Lens recommendation for indoor sports arena with lens length limit

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by m0nsieur2, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. m0nsieur2

    m0nsieur2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    I already posted this in the Legacy Lens forum, but decided to put it here since I think a native lens could also fulfill my need. Please excuse the message if you have already seen it.

    I'm planning on going to the Cowboy Stadium in Dallas and looking for a decent AF or MF lens to use. I'm looking at the Panasonic 45-200mm or a legacy Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4. The problem is that they specify on their website the following limitations for cameras allowed in their stadium:

    Compact cameras (still only) are permitted inside Cowboys Stadium as long as their use does not interfere with the game or other guests’ enjoyment of the game. Video cameras, tripods, monopods and cameras with a lens longer than 3" (detachable or non-detachable) are prohibited.

    Has anyone had problems getting into a game with zoom lenses? How strictly do they enforce these regulations? I have a generic 70-200mm legacy lens that measures about 5-6in in length, so I assume the Vivitar is a similar in length. Can anyone suggest a lens that might do the job (compact lens with decent focal length). Here are some old photos to give you an idea of the lighting conditions I experienced before.

    I tried taking some pictures there a couple years ago with an old point and shoot (Canon PowerShot G5). The pictures weren't wonderful, the autofocus was painfully slow, and they had pretty noticeable chromatic aberration in some situations. I have been using a Panasonic G2 now, and hope to take some better pictures this time around at the Cotton Bowl. I anticipate sitting in roughly the same section behind the SEC side, 1st deck. I'll attach a few ok pictures I took (some of the better ones with this ol' camera), just for a comparison of the focal length and shutter speeds I was using last time.

    These were taken at 110-140mm equivalents of 35mm full frame images. In u43 this would be 55-70mm. I only have a 14-45mm Panasonic, and legacy Olympus 50mm 1.8 I would consider using. I think by bumping up the ISO on my G2 I could get images of roughly the same exposure as I did on my Canon G5. I assume there would be a shallower DOF and more bokeh given the longer focal length of these lenses. Also, the EXIF data on this pictures did not contain ISO information. It shoots at 50, 100, 200, and 400 so I'm guessing these are 100 or 200 since 400 is very grainy for this camera.

    1/160s, f/3.0, 29mm (~140mm@35mm FF eq), iso 200?
    1/200s, f/2.8, 23mm (~110mm@35mm FF eq), iso 200?
    1/160s, f/3.5, 29mm (~140mm@35mm FF eq), iso 200?

    As you can see I will be sitting parallel to the direction of action, and I figure a u43 lens of 75 to 150mm should be ok. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping to get at least get a good photo of Johnny Football and will share it with the forum.
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  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Real Name:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    I just measured my 45-175 and it's 3.5 inches so that's a no go...
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Mogul

    Mogul Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2012
    There is an old saying: "If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your b__ls__t."

    Guess how off-duty or vacationing cops get out of traffic tickets without revealing their profession!

    I'd start a telephone campaign asking questions like:
    > Do you measure in inches or millimeters? (Stupid, but mind-boggling)
    > Do you measure from the:
    Filter front, front flange, front ring, center of front lens, edge of front lens
    To the
    Mounting flange, rearmost mount projection, "O" ring (bottom of groove
    or rear of mounted ring), center of rear lens, edge lens, etc?
    > Do you mean the whole assembly, largest group or thickest element?
    > and then you can start asking about filters, rear caps, front caps, hoods
    (mounted forward or backward), not to mention the lens case (interior
    or exterior)
    > Do you measure the focal length, actual length or total length of reflected
    and/or refracred light rays?

    You may get them so confounded that they will offer you a press pass or special dispensation just to get you off the phone. Worse yes, try to corner a franchise employee in person (like when he/she is on the way to lunch or restroom) and ask for a moment of time to clear up a couple of issues.

    Good luck; let us know if it works. :rofl:
  5. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The 12-35/2.8 is right at 3". Use ext TC (forget what it is called on the older cameras) and get up to 140 or so.
  6. jar

    jar Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 25, 2012
    The Olympus 75mm is 2.7". That would give you some decent reach, and it's so sharp that you can happily crop pretty heavily for web sized images.
  7. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    My experience is that it's close to impossible to get interesting photos of sports action from the stands and that buying an expensive lens for the purpose is likely to lead only to disappointment. I'd enjoy the game, take a few snaps with what you've already got, and buy a poster of your favorite player if you want one.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    Of course, it is Texas. If you ask too many questions that may just smack you.
  9. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    The 40-150mm Olympus is 3.25 inches, mounted on the camera w/o filters or cap. I doubt that they actually measure to within a quarter of an inch...

