70-200mm 2.8 for soccer

Discussion in 'Sports' started by HangTime, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Canon 7D Mark II
    Canon 70-200mm f2.8 non-IS
    Canon 1.4 extender II

    Even with the extender I feel like I am not getting the reach I want. Many times I have to wait for the action to come to me and I feel like I am missing a lot of actions that's too far away. With the extender, sometimes the auto focus is not fast enough so I end up with some blurry pictures....or it could just be me. Was thinking about getting the 2x extender for the extra reach...and sell the 1.4. Anyone use this for sports? How's the auto focus? Any other reccomendation?
    I shoot mainly soccer as a hobby and don't make any money so don't want to spend more for a longer lens.

    Some of my photos below.

    Soccer under the lights I sometimes do not use the 1.4 extender. My question is mainly for day time soccer.

    Stephen Hang’s albums | Flickr
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I have that lens and also the two Canon Extenders EF MkII.

    I have used both combination of Lens and Extenders on APS-C Camera bodies, specifically EOS 20D 30D and 50D for Field Sports, particularly Field Hockey and Rugby Union, also for Pool Swimming.

    The x1.4 Extender EF MkII and Lens performs better in terms of General IQ and AF Acquisition and Lock than when using the x2.0 Extender

    I have not found the AF lacking to the extent that I have any great number of misses: I think that technique, including a good knowledge of the sport which leads to anticipation is a key ingredient to good output. In this regard when I used the Extenders, I tended to only use Centre Point AF and AI Servo AF. The 7DMkII has a more sophisticated AF System and also Custom Functions than the Cameras I have mentioned, I suggest you have a good understanding the Custom Function which controls the “Shutter AE Lock” Functionality. This Custom Function should allow you to use a back button to either turn the AI Servo on and off – OR – momentarily disable the AI Servo function. I tended to use the former to allow me to control the AF Servo when there were hesitations in the forward or backward direction of play; for example when a Player would pivot. Additionally, Locking the AF on a good contrast EDGE is important, especially when using AI Servo AF, so to this end I would tend to sacrifice COMPOSITION (and crop in post production) to allow the centre point AF to follow an high contrast edge of the Key Subject, for example the line edge of the Player’s Jersey and Shorts or Skirt.

    Apropos your comment about not having enough reach and missing some of the action – I think this is more often a result not being able to move (or not being quick enough to move). A very important point about Field Sports Photography is either you can run the sideline (and be very fit) – OR – you select a key Vantage Point (or a few depending upon the Game Play) and be satisfied with the action that befalls that Vantage Point.

    Regarding the blurry pictures: I had a look at some of your Portfolio, (by the way I like you pictures), and I noted that even the images of some of the younger boys exhibit Subject Motion Blur. Why I write “even the images of some of the younger . . .” is because these little chaps don’t move all that fast – and if you are getting some Subject Motion Blur with these guys then your Tv (Shutter Speed) is too slow. I have noted that many folk interested in Sports Photography are quite reticent to bump the ISO to attain the necessary Tv, especially when shooting in Daylight. I think that many have a discordant thinking that ‘Daylight’ means any ISO above 400 (or 800) is forbidden, well it isn’t. I could not access the EXIF data for your pictures, so I am “advising blind”, so to speak.

    If you want a one sentence advice line – I would keep the x1.4 and consider Technique firstly.

    For your reference, here are some (old – circa 2004) photos made with the then new EOS 20D and the x2.0 Extender EF MkII. As you will note it is a bright day, but even so I would have been pulling ISO1600 for those shots. With an EOS 7DMkII your output quality should be markedly better:

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    For further reference here is the same lens / extender combination used around 2007 on an EOS 5D, again I expect that the 7DMkII should perform (slightly) better regarding IQ:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ***

    No doubt that I’d used / use our 400/2.8 in preference to or for contract work to using an extender on my 70 to 200/2.8, but the 70 to 200 and EF Extender combinations are not as useless as what some commentators reckon and are both a lighter weight and relatively inexpensive kit, than buying a 400/2.8 and carrying it around everywhere.

    BTW, the best 70 to 200/2.8 lens for either the MkII or MkIII extenders is the EF 70 to 200 F/2.8 L IS MkII, the non IS version is the second best and the original IS version is least best. There is a noticeable performance improvement when using the MkIII Extenders.

    This recent conversation may be valuable to you: [LINK]

    WW
     
  3. Old thread, but valid question, especially since high school soccer season is right around the corner.

    My experience shooting high school soccer mirrors William's comment

    Apropos your comment about not having enough reach and missing some of the action – I think this is more often a result not being able to move (or not being quick enough to move). A very important point about Field Sports Photography is either you can run the sideline (and be very fit) – OR – you select a key Vantage Point (or a few depending upon the Game Play) and be satisfied with the action that befalls that Vantage Point.
    In practice, you can follow the game along the sidelines for American football, but not for soccer or lacrosse. Soccer and lacrosse can move the length of the field in 10-15 seconds, which is way faster than an old man like me can move.

    So, I pick a place on the field and wait for the action to come to me. I generally avoid shooting lengthwise across the field, because that is just TOO FAR for a 70-200 on a DX camera. Even shooting across the narrower width of a field with a 70-200 on a DX camera, is borderline too far. The problem is, you need the non-existent 35-500 f/2.8 VR/IS zoom on a DX/crop camera. And you will not get that lens in the near future, at a reasonable cost. So, you pick a zone on the field to cover, which your lens will give decent coverage, and leave it at that.
    I will pick the scoring goal side of the field to shoot offense (around the 20 or 30 yard line).
    Then at halftime, go to the defensive goal side to shoot defense (around the 20 or 30 yard line).
    If they play quarters, I will alternate offense/defense every quarter.
    But offense is more fun, for me, so I tend to shoot there more.
    Because soccer can be a very low scoring game, I try to get at least one goal, before I would shift to the defense.​

    BTW, the flip side to your post is that your 70-200 is too LONG for when they come in close to you.
    I have had to back up quickly to try to get more field of view when the play comes close to me.

    My favorite day lens is a Nikon 18-140 on a DX camera (or a Canon 18-135 on a Canon crop camera, or a 28-200 on a FF camera).
    I get reasonable reach, and I don't loose the action when it get CLOSE to me.
    I loose the LONG shots, but that is OK with me. It is a lens coverage compromise.
    I would and have used this lens at night, but the f/5.6 aperture on max zoom is too slow for night games, at ISO 12800+.
     
  4. A 300mm f2.8 is a pretty standard soccer action lens that would give you more reach, especially when combined with a 1.4 and a crop sensor camera body. As for when action gets closer, use a second body/lens combination and one-hand the closer shots.

    It's common at first to worry about what you aren't getting instead of getting what comes close enough for you to shoot. Nobody can get everything, especially with soccer that moves so quickly and somewhat unpredictably around the field (there's some caveats to that statement).

    There's sort of a sports sense that one develops that really helps anticipating the direction of play - but that's another topic.
     

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