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Old Jun 29, 2007, 11:05 PM   #1
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Is there a reasonably priced all-around lens that I can use in shooting indoor and outdoor sports? I have a Canon 20D, and 2 lenses that I've been told are "not fast enough" for indoor sports with gym lighting. I want to stay away from flash photography for sports. Haha, I also would love not to spend all my savings on a lens... so, does anyone have any suggestions.


p.s.--a zoom lens (even a little) would be great, but that might not be possible
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Old Jun 30, 2007, 11:35 AM   #2
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As a newbie cutting teeth, I'll attempt the task here that many have already answered for me and others many times in this and other forums. At 37 views but no replies, I assume that'll be the case here.

Short answer: NO. "Reasonably priced" and "sports" don't generally go together. "All-around" and "fast enough" don't generally go together. Good versatile range and image quality are hard to find together. There WILL be a compromise in quality the more versatile the lens is. Seems even the best lenses that offer long range give up some quality on one end or the other, if not both. (That will certainly get some comment from the more experienced...)

For both speed needed to capture action and for low light of gyms from runts through most high schools (college better, pros obviously much better) you'll need f/2.8. That's gonna cost on any lens other than primes.

Bluntly, if you want the criteria you mention, you are going to pay. There is some debate as to whether IS is needed in these longer lenses. If freezing action, IS doesn't apply. If needing perfect shot on long range, get a monopod/tripod. So, you may could save by foregoing IS. (One debate I've heard for IS in these bigger lenses though is resale. A guaranteed market!)

The seemingly standard amateur sports lens is the 70-200mm f/2.8 which offers some length, "some" as it's debatable how far out into the field you can really get with 200mm. At, give or take $1550 with IS and $1150 without... Not exactly reasonably priced by most standards.

Others may do a better job offering the "third party" options that will save money. What I mostly see though is people ecstatic after moving to manufacturer's high-end lenses. (I'm personally going to save up and skip the intermediate step myself. Not always image quality but lots of comments on auto focus and speed.)

So, no help for now except this... As a "reasonably-priced" alternative til I save up for my 70-200mm f/2.8... PRIMES!

Although seemingly not it's intended design, my 85mm prime does a great job for MY PARTICULAR NON-PROFESSIONAL needs. Have frozen ball on bat and caught golf ball leaving teebox with batter and golfer in darn good focus. Sharp. Absolutely frozen. I'll be very anxious to see low-light gym performance. That was, yes, 85mm but I had total access in those shots, got as close as I wanted to get. With batter, up against backstop and no sign of fence caught in image we were both pretty happy.

I'm debating a longer prime myself but then have to think, your half-way there to the big boy. What's the term I saw elsewhere? False economics. At $900, I'd rather save up and get the non-IS 70-200 for $1150 and have some versatility, some range.

No real suggestions. Just the reality check that SPORTS = EXPENSIVE, period. Primes would be the only thing I could offer and although not probably traditional or agreed upon here, I and my subject were ECSTATIC with the shots I got of golf and baseball with a simple $300 prime.

Check out the sports section and search on JohnG's posts who always adds well thought out and experienced answers. Experience and theory.

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Old Jun 30, 2007, 12:27 PM   #3
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You wont find a great long lens that is fast enough for a low price.For indoor sports on a 20D I would say your best bet would be a canon 85 F1.8.This a great lens if you can get close to the floor of the gym.It isnt that expensive around $330 or so.That would be a great indoor lens as most 2.8 lenses are fast enough for indoor sports in gyms.I got this lens for kids concerts and sports in gyms.Outside it all depends on when you shoot and what you shoot.Most outdoor sports need a 300 mm lens to reach all parts of the fields.You can do this with a 200mm lens and a 1.4 convertor on the 20D.I personally own the sigma 100-300 F4 lens and it is really a great lens and is fast enough most of the times.It is also a great optic lens too.This 1 goes about $1100

You could also do the 100 F2 canon but that may be to long for certain indoor sports and is way short for outdoor sports.

Sorry but there isnt 1 lens to do both,so your choice would be are my existing lenses fast enough for the outdoor sports and do I get a fast indoor lens,or what am I going to shot more indoor or outdoor sports and go from there.

As for only buying L glass,it is great to buy if you can afford it but there are alot of lenses out there that match or beat some L lenses(like the 100-300 F4 Sigma).
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Old Jul 4, 2007, 5:42 AM   #4
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I have to agree, here are my suggestions for shooting indoors and out.


Canon 85mm f1.8 (I use this for volleyball mainly when I'm just behind the umpire)

Canon 50mm f1.8 (good for basketball when you are almost under the basket)

Canon 100mm f2 and 135mm f2 both great lenses allowing you to get back a little.

f2.8 is rarely going to be bright enough in a gym to get the desired shutter speeds for sports so I don't take my zooms unless I know it is a top gym.


Canon/Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 with 1.4x teleconverter

Sigma 100-300mm f4 (great sharp lens for the money)

Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 (the choice of a lot of us here who shoot field sports) a 1.4 x teleconverter comes in very useful.

There are no cheap option and a no one lens for all so you will have to build up to it slowly and decide what you want to shoot most.

I started with Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 and then added the 85mm and 50mm f1.8 and lastly the 120-300mm f2.8 so I'm now able to shoot most sports in most conditions. All I need to add to the bag is a Canon 1D MK III and I'm laughing.
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