

By using negative AEC, it helps to minimize the noise in the shadows, and LR can bring up the highlights, which mask noise better than shadows, in post.  Most of the time, losing details in the dark areas of low light shots is a “don’t care condition”.  I look at it as being somewhat equivalent to background blur.  As long as my subject is fairly well lit up in highlights, I am not as concerned about any loss of the details in shadows.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-02-2019

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

Thank you for your reply!  Valid point about the III vs the II lens. Everything I read about the III version was comparing it to the II, but you're right - since I'm not upgrading I might as well start with the most recent version.

 

And re the location - for the most part, I can get pretty close to the courts, but they play in a variety of venues all over New England and that may not always be the case.  And with the flag football, I can stand directly on the side line and can move up and down the field, but I can't run up and down it in the middle of the plays so the 70mm won't reach far enough for the long passes.  (But again, the volleyball is more important than the flag football). 

 

You've given me more to think about - thanks again!

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-02-2019

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

Waddizzle,

 

This is exactly how I started shooting indoors with the 5D - Manual mode with Auto ISO.  But I capped my ISO at a much lower setting - the thought of it ever spiking up to 12800 makes me - 'shudder.'   I have not tried the negative AEC, but I will next time out.  I feel the same way about the shadow areas - I'd rather lose detail there than deal with noise.  

 

Thanks for the tip!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,786
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...


@lilh wrote:

Waddizzle,

 

This is exactly how I started shooting indoors with the 5D - Manual mode with Auto ISO.  But I capped my ISO at a much lower setting - the thought of it ever spiking up to 12800 makes me - 'shudder.'   I have not tried the negative AEC, but I will next time out.  I feel the same way about the shadow areas - I'd rather lose detail there than deal with noise.  

 

Thanks for the tip!


Oh, I do not use ISO 12800.  In practice, I try to stay at or below ISO 3200. The ISO12800 cap is just a backstop, plus it gives some room to “cheat” when conditions are really bad.

 

A594C62B-2BE0-488D-96AC-ECC315CB8491.jpeg

 

The above photo was taken one night when I was shooting everything with -1 Ev of AEC.  Most shots were ISO 10000 to ISO 12800, after compensaton.   Focus is on the ball carrier.  I am guessing shutter speed was around 1/400.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-02-2019

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...

Waddizzle - this is a great shot - I'm impressed!  Do you mind if I ask what lens you used and whether or not this is cropped?    Football is my favorite sport to photograph and I crop all my shots. But my grandson is only 10 so it will be awhile before I have to shoot any high school night games.  Although he does play a few night baseball games so I'm hoping to get better at those this year.  Another reason I am leaning towards the 70-200 lens.

 

Thanks for sharing that image!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,786
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Which lens? EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM - for indoor volleyball...


@lilh wrote:

Waddizzle - this is a great shot - I'm impressed!  Do you mind if I ask what lens you used and whether or not this is cropped?    Football is my favorite sport to photograph and I crop all my shots. But my grandson is only 10 so it will be awhile before I have to shoot any high school night games.  Although he does play a few night baseball games so I'm hoping to get better at those this year.  Another reason I am leaning towards the 70-200 lens.

 

Thanks for sharing that image!


Thank-you.  That was the 6D2 and the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM.  Yes, the shot has been cropped.  I was near the goal line, and the play was around mid-field.  Call it between the 40s.  In fact, the SS may have been as slow 1/200.  I would need to check my archives when I get back home.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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