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Old Mar 19, 2009, 9:26 AM   #1
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Ok, I finally picked up a camera and went with the 40D a few months ago. I posted a topic last year asking about a sports lens for daytime sportsbut my needs have changed a little so I need to ask again. I am looking for alens that will work under the lights for night time baseball. It is currently for little league where the fields are not that big but as my son grows so will his sports.I currently canget into the dugout or right next to it. I would also use the lens for his day sports as well (soccer/baseball/football). I cannot afford to spend big bucks on the lens but around $300-500 could be accomplished. I know that you get what you pay for but I would like to find a good compromise to help out.The pictures would be mostly forfamily use but if my skillsget better I wouldn't mind making them available to other parents for purchase if possible. Any help would be great... Thanks.
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 12:14 PM   #2
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Kev,

You're kind of up against it here. The sad fact is, most of those little league fields have TERRIBLE lighting. So, it's going to be tough to get good results without shooting with something like the 5dmkII or Nikon D700.

In general, a 70-200mm lens will give you the right focal length. A prime would be very restrictive for baseball. BUT, if you were going the prime route my advice would be the 200mm 2.8. That might fit your budget. The faster primes (85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.0, 135mm 2.0) are all going to be too short - the 135 would probably be OK from the dugout but at $1000 that's a big price to have the limitations of the 135mm focal length.

In the 70-200 2.8 camp, sounds like the $1100 Canon version is well outside your price range. The next up is the Sigma - at about $850. The least expensive is the Tamron. BUT, the Tamron doesn't have a fast focus motor so it's poor for sports work - in low light that will be even more apparent. Still, it's better than any of the other budget options. But, IMO, you're throwing money away on that lens if the primary use is sports - as you get better you'll outgrow it's limitations.

You should also realize that once you get to bigger diamonds you'll need a longer lens. 300mm is barely capable of shooting the infield on a full size diamond. It can be done, but 400mm is preferable. So, even if you were to get the Canon 70-200 2.8 you have to realize by the time your son plays on a big diamond that lens won't get you great results as it's just too short.
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 2:01 PM   #3
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I'm sure that I would use the lens for more stuff than just sports but I wanted to be sure that I could have a lens as a primary for sports. Not all of his games are played at night and they start at 7pm which is still light out. He also plays soccer which in only daytime. Should Iwait and save the money up to buy a bigger/better lens? My son is only in the second grade right now so it will be another 7 years before he gets onto High School levels.
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Old Mar 19, 2009, 3:16 PM   #4
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Kev,

One scenario in your price range is to get the Canon 70-200 f4 ($560). That will let you get soccer (on the small fields) and a majority of your baseball photos until it's at night. I wouldn't advise getting a lens with max aperture of 5.6 (like the canon 70-300) because of those baseball games. Focus performance will get dodgy in bad lighting and even though lighting is normally good in the summer at 8pm if it's heavily overcast a 5.6 lens will have problems.

2.8 lenses are great but expensive - already out of your pricerange for a 200mm. The 70-200 f4 might be a great choice for you. The stretch buy would be the sigma 100-300 f4 ($1000)
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Old Mar 30, 2009, 11:40 PM   #5
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Have a look at Craig's list for a sigma 70-200/2.8 This should be around your price needs. If you get a receipt with the lens I believe Sigma offers a 5 year US warranty and I think 7 Years for Canadians. Goodluck
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 12:26 AM   #6
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Perhaps it may be limiting things a bit, but what about a second hand manual focus Tokina AT-X SD 80-200mm F2.8?

Sports photographers used to manually focus you know!!!!

I know AF is more convenient, but if all of your photos motion blur because your AF lens is too slow(say 70-200mm F4), then the focusing won't make too much difference!!!

And it should be in your price range.
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 6:48 AM   #7
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dnas wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps it may be limiting things a bit, but what about a second hand manual focus Tokina AT-X SD 80-200mm F2.8?

Sports photographers used to manually focus you know!!!!

I know AF is more convenient, but if all of your photos motion blur because your AF lens is too slow(say 70-200mm F4), then the focusing won't make too much difference!!!

And it should be in your price range.
A couple points - motion blur does not result from slow focusing lenses. It is a result of shutter speeds that are too slow. If a lens was slow to focus it would simply be an out of focus image not one with motion blur. Also, the 70-200 f4 is a very fast focusing lens so not an example of a lens with focus issues (like say the tamron 70-200 2.8).

As for "sports photographers used to manually focus", I would say - "people used to ride horse drawn carriages too, but you don't want to trade your car in for one". The problem with manual focus is it's a much tougher technique and you're left with a lot fewer images to select from after an event. I would recommend against going manual. There are some applications where having to manually focus isn't a problem (macro, landscape) but for sports work it really is. Additionally, the viewfinder on your camera is not as big and bright and is lacking the split prism focus screen manual focus SLRs had. I think you'll be very disappointed if you go the manual focus route.
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Old Apr 6, 2009, 11:57 AM   #8
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There are a number of photography forums that let people buy and sell used equipment. Check them out. You can sometimes get a great deal. Ask if anyone has what you want that looks rough, but works well.
Ron
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