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Old Jun 5, 2008, 10:44 AM   #1
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I am shooting fastpitch softball with a 30D, currently using a Sigma 2.8 70-200mm. The photos are good but not super crisp. Depth of field is fairly wide. What I would like progress towards is a very crisp image and minimum depth of field. I care about the batter, runner, etc, not the folks in the stands.

I am considering a Canon L series 70-200mm, 2.8 or 4. The question is; will it be "better" than the Sigma for what I am trying to improve? "Better" is subjective, therefore, I expect responses will be subjective. I am just wondering whether it is worth it, whether the investment in $ will yield any noticable, practical difference assuming I do my part.

Assuming the Canon is "better" I can then migrate towards the "to IS or not IS" question. However, for now, understanding the glass is the prime question.

Any insights greatly appreciated.

Thank you !
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Old Jun 6, 2008, 11:09 AM   #2
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Depth of field is controlled by aperture, focal length and distance. You won't get deeper or shallower just by going to canon.

In reality, you want a longer lens. For fast pitch softball you won't see a huge improvement moving to the canon 70-200 over the sigma. You might get better sharpness as the sigmas have more tolerance for front/back focus and overall IQ between models. But you won't get shallower DOF.

I would advise looking at the Sigma 100-300 f4 if you're sure it will be all day games. The greater focal length will help with your subject isolation.

IS is a waste of money for a sport like softball at 200mm. You wouldn't see any noticable improvement in your action shots with IS at that focal length (start talking 300mm 2.8 and IS can play a part if you're hand-holding).


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Old Jun 6, 2008, 1:14 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply !
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Old Jun 6, 2008, 1:58 PM   #4
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If you can afford it the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 is probably a better investment for the effect you want... than a 70-200 f/2.8 IS
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Old Jun 6, 2008, 2:10 PM   #5
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I am trying to avoid the IS based on cost and the apparent benefit when shooting sports (appears to be minimal). I typically shoot on a mono-pod.

I have been looking at a Canon 300mm F/4 but losing a couple stops hurts on cloudy days unless I jack the ISO up. I have not looked at the 130-300 Sigma but will do so.

Most of my photos are from the first or third base side of a softball field, 100-200 feet from the player. While anticipation for a play makes a big difference in getting a shot the reality is also that reacting at a moments notice helps.

Thank you for the recommendation. Any other insights appreciated !

Enjoy in good health...




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Old Jun 6, 2008, 2:53 PM   #6
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Altos wrote:
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I have been looking at a Canon 300mm F/4 but losing a couple stops hurts on cloudy days unless I jack the ISO up. I have not looked at the 130-300 Sigma but will do so.
The Sigma 100-300 than JohnG suggested is practically a prime - just check it out
-> it comes out ahead in several areas and you get the benefit of a zoom:
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...review?start=1
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...review?start=1
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Old Jun 7, 2008, 1:40 PM   #7
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100-200 feet away. 200mm is good for about 75 feet, 300mm is good for about 120 feet. 400mm is good for about 150-160 feet. Based upon your dimensions you're shooting from off the field. Any chance you can get on the field or in the dugout? In either case, 200mm is way too short for quality shots at that distance.

I use the 120-300 2.8 for softball that NHL suggested. But at $2700 I thought it might be a bit out of your budget. Fantastic lens. The 100-300 f4 and canon 300f4 are sharper. But they're not 2.8. But you definitely need longer than 200mm.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 2:10 PM   #8
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JohnG,

Occasionally I can get 75-80 feet away at the end of the dugout. Only players and coaches allowed in the dugout.

I ended up acquiring a used Canon 2.8 70-200mmL. Trial shots with a 1.4 extender showed significant promise, much sharper than I expected with no apparent degradation. I was very happily surprised. Looks very positive. That should cover me out to 130 feet or so.

The 120-300mm Sigma option is dreaming for me as spending $2500 for a lens is not going to happen. I found someone with a Canon 2x extender that is also a future option.

Regardless, things looking up !

Thanksfor the inputs !


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Old Jun 9, 2008, 3:17 PM   #9
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At f/4 the Sigma 100-300 (and EF-300 f/4L) will outscore the 70-200 f/2.8 with a 1.4x teleconverter in sharpness - Just check this MTF at 280mm vs 300mm from the above links for the other two lenses:
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Cano...review?start=1

-> and I believe the 100-300 is less expensive still than an f/2.8 +1.4x TC combo (that is if you don't need f/2.8 at the lower focal lenght...)

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