Amateur Sports Photography Lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Smith2688, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    My cousin is very interested in getting into photography, in particular sports photography. He's been taking a lot of pictures lately with his P&S camera and is interested in moving up in the photographic world. So far he's leaning towards the Canon Digital Rebel XT. It seems to limit the user less than the Nikon D40 (because you are able to use AF on all lenses).

    However, it seems the harder decision is the lens. Third party lenses are not ruled out due to price restrictions. He'd like to spend around $400 for the lens. Since he wants to do some sports photography, the vast majority of which will be in the daylight. I thought that a lens with a reach of around 135mm minimum would be good. This would give him an effective reach of 216mm, which, I imagine, would be fine to start with for sideline shooting. However, I imagine that one would need a decently fast lens and the only ones that I see, from any company, are ones with an aperture range of 3.5-5.6 or so. Would such a slow lens allow for fast enough shutter speeds to stop the action in daylight?

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but if anyone has any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    He might want to look into finding a canon 70-200 F4 L used. I found mine for $440 and I see them pop up for that price on craigs list pretty often. The 5.6 range should be fine for outdoor sports in the sun.
     
  3. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    what sports is he planning on shooting? For most sports it will be difficult to get tight shots from the sidelines at 135.
     
  4. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    Well 135mm effectively becomes 216mm with the crop factor. Would that still be too far to get decently close up shots?

    However, if a slow lens around 5.6 is fine for outdoor daylight sports, then I imagine he can probably go with a lens up to 200mm, which would give him the equivalent reach of a 320mm lens.
     
  5. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    Hey, thanks for the suggestions. The 70-200 f/4L seems like a great lens at a fantastic price, but, even being so "cheap", it is still a little out of his range. I've checked a couple of reputable dealers and they run a little over $500, which is pushing it. He's pretty young, so every $100 makes a big difference, especially in such a big investment. If you know of a reputable used equipment dealer, the 70-200 may be a good choice, but I don't think he will be trusting of Craigslist or eBay, etc.

    I did a bit more research, and the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS USM seems to be a good lens also and runs pretty much right at $400 new. If no one knows of a good used equipment dealer, do you think that the effective 216mm telephoto will be good enough to start with? Also, does anyone have an experience with or comments on this specific lens?

    Again, if anyone knows of a reputable used equipment dealer, besides KEH (they don't have any used 70-200 f/4 lenses), please do tell.

    Thank you!
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Adorama has used gear...B&H might as well. I can understand wanting to stick with a reputable dealer...but buying on E-bay is actually quite safe...and can save him that $100 that is so important.

    I would also consider looking at the Sigma 70-200 F2.8. It should be around the same price as the Canon 70-200 F4....it's big and heavy though.

    The 28-135 is a decent range...maybe a bit short....but the slow aperture would probably be fairly limiting. Even if you think you will be shooting in bright daylight...there will be plenty of times when you (he) won't have that luxury.

    Either way, I'd suggest the 50mm F1.8. It doesn't have a lot of reach, but the large aperture may be more than enough to compensate for that...and the price is right.
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    <double post>
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For shooting a sports event that takes place on a large field (soccer, polo, football, etc) and in daylight, I found the 200mm a bit too short for my personal tastes. Have you considered going with third party lenses of some sort? Tokina, Tamron, and Sigma make zooms that reach well beyond the 200mm focal range and are "reasonable" in price. I've seen older Tamron 100-400mm zooms used going for a good price.

    Threads like this pop up pretty darn frequently... sports photography with a small budget. I get this question a lot too in person. I always try to explain (without sounding too harsh) that sports photography is very demanding on the equipment... reason why professionals a supported by $1000's of dollars of equipment to get the best shots. Stay within your budget but also know the limitations and work with them. Optically, third party lenses may or may not be as good as a Nikon or Canon lenses but which do you think is better:

    Getting the tight up close shot with acceptable image quality (lack of contrast and saturation could be compensated for post-digital process) and living with a louder motor driven lens.

    or

    Getting a wonderfully contrasty nice photo of a soccer game but no up-close and personal shots of individual players.

    You decide...


    This is the same argument wildlife amateur photographers use to justify teleconverters and such. To these guys (bird photographers especially), 400mm is barely good enough. As a result, I've seen them stack teleconverters on teleconverts. yeh image quality suffers but it is the difference between going home with something or nothing.
     
  9. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have that Sigma 70-200 2.8. More opportunities than you think will arise where you'll need the 2.8. I shoot race photography that goes into the night, and if I would've saved teh 100 bucks to get a f/4, I wouldn't have gotten into this race photography at all (which is already beginning to pay off my equipment)... the extra aperture helps more than you'd think.

    Also the Sigma 70-200 2.8 has an incredibly fast focus. (i'm sure the canon does too) but from experience, AI-SERVO works EXCELLENT with the 70-200 Sigma 2.8. That's something you might find useful with sports photography.

    Apparently the Sigma 2x teleconverter works pretty well with the Sigma 70-200 2.8. Sure, you lose a bit of image quality, but it claims you don't lose ANY AF abilities if you use the 2x HSM converter, and the 70-200 HSM lens. I haven't tried it, but it's on order and I hope to use it within the next couple of days.
    (like usayit said, you'll be wishing for more and more zoom all the time)

    To sum it up, I'd recommend going with a used Canon 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 (under 200) and saving up for a Sigma 2.8 or Canon 2.8 70-200.
     
  10. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    Oh trust me, I know. I've explained this to him and he understands that sports photography requires expensive equipment, but would still like to stay as low as possible of course. He also understands that the lens is more important than the body.

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll have to read them over again and research everything suggested and compare prices, etc. I (or maybe he) will be back with more questions, I'm sure. Thanks for all your help. If anything else pops into your mind, don't hesitate to post again. Thank you!
     
  11. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    I have a couple of them and they are a good 'all around' lens. We shoot horse events and that gets fairly quick at times. They are a god 'working lens' in a mid-price range.
     

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