View Full Version : Sigma 100-300mm f4 for indoor sports, good enough?
24th of September 2005 (Sat), 10:46
There are many positive comments on Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, saying its image quality on par with Canon 70-200mm. I'm thinking of Sigma 100-300mm f4 for its longer reach and constant aperture. Some people even rated it better than Sigma 70-200mm. Is this lens forgotten for its less frequent use (uncommon range??)? If I intend to use it for indoor ballgames and sports events, is f4 good enough in indoor lighting? (Other fast teles in my mind are canon 85mm f1.8 and 135mm f2). I took pics in piano recitals in which lighting was adequate, so f4 was good enough (though f2.8 is more desirable).
I believe that f4 is very good enough in outdoors even in cloudy days. The 300mm range allows me to reach nearby birds in bird zoos, I think. The more serious concern is just the indoor lighting situations in sports centres or concert halls. Could any users share your experience with me?
24th of September 2005 (Sat), 11:47
for sports you need fast shutter speeds to freeze action. Whether f4 is good enough depends on the lighting in your venue, but odds are you'll want f2.8 for this. or better.
24th of September 2005 (Sat), 12:08
I owned this lens and was very happy with it. One of Sigma's very best. It is better, to me, than the Canon 70-200 f4 and Sigma 70-200 2.8, both of which I have also owned. It performs well when light starts to reduce, but whether it will suit indoor sports in dim conditions I dunno. No experience of that. Outdoor sports sure, no problem. Takes a Tcon and pretty well retains it's superb optical qualities. 110% recommendation from me. Likes a monopod, same as any longer lens.
24th of September 2005 (Sat), 15:19
The Sigma APO 100-300mm f/4.0 EX is a fantastic lens, but it's not a good choice for indoor sports. F/4.0 is too slow. In reality, f/2.8 is often too slow as well and requires you to select high ISO in order to keep the shutter speeds up. That's why people who frequently shoot indoor sports tend to gravitate to fast primes.
24th of September 2005 (Sat), 22:04
Thank you for input. I understand that there is always tradeoff between lens speed and focal length. I think I'll use tele lenses for sports, music performances, parades, etc. F/4 is not bad, and I read many reports praising Sigma 100-300mm f4 as one of the best products of Sigma. It even beats its brother 70-200mm f2.8. Its operability is excellent and covers the common tele range. I haven't used Sigma, but I believe HSM is not a lot slower than Canon's USM. Another big reason is money. It's only half the price of 100-400mm L without the vacuum cleaner design of push-pull zooming. It sucks dust and dust bugs! It makes balance on a tripod difficult too.
As you said, f2.8 is more desirable to freeze actions, so I also consider 70-200mm + 1.4x TC, but it decreases focusing speed. And it's common to step up ISO even at f2.8, unless you have the mightly 200mm f1.8. The 135mm f2 is my dream lens, but you have to sit nearer to the objects. If so, f4 is not a very big limitation, especially that noise reduction technology of digital cameras is very good nowadays. ISO 800 is still usable.
25th of September 2005 (Sun), 08:56
for concerts and parades, f4 is OK at most indoors settings. I'll even stop down my 70-200 f2.8 to f4 just to get a little more depth-of-field. for sports you're likely to be disappointed. ISO 800 is a must, but you might even find yourself living at ISO1600 or the dreaded ISO3200. NeatImage noise reduction helps a lot.
I'd rather shoot with too short a lens and the right aperature than the right length but too slow.
26th of September 2005 (Mon), 11:01
ISO 1600... I understand freezing motions needs fast shutter, but I don't shoot car racings etc in the dark. Do pics of ballgames, athletics, etc need that high requirements? So should I get a 70-200mm f2.8 instead? (but the 100-300mm is so tempting)
27th of September 2005 (Tue), 03:09
Do pics of ballgames, athletics, etc need that high requirements? So should I get a 70-200mm f2.8 instead? (but the 100-300mm is so tempting)
For indoor sports you often need to go ISO 1600 even on f/2.8 to get the speed of 1/320 or faster that it takes to freeze motion. I shoot a lot of indoor sports (hockey) and I chime in with the others that says f/4 is NOT fast enough.
27th of September 2005 (Tue), 04:59
If you must have 300mm and f/2.8 in a zoom then look to the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8EX.
27th of September 2005 (Tue), 11:16
Thank you all. Let me draw a conclusion. The main limitations of shooting indoor sports are light and speed. Sigma 100-300mm f4 has a long reach and excellent design, but not favourable in indoor lighting. A shorter zoom or prime, eg 70-200mm f2.8 helps, but focal length is sacrificed. I can't tell whether I use 300mm often, so the shorter 70-200mm (possibly +1.4x TC) may be a safer solution. However, this zoom is big and heavy and costly. To cut cost I may consider Sigma (Canon non-IS still cost nearly twice of Sigma). I would consider again the fast primes 85mm f1.8, 135mm f2 and/or 200mm f2.8 for their small sizes, light weight, and non-eye-catching look. Again, primes would pose more limitations when foot zooming is unlikely feasible.
So... I'll have a hard time to consider focal length, aperture, and zooming again. :( Some people say that in sports photography, a too zoomed-out but clear shot is still better than a pic with proper focal length but loose blurred subject. I think so. Cropping is still less worse than having out-of-focus and blurred image.
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