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Old Nov 1, 2011, 3:41 PM   #1
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Default New lense and/or body

I am looking to start upgrading my Canon Rebel XTi I currently have a EF 70-300 4-5.6 and an EF 28-1353.5-5.6. I shoot primarily sports (Football (mostly night), wrestling and baseball), was looking to start by upgrading to the Canon 70-200L IS 2.8 or the new(?) Sigma 120-300 2.8. Is this a good choice or should I look at a new body also?
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Old Nov 2, 2011, 8:25 AM   #2
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OK, thanks for starting a new thread. This is a bit of a tough one because there's no single solution that will work well for all 3 sports.

Night football - requires an f2.8 or better lens. You need the 2.8 for focus performance. Now to stopping action: you can either do that with shutter speed or external flash. My preference is for shutter speed at least 1/400. That still shows some blur in hands/feet/ball but the head/trunk is usually frozen well so photos will work. In my experience, to get those shutter speeds in decent lit HS fields you need f2.8 and ISO 3200-6400. That's decent lit fields. If they're poorly lit you just can't do it without higher ISOs or flash. I've come around to preferring flash. Here's a shot at ISO 3200 while there was still light left:


Here's a flash shot in full dark.


For football you can get by with 200mm - but 200mm is good for only about 25 yards of reach. So you're only getting action middle of the field toward your sideline.

In your case you don't have ISO 6400 and high ISO isn't that great. So you would have to use external flash and 2.8 with your current camera. Or upgrade camera to a 60d.

Baseball: HS again? If so, where are you shooting from? Field, dugout or behind fence? That will drive what focal length you need. Tell me, how satisfied are you with your baseball shots from the 70-300? What aspect of those shots do you want improvement on?

Wrestling: I've shot with both 85mm 1.8 and 70-200 2.8. Without a doubt I prefer the 70-200 for the flexibility. Wrestling even more than football benefits from flash though because the mats are so non-reflective and faces are often close to the mat so the shadows are more problematic (vs. say volleyball or basketball in the same exact gym). So, a 70-200 2.8 (again you want 2.8 for focus performance) and flash are my choice:


For wrestling, the 120-300 is just too long a lens.

So, here's the crux with regards to lens:
200mm is way too short for full field baseball. You need at least 300mm if you're on the field. If you're behind a fence you need 400-500mm. 120-300 is too long for wrestling. I will say that there is no reason to get the canon 70-200 2.8 IS version I. It's less sharp than the non-IS version and you don't need IS for sports at 200mm. Now, the 70-200 2.8 IS II is a sharper lens than the non IS version. But it's a very steep price.
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Old Nov 2, 2011, 11:07 AM   #3
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I just finished the football season and saw the drawbacks of the setup that I currently am using and was looking to make the lens purchase to help improve the images.

I do decent pics in wrestling with the 28-135 lens and 480EX flash. I am able to get matside for wrestling, have gotten in good graces with the coaches.

For baseball, I am just getting started, so I do not have much experience as of yet. I will primarily be doing infield shooting, from all over until I get the hang of correct positioning. Would an extender on the 70-200 be a good option here?

I know that 1 lens is not the answer for all of these situations, but want to start building my equipment to suit what I am shooting. I made this purchase a few years ago without much knowledge of what I was going to do with the camera and the limitations of the lenses I purchased. I have been researching and following the forums and was leaning towards the canon 70-200. Was shocked at the price of the IS II, but heard good things. It is at the top of my price range, but if the non IS version will work just as good, I can possibly work on a second lens. I have no issues using a tripod or monopod while I am shooting either.

I will post a few examples of what I have done later tonight.

Last edited by pskelly99; Nov 2, 2011 at 1:01 PM.
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Old Nov 2, 2011, 8:18 PM   #4
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I was not able to upload any pics. Looking back at photos from the past 2 years, I realize how much I have progressed with help from people willing to give their time to us that want to learn from your experience.
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Old Nov 3, 2011, 7:51 AM   #5
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A TC on the 70-200 can help for baseball if you're on the field (i.e. just off the foul line). If you have to shoot from outside the fence then it will be too short.
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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From what I am taking out of your experiences and my wants, I believe that I should go with the Canon 70-200. I have no desire to become a "professional" I do this because I enjoy the sports that I photograph and want to give back to the coaches that have taught my kids. I usually give them a highlight DVD at the end of the season with photos that I have taken.

What version of the canon would you recomend:
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM ($1449)
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM ($2499)

Or would the Sigmas be a good choice?
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 12:12 PM   #7
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In regards to sticking with the 70-200 lens, I can use my flash. If I go any higher (400-500) won't my flash be useless anyway? I can deal with shooting only 25 yards in football to get the good picture. I am familiar with the game and can sometimes anticipate where I should be at to get a photo op. Baseball is at the bottom of my list of what I am focused on, my kids are a lot more involved in Football. Wrestling is something that I enjoy being around, plus it gives me something to do while it is snowing here in Michigan.
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 2:19 PM   #8
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The 70-200 2.8 non-IS is good enough for your needs. That lens is now selling for $1399 (used to sell for $1100).
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Old Nov 5, 2011, 11:59 AM   #9
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Thank you for your help
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