Which EOS lens for hockey: Sigma 70-200 f2.8, Canon 200 f2.8, or ???

Discussion in 'Sports' started by bert_ashley, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. Which EOS lens would you recommend for hockey? I can't afford a
    Canon 70-200 f2.8 (unless I keep saving), and the 70-200 f4 seems
    too slow. I've considered Canon 200 f2.8 and Sigma 70-200 f2.8, but
    there must be other choices for under 700 US$. Shorter focal length
    might work because of 1.6 factor with my 20D.
  2. There are basically only two choices:

    Sigma 70-200
    Canon 70-200IS.

    The deciding factor is whether you need the IS or not. For sports, especially hockey, you'll be wanting faster shutter speeds rather than stabilized 1/60, so the Sigma would be a good call. if you've got the cash to spend, get the IS.
  3. I must have shot thousands of frames of hockey pictures with my 200mm 2.8 mounted on an EOS 1n, its light and very, very sharp. I did briefly borrow a Sigma 70-200 2.8 and didn't find it as sharp wide open as the Canon, but that?s to be expected really. Also zooming took some getting used to, I had a few good shots ruined by being at the 70mm end when I needed to be nearer to the 200mm and but interestingly not vice versa...
  4. A 200mm full frame would be like a 320mm in angle full frame; with your 1.6x crop. In shooting hockey by the glass; I almost never used such a long lens. In straight full frame 35mm film; I mostly use 50; 105; maybe a 135mm; maybe a 200mm . A fixed focal length non zoom F2.8 lens might be tried; instead of a more expensive zoom lens.
  5. Many rinks I vist are roughly 1/250 @F2.8 with iso 800. In an amateur event; some have only one set of lights on; and 1/125 @F2.8 or F2 is required; at iso 800. If there are dark uniforms; a tad more exposure is required too. During a warm up practice you can do some experimenting with exposures. The white ice will tend to underexpose; ie fake off the meter "looking for grey". Adding a 1/2 to 1 stop more exposure as an offset works with an auto exposure camera. Most rinks I vist I use a manual setting; the lighting is known from previous vists. The hockey "glass" varies in how crummy it is. Shooting at a steap angle can add a sharpness loss; if the plastic/glass is warped. Find a shop that is cleaner; if shooting thru the "glass".
  6. I have a 70-200 HSM EX Sigma 2.8, taking into consideration what Kelly recommended as suitable focal lengths (I have never photographed ice hockey but have plenty of experience in other sports) there is also the fact that this particular lens is reasonably priced and a very good performer plus very versatile for other use's (shortest focal length 110mm on a 20D with the i.6 crop factor)
  7. This discussion is really helpful, even though I left out an important detail: I'm so used to thinking in 35mm terms that I didn't mention my film camera. I was going to use a 70-200 zoom or 200 lens with 35mm, and if I had the money I'd get the 70-200 IS. Going the fixed lens route is less expensive, and I expect to shoot digital more than 35mm. I could use the 200mm lens with film and 50mm with digital, but the best compromise might be to get a 100mm lens. Then I'd have 50mm and 100mm lenses for my 20D. With practice, I hope I can get decent images with the 20D at 800 ISO. What do you think of the 50mm, 100mm combination for hockey?
  8. > What do you think of the 50mm, 100mm combination for hockey?

    That there sounds awful restrictive. Mind you, I haven't shot hockey just football (mostly) and having a zoom is worth its weight in gold. With a prime you're stuck thinking

    "I'll have to crop this shot and loose a lot of pixels because the action is too far away"
    "I can't use this shot because it's too tight and I can't move backwards."

    With a zoom like the 70-200 you'll at least think "I did the best I could" whenever you miss a shot.
  9. I've just started shooting college hockey myself. You can see what I've been doing at: http://www.gigservices.com/gallery/Wildcats

    I'm using a Nikon D70, and the standard 18-70mm "kit" lens. There are very few spectators (women's division 3 play doesn't seem to attract crowds...) so I can shoot from wherever I want.

    I tried my 135-400mm Sigma lens from the top of the arena, but with the 1.5x factor of the camera, it was too much lens for the arena.

    With my 18-70mm and standing right behind the glass, I can get just about anything on my end of the ice with no trouble. If the players look like they're going to hit the glass near me, I try to back up some because even at 18mm I can't get a decent shot of a subject only a foot away.

    If you look at the pictures I took, you'll see that depth of field is a problem. Also shutter speed. I'm shooting at 1250 or 1600 iso, and wide open on the lens. But "wide open" on that lens is only 3.5. And since I have to shoot at +1.5 or +1.7 EV, I'm not getting the fast shutter speeds that I'd like.

    The solution? Well, I'm personally thinking about getting a 50/1.4 prime and using just that. I may have to crop some of the more distant shots, but not too much. The only thing I'm worried about is losing the really close "against the boards" shot. But whatever you choose to buy, I'd suggest you go for wider aperture before you go for longer lens.
  10. Thanks, Erik. You're right about speed and focal length. I've seen numerous photos recently that zoom in so close that all sense of action (or even context) is lost. I liked seeing the action in your Wildcats photos. I'm probably going to start with a 50mm on my digital and then reconsider my needs. I still hope to get a 70-200 f2.8 before I retire my film camera. In the meantime, perhaps using fixed focal length lenses will help my technique instead of just frustrating me.
  11. I'm shooting HS hockey with 2 prime lenses: 200/2.8L and 100/2.
    Go with primes if you can. They give more quality and AF speed is quicker than zoom.
    Here are some action photos:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  12. I think I have to re-evaluate my lens choices. On Saturday I went out and shot a hockey game. For about half a period, I set my zoom on 50mm and left it strictly alone. (Nikon D70, so that equals approx. 75mm for a film camera.) You can see the game pictures at:
    The first 14 shots are all with the camera set to 50mm. After that, I started using the zoom again.

    If you just want to publish to the web, or print 4x6's, I think a fast 50mm lens would be perfect. These were all cropped down some, and I was generally ending up with 1000x800 images or so. But if you want to get high quality prints, you're going to need a longer lens to get in closer and avoiding lots of cropping.

    I realized that I was using the wide angles of the zoom to help me get lined up, and then zooming in as much as possible to get the shot. I don't even bother trying to shoot anything at the other end of the ice.

    So, if I were shooting a film camera, I think the 70-200 f2.8 would be perfect. With a digital, however, that 70mm is just too tight for me. I'd like to see a 35-105, or 35-135 zoom. Tamron has an SP lens that's a 28-105mm f2.8 that looks interesting.

Share This Page