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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #1
Terri G.
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Default Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

Hi, I'm new here. I've been reading through your posts for a couple of days and am so glad I found this message board. There is a lot of talent and great advice here.

I could really use some help on which lens to get for shooting youth and college soccer. I have an XT and a limited budget (under $1,000.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #2
bigjon0107
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

Are the games going to be played during the day or at night?
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #3
Terri G.
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

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Originally Posted by bigjon0107 View Post
Are the games going to be played during the day or at night?
Actually, both. The youth games are all during the day. Some of the college games are in the evening.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

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Originally Posted by Terri G. View Post
Actually, both. The youth games are all during the day. Some of the college games are in the evening.
get the 300mm F4 IS - great for daylight and nothing in your budget will be great for night but colleges should have better lighting so you'll be kinda OK at night.

Your other option close to your budget is the 70-200mm f2.8.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #5
bigjon0107
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

Well, working with a budget, I would say go for the 70-200 2.8L w/ a 1.4 TC. You would have to buy both of them used to stick close (ya, it will be a little over about $1200) to your budget. The nice part with that is you can have a f/2.8 lens for the night stuff, but thrown on the TC for the day games, and you have a 280mm f/4 lens.

A second option would be the 300 f/4 L IS. It would not have the night performance as the 70-200 would, but it is under your budget and is a quality piece of glass.

Thats just my 2 cents, i am sure there will be a bunch of opinions as well.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

Terri,

If you're shooting at night, you really only have one choice that will keep you under the $1,000: the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 . This will be a bit short for covering much of the pitch, but you need the f/2.8 due to the low light. You'll be able to add a 1.4X TC and be almost long enough during the day, at a f/4.0 .

If you are only shooting during the day, lotsa options open up, from the Sigma 50-500 f/4-f/5.6 to a used Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS (excellent soccer lens, BTW), to the Sigma 100-300 f/4.5-6.7. My personal rec would be the Canon.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

I've had a great deal of success with both the 70-200 and the 300 F4 for soccer. Recently I've been using the 300 F4 much more, though I think I'll leave the 70-200 on a second body to catch close up action.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #8
Terri G.
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

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Originally Posted by dmwierz View Post
Terri,

If you're shooting at night, you really only have one choice that will keep you under the $1,000: the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 . This will be a bit short for covering much of the pitch, but you need the f/2.8 due to the low light. You'll be able to add a 1.4X TC and be almost long enough during the day, at a f/4.0 .
If I were to go with the Sigma, would I need to get the Sigma TC to work with it or would the Canon work?
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

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Originally Posted by Terri G. View Post
If I were to go with the Sigma, would I need to get the Sigma TC to work with it or would the Canon work?
Terri,

"Traditional" thought says don't mix manufacturers, but I know several folks who use the Canon TC on Sigma lenses, and I've used my Canon 1.4X on my Sigma 120-300 with no problems at all.

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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #10
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

I faced the same problem as you have, but thankfully I had a chance to play with the sigma 70-200 2.8 before I make a decision.

for night soccer shoots, definitely a F2.8 lens, I've a 30D and even cranking up the ISO to 1000, i'm still getting 1/80 or 1/100 shutterspeed on M.

when the game ended, I set to F4 just to check the shutter speed, at 1600 and H, the shutterspeed is around 100-125, but the noise... hmmm

reach wise, didn't realise that 200mm is still short, even on a cropped body. and I was positioned in the "pros" area, behind goal line near towards corner flag.

so i realised and experienced why people what the big white lens, not because they are pretty, it's because they are designed to do what needs to be done, fast and long reach, so i'm going to bite the bullet and get the 300 and 70-200

but I think 1st thing is speed, and then reach.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #11
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

Also look at the Kenko 300 1.4x Converter.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #12
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

Going to be a bit controversial here but a very good lens for night time soccer is the Canon 200mm F2.8. Add a 1.4 TC for day time. The beauty of the prime is that it is light and has very fast and accurate focusing. I used the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 for a period and it was fine in the day but at night the focussing could be very slow at times. The Canon 200mm was significantly faster at acquiring focus at night.

With anything under 400mm you cannot really shoot from one end of the pitch to the other. Accept this and just shoot the action which nicely fills the frame (or requires minimal cropping) and that over fills the frame. It is surprising what you can get when you only have one focal length on the camera. It really does force you to frame tight. There will be plenty of action come your way during a game so don''t worry about getting every bit of it just get the images which suit your focal length.

For day time you could also consider the Canon 70-200mm F4. The non-IS version is very good (the IS version is said to be better but you will get very very good results with the non-IS) and focuses very fast.

