Best Lenses to purchase for sporting photography?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cbay, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. cbay

    cbay TPF Noob!

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    Hey All!

    I am going to be attending some local football games soon. I have a Cannon DSLR 350D with basic 18-55mm lens, so im intrested in getting a few larger lenses but anyone got any ideas, as i need to think bout costs aswell so please supply all info on range of lenses with various prices please... :wink:
     
  2. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    :drool2: I'm going to be absolutely no help here, except to say that get a big zoom. I was at a basketball game tonight and the guy next to me had a Canon f/4-5.6 (i think) 35-300mm lens with IS .... and he let me borrow it for a few minutes!! :lovey: I could zoom right in on the player's faces and see the sweat on them. I haven't downloaded them yet so I can't tell you what the quality was like.

    Anyway, I'm no help... I just wanted to brag. hehehe. :blushing:
     
  3. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    money no object i'd go for Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS USM. I have the non IS version and it's great. A large aperture will help in low light and get the shutter speed up so you don't end up with a bunch of streaks and blurred movement.
    Another option is canon 75-300 f4.5-5.6 IS USM. Not as good as the previous lens but it's a fraction of the cost and has a longer zoom.

    It all depends what your budget is
     
  4. cbay

    cbay TPF Noob!

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    Meysha, well if thats the case you cud zoom right in i might consider getting one of those, is it possible you could send me some of the shots today?
     
  5. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    fast primes.

    unless you're loaded with money, or you're always shooting in bright conditions, then that's really you're only choice. sports moves fast, and you're going to need quite fast shutter speeds to be able to keep up (at least above 1/500th) without getting motion blur. I'd suggest against the 70-300 IS, which might be good for general stuff (i've heard it's much sharper than the older 75-300 IS), but is definitely not a lens that is designed for sports. It's slow, and since the players move quickly, you'll need quick shutter speeds, and the IS might help a little bit, but mosly just with panning. Also, it runs for around 650 USD...you can get much nicer, faster lenses for that price. How close can you get to the action? If you are able to get pretty close (right on the sides) you wont need as long of a lens, so I'd suggest the 85 1.8 (around 350 USD) for that. It's an absolutely terrific lens. If you cant get that close, I'd go for the 200mm 2.8L or the 300mm f4L IS (the 200 you can get for like 600 USD i believe, and the 300 for about 1100 USD - sorry i know you dont buy with USD but i dont know alot of prices the other way around...). The 70-200 2.8L is a great one like darich said, and you can 'zoom right in' with that one, and it's much faster...but also much more expensive. you can get the sigma version (which is also quite good) for much less, as well as canon's older 80-200 2.8L (terrific lens also, but doesnt focus very fast - which you need for sports). keep in mind that the 350d has a faster focusing mechanism that kicks in with apertures of 2.8 and larger (numerically lower). hope that helps some!
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First.. what type of sports photography?

    Are we talking indoor sports photography where you'll be on the side lines in a relatively small arena? or outside in a large football field.

    As already suggested... Fast primes.... is really the way to go.

    The 70-200 f2.8 IS USM is one of canon's best lenses and my personal favorite zoom from the Canon line. This is the lens I would take if indoors ( low light ) in a small arena. For outdoors ( large fields ) with good light, I would rather take the 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM. Shooting a polo game the past couple of years, I found the 200mm focal length lacking. The 100-400mm lens is one of the best of its class. Unfortunately, they are both expensive lenses. Look for sigma for cheaper options... I've seen quite a few people using long sigma zooms. You will probably want a monopod. Helps steady the lens and keeps you arms from getting too tired.

    Sports photography which can involved long distances and low light situations usually means expensive lenses if quality is a must. I have previously shot with the old 75-300mm IS lens. I didn't particularly like the lens ( I sold it ) but it yeilded acceptiable results when used in bright light and faster film/iso.

    I haven't heard good things about the 70-300 DO IS USM lens but my interest has peaked. I hope to somehow borrow one for a bit.
     
  7. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    The most important thing for me is being able to compose the frame to reflect the moment that you're shooting. I'd say you definitely need a zoom.

    Of course you'll want to zoom right in on the action but don't forget that you'll also want to zoom right out as the action gets closer. I'm not sure what your cropping factor is but at 1.6 70-300mm will be the equivelant of 112-480mm which should be ok for zooming in but you may struggle to get the action in frame as it gets closer (depending on where you are, of course).

    If you can't afford a fast lens then you'll just have to compromise between shutter speed and film speed. Just remember that you can compensate for noise with software (to some degree) but you can't compensate for missed action. ;)

    BTW, what will you actually be doing with the shots?
     
  8. cbay

    cbay TPF Noob!

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    Well hopefully some will be bought by the local paper, but its mainly cause i enjoy it!! and nothing is wrong with that as i get in for free anyway so nothing lost..
     
  9. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    That's the best reason I can think of. :thumbup:

    I'd have thought that using a slower lens/higher film speed would be fine for newspapers. I may well be wrong though. :)
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For newspapers, focus on content and composition.
     
  11. vonDrehle

    vonDrehle TPF Noob!

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  12. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    If you are shooting action sports, forget the IS. It won't do you enough good to justify the extra cost. It's good for low light static shots, but if there is movement like at scoccer or any other sports like that, it won't stop action. If you are going to be shooting out doors then the 70-200 4.0L is an excellent lens. It's not as fast as it's big brother, 70-200 2.8L but it's just as sharp, a lot lighter and easier to carry and a whole lot cheaper.

    While faster shutter speeds help with fast action sports, you can get by with anywhere from 1/125th on up. You won't have as many keepers but with some practice and knowing how the action is going to unfold so you can pre-plan your shots, you can still get some excellent shots. I will second the 70-200 2.8L as a good choice. I will also 2nd the 100-400 4.5/5.6L as an excellent long reaching zoom lens. I have all 3, 70-200 4.0L, 70-200 2.8L IS and 100-400 4.5/5.6L. I also have the 24-70 2.8L lens which is also an excellent lens if you need something a bit wider at times. I also have the 85mm 1.8 lens for those times when I need a bit extra speed because of the light. It's a very sharp lens, even if it isn't a zoom lens. But it has come in handy in the dark horse arenas where the lighting is not very good.

    Mike
     

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