Recommendations on Canon lens for sports photography

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sonal_shah, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. I am an amateur photographer who has needs to photo indoor at swim meets and basketball games as well as take photos at soccer and football games. I can not afford the Canon EF 400mmf/2.8L IS II USM lens, so suggestions on any other reasonably priced lenses would be much appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. Canon 70-200mm f2.8 + 1.4X teleconverter, 300mm f4 IS, or 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 versions I or II.
    Another route to consider would be going the Canon 85/1.8 135/2, 200/2.8 prime routes with or without the teleconverter. In your place, I would probably go for the 70-200mm + or - the teleconverter. IS would be nice, but not really essential (except perhaps with the 1.4X).
    Another approach might be to consider the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS: more expensive, but good value. The first version has the same optics as the latest and saves you $1000.
     
  3. I shoot Nikon but the answer is the same -- you need 2.8 or faster to shoot indoor sports and a 70-200 is the basic bread and butter lens for these events. Yes you can use a prime, but they are not nearly as flexible as a zoom. The Canon 70-200 2.8 is around $2500 so you might want to look at Sigma or possible the new Tamron with image stabilization (don't get the old Tamron without image stabilization. I have it and it's for fine portraits and events but doesn't autofocus fast enough for sports.) Even with 2.8, you're going to need an ISO of at least 1600. You can use the teleconvertor in some situations but you lose a stop or two of light.

    The 400 2.8 is a great lens for football or soccer but you probably don't need that long inside. Depending on how often you shoot, you might consider renting one when you need it.
     
  4. Yes, given your indoor shooting, I too vote for a 70-200mm f/2.8 IS and a fast camera, like the 7D MkII. You can use the 1.4x and 2.0x TC-III with it in all you outdoor circumstances and some of your indoor shooting. These are incredibly flexible lenses that also good for portrait and macro shooting (with Extension Tube).
    You won't need image stabilization for much of your sports shooting because of high shutter speeds, but I still recommend the IS for some of the other uses. If you get a Canon, I guarantee that you'll fall in love with its IQ and versatility.
     
  5. +2 on the 70-200 f2.8L.
    You can buy something else, but you'll eventually wind up getting the Canon f2.8L and saying to yourself, why did I wait?
    Ed
     
  6. Thank you. I am usually shooting at either indoor or outdoor event (sometime both) almost every weekend. The Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM looks to be the one I need for indoor but with my current camera I have been using the 70-200 IS lens which came with my Canon 5 years ago and I don't know if I will have the same depth problem with the new lens when shooting outdoors sporting events. Has anyone used the 1.4x teleconverter with their Canon lenses?
     
  7. I've used the 70-200/2.8 IS (Mk 1)+1.4x to soot polo - but only once. I wasn't that happy with the results.
    I've used an 85/1.8 indoors and been moderately happy with the results and that's a relatively low cost lens that punches above its weight in terms of image quality.
    I wonder whether second hand would be an option. I've bought a couple of camera bodies and a 400/2.8 on ebay and been very pleased. A second hand 70-200 for indoors and then a 100-400 for outdoors may be an option.
     
  8. The advice that "you need f/2.8 or greater to shoot indoor sports" has been unchanged for the last twenty years. Might it not need revising if modern digital bodies can take acceptable pictures at high ISOs? For sure, a larger aperture is better, but given a fixed amount of cash to spend it may make more sense to get a cheaper f/4 lens and a newer body which lets you bump up the ISO a stop or two.
     
  9. it

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    70-200 2.8 IS.
    I was in the same spot a few years ago and asked a friend from Reuters who has shot the Olympics and the Aussie Open and he told me to forget everything else for my first action lens. It was good advice, it's amazing glass.
     
  10. Peter, if you shoot wide open, then you're going to have DOF issues with any f/2.8 lens, with or without a TC. Sounds like you need to raise your ISO and stop down whenever you get the chance. The IQ of the Canon 1.4x and 2.0x TC's is excellent. Anyone having issues with them is probably experiencing user error. (Too low an ISO is the typical stumbling block).
    Give us the exact name of the 70-200mm that came with your camera. You may have all that you need and just need to adjust your approach.
     
  11. "The advice that "you need f/2.8 or greater to shoot indoor sports" has been unchanged for the last twenty years. Might it not need revising if modern digital bodies can take acceptable pictures at high ISOs?"

    No.

