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Old Aug 28, 2006, 9:43 PM   #1
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I am looking for advice on a good telephoto lens for my Canon 20D. I need it for night football pictures, from the stands. I would also like to use the same lens for indoor portrait shots. I would like to keep the price under $1000.
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 10:53 PM   #2
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Action photogrpahy from that sort of distance, at night is simply not possible. Even if the lighting was really good you'd probably need something like a 600mm f2.8 (and a truck to mount it on). If you can get to the sidelines you probably still need 300mmf2.8 and that's going to cost more than $1000.
You might be able to get shots of stationary players using a long, slow lens and a monopod. Maybe the bigma (sigma 50-500) would do but you'd want to check this out first as it would be near your budget. You could also take wider angle shots of the field with a shorter, fast lens such as the 50f1.8 which is also an excellent portrait lens. You can probably afford both and a monopod if your $1000 are the green kind.
If the light's good enough for f2.8 and you can get to the sideline, then a 70-200 would let you take good shots when the action is close to you and would also double as your portrait lens. A 70-200f2.8, 2xteleconverter and monopod would be similar to bigma and pod in terms of what you can shoot. That's about the best I can think of I'm afraid. What you want to do is about the most demanding thing in photography.

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Old Aug 29, 2006, 8:48 AM   #3
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Honestly, I don't think you can do it :sad: Not for under 1000.00, no way. All of my football has been during the day, I have sideline access and I'm shooting with a 400mm f/2.8 on one camera and a 70-200 f/2.8 on the other for when the action gets closer.Jacks is right on with what he's said, you can probably get stills from the sidelines, but no action shots. There's just no way to keep a quick enough shutter speed with anything less than a f/2.8.

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Old Aug 29, 2006, 9:43 AM   #4
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Even if you had the money and could buy 300/400 f2.8 lens, I don't think you will be able to sneak that in the stadium.
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Old Aug 29, 2006, 11:54 AM   #5
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Sorry, here's another "you cant do it" response. I also shoot sports.

On a 1.6 crop body, a 300mm lens is good to about 40-45 yards MAX and at that range you're not going to be able to get good one subject isolation - so you'll only be able to crop to multi-player shots.

A 200mm lens is good for about 30-35 yards max.

That's just the reach side of the equation.

Now there's the exposure part. For a well lit HS stadium (and I mean very well lit) - you're still looking at a 2.8 lens and ISO 1600. Many HS stadiums aren't well lit - which means using ISO 3200 or, in reality, a flash gun.

If you're talking pro stadiums the lighting is much better but you're farther away from the action so you'll never get close enough shots.

So, if you must stay in the stands then forget the photography - the money you'd have to spend to get OK shots just isn't worth it. If you can move to the sidelines then the cheapest lens solution would be a Sigma 70-200 2.8 (about $850 I think). but remember from above how close you have to be to the action.
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