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Old Apr 29, 2005, 11:05 AM   #1
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I have a Cannon Digital Rebel. I take a lot of Wrestling, Football and Field Hockey picture and need to know what's the best lens to buy for achieving great pictures. Thanks.
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Old Apr 29, 2005, 12:30 PM   #2
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What is your budget?

The "best" lenses will be quite expensive - $6500 for a Canon 400mm 2.8L for football/field hockey. But there are a lot of options below that.

Personally, I use a Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX lense (with 1.4x teleconverter on occasion). I like the 70-200 concept because I can also use it for indoors (basketball). You'll find quite a number of happy people on this site that have this lense and at around $750 it's a great bang-for-the-buck. For your wrestling needs, it may or may not be good enough depending on the lighting. For poorly lit gyms, I believe 1.8 or 2.0 lense may be a better bet - but I'm not sure if there is such a lense that you could also use for field hockey / football. If you are close to the mat, the 50mm 1.8 is a great / inexpensive indoor lense (about $60). Otherwise the 85mm 1.8 will give you more reach.

My advice, for what it's worth, would be to get a 70-200 2.8 (either Sigma or Canon) as it will give you the most versatility. Be warned, if you get a 4.0 or slower lense you probably won't get great indoor results and even your outdoor results will be hampered by overcast conditions. I would definitely say stick with a lense with 2.8 (or better) constant aperture.
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Old Apr 29, 2005, 6:34 PM   #3
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JohnG is right... faster lenses are better than slow lenses. The problem is a combination of weight and cost.

Look at the Canon 70-200 family: f/4 weighs about a pound and a half and costs $560... the f/2.8 weighs about two and a half pounds and sells for about $1100... the f/2.8 with Image Stabilization weighs over three ponds and sells for around $1600.

I recently bought an EF 70-200 f/4L and it's a pretty big piece of gear... works great, though obviously not as well in low light as the f/2.8 (Canon or Sigma). There are some work arounds to the problem. The 20D does pretty good work at higher ISO values and a tripod or monopod will help reduce camera shake, one of the biggest problems with slower lenses.

If you can't find anEF 70-200 f/4L to borrow, consider buying one. This lens has a great reputation and could be sold used at very close to retail value if well cared-for. If you find out it it doesn't work for you, you'll only be out a few dollars.

Lugging a three and a half piece of glass on the front end of a two pound camera can be a drag. It depends on your needs and budget. Canon "L" class lenses hold their value very well, perhaps due to a combination of quality and some snob appeal. You'd do well to get your hands on some of these lenses to see just how big they really are.

If you need more reach, a TC can be used, but they cost weight and one stop (for a 1.4X) or two stops (for a 2.0X).
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Old Apr 29, 2005, 11:44 PM   #4
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The f/2.8 has several benefits which need to be traded off against its weight:
1. It'll enable the higher precision AF in the 20D and above
2. It'll allow to shoot in lower light
3. You can use both the 1.4x TC and when in a bind a 2x teleconverter as well
4. But the best part is the extra 'Bokeh' which you just can't get otherwise - This 'out-of-focus' is what make a picture different from any other:

... and it does not have to cost more with the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX: just add the cost of the tripod collar (standard on the Sigma) which is not included in the EF 70-200 f/4L low-price!

BTW if anyone thinks that a Sigma doesn't hold its value, try to find a used 70-200 f/2.8 EX or a 100-300 f/4 EX :idea:

-> You'll find a lot more Canon EF 100-300 USM junky on Ebay that no one want!!! :blah:
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