Zoom lens for sports photography

beetjuice

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I am looking for a lens to take photos of horses in action. I will need some zoom as I am standing outside of a riding ring and the horses will be moving all over the place. I have a Canon Rebel T3 and I currently use the EF 75-300 F/4-5.6 III. I think the images could be clearer, and comparing the auto focus which a friend's camera, auto focus seems slow to me.

My budget is $900. I am looking at the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom lens. Is this an appropriate lens for what I want to use it for? Anyone have experience with it? Any other suggestions? One with a different f stop?

I contacted Canon, who is not responding :p

Thanks!
 

jaomul

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There is an excellent canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS L. I've never seen a real one, only on reviews, but any shots from this lens online look fab and it gets 5 star reviews generally. If you found that 200 was long enough for your shots the 70-200 f4L (both IS and non IS versions) is fab
 

DB_Cro

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You're close to the Sigma 70-200 2.8 ose budget which is the best it gets around $1k, if 200mm is enough.
I wouldn't want a 5.6 lens on a body that doesn't like high ISO.

I use the same as you btw and love the 55-250IS too for daylight shooting but I got the sigma anyways..
 

ronlane

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The lenses you mentioned are slow with f/5.6 at the long end. If you are indoors and in lower light situations, this is going to be something that will cause you serious grief because the T3 doesn't do high ISO that well.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 are probably the best bet to help you get what you are looking for but you will notice a difference in the 200mm versus the 300mm that you are using.

Under $900 is going to limit this search even more.
 
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beetjuice

beetjuice

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The lenses you mentioned are slow with f/5.6 at the long end. If you are indoors and in lower light situations, this is going to be something that will cause you serious grief because the T3 doesn't do high ISO that well.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 are probably the best bet to help you get what you are looking for but you will notice a difference in the 200mm versus the 300mm that you are using.

Under $900 is going to limit this search even more.

Ronlane - I agree. The f/5.6 was concerning me. I will almost always be outside in the daytime, but I want coverage when these events end up inside. I will continue my search.
 
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beetjuice

beetjuice

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There is an excellent canon 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS L. I've never seen a real one, only on reviews, but any shots from this lens online look fab and it gets 5 star reviews generally. If you found that 200 was long enough for your shots the 70-200 f4L (both IS and non IS versions) is fab
Thank you I will look into this!
 
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beetjuice

beetjuice

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You're close to the Sigma 70-200 2.8 ose budget which is the best it gets around $1k, if 200mm is enough.
I wouldn't want a 5.6 lens on a body that doesn't like high ISO.

I use the same as you btw and love the 55-250IS too for daylight shooting but I got the sigma anyways..
I agree, I will look into that lens. Thank you!
 

ronlane

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If you don't have to have a zoom and shoot mostly outdoors then you could look at a 300mm f/4L. It's priced about $1350 new but you may be able to find a used one close to your budget.

I was very impressed with it when I used it this summer.
 

Overread

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I would say aim for a 70-200mm f2.8 lens.

It might be tricky and you might get the version without IS which is not a worry you'll be shooting at least 1/620sec for a moving horse if you want the shot sharp - and 1/500 if you can risk a little hoof blur - both well above the general handholding speed for the lens which would be around 1/200sec (on average).

A top end 70-200mm might not have the reach of a 300mm, but you will get a sharper clearer shot can have the option to crop. If you are going indoors then you will need f2.8 - heck I've done indoors and at f2.8 1/620sec I've still hit the limit of my 7D in ISO and been under exposing (esp at this time of year when it gets dark very early in the evening).


Another option might be the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8; but its a bigger, heavier lens and a lot more in cost (I've both the 120-300mm and 70-200mm and I find I use the 70-200mm indoors most of the time - its lighter and I can happily use it all day - the 120-300mm is more weight - however I'm fairly close where I've been shooting as well so that factors in as well).
 

DB_Cro

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70-200 F/4 wasn't mentioned I believe, I'd take that over the F/4-5.6 70-300 too, and the 700-200 F/4 is very cheap used (they're under $500 here).
It's still L glass, great quality, but the version with stabilization costs double.

Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 OS for the win.

Here's a Canon T2i shot with the above mentioned Sigma taken just a couple of hours ago:

Candle light
by Dalibor Bauernfrajnd, on Flickr

Zero light outside, taken at ISO3200, 1/50th and F/3.2
If you had a 5.6 lens, you'd be screwed (read: need ISO 10.000+).
 

Overread

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The 70-200mm f4 is a great lens. Cheaper, lighter and smaller than the f2.8 versions and just as sharp (if not a touch sharper!)
But for action shots in low light the OP really will benefit from that extra aperture of going up to an f2.8.

You could argue going wider still with primes would be an option; however I think that at f2.8 you're really hitting the practical limit for depth of field with a horse and rider; f2 you might get away with; any wider and chances are its too razor thin for reliable repeat results shot after shot as you would really have to nail the angle perfectly every single time.
 

Emanuel M

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The Tamron 70-200 2.8 is better than the Sigma.
I was going to buy the Tamron, but then I decided to go with the Nikon 70-200mm F4 VR - It's amazing.
For outdoor shots, the F4 is more than enough (I think you wont be shooting at dark hours) :)
But with a 2.8 you can even use a 1.4 TC to get roughly a 100-280mm f/4.
It really depends on your needs - even the 70-200 f4 works good with the 1.4TC (it will be a 100-280mm f/5.6).

Cheers
 
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beetjuice

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You all have me looking at the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. How do you all feel about 1.4 TC on the lens? I'm afraid I'll miss that extra 100mm in certain situations, but maybe can live without it.


I don't have any experience with Tamron at all. Is it quality?
 

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A 1.4TC should work on that lens without any problems - just make sure to either get a Sigma teleconverter or check to see if a nikon one will fit (generally speaking own brand are more physically restrictive as to what they can and cannot fit to - so do ask around before committing to a purchase).

In good light you should be fine to use the TC on the lens - and then indoors or in lower light conditions you can take it off for that extra stop of light.
 
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beetjuice

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A 1.4TC should work on that lens without any problems - just make sure to either get a Sigma teleconverter or check to see if a nikon one will fit (generally speaking own brand are more physically restrictive as to what they can and cannot fit to - so do ask around before committing to a purchase).

In good light you should be fine to use the TC on the lens - and then indoors or in lower light conditions you can take it off for that extra stop of light.
So much help. Thank you!
 

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