lenses for shooting sports

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dreamy, May 8, 2011.

  1. Dreamy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    #1
    Hello,

    I have decided to purchase a canon 60d for both work and leisure and would like to source out a few opinions with regards to lenses that I should get.

    For work, I would be shooting children playing non-competitive sports (hockey,soccer,basketball,volleyball,tennis,golf,baseball) indoors and outdoors.
    For leisure, I like taking landscape and street photography.

    My problem would be that I currently have a budget of S$2500 (Singapore dollars) and getting the 60d body would set me back S$1499. I was looking at the lens canon has to offer and would like know if

    1. I should consider kit lens instead of buying other lenses in view of my budget

    2. Whether the budget I have allocated is decent enough or I would have to save more

    3. If it is enough, are there any suggestions in what lens I should get to maximize my dollar

    I am new to dslr photography and doing sports photography is for promotional materials at my workplace, not as a profession.

    Lots of thanks in advance!
     
  2. AirborneAngel macrumors 6502

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    Sep 8, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #2
    I would definitely take a look at the 70-200 f/2.8 or f/4 if you can't afford the 2.8. Another good option is the Canon 200mm f/2.8 prime.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    The most preferred sports lens is a 300mm f/2.8 lens for sports outdoors where reach is necessary. Your budget is very low- you should find out if there are places to rent lenses locally.

    For indoor sports, setting up flash systems when possible is the cheaper way to go- but still outside your budget. Otherwise a 200/2 is a great lens for indoor sports- the issue with sports is that you need a fast shutter speed or short flash duration to capture the images without significant subject motion blur- a 70-200/2.8 is about the slowest you can get away with, and that's if the sport is indoors with very good lighting.

    Golf is about the only one of the sports listed where you can regularly get good shots without a reasonably fast lens, since you're only taking the picture after impact and the golfer is relatively motionless at the end of the shot and it's outdoors generally in good light. Great sports shots also require knowing a fair bit about the sport and great timing.

    Paul
     
  4. Gold89 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 17, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    To echo the thoughts, sports shooting can be one of the most expensive types of photography. I guess with kids sports you will be able to get closer to the action and use a shorter lens. Try looking at the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 as a cheaper alternative to the Canon.

    You may find you have to buy a cheaper body. Why the 60D in particular? Stepping down to a XXXD would give you more money to play with for lenses.
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #5
    Indeed- behind only to serious architecture and birds IMO.

    Paul
     
  6. Dreamy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    #6
    thanks a lot!

    I realised it is pretty expensive but was hoping to get some equipment just before the summer holiday camps start. I do suppose I could rent pricer ones when I cover the sports. Good point about the lighting, I noticed the lighting indoors was insufficient the last time we engaged a budding photographer with shots.

    Would zooming be important because I would be able to go pretty close given the smaller rink size/field for 3-7 yr olds cos that I'm one of the coaches.

    Also would a xxxd body be sufficient?cos when I walked into a store, the man behind the counter told me upfront that I should get a 7d for sports. Didn't want to plunk down too much on my first dslr, I went to compare fps and found that the 60d was closer to 7d and yet a lot better then the 600d in that aspect. I have read advice on get a cheaper/refurb body and a better lens, would that be advisable in my situation too?

    any additional tips/corrections are welcomed, I have only shot sports with my P&S (read no company funds) so far and frankly pictures sucked most of the time with the camera being too slow to pick up the shots.
     
  7. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a

    TheGenerous

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    #7
    Indeed — behind only to serious stalker photography
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    You'll want to make sure it all works and the stuff will be available, I'd rent a couple of times prior just to get familiar with the equipment and ensure that you have the right support (a monopod generally for sports.)

    A couple of strobes in the rafters are the best way to go indoors with a radio trigger, otherwise if you can clamp some relatively powerful flashes to the stands, again with radio triggers you can do ok. Strobist has some examples of basketball shot this way.

    Professional sports shooters generally use primes because they're faster than zooms- zooming can be important but isn't critical.

    Truthfully, any body will work- but you'll want to buy for good high-ISO performance to get faster shutter speeds- high-ISO quality based upon the price should be your main criteria. While there are a few very specific instances where a high number of FPS can make up for poor timing (ball on bat for baseball for example) it's really over-rated for most sports, especially kids sports.

    Paul
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #9
    I know someone who does that professionally- bird photography costs more! ;)

    Paul
     
  10. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #10
    The Canon T2i (550D) and a 18-135mm is a pretty common solution for beginners. My friend is happy with hers.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Location:
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    #11
    That's f/5.6 at the long end, which is too slow for indoor sports and 135mm isn't enough zoom for most outdoor sports. It's not a good solution for the type of photography the OP says they want to do.

    Paul
     
  12. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    #12
    I use a 300 2.8 for sports, it's excellent.

    Given your budget, the 70-200 F4 IS will work nicely.
     
  13. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    #13
    Here is my somewhat contrarian view on this:

    "Noncompetitive" sports? Sounds like some sort of pretty informal situation where maybe you could get right up to the field/court and you wouldn't need any sort of huge or exotic lens. With that crop of a sensor maybe a readily available zoom with a top end of around 200 would be fine. And of course that would work for a lot of other photography as well. A kit lens would be fine.

    Also, in reality you will find that tightly cropping your shots will result in mostly misses without heads, the ball, etc. Plan on a wider view and then cropping. You will get far, far more keeper shots. The same is true of photographing kids running around, anything really moving in an unpredictable way. This points to a shorter zoom than what some people recommend.

    So, for now at least, until you are shooting from far away in big stadiums and arenas, don't get too spendy with the lenses.

    Also, use the super duper ISOs that digital gives you rather than thinking you need a flash to light up a stadium, one that will just annoy everyone anyway.

    Your first consideration should be the camera. You need excellent high ISO performance to be able to shoot without flash in less than perfect lighting. You need a lot of MPs to allow for significant cropping, and quick and accurate focusing on moving subjects. Of course, quick and intuitive handling is a big plus. This is much more important than brand loyalty.

    The lens should be stabilized, again for less than bright lighting.

    You might spend a bit more on storage so you can keep your finger on the trigger. In sports you just can't wait for perfectly timed and framed shots, so you have to shoot a lot and that will fill up a card fast. Stay with JPEGS to give yourself some more space.

    Be aware that running around continuously photographing you kids keeps you from enjoying the games and kids do not always like the hovering. Pick your spots.

    When I followed my own advice, per the above, it was a vastly better experience and the photos got a whole lot better. And my kids went all the way up to the Div 1 and professional level, so I had a lot of practice.
     

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