/ "Fast" prime in 135mm - 200mm (approx) range for Canon crop

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Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2017
Hi. I use a Canon 600D.

Mostly for concert photography, I am considering treating myself to a longer prime (at small gigs the nifty fifty does a decent job at a low price )

I was using a cheapo Sigma 55-200mm at the weekend; f/4-5.6 so it's a bit slow at the long end (and there are other issues around the cheap optics - e.g. weird vignetting with minimal side lighting).

I think something like a 150mm prime would be handy for me but there doesn't seem to be much on offer. 100mm f/2.8 macro, various expensive huge fast 200mm things etc. but not much in between (I think there is a 135mm but again huge and expensive).
Speed is nice but I think I could probably cope with f/3.5 or f/4 at 150mm, hopefully saving money and weight into the bargain.

It's only for "fun" so I don't want be looking at £600 stuff. My standards are reasonably low but I noticed that at the long end of my zoom, it was a bit hit-and-miss as to whether there was any sharpness. Possibly I am seeing tiny amounts of blur at anything slower than around 1/500s but I certainly used to have a steadier hand!

Recommendations are welcomed. Maybe say £300 max.

Manual focus probably won't work for me - I did look into the idea of a Fotodiox adaptor and my 135mm f/2.8 Minolta but I gather that you lose a stop and compromise the quality, plus I've not had good experience manually focusing with my Sony NEX F3 and adaptors and old lenses despite the focus peaking aids....
Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Hmm looks like 100mm f/2.0 or 2.8 is the way forward (and to be fair, looking through some EXIF data I seem to have shot more at sub-135mm than at >135mm)

here is an example of something I'm hoping would improve (sharpness and "punchiness") with a decent prime. Long end of cheap 55-200mm zoom, stopped down a bit (f/5.6 wide open, I put it on f/10)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-straggler/35805493756/in/album-72157683393568593/
Seems to be reasonably in focus and not blurred, yet still "soft"



Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Talking to myself as usual


This now looks like a choice between:
Canon 100mm f/2.0
Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro (not the expensive L glass - the cheaper one)
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro

All roughly the same price depending on bits of blah blah (London Camera Exchange has used versions of both Canons at £240ish; I have not seen a used Tokina but it's £330 new on Amazon, as a guideline)


Anyone know anything about these three? None has image stabilisation, that's fine by me. The slightly slower ones may be more fun and versatile with their macro capability; I wonder if I will miss that extra stop though, both for DoF control and sheer speed. The Tokina front element is recessed like on my 50mm prime, I like this (reduces flare and lends some protection).

Primes any longer than these are simply way out of budget.
Jamie Wakeham - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

135 f/2.8 SF? Or, if you get lucky, a used 180 f/2.8 MK1?
Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:
That SF is interesting! Some available via American Amazon sellers. I wonder what the AF is like or if it is even electronically compatible with the 600D - will investigate. Thanks!
I think 180mm will be too limiting a focal length (I know I titled the thread as up to 200mm but I subsequently realised that this was based on having just been at a music festival where I sometimes was quite far from the stage for various reasons...but my preferred pics were taken from closer and at shorter focal lengths). For smaller indoor gigs (my more common environment) 100 - 135mm on crop will be better than 180-200


Post edited at 17:47
Jamie Wakeham - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I briefly owned the 135 f/2.8SF. Very sharp in its usual setting, and the soft focus effect was interesting, though I used it rarely. Much cheaper than the 135 f/2 L. AF was OK, but it's the older non-USM system. It will mount to any Canon EF body.

And, just to correct my earlier slip, I obviously meant 200 f/2.8 mk1!

Blue Straggler - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:
Cheers. I have decided on the 100mm f/2.0 after all that! The focal length makes sense and the speed is important.
If I wanted to play with macro I could lob an extension tube on it, but if I had the f/2.8 macro there is no way to make it faster.
The SF is a bit of esoterica I guess - probably losing out in some aspects for the sake of the SF option which as you say is rarely used. Something for the photographer who already has standard "tools". Of course the 100mm f/2.0 is also a very old design but that they are still churning it out after 26 years is quite reassuring (I assume improvements in coatings and AF speed etc have been made). Hopefully will be placing an order with a second hand shop in the morning, it is £229.99 which is just 99p more than the tax rebate I received yesterday. It's fate!
Post edited at 22:04
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Jamie Wakeham - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Good call. That's a lot of glass for the money. It'll certainly have better AF as it's got the newer USM motor, and I always subscribe to speed being everything in low light!
Stuart en Écosse - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I have a 135mm F2 L. It is a sublime bit of kit and will equate to 200mm on a crop. Not too expensive for a red ring lens and not as heavy or unwieldy as the white lenses.
Blue Straggler - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Stuart en Écosse:

Cheers Stuart. They still seem to run at around £500 second hand. I've now finally ordered the 100mm f/2.0 and convinced myself that it's the ideal one. If it doesn't work out, I can sell it on.
Blue Straggler - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thread:

It's arrived already! Just had a very very quick play.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-straggler/35745516062/in/datetaken-public/

It is pretty compact but quite heavy (lot of glass for 100mm f/2). In sparkly condition, not boxed or anything but was sent with a snug neoprene pouch and front and rear caps - great service from London Camera Exchange.

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