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View Full Version : Sports Photographers- What is your most used lens?


canonnoob
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 11:32
SO I really just want to know what everyone's most used sports lens is... I think this could help people decide on lenses also.

Please list the lens(es), and the sport(s) you shoot with that/those lens(es).

Thanks guys..


Ill start-

FOOTBALL:
EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 - for the moment, until i get a new one.

primoz
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 11:49
For me personally... 300/2.8. It's quite versatile for sport no matter if it's skiing (any kind of), ice hockey, football (sorry soccer for you guys), cycling, athletics, gymnastics, basketball or swimming. But unfortunately this doesn't mean it works always and for everything. So in reality there's no single one sport lens. It depends on sport, and on this what you want to get. You can get for example perfectly fine ski jumping photos with 14mm even though standard lens for this is normally 300/2.8. And same goes for every single sport you can think of.

canonnoob
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 11:59
thats why i wanted more people to post what lens they use for which sports... this may mean they use one lens for one sport or for multiple sports... Im just interested...

eigga
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 12:36
By FAR the 300 2.8. I cover mainly youth sports and performances.

canonnoob
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 12:41
Thanks for your response matt!

scotteisenphotography
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 12:51
400 2.8L IS

ChrisRabior
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 12:53
I use my 28-75mm f/2.8 for basketball; 70-200mm f/4L for everything else.

jamesb84
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 12:58
300L for me, shortly followed by the 70-200.

Don't do much indoor sport, but then it's either the 70-200 or the 28-70. Occasionally use the 2x converter for either cricket or motorsports.

James.

canonnoob
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 13:04
I use my 28-75mm f/2.8 for basketball; 70-200mm f/4L for everything else.

do you feel like the 70-200 is too long for basketball... I am about to get a 2.8 and use it for that...

gromeo
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 15:30
400 2.8 for all field sports. I use on the PGA an LPGA, I basically use this lens for everything except basketball, I use a 70-200 and 24-70 for that, but I am saving for a 300 2.8 or may just save money and get the 300 4.0 the 70-200 is a little short for down court shots.

fslshooter
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 15:50
I shoot minor league baseball almost exclusively and with a 300 f/2.8 the majority of the time. I have a 400 f/2.8 that I use at some venues where I need its reach but it's such a beast for me to handle that I only use it if I have to. If I could keep only one of the two I'd let the 400 go. However, if I were about 20 years younger than I am (I celebrated my 67th birthday anniversary last month :)) I'd opt for the 400 over the 300.

gromeo
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 15:56
Jerry, I know what you mean I just got home from covering the PGA at Disney, carrying that 400 on 2 different courses takes it tole on me. Even though it weighs alot I would not get rid of it. It is my prime sports lens. I will be doing Stetson baseball this year maybe I see you there.

TeeQ
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 15:59
I use the 70-200 2.8 L non-IS for indoor arenas at Ringette games...

fslshooter
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 16:42
Jerry, I know what you mean I just got home from covering the PGA at Disney, carrying that 400 on 2 different courses takes it tole on me. Even though it weighs alot I would not get rid of it. It is my prime sports lens. I will be doing Stetson baseball this year maybe I see you there.

Romeo - Are you going to be Stetson's primary baseball shooter or are you going to be shooting for the visiting teams? As for seeing me at a game, I doubt that I'll shoot any of their games if you're Stetson's guy.

As for the 400, I shot the East Coast Pro Showcase in August with it -- four strait days with three games a day. I think it was the hottest four days we had all summer and that beast dang near killed me. I would have sold it the day I got home at a bargain price. I'm trying to get myself it to better physical condition before the 2009 season starts but if my efforts fail the 400 will probably be up for sale before this time next year.

gromeo
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 16:55
I work with a company that does UCF, Stetson, BCU, sports photos and we also cover the C-USA, ASUN, SOCON, and Big South Conference Championship, I will be doing UCF and Stetson. I noticed a few of the PGA shooters were using the 100-400 they say it is great, nice and light. Better then the old days having to carry 3-4 bodies with different film speeds and back then the 300 weighted as much as the 400 now.

nickybegood1998
7th of November 2008 (Fri), 18:34
I'm just a mom who shoots my boys soccer games so I use my 70-200 2.8 but I'd love to have a bit more reach as my oldest is on a pretty big field now.

Karman

cwphoto
8th of November 2008 (Sat), 01:16
600/4 IS for AFL, cricket, soccer, golf. Although the 300/2.8 IS goes everywhere with me.

