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150-500mm f5-6.3 or 70-200mm f2.8? - Sports lens recommendations

alistem
Apprentice

I shoot sports, maily soccer, but because its out of season right now, I thought id try an f2.8 and maybe shoot other sports too, but eventually I will be back outside. Right now i have a 75-300mm f5.6 (i think). i recently saw a vid talking abt how great the 70-200 f2.8 is for just about any sport, but I'm not sure which amount of zoom/apperature to buy.

8 REPLIES 8

shadowsports
Legend
Legend

Greetings ,

What camera body(s) are you shooting with?  

Lens recommendations might depend heavily on your shooting conditions. Indoor versus outdoor and distance to your subjects.

The 75-300 is not one of Canon's best endeavors.  

For outdoor sports, the Sigma or Tamron 150-600 would do much better outside.  Although a faster lens would perform better indoors, the 70-200 might fall short in reach unless you can get close enough to your subjects.  

If you tell us about the sports you plan to shoot most,  we'll try to make some recommendations based on your intended use.

~Rick
Bay Area - CA


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Tronhard
Elite
Elite

As always, Rick has given great advice.

There are certain things that would be really helpful, in particular what camera you are using, whether it is a full frame or a crop-sensor camera like a Rebel.

The two conditions you are wanting to combine are quite diverse.  For indoor sports you will likely be much closer to the action, and you will be working with likely significantly lower light levels, both of which work in favour of the EF70-200L preferably one with a f/2.8 max aperture and Image Stabilization.  I would recommend the MkII or MkIII version of that lens.

For outdoor sports, you need reach, and you will have a lot more light, which favours a Sigma or Tamron 160-600 lens.  I have the Sigma 150-600c, which is lighter and cheaper than the S(sports) version and has great optics, but others like the later version of the Tamron.  

Definitely, the 75-300 lens is arguably Canon's worst optic, IMHO.  You can only do better!

In either case, I would check them out physically on your camera before deciding.  Both lenses are quite hefty: much more so than the 75-300, and you need to be sure you can handle their weight in the field for extended periods.  If that is a challenge, consider getting a monopod, or the  iFootage Cobra 2 C180 Monopod.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

Asking which lens to buy and any advice on which lens to buy is pointless unless you first know the three most important things in sports photography. What are they? Location, location and location. It could be your current lens will do about as good as the best Canon glass made if you are stuck in the bleachers. However, while on this subject the fourth most important thing in sports photography is, know the sport. If you don't know what is going on and what is about to happen you will never get good photos even with the best Canon glass.. The fifth most important thing is shoot raw and have a good photo editor. What sport? Lastly the camera. Now lets think lenses. 

 

When I shot volleyball for the KC Challenge I used an ef 85mm f1.2L lens and was granted full court access. On the rare occasions where I do football I use a Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 zoom lens and have the Sigma 1.4x tel-con with me and also again I have full sideline access.  Again on the rare times I shoot basketball I use the ef 70200mm f2.8L lens and the ef 24-70mm f2.8L and usually limited to a single spot on the sidelines. Preferably under the basket. I use a Canon EOS 1 Series camera(s).

 

For a basic generic answer to the question, "150-500mm f5-6.3 or 70-200mm f2.8? - Sports lens recommendations"

The generic answer is, yes!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

When you shoot outside, are these day games or in well illuminated venues at night?  That has a big impact on lens choice and whether any "slower" aperture lens will work well.

I shoot a variety of sports using multiple bodies, indoor and out/day and night and one piece of glass that is ALWAYS with me is my 70-200 f2.8 and it will account for the majority of images captured at an event.

There are a lot of lenses that will be a big improvement over your 75-300 f5.6 but choose carefully as Ernie stated based upon the sport and your location. 

A lens in the 70-200 f2.8 class will focus very quickly and you will notice a huge difference in that critical sports related aspect of the lens compared to what you have.  My EF 300 and 400 f2.8 offer slightly faster focus than the 70-200 f2.8 but it is a pretty minor difference.  I mostly love my EF 200-400 f4 with the built in 1.4X extender because of its versatility and compared to most lenses, it is very fast at acquiring focus.  But I have to change my technique slightly when using it compared to the 70-200 and fast primes because it is just a tad slower at grabbing focus when making a big distance change even without the 1.4X engaged and that has to be accounted for when shooting fast changing action (like switching from the QB release to a receiver well down field making the catch).  I know with it I have less time to change between players to ensure the sharpness that lens can deliver, with the EF 400 I don't have to be quite as careful because it is very forgiving.

You will love the sports performance of the 70-200 f2.8

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

You have not provided sufficient information about exactly which EF 70-200mm f/2.8 you are looking at and talking about.

I would avoid the Sigma 150-500 lens for action photography.  It is pretty good for capturing stills of birds sitting on a perch or a branch.  It does not refocus fast enough to keep with cameras that are much faster than 3-5 fps in continuous shooting modes.  

Another knock I had with the Sigma 150-500mm is the OS in the lens would constantly get into a tug-of-war with the camera’s AF system.  I wound up never using OS and shooting from a monopod.

Sigma cured the OS and AF issues with the release of the Global line of lenses, 150-600mm “C”

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

"I would avoid the Sigma 150-500 lens for action photography."

Lot's of folks would disagree including me. I have not seen nor have ever seen any of that or had it happen with my Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens. And if you attended many high school football games you would see 150-600mm lenses working just fine even by the kids. I have even loaned my rig to some of them.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

I agree with Ernie regarding the Sigma 150-600 - although I use the Contemporary version (which has similar optics to the Sports version, but is cheaper and lighter, but not so robustly built) and the 60-600 Sports which is much more expensive and heavy.  While there have been no issues I have ever had myself with DSLR cameras, or the new R-series FF MILC cameras, quite a few people have reported hunting issues with them using the Canon crop sensor EOS R7 in particular.  However, after a fair bit of investigation and inquiry, the consensus is that the issue lies with the R7's focusing system rather than the Sigma lens and it apparently happens with other makes too.  I am not sure whether Bill is referring to that camera specifically, but if you are shooting with a DSLR, IMHO you should be fine.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

To clarify just a bit since the original post was about the Sigma 150-500mm super zoom. The reason I mentioned the 150-600mm is because finding a good used 15-500mm could be a challenge. My story with that lens is boiled down to three tries. The first two were not good at all. Optics were fine and AF was OK but IS, or OS as Sigma calls it, was crappy at best, This third copy is perfect in every way. It is a very nice lens. So bottom line is get a good and and you have a good one.

I would be surprised if any of the responders here have had as much time on a Sigma 150-500mm super zoom as I have. Any of the 150-600mm zooms will work fine.

It was a journey.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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