Canon 70-200 F4 approx $600
Canon 200mm F2.8 approx $650

TC 1.4 Kenko Pro approx $200

My combination would be the 200mm and the 1.4 TC. This will give you 200mm for night games and 280mm for daytime.
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #13
Big Hands
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

I will have to advise against using the 70-200 f/2.8L with a teleconverter for shooting soccer. My experiences doing so were not favorable. While the range was more useful, my keeper rate took a frustrating turn for the worse. The AF speed was noticeably slower and the accuracy not as precise resulting in more 'out of focus' frames.

I use the 70-200 f/2.8L almost exclusively (I occasionally use my 400 f/5.6L) for shooting HS soccer and routinely come away with about 1,000 shots. I've shot well over 50,000 frames of soccer using this combo over the past two years. I'm sure there are others that have shot more frames of soccer, but I think 50,000 frames using that combo alone would give me some idea of it's usefulness for that purpose.

I can't cover the whole pitch with just that one lens, but neither can anyone else cover the entire pitch at f/2.8. The perfect soccer lens does not exist. That would be a lens that covers both ends from behind the goal line (if necessary), a nice large f/2.8 aperture (larger would be even better :~)... ) and very good image quality.

The Sigma 50-500 has a fantastic range for soccer, but honestly, that's about it. The Canon 100-400L IS comes closer, but the small aperture is not going to cut it for discerning users and has almost no chance of night time success.

The Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 is probably a slightly more useful range than the 70-200 f/2.8L, but it does cost well over $2,000 (closer to $2,500 and easily twice the cost of a Canon f/2.8L) and results (due to autofocus issues) are arguably mixed, especially using Canons 1.6x bodies. AND, it doesn't really cover the entire pitch either. On a crop body, it's good for about 2/3 of it while the 70-200 is good for only slightly over half when shooting from behind the goal.

If you take the position that you accept what action comes to you in the near half of the pitch, the 70-200 f/2.8L will net you more than enough shots to get more than enough keepers. To be honest, even when I do use my 400 to shoot action at the far end of the pitch, many times it is obscured due to the players that are closer getting in the way of the shots.

I think that the best bang for the buck (especially condisering your budget) on a crop body would be a 70-200 f/2.8 from either Canon or Sigma. An f/4 aperture in the 70-200 range for shooting soccer left me cold. I sold mine (which I bought exclusively for shooting soccer) and happily spent twice as much to get the benefit of the f/2.8 aperture and would do it again.

As for night time shooting, that depends heavily on the quality of light at the stadiums you'll be shooting at and to some degree, your own post processing skills and resources.

JMHO

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Jeff
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

[quote=jpwone;3899992]Going to be a bit controversial here but a very good lens for night time soccer is the Canon 200mm F2.8. Add a 1.4 TC for day time. The beauty of the prime is that it is light and has very fast and accurate focusing. I used the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 for a period and it was fine in the day but at night the focussing could be very slow at times. The Canon 200mm was significantly faster at acquiring focus at night.



actually, that's a very nice option if the OP has a tight budget. If you
search the forum you can find a great thread on the 200 f/2.8 prime...
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Old 10th of September 2007 (Mon)   #15
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Default Re: Need Lens Advice for a Beginner shooting soccer

I only did 1 soccer game, with my niece's team, and let me tell you, it's not for the faint of heart - day or night. I did my one game with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, and I found it to be short.

The game is a very fast moving game with lots of running and kicking, and for that reason alone, you will need a 2.8 or faster lens.

I suggest that you save more money in the pot to be able to afford the sigma 120-300 f/ 2.8 IS ($2200 at sigma4 less brand new, $2700 at B & H - some say you can buy used around $1800-$1900 - I've been looking for a couple of weeks now - I haven't come across one yet). 300 is still alittle on the short side for soccer, but realistically, you want to spend $6500.00 and up on a 400 f/2.8? Didn't think so. You can put an extender on the sigma (several folks here tell me that you can use the canon extender on the sigma), to get 420 at f4. That's pretty reasonable for day use. You can use the f/2.8 at night, but it will be very difficult for night stuff, even at f/2.8. I, myself, am saving for the sigma and hope to get one for next LL season.

For night games, once you are able to save more money towards a separate lens for night work (and use the f/2.8 in the meantime), what I am suggesting is that you get perhaps the 85 1.2 L (this lens also comes in a non-L 1.8 version), or the longer 135 f/2 (??). I know these are terribly, terribly short, but these are faster lenses which will serve better at night, but you will be sacrificing focal length and will have to wait for action to come to you. I've tried shooting at night with an f/2.8 with a 30D, and I have to push the iso really high to 1600 (even tried some with 3200) to get a decent shutter speed, and then you have to deal with noise. Night action shots are tremendously hard, unless you have a 1-d series camera. I pretty much have given up and won't shoot night ball games.

I know these suggestions are way over your budget, but I am trying to save you the headache of buying inadequate equipment, then realizing your mistake, then you're losing money on selling it off to be able to buy the right equipment.
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