    That would give you an 80-300 range (equiv), albeit not the fastest lens on the planet.

    Of course on a Panasonic body there's no IBIS...

    Edit: I haven't tried the lens at a pro football game, as Detroit doesn't have a pro football team...


  10. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    I will vote for the 75mm, one of the fastest tele m4/3 lens if not only the sharpest of all lenses. I crop my photos and the IQ still come out on top of any lens I have own. You will not find a faster and longer lens with AF as of now
  11. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    The new Panasonic 45-150mm zoom should do the trick with a 90-300mm equivalent view. Dimensions are approximately 2.44 inches wide by 2.87 inches long. Plus it has lens-based image stabilization. Price, brand new at B&H, is $299:

    Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH Lens -
  12. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    The brand-new Panasonic 45-150mm zoom should do the trick. Dimensions are approximately 2.44 inches wide by x 2.87 inches long. Plus it has lens-based image stabilization for use on a Panasonic body. Price, brand new at B&H, is $299:

    Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH Lens -

    EDIT; Sorry for the double post. First time that's happened to me. Moderator, feel free to delete this one.
  13. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    I agree with this. I brought my GH2 to the Hollywood Bowl once, not even realizing they would have camera restrictions (which they did - no cameras with detachable lenses, period). They forced me to check my camera in with security, so I had nothing during the show. I wouldn't take that risk.
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Fixed it for ya :)
  15. m0nsieur2

    m0nsieur2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    Thanks everyone for your responses. This has helped me narrow down my choices a bit.

    Great link Elavon on the lens comparison. This lens looks like it would do the trick and nicely compliment my Panny 14-45. If I didn't have the size constraints, though, I would probably go for the Panasonic 45-200mm since it is a little longer and less expensive.

    I think I would be very happy with this lens, but I have a hard time justifying the cost when I could put that towards a camera with higher, cleaner ISO capabilities.

    On a side note I was shooting some pictures of children building science projects today, and my 14-45 was too slow at ISO 800 in some cases of motion, and with my Oly 50mm f/1.8 it took so long for me to focus that I missed a lot of shots. I think I will mostly go AF route after this experience.

    Good point also about trying to get an action shot. I'll probably just be happy with a static image along the sidelines.
  16. m0nsieur2

    m0nsieur2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    EDIT: I just read the review (praise) for the 75mm lens on lenstip.com, and flipped through the image thread here on the forums. It looks like even cropped images on this are as sharp or sharper than cheaper telephoto lenses. Christmas is coming and I feel like I'm going to have visions of zuiko 75mm sugarplums dancing in my head tonight. I've been planning on getting the Oly 45mm prime, and a telephoto (45-200 or 45-150). The 75mm fits my size constraints and would likely satiate my desire for the 45mm lens. I just have to convince myself now to drop some big bucks (for me) on this lens.
  17. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    Check out the slrgear review of the 75...

    Olympus Lens: Primes - Olympus 75mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital (Tested) - SLRgear.com!

    Click on the blur index box on the right to bring up a new window where you can see how this lens performs at different apertures. To put it in perspective though, many high-end primes for other cameras that cost thousands of dollars aren't as sharp at their f/4 or f/5.6 peaks as this lens is wide open (and it is still sharper than them corner-to-corner at f/11!!!).

    Don't think you can beat it for a lens under 3" long.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Jewood1234

    Jewood1234 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2011
    I was at the stadium for a high-school game last week and had no problem walking in with my E-pm1 and two different legacy Yashicas. College and pro games may be a little tighter!

    They probably didn't perform as well as the O75 but captured the band at halftime pretty well.

    Good luck!
  19. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010

    Nobody cares what you bring into a high school game. Pro games are a whole other story and, depending on the team and the security personnel, they will deny you entry if you don't follow the rules. I wouldn't take that chance.
  20. Dalton

    Dalton Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2010
    Portland, Oregon USA
    Real Name:
    Dan Ferrall
    +1 on "Enjoy the game."

    I am in agreement with letting the idea go and concentrate on having fun at the event.

    There are so many other ways to enjoy the craft of photography other than taking pictures at an event at a facility like the stadium. Take along a point and shoot with a long telephoto if you must take pictures at all and forget the rest.