500/4 IS is my favoured long lens for motor racing.

400/2.8 IS rarely.

canonnoob
8th of November 2008 (Sat), 01:20
sweet thanks for all the info guys... I picked up a sigma 70-200 tonight.. Im happy!

Dan-o
8th of November 2008 (Sat), 09:00
As Primoz pointed out it just depends what you are shooting. Right now with football and soccer it's been 300 2.8 and nothing else. Basketball is starting in a few weeks so things will change. With cycling I go thru all my lenses: 24-105, 70-200, 16-35. I would have to say the most versatile is the 70-200 2.8.

Sports_Dude
8th of November 2008 (Sat), 09:48
I shoot track, baseball and football. I use my 70-200f/2.8IS with 1.4x TC almost 100% of the time (probably because I don't have anything longer).

canonnoob
8th of November 2008 (Sat), 20:24
Ill be honest and say that because I just picked up a sigma 70-200 2.8... that will probably be my most used one..

S.Horton
8th of November 2008 (Sat), 20:32
My wife and I are usually shooting at the same time -- She has the 100-400L, I have the 400 f/4 IS DO

bobbyz
9th of November 2008 (Sun), 13:45
Another vote for 300mm f2.8.

canonnoob
9th of November 2008 (Sun), 17:53
thanks everyone for your input!

cazray
9th of November 2008 (Sun), 18:18
sigma 120-300 for me doing cricket, windsurfing and other extreme sports.And hoping to do others but unfortunately circumstances are leading me to sell it.

Doublea17
9th of November 2008 (Sun), 19:07
My 300 2.8L IS for baseball/softball and Football

Merciez
10th of November 2008 (Mon), 06:43
For basketball: 70-200 2.8 (use strobes)
For field sports: 400 2.8 and a 200 2.0

canonnoob
10th of November 2008 (Mon), 06:45
merciez where do you shoot basketball at? do you feel like the 2.8 isnt enough on its own?

Merciez
10th of November 2008 (Mon), 07:04
merciez where do you shoot basketball at? do you feel like the 2.8 isnt enough on its own?

I shoot High School games and IMHO the 2.8 is not fast enough (atlesat for all the High School around here). I typically use 2 strobes (AB800s) mounted in the corners of the gym to supply the lighting needed. I like the strobe setup and results so much, I will not go back to shooting ambient basketball. The strobes give you so much better colors and is able to freeze the action for a faster effective shutter speed (around 1/1000 sec).

canonnoob
10th of November 2008 (Mon), 10:23
yeah... we have here at school (Missouri State University in springfield) a new areana being built so im praying that the lighting gets about 100x better lol

MDteX
10th of November 2008 (Mon), 12:51
For me it's the 300 2.8. It is always with me. It is normally on one body with the 70-200 2.8 on the other body. For basketball I will switch the 300 out for the 24-70 2.8.

I've also used the 300 on volleyball.

MJPhotos24
11th of November 2008 (Tue), 21:32
300 2.8 IS is the main lens for...
Baseball, Football, Soccer, AHL Hockey (TG is impossible almost so shoot from up top)
- 1.4 when light permits

70-200 2.8 IS is the main lens for....
NHL Hockey, basketball (with strobes), wrestling (strobed again)

Volleyball seems to be an even mix, some matches will shoot with only the 70-200, others only the 300 - usually though mix it up depending what kind of image I'm going after. Other sports do mix it up as well, but not as much as I should probably. If I had a better second body and didn't have to change out definately would be using both lenses back and forth all game/match.

Oh yea, and 50mm 1.4 for all sports portraits and team photos.

tracknut
12th of November 2008 (Wed), 14:15
Dog sports:

Indoor: 200/2
Outdoor: 300/2.8, then 100-400 depending on what sport

Dave

KSG Photography
12th of November 2008 (Wed), 15:50
70-200 f2.8

canonnoob
12th of November 2008 (Wed), 17:22
again thanks everyone for your opinions and gear! Im sure this will help someone...

swampler
13th of November 2008 (Thu), 07:54
I use a 70-200 f/2.8L (on a crop body) for football, basketball, volleyball, motor sports, and baseball/softball. It is a little short for baseball, though for day games I have a 1.4x TC I can use with it (use the TC for daytime football too). I'd like to get a 2x TC for my 200 f/2.8L for one body and use the 70-200 f/2.8 on another for better coverage, but funds aren't available at this time.

