First off - I am very new to photograpy (5DmkII is my 1st DSLR - although I did have a 7D for about a month - then returned for a 5D) and really don't know what I am doing - thank G-d these cameras are forgiving!! But I do want to learn.
I am this years volunteer for team photos for my childs hockey team (Novice A). They were having their first out-of-town tournament this past weekend and I decided I would rent the 70-200mm and try it out. I thought I would share my experience.
1. Overall Appearance - I was expecting the lens to be white. Its kind of a light beige, would have preferred white. The weight is fine, I hand held the lens for the 4 games and it wasn't an issue - I am only 130lbs so if I can manageit, I'm sure anyone can.
2. Ease of Use - Couldn't be simpler. Fast AF and clear pictures - well if you exclude user error! There is a "thingy - hope I'm not getting too technical" on the lens (some sort of ring) that is ideal for supporting the lens while shooting.
3. Focal Range - Here I was a bit surprised. I was expecting the 70-200 range to be perfect for ice hockey. I situated myself in the penalty box - so for all intensive purposes at center ice. But I found that the reach at 200mm wasn't enough for the far corners. I had to crop a number of pics to get them to the size I wanted. I am thinking a 70-300mm would be optimum - or using a 7D with the 1.6x crop factor. I noticed there was an "official photographer in the adjacent penalty box using the same lens on a 7D - now I know why
4. White Balance - Initially started off with the AWB which wasn't working well so I switched over to "flourescent lighting". This kinda sucked as well so I opted for custom WB and shot a pic of the ice for that. This worked ideally. Although, I will take others advise though and next time shoot the exposures about 2/3 of a stop to the right even with the custom WB because they still are a bit dark. I wonder if shooting a grey card - which I don't have - would get the exposure closer?
5. Getting the right Shot - This was challenging. Getting a shot of an individual player is pretty easy - but trying to get those shots of player interaction and emotion was challenging. I can now appreciate the difficulty in getting that "perfect" shot.
6. Number of Pics - I think I got lucky here. I only have a 16 gig CF and only shooting RAW. So I ended up shooting around 1000 pics over the 4 games ( about 250/game) before the card was full. Is that about the norm? Or is there a norm? Of those 1000 pics I ended up saving about 200 as "Keepers", not that the others were bad - they just weren't worthy of filling up HD space.
Here are a couple of shots FWIW. I enjoyed doing this for the players and their parents and will hopefully get the opportunity to do it again at their next tournament (in NY state I believe).
Please note that for some reason they show up dark on Flickr?