Art and Photography

Are super telephoto zooms usable indoors?

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  • Jan 4th, 2018 9:17 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes

Are super telephoto zooms usable indoors?

Was thinking of picking up on of the 150-600 mm offerings from Sigma or Tamron for use indoors. Specifically, kids Christmas concert and indoor activities. If I was stuck at the back of the gym, the extra reach would be handy. However, with these being more outdoor wildlife lenses, thinking they won't work well indoor with limited lighting. They're both F5-6.3.

Any experiences with either of these indoors?
yo!
23 replies
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
7615 posts
1503 upvotes
I think you are right, the F5-6.3 is limiting for indoors, even F2 / 2.8 may be stretching without good lighting.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
11324 posts
4623 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
It depends on the camera body. If you have a good full frame body and aren't afraid to use the highest ISO settings, then it's usable as long it's not a typical theatre type lighting - ie indoor sports but not fast action. The problem is two fold really - the lack of light for focusing and actual exposure.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes
hdom wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 1:42 pm
I think you are right, the F5-6.3 is limiting for indoors, even F2 / 2.8 may be stretching without good lighting.
Surely F2 / 2.8 are sufficient? Even Canon's L-series super telephoto primes are 2.8 at best (400mm), with most being F4 or F5.6.
yo!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes
craftsman wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 2:05 pm
It depends on the camera body. If you have a good full frame body and aren't afraid to use the highest ISO settings, then it's usable as long it's not a typical theatre type lighting - ie indoor sports but not fast action. The problem is two fold really - the lack of light for focusing and actual exposure.
I'll be using it on a 5D3. I'm not a pro, so not too concerned with higher ISO.
yo!
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
7615 posts
1503 upvotes
This one lists some of the best and available zoom lens for this application for Canon - https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Can ... -Lens.aspx

The 5D3 deserves some pro level lens too, IMHO.
moneybags wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 2:33 pm
Surely F2 / 2.8 are sufficient? Even Canon's L-series super telephoto primes are 2.8 at best (400mm), with most being F4 or F5.6.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1730 posts
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moneybags wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 2:34 pm
I'll be using it on a 5D3. I'm not a pro, so not too concerned with higher ISO.
grab the 200 f2 (you can always 2x extend it resulting in f4) and then crop as required while using adequate ISO to freeze action.
Wedding & Child Photographer ~ happily photographing
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes
inzite wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 5:39 pm
grab the 200 f2 (you can always 2x extend it resulting in f4) and then crop as required while using adequate ISO to freeze action.
Ha! I was close, but turns out the Canon prime is ever so slightly more than the Sigma and Tamron zoom offerings.

Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C MSRP: $1499.95 CAD
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 MSRP: $1,699.99 CAD
EF 200mm f/2L IS USM MSRP: $8,329.99 CAD

My goal is to capture decent photo memories of the kids growing up, but don't plan to be selling prints, so the 200 F2 is probably out.
yo!
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
11324 posts
4623 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
moneybags wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 6:09 pm
Ha! I was close, but turns out the Canon prime is ever so slightly more than the Sigma and Tamron zoom offerings.

Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C MSRP: $1499.95 CAD
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 MSRP: $1,699.99 CAD
EF 200mm f/2L IS USM MSRP: $8,329.99 CAD

My goal is to capture decent photo memories of the kids growing up, but don't plan to be selling prints, so the 200 F2 is probably out.
Ahh... so good quality blackmail pictures for those later in life events (ie. shown at the wedding) :)

I would suggest that you take your camera into a somewhat dimly lite store and try out those lenses. You really have two use cases here - indoor action and indoor stills (ie in the face-off circle or standing on stage) - so try to shoot at a distance while indoors in the dimly lit stores and get some shots in the darker corners (ie the ceiling corners away from the lights). That should give you a good idea on how low you can go in terms of light and high the ISO needs to be to get you there. Also, you'll get an idea of when the camera will start having issues focusing.
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2008
1303 posts
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North Vancouver, BC
With the 600mm lens from Sigma/Tamron the IS is OK. You'll need to keep the shutter speed at 1/400 or faster if handheld, so ISO can be in the 3200 to 12800 range.

I use a decent flash (like a 430EX or equivalent) for the type of shot you want to get. The flash helps up to 100-150 feet.
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1730 posts
259 upvotes
moneybags wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 6:09 pm
Ha! I was close, but turns out the Canon prime is ever so slightly more than the Sigma and Tamron zoom offerings.

Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C MSRP: $1499.95 CAD
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 MSRP: $1,699.99 CAD
EF 200mm f/2L IS USM MSRP: $8,329.99 CAD

My goal is to capture decent photo memories of the kids growing up, but don't plan to be selling prints, so the 200 F2 is probably out.
haha i'm glad i got my 200 f2 when the prices were still somewhat reasonable.
Wedding & Child Photographer ~ happily photographing
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2006
3959 posts
1087 upvotes
Vancouver
Yes, you can use them indoors but........

I did just that with my Sigma 50-500 EX DG APO f4-f6.3 (non-IS old version) on my Sony A77 body. That body has IS in the body. It was at my daughters' high school graduation and we were in a large dark amphitheater about 120-150 feet back from the stage (36 rows + 20 feet to stage. I can't really recall how the stage was lit - I think there was a spotlight at the back and some lights above the front of the stage. Some of the guys here can probably tell from the shadows. The A77 is quite noisy at higher ISO's, definitely not as refined as the later A77 Mk2. All the same I got the shot I wanted though it freaked out a little kid in front of me when my optical cannon was extended and the shutter started clacking away. I also used a monopod. It's no where near as crisp as what I can get outdoors in sunlight, has all kinds of colour aberrations from the high ISO, is a little soft with the high ISO and a has a bit of motion blur, but I have the memory shot.

Image

ISO 12800 (used some noise reduction software)
420mm
f6.3
1/100 sec < yes, it is 1/100th

.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes
hdom wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 3:08 pm
This one lists some of the best and available zoom lens for this application for Canon - https://www.the-digital-picture.com/Can ... -Lens.aspx

The 5D3 deserves some pro level lens too, IMHO.
Cool link, thanks. He's got a lot of lenses on that list that don't have much reach at all... however, the Sigma 120-300 caught my eye with it's F2.8.
yo!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes
craftsman wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 7:30 pm
Ahh... so good quality blackmail pictures for those later in life events (ie. shown at the wedding) :)

I would suggest that you take your camera into a somewhat dimly lite store and try out those lenses. You really have two use cases here - indoor action and indoor stills (ie in the face-off circle or standing on stage) - so try to shoot at a distance while indoors in the dimly lit stores and get some shots in the darker corners (ie the ceiling corners away from the lights). That should give you a good idea on how low you can go in terms of light and high the ISO needs to be to get you there. Also, you'll get an idea of when the camera will start having issues focusing.
Good suggestion. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to give these lenses and in-person test. Although all the camera shops I'm familiar with have pretty bright lighting. Would still love to hear from others who've gone through the same thing. What lenses did you guys end up with for these situations?
yo!
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 5, 2005
585 posts
172 upvotes
robertz wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 8:21 pm
With the 600mm lens from Sigma/Tamron the IS is OK. You'll need to keep the shutter speed at 1/400 or faster if handheld, so ISO can be in the 3200 to 12800 range.

I use a decent flash (like a 430EX or equivalent) for the type of shot you want to get. The flash helps up to 100-150 feet.
Ah, now introducing flashes to the equation! Photography is such a rabbit hole...
yo!

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