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Old Jun 28, 2005, 2:51 PM   #1
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When I eventually get my camera I want to try my hand at sports photography. At the moment, due to a lack of lenses and a digital camera I have been stuck to family shots so I have no experience at all of sports photography. My question;

Should I get a lense with zoom or gho for a fixed one(prime?)? I know a fast lens is necessary for sports photography, so is it worth going for the cheaper prime lens and having to work within the one focal point or getting one with zoom for the same price that wouldn't be as fast?
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 11:51 PM   #2
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It really depends on several things.

What sport you're taking pictures of. How big are your subjects? Racing mice or racing cars? How close will you be? 10 feet? 1/2 a foot ball field? How fast do they move? baseball players (who often stand still for awhile) or race cars (that go crazy speeds!) In door sports in low/bad lighting or outdoor sports during sunny days?

What your standards are. Are you willing to spend lots of money for only minor increases in quality? Are you willing to spend quality time editing gone picture to get it "just right"?

Trading zoom for focal length is a diffiult question. The zoom lets you frame the shot better which could lead to better shots and maybe better prints. Also, if you get too close, you can always zoom out and still get the shot (of course, this could be an opportunity to try something different and get that head shot, or just the driver in the car.)

A faster lens means that the shot that might have been blury is sharp. Often (but not always) a blury picture gets deleted, so you really need that fast lens. But with digital (and the right digitals!) you can always crank up the ISO and trade some image quality (higher noise/lower detail) for faster shutter speeds. There is a guy here who takes indoor gymnastics pictures at ISO800 (I think) with a consumer Canon DSLR and gets surprisingly good results.

It's not an easy question, does this give you some guidence on how to think about the issues involved?

Eric
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Old Jun 29, 2005, 6:44 AM   #3
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Alot of magazines will tell you that you need a 300mm f/2.8 lens or similar to achieve good sports shots. Whilst this sort of lens is great if you can afford it, and it will be faster and sharper than a zoom, my own personal experience says I can't justify the purchase. I have a 75-300 zoom that I use on my SLR which has produced some of my favourite shots at a fraction of the price. You could probably afford to experiment with the cheaper zoom lens first, then look at primes if it doesn't do what you want.
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Old Jun 29, 2005, 2:24 PM   #4
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Buceph wrote:
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I know a fast lens is necessary for sports photography, so is it worth going for the cheaper prime lens and having to work within the one focal point or getting one with zoom for the same price that wouldn't be as fast?
Manufacturers sell many more zooms than primes - When is the last time a prime is introduced?

While the primes may be faster, they are not that 'sharper' @ wide aperture - Check their MTFs even close down to f/8. There's other parameters of course which may be important to some people, but at least in measureable sharpness the newer re-designed zooms have a leg up over their older primes: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=65


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Old Jun 29, 2005, 4:19 PM   #5
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Primes were better however, these days there is far more research into zoom designs than primes. Fast zooms still lose some speed to fast primes but the convenience of the zoom wins out. I don't think many people could tell the difference from the prints.

Ira
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Old Jun 29, 2005, 5:12 PM   #6
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The Minolta HS auto focus 80-200 f2.8 APO can be had used for about $750

If you shoot outdoor sports on sunny days try the only auto focus of it's type:

Minolta REFLEX AF500mm f8 for $549 new

Both lenses produce razor sharp images with nice contrast and 'bokeh'
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Old Jun 29, 2005, 9:32 PM   #7
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For indoor sports photography, where the light can be non-existent, sometimes a cheap prime can do the trick.

Canon, for instance, sells a 50mm F1.8 prime for about $80.

I think a zoom is more flexible than a prime. Some of the real "pro's" sling two camera bodies around their necks. One has a telephoto zoom for the far away action, and another around their neckswith a wide angle zoom attached for action taking place right in front of them.

For us lesser mortals who can't afford to walk around with two camera bodies and lenses, usually one zoom telephoto suffices.

As far as "fast" lenses go, obviously the faster the lens, the more money you would have to spend. If you're a "pro" shooter and getting paid for your shots, or you're wealthy, dropping $3,000 on a lens may not be a problem. Basically you have to look at how much you want to spend.

When you mentioned "sports", you didn't say what kind of sports you're doing. Obviously shooting an indoor basketball versus an oudtoor soccer gam or some other sport has their own challenges.

I've seen some photogs take huge 500mm lenses to an indoor track meet. I'd say the lens is overkill. Yet, if you had a 200mm lens for a football game, that might be a bit small for the job.

I buy Tamron lenses as I like them and they don't break the bank. I even like the "Tamron" look to my shots. I also don't get paid for my shots.

-- Terry


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Old Jun 30, 2005, 10:00 AM   #8
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bernabeu wrote:
Quote:
The Minolta HS auto focus 80-200 f2.8 APO can be had used for about $750

If you shoot outdoor sports on sunny days try the only auto focus of it's type:

Minolta REFLEX AF500mm f8 for $549 new

Both lenses produce razor sharp images with nice contrast and 'bokeh'
Best advice yet!!!

... and the camera comes with all lenses with IS enabled for "free" :G :-) :lol:


BTW that Minolta 80-200 f2.8 APO is probably the best 70-200 around (and I've been comparing theses lenses for sometime)
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