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Sports lens recommendation for R6 Mark II

FotoFun
Apprentice

Hi, I am looking for recommendation on the “best” sports lens for a newbie who just splurged on an EOS R6 Mark II RF24-105mm F4-7.1.  I am trying not to break the bank with my new hobby but I also trying to balance technology, compatibility and learning curve. I would like to get one lens to start with that will be the most efficient for learning. 

Current  sports - high school football (nighttime stadium), daytime events, youth football (day and nighttime stadium), rugby (mornings, day and night stadium), track (running and field events) … I live in very sunny Arizona and I can stand on the sidelines for most of the events. 

Debating

  • RF 70-200mm f/2.8L ; but not sure if I will have enough zoom
  • RF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM ; concern about zoom and nighttime performance
  • RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM ; worried that it’s too heavy and won’t do well for night/evenings… also not sure it’s available 
  • RF 100-400 f:5.6-8 IS STM - seems like a great cheap option. I like the price but I don’t know if it’s a waste of time/money if it results in poor quality 
  • RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L - seems like a good choice but unsure about nighttime performance.
  • Buying older EF and using an adapter - seems like it might work but price point doesn’t seem to be that much different and it feels a bit silly to invest old technology that isn’t made for the camera. 

I recognize that sports photography isn’t just the camera but I want to maximize my success. Thank you in advance for your expertise and advice. 

3 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

Depending on your shooting location, the different sports you listed work best with different focal lengths.  However, you cannot go wrong with a 70-200mm f/2.8.  I understand Canon is about to release a new version, one with internal zooming.

Long focal lengths 200-400mm are good for most outdoor sports.  Small apertures are bad for any action photography,shot indoors.

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

View solution in original post

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

First off I haven't ever done soccer or rugby but I have shot baseball, basketball and football. I am guessing soccer and rugby are similar.in gear requirements.  I am somewhat concerned about your statement, "worried that it’s too heavy ...". If that is true you may have chosen the wrong hobby. Now of course that needs to be qualified by what are your goals and standards? What are your requirements?

The generic basic answer is you need lens(s) form 24mm to 600mm or 800mm. Gear can be and is heavy and you will be carrying it. So, that is the first issue are you going to be good with somewhat heavy equipment?

My sports bag includes the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports (very heavy), Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports (very heavy), Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens (heavy) and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens.

As to light, I have found that most, at least the bigger, high school sports fields have fairly good to decent lighting. Of course as a photographer you always want more but you can make it work. While on this subject you need, this is mandatory, to use raw file format and a good photo editor. I use Photoshop but Canon has a very good one you can d/l free.

From your list above if I had to choose one it would be the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L . Its a start and you can expand from there depending on your goal.

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

View solution in original post

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

A definite yes on the 70-200 f2.8, it is a standard for sports. 

As to the other listed glass, anything that is slower than f4 is going to be limiting.  It isn't just the lack of light (which is important) but it doesn't allow for the shallow depth of field that causes the action of interest to "pop" from the background.  The only thing I regularly use for sports slower than f2.8 glass is an EF 200-400 f4 with integrated 1.4X extender.  I use it only under excellent lighting but I am still not fully sold that the versatility is worth the tradeoff in aperture and slightly less snappy focus acquisition. 

Any lens that is f5.6 or worse at the focal lengths you plan to use will be pretty limiting for a lot of sports usage.

Rodger

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

View solution in original post

5 REPLIES 5

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

Depending on your shooting location, the different sports you listed work best with different focal lengths.  However, you cannot go wrong with a 70-200mm f/2.8.  I understand Canon is about to release a new version, one with internal zooming.

Long focal lengths 200-400mm are good for most outdoor sports.  Small apertures are bad for any action photography,shot indoors.

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

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

First off I haven't ever done soccer or rugby but I have shot baseball, basketball and football. I am guessing soccer and rugby are similar.in gear requirements.  I am somewhat concerned about your statement, "worried that it’s too heavy ...". If that is true you may have chosen the wrong hobby. Now of course that needs to be qualified by what are your goals and standards? What are your requirements?

The generic basic answer is you need lens(s) form 24mm to 600mm or 800mm. Gear can be and is heavy and you will be carrying it. So, that is the first issue are you going to be good with somewhat heavy equipment?

My sports bag includes the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports (very heavy), Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports (very heavy), Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens (heavy) and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens.

As to light, I have found that most, at least the bigger, high school sports fields have fairly good to decent lighting. Of course as a photographer you always want more but you can make it work. While on this subject you need, this is mandatory, to use raw file format and a good photo editor. I use Photoshop but Canon has a very good one you can d/l free.

From your list above if I had to choose one it would be the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L . Its a start and you can expand from there depending on your goal.

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

Thank you for their feedback and information. I am planning to start with the canon software. 

Heavy was probably not the best description. Bulk and maneuverability would be a better characterization of my concern as a learner. Since I have limited practical experience with all of the equipment, I was trying to factor in the practicality. 

I also acknowledge that my view of this as a “hobby” is a skilled profession that takes specialized talent. I am definitely a novice level. My goal is to capturing some quality photos and action shots that I can share with the players and their families. I am not planning to make this  side hustle or profession. Currently, I know I do not have the refined skill or knowledge to know how to fix a bad photo, but I want to be able to capture an exceptional shot. Since I lack the knowledge/experience, I’m hoping the equipment and technology can help fill in the gap so I end up with decent photos that are a good invest of my time.  

 

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

A definite yes on the 70-200 f2.8, it is a standard for sports. 

As to the other listed glass, anything that is slower than f4 is going to be limiting.  It isn't just the lack of light (which is important) but it doesn't allow for the shallow depth of field that causes the action of interest to "pop" from the background.  The only thing I regularly use for sports slower than f2.8 glass is an EF 200-400 f4 with integrated 1.4X extender.  I use it only under excellent lighting but I am still not fully sold that the versatility is worth the tradeoff in aperture and slightly less snappy focus acquisition. 

Any lens that is f5.6 or worse at the focal lengths you plan to use will be pretty limiting for a lot of sports usage.

Rodger

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

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

"...  I’m hoping the equipment and technology can help fill in the gap so I end up with decent photos  ..."

Of course it depends on what the word "decent" means to you. If I were given the two choices of the best possible gear, like what Rodger has, and no Photoshop or pretty average even low quality gear with Photoshop, I would go with the low quality gear and PS 100% of the time. Raw format and PS (or even DPP4) are mandatory if decent means to you what it means to me.

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