Budget Conscious Sports Lens

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by b.j._porter, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. Recently I have started doing some stringing for a local paper. I am
    using my own gear, so I am not especially concerned for myself here,
    however the editor and sports guys were aksing me some questions.

    Currently they send their sports writer to events with a Digital Rebel
    and a Quantarray F/4.0-5.6 75-300mm telephoto. They seem to do O.K.
    with the outside day games, but they have struggled with the night
    shots and the indoor photos. Shooting at ISO 1600, they are still
    having a lot of clarity issues...

    I made a number of operational suggestions to the reporter (he's not
    an experienced photographer at all and very fuzzy on some of the
    technical end) whic hopefully will help him, but I think he is also up
    against the limit of his hardware. He is not currently using a tripod

    The editor was wondering about a good lens for shooting these sorts of
    things - indoor basketball, outdoor football at night, etc. In
    another discussion he seemed...distressed...at the idea of purchasing
    a $1200 lens. So I think telling him to get the guy a Canon 300mm
    F2.8L is not going to fly...

    So what are some sub-$1,000 ideas for lenses that could get it done
    for them? The end quality is newsprint, not magazines, so a certain
    amount of grain and lack of sharpness might be tolerable.

    I had thought of the following possibilities:
    Canon 200mm F2.8L, maybe with a TC
    Sigma Zoom Telephoto 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO HSM
    Tokina Zoom Telephoto AF 80-200mm f/2.8 AT-X 828AF
    Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 EF IS Image Stabilizer

    Of course, I've never used any of these combinations so I am loath to
    recommend them.

    Any thoughts or comments?
  2. Used 80-200L. Produced September 1989 - March 1995.
    EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM just introduced.

    The 80-200 will get you the speed and image quality of the 70-200 F2.8L that replaced it. The 75-300 or 70-300 with IS might be better handheld. Even a monopod would help. Is he shooting at 300 mm now? Could he shoot at 100 mm or 200 mm and crop the image?
  3. I would probably recommend the 70-200 EX 2.8 Sigma. I considered this lens pretty seriously but decided on the 70-200 4L. I really don't shoot any indoor sports so the extra cost and weight was not worth it. But for Indoor sports that would be one of the best options, or the 200mm 2.8 would be good too. Just about anything would be better than what they are using right now.
  4. I vote 200/2.8 and Canon's 1.4x converter with a monopod. I use those on a Rebel and 10D. Forget the IS lenses.
  5. Another vote for the 70-200 2.8 EX HSM Sigma if the editor is really budget minded. I have used one for 4 years now for editorial work including sports for newspapers, and it has been very reliable.
  6. Another vote for the 200 2.8L. The feel is great, the MF ring is huge (plus FTM) and the results are sharp enough to shave with.
  7. For a man on a budget I can think of only one thing, really: Sigma 70-200/2.8.

    Used it. Loved it.

    If you want longer try the Sigma 120-300. No idea how much it costs but it's supposed to be _really_ sharp.
  8. Tell them to cough up for a 70-200mm f2.8 Canon lens instead of trying to trim a few bucks. It is invaluable in my shooting. When we were drawing up an equipment budget for this year, I held out for enough money to afford a D70 and the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 because I knew it was critical to have. Make sure to explain to them that shooting sports is very demanding on equipment and that they can't expect good quality from poor equipment. a few arguements for you to try:
    >It is *the* sub $1500 lens for sports and news because of its speed and build quality, any photojournalist should have one. You can count on getting sharper images in low light.
    >Assuming it costs $1200 and lasts 5 years (it will last a lot longer), it will cost the paper $20 a month, a pittance compared to the reporter's salary and benefits.
    >If the paper is like most smaller ones, the sports page means a lot to the community, maybe more than the editors appreciate. The community will respond to better photos.
    Good luck!
  9. And another vote for the 200 2.8L. All I can say is WOW! It's sharp, tiny, black, super-fast AF, flare resistant, distortion free, relatively cheap. What more can a man ask for? Well, IS if you ask me.... :)

    Happy shooting,
  10. For shooting action indoors an f2.8 aperture is essential for stopping action and a zoom is essential for following action that can go all over the place. IS is great when the subjects are relatively stationary but is not of much help when they are rushing around as in a basketball game. That would leave you with two choises either the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 or the Canon 80-200 f2.8L. I've never seen a test of them side by side at maxium aperture so I don't know if there is any significant difference (but for indoor sports that will be the most used aperture) but the Sigma can be purchased new with a warrenty whereas the Canon cannot. Two other very important considerations (for action sports) are autofocus speed and accuracy. The Sigmas that I've tested do not autofocus as fast or as accurately as their corresponding Canons so you might want to test them against each other first (if possible) before buying.

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