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Author Topic: Choosing a New Telephoto Lens  (Read 4567 times)

Evolution

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« on: May 04, 2006, 09:46:49 pm »

Hi everyone,

I am an amateur sports and artistic photographer (some examples of my non-sports work can be found here) and I plan on buying a solid telephoto lens for outdoor sports photography (football, baseball, etc.) for my Canon 20D. I don't usually use tripods (but I do use monopods on occasion), I'd rather go hand held.

With this in mind I found two lenses that should work for me, but I can't choose:

1. Canon 70-300mm EF f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
   $624.99

I was thinking about this lens because it has image stabilization and is 100mm longer than the other lens I was considering; however, I had heard of blur problems when in portrait mode, as well as a lower quality.

2. Canon 70-200mm EF F4 L USM Zoom Lens
   $699.99

I have also heard great things about the L series lenses, especially about their sharpness and quality (which would be more important to me than an extra 100mm, if the difference is that noticeable); however by getting this lens I would lose 100mm of zoom and IS.

Any help, comments, or other lens suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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macgyver

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2006, 10:02:41 pm »

The IS isnt all that helpful for sports shooting.  Ideally you will be shooting fast enough shutter speeds that it wont be of any use.  It's great to have overall, but less so for action photography.

Not trying to spend your money, but what about the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8?  It's about 200 more, but for sports, the extra stop is also a requirement.  (unless you always shoot outdoors durring the day)

Any idea what sort of sports you will shoot?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2006, 10:03:08 pm by macgyver »
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kbolin

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2006, 10:05:38 pm »

I've got the 70-200mm EF F2.8 L IS USM Zoom Lens and love it.  It's more $$ than the F4 but if they are anything alike in quality you'll love this lens.  I can't comment on the 70-300 other than I understand from my sources it's not as sharp as the 70-200.
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sgwrx

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2006, 11:18:06 pm »

my experience with night pro-football games hasn't been that good with f/5.6 and iso-800. it was a canon 100-300 f/4.5 to f/5.6. day games and even mostly cloudy day games were better, lower iso and faster shutter speeds. perhaps something to keep in mind. f/2.8 would be cool, in fact i'm counting on it this year with the 70-200.
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jd1566

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2006, 11:47:40 am »

Hi there,
I have owned both the 70-200 f2.8 and the IS version and I can vouch for the usefulness of the IS on a telephoto lens.  As I prefer to shoot handheld, my percentage of blur free shots has drammatically reduced.  If you can spare the cash go for the IS version.  However, with good technique the 70-200 f4 is equally as sharp and a lot lighter (both on wallet and in your hand).  Don't forget the tripod collar which needs to be ordered separately, if you intend to shoot from a tripod.
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Evolution

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2006, 05:02:50 pm »

Thanks for the comments,

Quote
Not trying to spend your money, but what about the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8? It's about 200 more, but for sports, the extra stop is also a requirement. (unless you always shoot outdoors durring the day)
I was looking at that lens; however, from what I've read, it is blurry at f/2.8. I don't know if they got bad batches, but if there wasn't a blur problem, I would seriously consider getting that lens.

Quote
Any idea what sort of sports you will shoot?
All ranges of sports: football (under the lights), soccer, baseball (both outside during the day), and indoor games such as basketball and volleyball (this is the reason that a 2.8 lens would help alot).
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Krug

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2006, 04:35:52 pm »

I had the Sigma 70-200 but found it poor - sharpness,contrast and colour. Sold it happily.
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John Ashbourne
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DiaAzul

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2006, 06:33:44 pm »

You will need an f/2.8 lens - not for light or sharpness, but to ensure that the auto-focus receives enough light to maximise the chances of following the game.

Anything less than F/2.8 then the body will start limiting the number and quality of AF that is availablie - I would check your manual to understand what impact the f-stop will have in this respect.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/

Yakim Peled

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2006, 03:27:11 am »

For sport photography you need 2.8 and do not need IS. That leaves the Canon 70-200/2.8 (non-IS), Sigma 70-200/2.8 or the Canon 200/2.8. The prime is lighter and cheaper. Being a prime you think it will be a limitation but in usual practice, if you are not very close to the action, you'll be using the zoom only at 200mm.
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.

spencer87

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Choosing a New Telephoto Lens
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 02:45:38 pm »

i agree with the previous posters, I have the 70-200 f4 and its a great lens, but not fast enough for what you intend to shoot. The canon 2.8 versions (with IS and without) are pretty expensive, but I've heard good things about the Sigma 70-200 2.8.
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