Help with sports photography

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I have a canon rebel t1i and I am looking for a lens around $200 to use for my sons' baseball games. I have the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera but its awful for sports. I have been looking at the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens + Deluxe Accessory Kit w/5 Year Extended Warranty at sears for $189. Would this be a good lens for better sports shots, I also love the kit that comes with this lens including uv filters and cleaning supplies. Thank you
 

jamesbjenkins

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"Good sports lens" and "around $200" don't generally hang out together. The focal length of the 75-300 is just fine, but the maximum aperture is what's going to kill you. On the Rebel t1i you can't get high enough ISO at f/5.6 to allow you to set the shutter speed high enough of your son speeding down the base path (unless it's under perfect lighting conditions.) If stop motion isn't important to you, then that lens would probably be just fine, assuming you're going to be shooting in daylight conditions. However, the 75-300 lens will be worthless after the sun goes down.

Unfortunately, there's really no cheap and easy way to get sharp stop motion images from entry level products at a telephoto distance (anything beyond 10-15 yds away). With photography equipment, even more so than other things in life, you definitely get what you pay for.

Also, as a general rule, those kits that come with entry level zoom lenses are a waste of money. Unless you choose a high quality UV filter, it's going to greatly reduce the sharpness of any lens you put it on. If you ask me, stay away from those kits entirely and save your money for just the best lens you can afford. If you buy new, lenses almost always come with a 3-5yr warranty anyways...

Hope that helps!
 
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Thank you, I will stay away from the kits and put more money on the lens. What lens would be a better choice for say $500?
 

EIngerson

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You could find a used 70-200F4L for that price range. Fantastic lens.
 

Derrel

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I used to use the Sigma 100-300 f/4 HSM as my main baseball lens in the mid-2000's; it's got a good focal length range, but the 75-300mm range is also actually VERY useful for baseball, especially when you shoot from down by 3rd base. 3rd base and first base can be covered pretty well with short lenses!!! On Nikon's D2x with its built-in 1-button, INSTANT "Func." button switch to 2x crop/1.5x crop/2.0x crop action, the 100-300 was SWEET for outfield plays!!! (150mm-450mm FOV equiv at 1.5x crop at 5 frames per second, then 200mm-600mm FOV equivalent at 8.2 frames per second as soon as you pressed the button with your right middle fingertip!)

Baseball is one sport where you can PRE-focus on the bases, and be READY for the action, much,much more so than any other sport I can think of, at least on infield plays. And since it is played in daylight, in the spring and summer, the slower f/stops of the consumer lenses will be "okay". Also, the focusing is all at distances of 30 to 300 feet, so focusing "speed" is not a really huge issue in bright summertime light.MY best friend shoots for a minor-league team and has for seven years now. WHERE you sit affects HOW you shoot the games. Down by the dugout at 3rd base is a good, easy place to start shooting, as is the first base line.

The Sigma 100-300mm f/4 has Hypersonic Motor (aka HSM) focusing, a constant maximum aperture of f/4, and is hand-holdable and pretty good actually; I got mine used years ago for $500. Not sure what they sell for these days; it would be considered a step "up" from most of the 70-300mm lenses or 75-300mm lenses.
 

MLeeK

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I'd also go for the used
70-200 f/4L.
If and when you move to indoor or night sports? You're going to be wanting something better than the f/4, but it's a superb lens for well lit anything. Sharp as a tack. You'll hate your kit lens after shooting with an L lens!
 

EIngerson

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I'd also go for the used
70-200 f/4L.
If and when you move to indoor or night sports? You're going to be wanting something better than the f/4, but it's a superb lens for well lit anything. Sharp as a tack. You'll hate your kit lens after shooting with an L lens!

LOL. That's the only problem.
 

JOHNNY827

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Also agree with a used 70-200 F4L.
I'd also consider a used 200mm 2.8L prime lens.
If you can get anywhere around 20 ft. of the baselines which you usually can at high school or lower games, this lens gets great shots. I personally have no problem shooting sports without zoom flexibility. Also you're getting a 2.8 speed which doesn't require bright sunlight.
 

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