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Old Aug 27, 2007, 11:25 AM   #1
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I am looking to buy a new lens for my Canon XTI. I mainly am interested in football/baseball shots for my son's teams. Do I need to spend the money on IS or will IS slow down my ability to capture the action?
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 12:09 PM   #2
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ontcob wrote:
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I am looking to buy a new lens for my Canon XTI. I mainly am interested in football/baseball shots for my son's teams. Do I need to spend the money on IS or will IS slow down my ability to capture the action?
IS is invaluable for reducing motion blur induced by a photographer'sunsteady hand. It allows you to use slower shutter speeds than your own body movements would otherwise permit.

But when shooting sports, you'll want fast shutter speeds anyway. I think, the longer the lens, the more you'll need IS, and it won't slow you down. But for this particular application, it won't be much use to you. You'll be too far away to do much panning, where IS will help (though this is a hotly debated subject here).

I do think that 70-200 won't be long enough, though. Maybe if you're on the sidelines, it would work, but the view is better in the stands where you'll be further away.
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 1:38 PM   #3
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I am usually on the sidelines, right now I am using a 70-300 5.6 (I think). I was told this new lens would be a huge improvement for my purposes. So it sounds like you say pay the extra for the IS? The 70-300 2.8 IS is out of my budget. What about the 2x lens magnifiers. (can you tell I'm a newbie?)
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 1:57 PM   #4
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ontcob wrote:
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I am usually on the sidelines, right now I am using a 70-300 5.6 (I think). I was told this new lens would be a huge improvement for my purposes. So it sounds like you say pay the extra for the IS? The 70-300 2.8 IS is out of my budget. What about the 2x lens magnifiers. (can you tell I'm a newbie?)
I think that, if you're on the sidelines, 200mm might do the trick, and if you're in the dugout, it would probably cover the infield nicely.

Can you post some of your good shots and some of the shots you think you might have gotten better?

And if you're after larger apertures to give you faster shutter speeds, a teleconverter will diminish that advantage.

And, no, for what you're shooting, IS won't help much. Unless you're panning on a runner. I think it'll help some there.
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 3:00 PM   #5
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ontcob,

What level of play are you talking about? Grade school, high school? That will determine some of the requirements (i.e. what size diamond is being played on, whether games occur at night or not). The nighttime thing is critically important - if you plan on shooting games under lights, having a 2.8 lens is essential.

So, let me know the answers to those questions and I can give you specific suggestions. But I can say a few things right now:

For a 200mm lens for the sports you're talking about, IS is a complete waste of money. Don't bother if your sole purpose is sports shooting. That money can be better spent on other things.

So, on to focal lengths. 200mm is good for about 25 yards of coverage and that's about it. Shoot moving subjects farther away than that and quality really goes in the tank fast. This is probably the toughest lesson for people to learn - they want to shoot action 50 yards away. So, what this means is a 200mm lens won't cover sideline to sideline action at all. As long as you follow the line of scrimmage along the sidelines you can cover the action from middle of the field to your sideline and that's about it. In baseball it means if you were shooting on a HS size field - if you were in the dugout you could shoot most of the infield. The problem is the dugout isn't a great place to shoot from- the angles aren't great and you've got a bunch of players in your way if your team is batting (and the opposing team might not want you in their dugout - in which case you're limited to one specific angle so you miss half the batters, some of the action - i.e. some shots look better from 3rd base and some look better from 1st base. The more typical shooting positions are behind 1st or 3rd base and off the line. Shooting from there, 200mm isn't long enough to get to the other corner. In neither location is 200mm long enough to get the outfield (accept the right fielder from first base shooting position or left fielder from 3rd base).

So, bottom line - by the time you get to HS level, 200mm is OK for football but not great and really not long enough for baseball.

So you've got a predicament - you need more reach than 200mm, but you also might need 2.8 apertures if night games are a possibility.

In general, here are the lenses I recommend, in this specific order, for these two sports, assuming a single camera body and not independently wealthy:
  1. Sigma 120-300 2.8 ($2700) - great lens for both applications. It's what I use and it's fantastic.[/*]
  2. Sigma 100-300 4.0 ($1000) - great lens but ONLY #2 if games are always during the day. A 4.0 lens will be useless under the lights - especially with only ISO 1600 available.[/*]
  3. Canon 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC ($1100 for lens $200 for TC). Use the TC during the day and take it off at night.[/*]
  4. Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC ($850 for lens $170 for TC). same as with the canon.[/*]
  5. Canon 70-300 IS USM - not a bad lens for what it is.
[/*]
There are prime lenses that can be great but shooting with primes is more difficult and usually requires 2 camera bodies.




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Old Aug 27, 2007, 6:31 PM   #6
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What about the idea of going with 70-300 without IS? Cost wise, maybe it is a wash vs70-200 with IS?
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 6:36 PM   #7
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what 70-300 w/o IS?

Canon doesn't make a non-IS version that I'm aware of. They have a 75-300 which is garbage, then the 70-300 IS USM (about $560) and then a DO version of the 70-300 (which is closer to $1000). So I'm not sure how either of those is a wash, cost wise, with a $1600 70-200 2.8 IS lens.

So what lens were you thinking of?

Also, you still haven't mentioned what level of play and whether night games are possible.
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 7:05 PM   #8
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Ok, now I just need help knowing how to post pictures... I always get confused with image size also (sorry, the newbie coming out again).
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 7:11 PM   #9
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Sorry, Havent done my homework well enough. When I figure out how, I'll post some pictures... I think it is the late afternoon and evening games that are my biggest problem. So it was the 2.8 that I was advised to get. I have the 70-300 5.6(garbage) lens now (what did I know?). I really do like the 300, it would probably be hard for me to give that up. So it looks like most agree I dont need the IS feature (that adds a lot to the cost). So if they dont make a 70-300 2.8 without IS, now what do I do?
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 8:39 PM   #10
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Ontcob,

be careful. I said the 75 - 300 lense was garbage. There are 2 different lenses, a 70-300 IS usm which is quite nice as I indicated and an older 75-300 (which usually sells for around $180) which is NOT nice.

But that's all irrelevant. If you have evening games you need a 2.8 lens. That leaves you 3 choices under $3000:

1. Sigma 120-300 2.8 at $2700

2. Canon 70-200 2.8 no IS for $1100 plus $200 1.4x TC for day games

3. Sigma 70-200 2.8 for $850 plus $170 1.4x TC for day games.

Those are your three choices in the order of quality. The last one, the sigma 70-200 2.8 is no slouch. I have the lens and it's a fantastic lens. But as I mentioned earlier 200mm is a bit limiting for these sports. Unfortunately everything is a compromise. Without 2.8 you can't shoot night games at all. The only way to get both 2.8 AND the reach is to shell out $2700. So, most people opt for option 2 or 3 as a compromise solution.
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