DooleyPix
13th of November 2008 (Thu), 11:28
Shooting rugby,i would not be with out my 400 2.8.On the second body i use the 70-200 2.8,but shooting a match at any level,i average about 80% of shots with the 400.There is the issue with it's weight etc,but you get used to it.

canonnoob
13th of November 2008 (Thu), 12:31
I almost want this to be a sticky for all the good info here...

sidx001
13th of November 2008 (Thu), 16:21
I use a 70-200 f2.8, a 85 f1.2 and a 24-70 f2.8 for shooting gymnastics, 135 f2 and the 70-200 f2.8 for Volleyball, and the 70-200 f2.8 and 300 f2.8 for soccer and baseball. I have to admit that I love my 70-200 :D

canonnoob
13th of November 2008 (Thu), 17:23
oh hush james... :) honestly sometimes I forget your name is james and do think it is sid...

Frozenfreelance
22nd of November 2008 (Sat), 16:24
70-200 2.8 non IS. Shoot mostly hockey with strobes but have used it in other rinks without strobes and youth sports. Best purchase I have ever made and it was 10 years ago!!

Keegan
24th of November 2008 (Mon), 15:23
70-200 2.8 for hockey and basketball.
300 2.8 for field sports and volleyball.

mattograph
24th of November 2008 (Mon), 15:26
Volleyball -- 70-200 2.8 and the 17-55 2.8 (when I'm lucky enough to work the net.

doherc
27th of November 2008 (Thu), 10:51
6-8 year old Soccer and basketball - IS 70-200 f2.8

danaitch
30th of November 2008 (Sun), 05:55
I use the 300 2.8, but only because I can't afford the 400 2.8.

I use a 28-70 and a 70-200 at the same time, but find my number of shots on those two combined, is outweighed by about 5-to-1 by the number of shots on the 300.

Does read properly and make sense? :confused:

SpanishLustre
30th of November 2008 (Sun), 17:39
I shoot rodeo and use the 70-200 f/2.8
I love it.

canonnoob
30th of November 2008 (Sun), 23:34
Thanks for keeping this all alive guys... glad to see some of your setups.

TheSportsGuy
1st of December 2008 (Mon), 10:07
the 70-200 f/2.8 is my work horse lens. I use it for everything except for basketball and some events, in which I use the 24-70 f/2.8

FeXL
1st of December 2008 (Mon), 23:15
We use the 70-200/2.8 IS for basketball, volleyball, dance, baseball (infield), and the closer images in soccer, skating and hockey. It's our goto lens, period.

We'll add a 24-70/2.8 for low angle volleyball shots and near/under backboard basketball shots.

For the longer shots in hockey, skating & soccer, we'll use a 300/2.8 IS. Also use the 300 for baseball, sometimes w/ a 1.4 TC.

All on 1.3 crop bodies (II & IIN).

Sledhed
3rd of December 2008 (Wed), 17:43
400/2.8 probably 90% of the time. I mainly shoot baseball and football.

CoonCreek
4th of December 2008 (Thu), 15:11
70-200 2.8 IS seventy percent of the time, 24-70 2.8 the other thirty percent.

Tessa
5th of December 2008 (Fri), 07:10
I shoot motorsports and most of the time use 70-200 F2.8.

liam5100
5th of December 2008 (Fri), 23:42
Football, Soccer, field hockey, polo, baseball etc. 300 2.8, 400 2.8, 70-200 2.8 24-70 2.8

indoor sports, volleyball, basketball, swimming I actually use my 70-200 2.8 the most, followed by either the 50 1.2, or 85 1.2 for real light problems, or even my 135 2.0

I also have been using the 300 2.8 indoors lately, go way up top and get some cool down towards the floor angles.

canonnoob
6th of December 2008 (Sat), 00:06
the more and more i have been shooting i have been finding that a majority of my shots are from my 70-200 2.8 man i love this lens...

RyanK
6th of December 2008 (Sat), 13:36
If I had the money, I would cash in for a 2.8, but at the moment, my f/4 is my work horse. :] She gets the job done.

computerguru3190
6th of December 2008 (Sat), 13:55
Football means its my 400 2.8 and fisheye.
Basketball means 300 2.8 and 24-70.
Gymnastics means 70-200 and 24-70.
Baseball, Softball and Tennis are 300 2.8

EnronRocks
6th of December 2008 (Sat), 13:58
Wrestling, Basketball, Baseball, Football, Volleyball, Softball, Golf and Running - 70-200 F/2.8L

felixapproach
6th of December 2008 (Sat), 18:17
Gymnastics= 85mm f1.8

canonnoob
8th of December 2008 (Mon), 10:03
If I had the money, I would cash in for a 2.8, but at the moment, my f/4 is my work horse. :] She gets the job done.
Why not invest in the siggy 70-200 2.8?

