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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 30 Aug 2007 (Thursday) 22:57
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Lenses for motorsports

 
smcclelland
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Aug 30, 2007 22:57 |  #1

Hey everyone,

I'm in the market for a good quality zoom lens for motorsports, potentially two lenses actually as the tracks I attend differ immensely in focal needs. The current lenses I have been looking at are:

Canon 70-200 f4 (IS or non-IS, still on the fence if IS is worth it)
Canon 100-400 IS
Sigma 100-300 f4
Sigma 50-500 "bigma" (definitely not the fastest but plenty of reach. Unsure about the quality for motorsports applications)

I shot the ALMS @ Mosport with an EF 75-300 USM lens and while I got some good shots, it just felt very soft to me and didn't have the IQ I was looking for (I didn't expect it to churn out top notch shots for a $299 lens).

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I've scoured the forums here and photozone reviews to get a feel of optical quality but am looking for more field experience recommendations.

Cheers,

Shawn


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illusionest
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Aug 30, 2007 23:03 |  #2

i saw many people use 70-200 F4 (and F2.8) at ALMS Mosport. The 70-200 range on a crop body is good, but on some corners i see some extenders...
I used my 100-400 and IMO you dont really need 400mm+ at Mosport.


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cosworth
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Aug 30, 2007 23:06 |  #3

my 300 2.8 IS always goes to the track with me.


people will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional
Full frame and some primes.

  
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smcclelland
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Aug 30, 2007 23:08 |  #4

Yeah Mosport is definitely not a 400mm+ track but I also hit the F1 at Gilles-Villeneuve each year and like to sit in the hairpin (sat there this year and watched Kubica's BMW explode infront of our eyes) but even with a 300mm lens I felt maxed out and not enough creativity . We were on the inside of the hairpin so it might have been a different story if we were on either side looking into the hairpin.

Another lens I've been reading about is the Sigma 80-400 but I've heard complaints that because it's not an HSM the AF is really poor on it (I come from using Pentax gear so AF noise to me sounds like someone put an air gun for changing race tires in the camera and Canon AF is whisper quiet).


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cosworth
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Aug 30, 2007 23:09 |  #5

70-200 2.8 with the 1.4 is king for close track action.

mind you I use a 17-40 at the track lots too.


people will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional
Full frame and some primes.

  
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smcclelland
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Aug 31, 2007 01:58 |  #6

The 70-200 2.8 certainly does seem to be a heavyweight in the IQ department and for close track action it would do great (Mosport and the Steelback Toronto Grand Prix are good choices for this focal length). Though with a 1.4x TC that gives me 280mm, which leaves me wanting a bit more length.

Sadly I don't have track side access (yet) unless the even is like the Steelback where you can purchase a photography pass for the weekend. I'm beginning to think that the investment of a used 70-200 2.8 L with a 1.4x TC and a 100-400 L might be a good route to take unless the IQ of the 70-200 holds up well using a 2x TC (I imagine this will soften the IQ quite a bit though).


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Pete-eos
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Aug 31, 2007 03:14 |  #7

I'd go for the Sigma 100-300 + 1.4xtc...




  
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R ­ Mutt
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Aug 31, 2007 03:49 as a reply to  @ Pete-eos's post |  #8

I own the 70-200 F4 & 70-200 F2.8IS and two 100-400s and my brother once had had the 100-300 F4 Sigma. Plus I know 2 motorsports photogs that use the 50-500, so.....

The 70-200s are great, any of them will be sharp. However, it's limited for motorsports, it's good for dynamic, close up action shots. I wouldn't recommend the 100-300, the AF sucks for motorsports in my opinion. I've seen shots from the 50-500, wouldn't recommend that either, I've also read bad things regarding the AF being extremely slow. Also, judging by the photographs I've seen from competitors, it sucks.

I would go with the trusty 100-400, when used properly it is a great lens. Sure it won't beat the primes but it provides high quality images nonetheless. The AF isn't the fastest but it beats the other large zooms you've listed.

Me and my brother built our business on two of these lenses, so it's hard for me to fault it.




  
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smcclelland
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Aug 31, 2007 13:02 |  #9

Thanks R Mutt! Looks to me like I'll be going with a 70-200 f4 and a 100-400 IS to start fleshing the kit out. I appreciate the field advice everyone has given, after finally getting rid of all my old Pentax gear I now have some wiggle room to start building a quality kit for next years motorsports season and also shoot some snowboarding events through the winter. I looked at some shots with the 400mm f2.8 you posted from the ALMS R Mutt, man those are tack sharp and extremely impressive!

Thanks again.


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asylumxl
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Aug 31, 2007 14:28 |  #10

Sigma 100-300 f4


...............
I M A G E I N A T I O N
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Pixel peeping is like count the sides of a circle, pointless.

  
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smcclelland
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Aug 31, 2007 14:47 |  #11

Interesting that more people seem to be coming out of the woodwork with the Sigma lately. I've seen the 100-300 rated very highly over on FM and I've read a number of Cadwell's posts speaking highly of the 120-300.

IQ wise is there really that significant of an amount of difference between the Sigma 70-200 2.8 and Canon 70-200 2.8 or the 100-300 and 100-400? I understand that with pixel peeping you can find any flaws in a shot but how do the Sigma's fare in terms of print quality?


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asylumxl
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Aug 31, 2007 14:49 |  #12

the sigma 100-300 f4 is very very sharp, even wide open imo.


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Pixel peeping is like count the sides of a circle, pointless.

  
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smcclelland
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Sep 01, 2007 11:36 as a reply to  @ asylumxl's post |  #13

Well, after reading the forums up and down and also taking into consideration other motorsports photographers suggestions I decided to snag a 70-200 f4 up first. This range will be perfect to get me through the winter events and also gives me time to test out the Sigma 100-300 vs the Canon 100-400, optically I think the Sigma even with a EF 1.4x TC yields better results than the 100-400 but the AF like R Mutt pointed out I will have to see.

Thanks,

Shawn


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CountryBoy
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Sep 01, 2007 12:41 |  #14

There is nothing wrong with the AF on the SIgma 100-300mm f/4. I have printed large crops at 8x11 prints with no problem. I passed on the 100-400mm L because of the, "push pull" zoom . If canon ever updates this lens I might take another look at it.


Hi

  
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smcclelland
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Sep 01, 2007 15:52 |  #15

I would have assumed the AF would be fine as well seeing as I've used a few HSM lenses and have been very impressed with the results. The nice fact of the 100-300 is I can get a brand new one here in Canada for half the price of the 100-400 leaving me room for some other items. I'll have to see if one of the local camera shops has a 100-300 available to test and see how the AI Servo does tracking fast moving objects.

Cheers,

Shawn


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Lenses for motorsports
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