First big sporting event!! What lens(es)? 70-200 on dx VS. 300mm on fx??

Discussion in 'Sports' started by admir_cirkic, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. I am a fairly new photographer (about 6 months with a dslr) and going to shoot a professional soccer match coming weekend. I used only 70-200mm at college games, because I was able to move around and capture action both ways, switched couple of times the lens for different shots. So this is my first pro game shooting, got kind of lucky getting the credential. And it is for a foreign news paper/website as well so I want to deliver the best of the best possible!!
    So I own a Nikon d600 and a 50mm 1.8g lens. I want regardless of this event to buy the 70-200mm f2.8 vr ii from Nikon and using that during game for the closer action to midfield maybe. In addition I planned on renting a second body with either the 300mm f2.8 (on fx) or 70-200mm (on dx body) for the further away action? Big question nr1: will the cropped frame with 70-200 lens get close to the performance of "300mm" and bring similar detail or so? or will there be a big difference between using the 300 prime vs 70-200 on crop sensor??
    Also what other lenses do you guys recommend (thinking about adding 24-70 f2.8 for game begin/fans/stadium) or is there a better combination to have on field (than 70-200 + 300?, maybe 400 instead)!! (low budget alternative?!!)
  2. Keep it simple. You'll find yourself using one body and lens most of the time, it's a pain switching back and forth. 80-200 isn't long enough for soccer. You'll need at least 300 on a Dx camera. Give some thought to the 80-400, a very good and versatile lens for outdoor sports.
    Rick H.
  3. I'm a part-time PJ and I shoot high school and college sports for the local newspaper. IMO, the 70-200mm on the DX is all you'll need. Dial up the ISO to 1600 if outdoors (800 if it's really sunny), 6400 if indoors or at night under the lights. Use Nikon's 3-D AF tracking on AF-C at 6-10fps, whatever the D600 can do. Shoot A priority at f/2.8 indoors or at night, f/5.6 for outdoors, really, whatever gives you the minimum shutter speed of 1/500 but 1/1000 is much better...I usually really prefer 1/1600 to 1/2000 if I can get it. Make sure you get that focus point on the guy you want though or else the focus will be way off.
    Follow the ball.
  4. Thank you Mr. Helmke,
    I mean 80-400 would be awesome, but it's a outdoor game at night (cardinals stadium) and I don't know the lighting there, so I don't how the 80-400 with f4-5.6 will perform!? Do you have experience with that lense in professional stadiums? I also wanted to try this time tighter shots with wider open (f2.8 or so)!! The way I see a 400mm prime in soccer is like this: there's 20 field players, and if you try to focus from 100m+ on the other baseline/ corner of field what does a 400mm (or 300mm with dx) do for me when there's such a high chance that some other player will be in my way blocking the shot I want to take of one player or a 1-1 hustle for the ball or similar action. So basically I am not sure how much it will pay out for me and if it will be worth for me renting that expensive baby. If you can tell me that with 80-400 at cardinals stadium I won't have to go too high iso at 1/1000 shutter (meaning if theres great outdoor lighting) then ill listen to your advise!
    Anyways, I don't mind switching back and forth or even pre focusing with second camera in one hand, i'm a great acrobat with good hand and body coordination lol.
  5. @Thomas J
    Thank you for the extra information. What focus points do you have set then when you do AF C and all the above?
  6. Will you be stationary or will they let you move up & down the sidelines?
    Around the goal the 70-200mm on DX will be fine. I would want a 300mm f/2.8 on a DX body for midfield and beyond.
    Do you have a monopod?
    Call the stadium and ask about the lighting. If they don't know call the local paper and sepake with the photographer who shoots there.
    You want a shutter speed of not less than 1/500 sec - 1/1000 is better. Anything less and you will risk blur.
    Good luck!
  7. Not sure if ill be allowed to move up and down the sidelines. It's a FIFA international friendly soccer match played at a professional baseball field (from MLS). So I don't know how the lighting will be either, but it's lit professionally and I own a d600, will that bring ok results? I tried also calling them to find out about other details and I can't get through to the office!!
    What this newspaper cares mostly about is the pictures of the practice of the team, press conference and random pictures of players walking around the city (being kind of a paparazzi, but not really i'll also work with the pr manager of that team). The field pass for the game is kind of a favor from the guy for me so I can get my portfolio going. So I don't want to get the most expensive lens to rent. What about 120-300 sigma 2.8 os a1?? I tested it..and focuses really quickly!
  8. IMO, the 70-200mm on the DX is all you'll need.​
    I shoot football (soccer) and rugby. It's not.
    Last rugby game I shot (last weekend), I never took the 2x converter off my 70-200mm f/2.8, and even there was focal length limited sometimes - and I had unrestricted sideline access.
    Admir, I usually use the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS (the previous version, not the new "Sport" designated lenses), usually with 1.4x or 2x converters, and it's excellent, especially on a crop body: it's as short as I'd want to go on a full frame body.
  9. If it were me, I'd take the 120-300 2.8 OS over the 700-200 for the reach flexibility (note, I am not saying one lens is better than the other). The second lens would be the 400 2.8. But to be honest, I would get the best spot you can to show the goalie with the whole net. Blocking or missing shots. Truth be told, such shots are more news worthy than a one-on-one battle for the ball at midfield. You said you were shooting for a paper - the winning goal or the winning save!
    A naught naught game, maybe the battle between two players tells the better story - but a save or goal is what the game is played for and shows the end results - better story!

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