RyanK
8th of December 2008 (Mon), 18:37
Not my cup of tea. My friend has one that I can use whenever I would like, but I never do.

mspringfield
9th of December 2008 (Tue), 04:54
For me the 200 1.8 hands down. Nothing else in my bag comes close when it comes to sports.

canonnoob
9th of December 2008 (Tue), 06:48
thanks for the info

cking2
9th of December 2008 (Tue), 18:08
For me

Football, Baseball - Sigma 120-300 f2.8
Basketball- Primes, 85mm being the most used

michael_
13th of December 2008 (Sat), 02:49
Motorsport: 400 2.8 IS, 16-35 II
Tennis: 300 2.8 IS (depends who I am shooting for though so could end up being the 400)
AFL: 400 2.8 IS
Basketball: 70-200 2.8
Cricket: 400 2.8 IS with 1.4 TC

Overall probably the 400 but thats my shooting style

hooookup
17th of December 2008 (Wed), 23:34
500 f4

montanafan
29th of December 2008 (Mon), 15:27
Friday night football, baseball and softball - Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 (wish I had something better for baseball though)
Basketball and volleyball - Canon 85mm f/1.8

Crossfire
30th of December 2008 (Tue), 15:19
I shoot mainly indoor stuff, so I use my 70-200 2.8 most.

ceegee
31st of December 2008 (Wed), 10:13
I shoot dog sports and mostly use my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. It's an awesome lens.

k_wakasugi
31st of December 2008 (Wed), 12:03
canon 85mm f/1.8 - Only really shoot indoor volleyball.

G7-EOS
2nd of January 2009 (Fri), 00:45
volleyball: 85 f1.8 (plan to try the 135 f2 this year also)
football: 70-200 f2.8 non-IS (plus 1.4x II in daylight)
baseball: 70-200 f2.8 non-IS

Roy Webber
2nd of January 2009 (Fri), 13:07
100-400

kwkodiak
3rd of January 2009 (Sat), 15:39
I shoot mainly hockey- 70-200 2.8 and 300 2.8

Henio
3rd of January 2009 (Sat), 20:27
I'm new to SLR photography, just got Canon XSi and need some help with shooting pictures during basketball games. I'm doing ok with pics outside or in smaller rooms but in gym is not ok. There is always not enough light and my pics not clear. Any sugestions? Please. I have 2 lenses, EF-S 18-55 is and 70-200 f/4-5.6

FOX2PRO
3rd of January 2009 (Sat), 20:56
I'm new to SLR photography, just got Canon XSi and need some help with shooting pictures during basketball games. I'm doing ok with pics outside or in smaller rooms but in gym is not ok. There is always not enough light and my pics not clear. Any sugestions? Please. I have 2 lenses, EF-S 18-55 is and 70-200 f/4-5.6

Well, sadly, it's lens's. Im guessing you mean the 75-300, but even still, both your lenses max out at f5.6, which is really slow, especially if you plan on shooting indoors. The 75-300 should be ok for outdoor stuff, when its well lit. But, for a good indoor lens, i reccommend you invest in a 50mm 1.4. Its fast enough to work indoors. Its around $300-$400, but if thats too much for you, then the 50 1.8 might work.

swampler
3rd of January 2009 (Sat), 23:25
Well, sadly, it's lens's. Im guessing you mean the 75-300, but even still, both your lenses max out at f5.6, which is really slow, especially if you plan on shooting indoors. The 75-300 should be ok for outdoor stuff, when its well lit. But, for a good indoor lens, i reccommend you invest in a 50mm 1.4. Its fast enough to work indoors. Its around $300-$400, but if thats too much for you, then the 50 1.8 might work.
Agreed. You might also look at the 85 f/1.8. It's a little longer and still fast. I don't know where you shoot from, but if from the stands the 50, and possibly the 85, will be too short. Might need the 135 f/2, depending on where your shoot from.

TjStrider
4th of January 2009 (Sun), 03:06
I use my 70-200 2.8 IS all the time.

except Occasionally to have a more interesting shot under the basket if there is a good seat available when i can get directly under it. I'll use the 28-70 2.8 lens ...

