Zoom for HS football night shots?

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by EDL, May 14, 2013.

  1. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    This is my son's HS senior year coming up and his last year playing football. The wife wants me to be a picture taking fool.

    Of course, my initial reaction is an EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM, but that's too far above my wallet limit.

    So, I am considering an EF 70-200 f/4L USM, but concerned the f/4 isn't fast enough (although I have seen some pretty decent night football shots from one, I am afraid it will be too limiting).

    I found a couple non-Canon brand 200mm zooms of the f/2.8 speed variety that are more suitable to my budget and was wondering if anyone has one of these or can speak about them?

    Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF

    Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM
  2. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    What camera? Shooting night time action sports requires some pretty capable gear

    200 mm will work from the sidelines as long as you run up and down between plays to stay in front of the action, and the action stays on your side of the field.
    Getting faces, their expressions and the ball in shots is the 'holy grail' of action sports shooters.

    Do you happen to have 2 cameras?

    When I shot action sports I used 3 cameras - #1 with a 24-85 f/2.8-4 mm lens, #2 with a 80-200 mm f/2.8, and #3 with a 200-400 mm f/4.
  3. Light Guru
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    Light Guru Well-Known Member

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    200mm may not be enough. Are you even going to be able to be on the sidelines? They don't just let anybody and everybody on the sidelines.

    Best advice I can give is once spring or summer practices start rent the lens you are thinking of getting and see if it will work for you focal length wise. Force your self to stay as far away from the action as you will be during a real game.
  4. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    I have a T3i, no other cameras (at least that I can use for this...my little Olympus C3030 ain't gonna cut it).

    Absolutely planned to move up and down the field with the plays, not much I can do when they move to the other side of the field (unless I hustle around).

    I need to be around the $850 or below for a lens.

    I've tried looking for used, but even the Canon L glass is going for near new prices on any of the used I can find. I understand though, the 70-200 f/2.8's are very popular and desired. Haven't seen the Tamron or Sigma for sale anywhere used.
  5. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    I can get darn near up to the line on the side lines...this is A school HS football, not pro sports, lol.

    I think 200mm is going to be the limit of what I can afford for a fast enough lens. Anything over that is just way too expensive (as if a fast 200mm zoom isn't bad enough).
  6. hirejn
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    hirejn New Member

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    I shot HS FB for 7 years as a photojournalist from the sidelines with a 300 mm 2.8 equivalent; 300 mm is the minimum at that range, and at that time use of flash was critical. The games were always at night. I had to wait until the play came my way and within range of the flash. Now you can shoot without flash, but only on the expensive cameras with high ISO performance, and your exposure needs to be perfect. My experience is from the sidelines. If you're planning to just shoot from the stands, you'd save more money by just buying the press shots because you can't afford a lens long enough. You'll need a minimum ISO of 1600, and 3200 if you want at least 1/250 under good lighting without flash. Pros shoot at 1/1000 at about 5,000 to 6,400 ISO, f/2.8, which is unattainable with entry-level camera bodies and lenses. If you're planning to use flash from the stands, don't. Even a pro flash has no chance of reaching the field with enough light to make a difference. Football is a challenging shoot for an amateur and this is one of the few areas where I would say you need certain gear, but only if you know how to use it. If you have a day game, which I never shot in 7 years, you have a light advantage, but not a reach advantage.
  7. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    I'm not shooting for the school or a paper or anything, this is just for us. I'm not expecting to get pro quality shots, but I do need to be able to shoot without flash (they don't like you to use flash during a play).

    I won't be shooting from the stands, I will definitely be moving up and down the field from the sidelines, and I mean I can get right up to the line, that's not an issue.

    So, I guess my question then is, will a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom work without flash and be fast enough and if so, what ISO should I expect to use? I haven 't experimented with my T3i yet to see the quality of shot at higher ISO's, but that's easy enough to do.

    I fully understand this is a very equipment dependent shooting environment that to do really well requires some very expensive equipment. I'm just looking to achieve "acceptable for personal use" shots and to make the wife happy (it's also an excuse to get a new lens...work with me here guys! lol!).

    So, back to original question...Canon EF 70-200 f/4L or would it be better to go with the Tamron or Sigma 70-200's at f/2.8?

    Looking for input from anyone who has or has used the Tamron or Sigma.
  8. curtyoungblood
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    curtyoungblood Active Member

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    What position does your son play? This will really effect your ability to take photos.

    Have you actually been on the sidelines of one of his high school football games? It may not be pro sports, but the sidelines are still somewhat controlled, depending on the school. If you haven't actually been on the sidelines for a game, I wouldn't expect to be able to just walk down to the field at game time. If the paper covers your son's team, I would say it'll be cheaper and easier to buy those photos.
  9. curtyoungblood
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    curtyoungblood Active Member

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    Oh, and to actually answer your question (sorry about that) I think you'd have a difficult time with a 70-200 f4 and a t3i. Also, don't forget that your camera has a crop factor, so the 200 will act much longer.
  10. Dao
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    Dao Well-Known Member

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    Just want to point out that the Tamron lens you mentioned "Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF" has great reviews on optics. However, the lens AF motor is slower when compare with the Sigma HSM or the Canon USM. The newer version of "Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD" use their own version of ultrasonic-type autofocus motor (USD) which is faster.
  11. Light Guru
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  12. TCampbell
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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  13. texkam
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    You need to look at it this way, buy the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM (preferably used) and use the heck out of it (be a picture taking fool). After the season, sell it and recoup nearly all your money. You have just rented that lens for the season.


    ^See.
  14. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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  15. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    Yeah, aware of that.

    300mm equiv on 1.5 crop factor
    320mm equiv on 1.6 crop factor.
  16. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    That would be cruel and unusual punishment!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    He is a lineman, left tackle.
  18. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The Tamron 70-200/2.8 has been faulted for slow focusing by basically anybody who has reviewed it. Not sure about the Sigma 70-200. I thought the best idea,m if you want a 70-200/2.8, was to BUY one, use it, then sell it. Seriously. NOT kidding...buy either the new Mark II, or a used Mark I Canon 70-200, use it, then sell it. CHeaper than renting, and on a used lens, probably almost no depreciation, since you will have bought it already-depreciated.

    Also, consider the Canon 135 f/2-L. It's faster than the zoom, and focuses great in crummy light. And high school fields are notoriously poorly-lighted. You're not shooting for Sports Illustrated. 135mm is plenty long for HS football on many plays where you're on the sideline ahead of the l.o.s., and besides, on MANY plays when the action comes toward your sideline, you don't want a tele, you want your short-zoom body. Some plays will be better suited to telephoto, others to wide-angle. Goal-line shots for example, and extra point plays...if you're at the back of the endzone, you so not want a "long" lens....a 50mm can be plenty long. Pick your shots. Work hard on the situations you're best suited to shoot well, and let the far-away stuff go.
  19. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    I agree that 300 mm is better than using 200 mm, but there aren't any 70-300 mm f/2.8 zoom lenses that I'm aware of.

    What you can do is crop the images some post process, which make your subject larger in the image frame.

    FWIW, it's better to have some image noise from cranking up the ISO, than to have motion blurred photos from to slow a shutter speed.
  20. EDL
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    EDL New Member

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    Thanks Derrel, appreciate the input. Never considered the too long of lens situation. However, with that said, my son is a lineman (left tackle) so there generally won't be a lot of position change for him during the plays.

    I just couldn't do the buy it, use it, sell it routine. Once I had that bad boy in my hands, I'd not want to let it go!

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