Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

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Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

Postby Muza » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:33 am

Hi guys
I am currently looking for a new lens as recently been appointed "official photogrpaher' for the local rugby team. I am looking to buy a lens to suit. My budget is not that high as i am only volunteering for my mate. Max spend is around $1000 Aus. I am fairly close to the sideline running up and down with the newspaper guys with their L lens. :-) Massive lens envy!!

I am currently using a 75-300mm non IS and Non USM ($200) lens and the results are not that great. I was almost going to buy the Canon F4 70-200 USM (non IS) but concerned that i need more zoom. I noticed the Sigma 120-400mm at the local cam shop and the price wise is great. But wondering how it performs for action sports.

HSM compared to USM?

So my question is from the list below what would be the best lens for contact sport? I am close and on the side line, I will be buying a monopod shortly to assist so IS need not be an issue.

- Canon 70-200mm F4 ($800ish)
- Sigma 50-500mm (seen in local shop on special for $1200)
- If i consider the $1200 on the sigma its not that much more for the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 non IS.
- Sigma 120-400mm DG OS HSM ($850)
- Sigma 150-500mm DG OS HSM ($950)

I have 2 small boys soon to start sport so the lens will get plenty of use.

Any advice would be most welcome


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Re: Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

Postby Thomas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:57 pm

Hmm, tough question!
With sports I'd recommend forgetting about image-stabilization (because you need high shutter-speeds) and going for the largest aperture lens that your money can buy. Unfortunately the focal length is critical in determining the price of a say f2.8 lens like a good 70-200/2.8 (e.g. from Tamron).
So the most important thing is to decide what focal length is "enough" for your specific purpose. If it is around 200mm than go for a 70-200/2.8 lens. If you need more (like 300) you might try a Sigma 100-300/4.0 (of which I unfortunately got a pretty decentered copy) but as a new item should be above your budget.
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Re: Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

Postby popo » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:35 pm


Since you're already using up to 300mm zoom, look back at the photos you've taken previously and see how many were between 200-300mm.

Also there may be a saving from looking at used kit if that helps open the choice up a bit.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
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3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
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Re: Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

Postby 4xxxx » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:15 am

I disagree with the 70mm to ? because when the players are on top of you you are going to miss a number of shots, I would suggest a wide angle to 200mm, not sure if Canon has such a lens as Nikons 18-200mm. If you are going to shoot night games then of course you want something like a f2.8.

The footy field is only 68 X 100 metres and since you run along the line I believe my suggestion will work. I shoot surfers at 100 metres + with a 200mm and crop the ones that are any good. Remember every shot is not going to be a keeper, cropping the good ones is not a big deal. I have a 70-300 soft lens and never use it as even heavy cropping with the 200 lens gives me a better outcome.

I would not sacrifice lens quality for focal length with less IQ, as you said with your current lens "results are not that great" Go the Maroons" :wink:

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Re: Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

Postby Muza » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:56 pm

Thanks for the info guys! I am yet to decide but it gives me more to think about!!

Damm and I am making a few trips to the camera shops today and truly thinking the 70-200 2.8 is high on the list. I havent ruled out 2nd hand either!!
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Re: Action Lens for Sideline Contact Sport

Postby hcbph » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:37 am

I realize this is an old thread but I've recently had a chance to use the Sigma 120-400 and thought I'd share some shots for anyone interested in that lens.





It was an overcast/hazy day. I was using a Canon T4i and was handholding the rig. No filtering or sharpening of the pictures. I did crop a couple of them a little but otherwise as came from the camera and converted to jpeg.
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