Henio
4th of January 2009 (Sun), 10:52
Thank You guys for this info.

allenzhou_
10th of January 2009 (Sat), 11:21
canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS for shooting pictures of badminton

Roy Webber
10th of January 2009 (Sat), 12:57
100-400, for Soccer (http://roywebber.zenfolio.com/p372271592), surfing (http://roywebber.zenfolio.com/p351381188), kiteboarding (http://roywebber.zenfolio.com/p521747579)and windsurfing (http://roywebber.zenfolio.com/p149143858)

hiker99
10th of January 2009 (Sat), 14:06
I end up using my 300 2.8 for just about every sport I cover.

canonnoob
10th of January 2009 (Sat), 17:48
wow good job on keeping this going guys! Nice work

esco
24th of January 2009 (Sat), 01:02
I'm looking into getting a 70-200 for basketball and soccer games and noticed that a lot of the 70-200 owners in here opted for the non-IS version. Is IS not a necessity for indoor basketball games (I'm guessing it's because the subjects are moving too fast for IS to even matter...)

FOX2PRO
24th of January 2009 (Sat), 02:18
Basically, yes. With sports, your looking at a shutter speed of 1/250 minimum, usually around 1/500 indoors, 1/1000 outdoor. IS won't help you at those speeds.

The Moose
24th of January 2009 (Sat), 06:26
70-200mm f/2.8L USM. It's my only lens really (apart from the 50mm f/1.8 but I can't use that for sport, and wouldn't want to because of the AF).

CountryBoy
24th of January 2009 (Sat), 16:50
Sigma 100-300mm f/4 for day and early evening sports.

pspwa
24th of January 2009 (Sat), 17:28
400mm 2.8 for all field sports...rugby, soccer, althought with aussie rules and cricket I'll couple in a 1.4x tc. 70-200mm 2.8 and 24-70 for most in door sports, tennis, basketball...etc.

zyphertx
25th of January 2009 (Sun), 21:25
100 f2 HS Volleyball and Basketball

MT Stringer
25th of January 2009 (Sun), 22:03
I use a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 for most of the sports games with 70-200 f/2.8 used for some of the smaller kid type games.
Mike

Huskers69
26th of January 2009 (Mon), 18:12
100-400 for soccer, track and field. 85 1.8 for volleyball and basketball. I need to get a good lens for friday night football. :)

canonnoob
27th of January 2009 (Tue), 08:24
this is some of our football gear.. theres also more people with more gear not in the photo...

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f177/davidlwelker/People/n34316093_35993010_3544.jpg

ottawaws
28th of January 2009 (Wed), 06:26
MY 80-200 2.8L is what I use and what I could afford at the time when I was shopping for a lens. I am seriously considering switching it for a Canon 100-400L though so I don't end up cropping most of my pics (windsurfing, kitesurfing).

Steve

PM01
29th of January 2009 (Thu), 14:27
College gymnastics, elite level. 200 1.8L EF. The 200 2.0 L EF IS is also nice, but the extra 1/3rd of a stop will make or break a shot, which is why there is no substitute for the 1.8, even at the "H" setting on my mark 3.

My other sports lens - 85 1.2L EF II. Focus speed is fairly decent on a mark 3. Don't try it on a 5D or lesser body though. SLOW.

gymdad
29th of January 2009 (Thu), 18:22
Hey, PM01,

I don't doubt for a minute that the 200/1.8 and 200/2 are great gymnastics lenses, but do you ever find that the 200mm length is actually too long for gymnastics? I'm thinking specifically about floor exercise, or situations where the venue is fairly cramped or crowded. Are you able to use the 200 pretty much for an entire meet, or do you also use shorter lenses such as the 135 or the 85? Thanks.

PM01
29th of January 2009 (Thu), 18:39
If I'm that close, I switch to the 85 1.2L EF II lens on the other body. Just have to get used to the focus speed as it's not known to be blazingly fast.

A really good and more affordable rig would be a 20d/30d/40d/50d with the 135/2L EF lens. I've seen very very nice results with this. The 135 is a nice lens, it's like a scaled down version of the 200 1.8, but much easier to handle.

If I'm ultra close and with the gymnasts (I photograph for the teams - journalistic style), I go for the 24 1.4 lens. But I usually stay far enough so that I don't get chalk all over the equipment!