Football Photos - 700-200 F4 or?

Tom Runge

Looking to get into football photography. Quick questions... Will 70-200 F4 L give me the ability to have good bokeh? Do I / should I get IS?IS the 70-300 F4-5.6 IS good enoughfast enough for football? What about bokeh?Thanks in advance. This hobby is almost as much fun as flying jets...almost! -- Grunge Out-of-work fighter pilot

Stefan Querformat

Where do you want to go ??? - NFL or minor ??1.) you (and your gear) need to be fast. For the gear its on behalf of shutter speed and auto focus. For both wide open aperture is better.To get a sharp picture of a moving football player your shutter speed should not be longer than 1/500 sec. So a lns with 2.8 ist better than 4.0 and way better than 4-5,6.2.) boukeh comes mainly from shooting wide open and haveing a large distance between the objekt and the background what you will usualy find in a large stadium. If ist is your "right around the corner playfield" you will probably have houses close to the sideline and there ist no way to let them dissappear in boukeh. Never the less for boukeh 2.8 beats 4.0 and so on. 3.)To cover the complete field in a large Stadium without running up and down the sideline you might need an even longer lens which can still shoot wide open. I suggest to consider 2,8/200 maybe with 1,4 converter. (or if jet pilots are very well payed even 2,8 300, 2,8 400....... 4.)I'm doing soccer on a semi-professional basis for a local newspaper. I never experienced any advatage from IS for the standard action shots. Sometimes it can help for specials like portraiing the trainer on his bench in the shadow.Hope I could help.CheersStefan -- friends shoots with Nikon ;-))


tough question.what venue and lighting ?are these day games or night games ?with bright day games the 70-300mm is really pretty sun goes down though, it because worthless really quickly.also, as pointed out, are you able to get on the sidelines and follow the action up and down the field ? if so, 200mm might be plenty long. Otherwise you may be wasting your time with such short reach.if you simply cannot afford the 70-200mm F2.8L then you might want to consider the 200mm F2.8L Prime. It is phenomenal. The only downside to it is a little low on the reach and no zoom so you will miss quite a few shots.....I've been shooting for 3 years now and started with the 70-300mm. I was happy with the results then as my sons games were all mid day. Now that he's older, the games are 7pm....I bought the 200mm F2.8 L Prime last year and fell in love.....However, due to so many missed shots, I bit the bullet this year and just last week bought the 70-200mm F2.8L (non-is)all I can say is WOW !!!!IS will not do much for you in sports shooting due to the speed required to stop action.bokeh requires wide open shots. You can get decent bokeh with the 70-300mm and excellent bokeh with the 200mm F2.8 Prime.the 70-200mm F2.8 L also provides great bokeh.Heres my gallery from last weekends games (1st week with the 70-200mm F 2.8L) can browse my entire site to see the rest of my shots (90% shot with 70-300mm),GAJ -- Gregory A. Jackson


some good points above. The 70-200 f4 is probably the last choice I'd make. 200mm is short and f4 is no good in low light. If you're shooting all daylight the 70-300's added reach will be a real plus.As mentioned - anything other than 2.8 is useless in low light.Also - realize that if you want quality shots you can't shoot action very far away. 200mm is good for about 25 yards of coverage - not 25 yards downfield but 25 yards from your position. So if you're shooting highschool from the sidelines a 200mm lens won't get you many good shots strait across the field.A 300mm lens is good for about 40 yards of coverage. So, even with a 300mm lens be prepared to march up and down the field. The only time you're sitting pat is with a 400mm lens and 1.4x extender available.Here are the lens recommendations for football/soccer: 400mm 2.8 (ok probably out of the budget) 300mm 2.8 (again probably out of the budget) Sigma 120-300 2.8 (probably still out of the budget) If daytime only: Sigma 100-300 f4 If nighttime: Canon 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC (for day games)Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC (about 95% of the canon lens - slightly slower to focus in low light but still very good and it isn't weather sealed). Canon 70-300That's about it. Sure you can get some shots with other lenses: 300mm f4, 200mm 2.8, 100-400. But the 300 and 200 prime are limiting because they're fixed length. 200 is just a poor length to be your workhorse - miss all the long shots and most close ones. 300 is a better focal length but you miss an awful lot of close shots. 100-400 is poor because it's $1400 and only 5.6 so worthless in low light.On the blurred backgrounds. Here's how you maximize that - widest aperture, longest focal length and your subject filling the frame. This last part is key. Trying to shoot a subject 40 yards away with a 200mm lens don't expect beautifully blurred backgrounds.I shoot with the Sigma 120-300 2.8 and it really is a fantastic lens. Not as sharp as the Canon primes and a little slower to focus but there isn't another comparable lens on the market ($2700 vs. $4000 for the canon 300mm 2.8 - plus with the canon you need a second body usually with a 70-200 2.8).Some 120-300 2.8 shots:This is 120mm and 2.8 so you can see no nicely blurred background:

Tom Runge

Thanks a bunch...nice shots, BTW. -- Grunge Out-of-work fighter pilot


Love that last shot!