    Being able to go to higher ISO and getting some help on camera shake from IS/VR is icing on the cake but 2.8 -- even though it's as fast as you can get on a 70-200 -- isn't really all that fast to start with. When I shoot indoor sports I'm often at 2.8 and 1/125 even at ISO 1600. I I can gain a couple of stops from higher ISO i'm going to put it into shutter speed before stopping down. And if I could go high enough on ISO that I could raise the shutter speed and stop down at the same time, I still want 2.8 for the sake of faster autofocusing. All else being equal, an f/4 lens can't AF as fast as a 2.8, and fast moving sports requires the fastest AF you can get.

    Shallow depth of field at 2.8 does make focusing critical. Which is one of the reasons I'm always skeptical of 1.8 or 1.4 primes. Those are great for portaits where the person is sitting still and you can put the focus exactly where you want it. But as fast as athletes move, getting a sharp shot wide open at 1.4 takes a lot of skill, a lot of frames and a lot of luck. For me at least, 2.8 seems like the best compromise.
     
  12. 135L at f2 focusses excellently on basketball and track and field events inside and out, quite as good as the 70-200mm if not better, as does the Sigma 85/1.4 although I am usually at f2 with that lens. I do however agree: a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 in any version is an obvious choice.
     
  13. The EF and EF-S lenses focus at their maximum apertures and the close for the shooting aperture at the time of shutter release. Hence, there's no need to shoot wide open for purposes of AF speed.
     
  14. "The EF and EF-S lenses focus at their maximum apertures and the close for the shooting aperture at the time of shutter release. Hence, there's no need to shoot wide open for purposes of AF speed."

    I'm not saying you need to shoot wide open. I'm saying the faster your maximum aperture the better the AF performance regardless of the aperture you shoot at.

    Regardless of what aperture you're shooting at, a 2.8 lens delivers more light to the AF system than a 4 (or slower) lens. The more light the AF system gets, the more quickly and more accurately it can focus.
     
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I am an amateur photographer who has needs to photo indoor at swim meets and basketball games as well as take photos at soccer and football games. I can not afford the Canon EF 400mmf/2.8L IS II USM lens, so suggestions on any other reasonably priced lenses would be much appreciated. Thank you!​
    (Especially) for Field Sports, in lieu of using a 300 or 400 prime, I’ve used an EF 70 to 200F/2.8L USM plus both the x1.4 and x2.0 Extenders EF and I’ve used those Lens-Extender combinations both on APS-C and also 5D Format Cameras.
    For indoor Swimming and Gymnastics I also carry and use the EF85/1.8 and less often use the EF135/2, but with the High ISO capacity of the more modern DSLRs I have found the use of the (extra) Lens speed of those Prime Lenses not as necessary as a few years ago and my 70 to 200/2.8 is a staple lens for all indoor sports.
    I would not use a 100 to 400 nor a 70 to 300L, because the aperture is too slow for indoor sports’ work.
    It is handy to have a shorter lens than the 70 to 200 for BBall (and Gymnastics and also Swimming) I have found a 50 and 35 Prime both useful, on both my camera formats.

    *
    Thank you. I am usually shooting at either indoor or outdoor event (sometime both) almost every weekend. The Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM looks to be the one I need for indoor but with my current camera I have been using the 70-200 IS lens which came with my Canon 5 years ago and I don't know if I will have the same depth problem with the new lens when shooting outdoors sporting events. Has anyone used the 1.4x teleconverter with their Canon lenses?
    Q1. What camera(s) are you using?

    Q2. Please define / describe the “depth problem” you have with your lens.
    *
    As mentioend above, I use the EF 70 to 200 F/2.8L USM with both the x1.4 and x2.0MkII Extenders EF.
    Of the three Canon 70 to 200 F/2.8 L USM Zoom lenses, when used with the Canon EF Extenders, I have found the EF 70 to 200 F/2.8L IS MkII USM the best; then next best is the EF 70 to 200F/2.8L USM and lastly the EF 70 to 200F/2.8 L IS USM.
    The two superior combinations is the EF 70 to 200F/2.8 L IS MkII USM - plus – either of the EF MkIII Extenders.
    The differences are most noticed when using a FF Camera and the lens close to or at Wide Open Aperture.
    WW
     
  16. Craig S., thanks for your reply. I was thinking of very high speeds such as ISO 6400, combined with the best available noise reduction in post-production. Perhaps the image quality to use those speeds is not quite there yet, but with the next generation of camera bodies the question can be revisited.
     

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