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Old Jan 10, 2008, 10:08 PM   #11
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JohnG wrote:
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Angel L. wrote:
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JohnG and Spy,

I also am considering the 70-200 f2.8 from Sigma for sports with my XTi. Can you guys comment on how that lense will perform in night highshcool baseball games?

I have hade some decent results with my F717, but from very close, now I wont be allowed to get behind the backstop and will be on the bleachers.
The biggest problem you'll face is 200mm is WAY, WAY too short to shoot night games from the bleachers at the HS level. 200mm is too short to shoot night baseball if you're shooting from ON THE FIELD. Now, of course you'll get infinitely better results than your Fz17 was giving you. But you have to understand these lenses were only designed to focus up to a certain distance. After that distance you start to lose focus accuracy. I've found if you want quality results, 25 yards is about the working limit of a 200mm lens. What that basically means is - if the bleachers are on the third base line you'll be able to shoot the third base line and that's about it - maybe the pitcher. And depending on the fence structure you may get very poor results - i.e. if the fence is high and you're shooting THROUGH it from 10 feet away - forget about it. That will be very poor results indeed. The only way to effectively shoot through the fence is to be within minimum focus distance for a given lens (i.e within say 1.5 feet or whatever the minimum focus distance is for the 70-200).

Not trying to discourage you - only stating that you're not going to get good results at a night game from the stands trying to shoot action 50 yards away from your shooting position through a fence that's 10 feet from your shooting position. So it's a lot of money to spend to still get poor results.

I shoot from on the field with a 300mm lens and it's barely enough to cover the infield of a baseball game.
Thanks for the reply,

I also thought 200mm might be to short, now if I shoot from the first and third base line, do you think I can cover the infield and outfield from day and night?
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 12:47 AM   #12
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for HS level baseball,200mm would be just compromise. 300mm would be tight again. One chance is to get behing the batter and hope to get shots through the fence as John said.

I am going to try my 500 soon once the weather gets better here from the out field.

For local league baseball, 70-200 would be enuff to cover from the first base. But for HS it will be really tight(Optimistic)
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 8:22 AM   #13
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Angel L. wrote:
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I also thought 200mm might be to short, now if I shoot from the first and third base line, do you think I can cover the infield and outfield from day and night?
Let's bring some math into this.

The 70-200mm lens is good for about 25 yards or 75 feet of sharp focus.

A 300mm lens is good for about 40 yards or 120 feet of shar focus.

At the high school level,a base path is 90 feet between bases and 127 feet corner to corner.

So, if you were standing on first base, a 300mm lens is at it's limit trying to focus on something at 3rd base.

Now, if you're outside the fence that could be anywhere from 20-60 feet from the baseline. So just do the math. At a right angle, the pitcher's mound is 45 feet from the fence. Add another 30 feet for area between base path and fence and your distance from fence to pitcher's mound is 75 feet - the limit of a 200mm lens (again to get sharp shots). So right at the fence you would be able to capture half the infield.

Even if you were allowed on the field (say in the dugout) you'd still be too short with a 200mm lens to get sharp shots. But I should also mention, I have high standards for sharpness. There are probably plenty of people who shoot the distances in question with a 200mm lens. They then either leave the shots as-is (with a lot of boring dead space) or crop down on their computer and have soft results because there isn't enough detail in the image and the focus wasn't sharp enough. Especially at night at high ISOs you just can't crop much at all because of the noise involved.

So here's my advice - rather than shoot both day and night games poorly with a 70-200 lens from off the field, give up on the night games and concentrate on day. Get a longer lens like the 100-400 mentioned. You'll really need the 400mm if you're shooting from outside the fences. At least that way you can get some very good day time shots.




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Old Jan 11, 2008, 4:01 PM   #14
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After doing some research on 100-400mm lenses, I came to the realization that I cannot justify the cost of that lense for just shooting my sons ballgames.

However I can reach for a brand 70-300 and a 17-70 f2.8 for walk around and night games shooting the pitcher and the at bat with a burst thru the fence.
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Old Jan 13, 2008, 9:50 PM   #15
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I actually have the Sigma and Canon 70-200 non-is in hand testing. I chose the canon hands down. I compared both in a theater setting, hand holding and with a monopod. Canons shots were better shots. It may be because I tested the sigma first, and was a bit uncomfortable with the size of the lens (it is a monster compared to my other lenses.)

I also compared them at a gymnastics meet, the canon focused faster and quiter than the sigma, and that focus speed was the clincher.

If you have the dough and and will be shooting inside at all, get IS. I don't have the money or need. Also, consider ifyou want a 70-200 or something shorter. This lens gets lots of action on the boards, but 70mm with a DSLR really is unusable in most indoor settings. I was at a high school basketball game and had to go way back to use it. I don't know much about the 50-150 lenses, but I bet that would be much more versatile, especially with a 1.4 teleconverter.

Don
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