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Old Nov 24, 2004, 11:44 AM   #1
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Just curious to know what kind of lens they would normally use? 500mm, 600mm? also concerning the appeture?

thanks, it would be nice to hear from some pros also
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 12:03 PM   #2
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What camera do you own (or which one are you thinking about buying)?

I'd probably ask this question in the Canon or Nikon Lens Forums to get better responses from guys that shoot a lot of sports.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses are popular with sports shooters, since they have a constant f/2.8 aperture to help keep shutter speeds up in lower light. Keep in mind that you have a crop factor (typically 1.5x or 1.6x) with most DSLR models (lenses typically have a longer 35mm equivalent focal length on a DSLR, since the entire image circle being projected by the lens is not used).

Of course, I'm sure that the longer lenses are popular for shots from greater distances, etc. But, a brightlens in longer focal lengths can be pretty "pricey" (not to mention the size and weight considerations), and you don't have as much versatility as you do with a zoom lens (you're only going to find primes in lenses aslong as the ones you're mentioning, if you want something that's decent quality and bright).


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Old Nov 24, 2004, 1:44 PM   #3
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The two semi-pro sports photogs that I know both use the 300mm f/2.8 and the 400mm f/2.8, sometimes along with a 1.4Xor 2X teleconverter.

Hope that helps.


A bit more info--these lenses are big and heavy. A monopod, or a tripod if you can get away with it on the field area must. For the body itself, both guys use the Canon 1DMkII.
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 2:37 PM   #4
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It also depends very much on the sports.

American Football has such a large field that people use a mix of 500/600mm f4 lenses, with some shooting 400 f2.8.

I know because I tried to rent a 600mm f4 on a big football weekend up here and I couldn't find one... all were rented by visiting sports shooters.

But I bet smaller sports (basketball) they would never touch such a large lens. And the 300 f2.8 or 400 f2.8 would the the choice. And the aperture you shoot at will often be the biggest to stop the action. Usually crisp images are more important than larger DOF.

Eric
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 4:44 PM   #5
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ok i dont have a cam yet, not decided on which to get (i will mainly shoot tennis) so thinking of maybe getting 300-400mm. but im not sure on the f/ because a 300-400mm with 2.8 or even 4 is very expensive. what do you think i could get away with concerning appeture (for what i will be shooting)

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Old Nov 24, 2004, 5:23 PM   #6
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Hopefully, some of the users here that shoot sports will answer (I don't).

But, most of the photos I'm seeing in user albums of tennis are being taken at focal lengths at bit shorter than the lenses you're looking at. Of course, how close you are to the action will impact lens choice.

Here are some examples of shots taken with a Nikon D2H:

http://www.pbase.com/all_sports_pics/tennis

I noticed that in this case, he chose to shoot wide open (or near to it at around f/3.2 for most shots) to get shutter speeds as fast as possible (and/or limit depth of field). The ISO speed is not in the EXIF, but his downsized images look pretty clean.

Now, here is another album, where the user had a CanonEF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS Lens. He was shooting at longer focal lengths for many of his shots.

http://www.pbase.com/bob183/td_waterhouse_cup_tennis_tournament_semifinals&amp ;page=3

If you look through the photos, you'll see that he was at ISO 200 in mid afternoon. But,he ended up shootingat ISO 1600 at around 7:00PM, and was shooting at ISO 3200 by 7:30PM (to get fast enough shutter speeds for hisshots atf/5.6, whichis the maximum aperture for his lens at full zoom). As a result,the later photos are grainy, and print sizes will be very limited.

So, lighting conditions (are you going to limit yourself to matches indaylight), and your distance to the match (tohelp decidethe focal lengths needed) are factors that you'll need to consider. There can also be a big difference in quality of lenses (how are they shooting wide open, are they sharp at all focal lengths, etc.) Autofocus speeds will also vary between lenses.

I'd suggest paying close attention to the advise of experienced DSLRusers like eric s. to help you decide (and use the Lens forums here as a resource to get feedback on the pros and cons of different choices).
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 6:06 PM   #7
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It is purely a question of lighting and money.
You do realize that you need permission to shot at any professional venue. And you need press cradentials to get that. But maybe you're thinking of highschool and selling the pictures to parents and schools.

For lenses you could use the 400 f2.8. That and a teleconverter (plus a monopod) would do it. The 300 f2.8 is probably good enough too (with the 1.4TC.) Humans are large animals, so huge amounts of zoom might not be required. And you might want something wider for the full court shots.

As Jim said, how close you are will really matter. The Canon 100-400 is a good fast focusing lens, but its larger fstop will work against you (as seen in that gallery in that link.) The Nikon equivalent (80-400) is really slow focusing and I would not recommend it. The newer Nikon 200-400 f4 looks amazing, but it's expensive.

Now the problem of lighting. The less light you will have (late day, badly lit courts) the lower the fstop (which means the larger the aperture) you will need. This is because the lower the fstop the more light you'll get to the image sensor which means more shutter speed to stop the action. And you'll need GOOD low fstop lenses (f2.8 is probably required.) They will have to be good lenses because you'll be using them at f2.8 or f4... and most lenses are not good at their max aperture (lowest fstop.) Only the really expensive ones are (the "Pro" ones, its part of what you get for spending the money.)

Looking at the ISO1600 shots in that gallery, they are not "pro" caliber because of the noise. (The composition is good.) You can't expect to sell many shots that look like that.

The shots with the D2h look good, but look at the quality of light they have. And those shutter speeds! 1/8000, 1/3200... those are AMAZINGLY high. Don't expect to get light like that every time you shoot.

If you're thinking Canon, you really only have two choices. The 20D or the 1D Mk2. I doubt any of their other cameras are fast enough either in frame rate of focusing, or have enough buffer depth to work. The 10D would probably do the job, but I think you can only get it used any more.

If you're thinking about Nikon you really can only choose; the D2h. The D1h might also work... but I don't know how much reasolution you need (which directly effects print size.) I don't know enough about the frame rate of the D70, nor how good its AF is. I don't think the Fuji S2 would work.

Eric
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Old Nov 28, 2004, 1:43 PM   #8
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D70 is 3fps, bit slow for sport. huh?

it isgreat for general pressphotography or weddings : excellent 1/500 flash synch for fill-in, rugged enough for many users and low price.
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