Opinions on a football lens

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by PeterDendrinos, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    I am thinking of possibly shooting high school football games. If it were a perfect world, I would be able to do this with one lens and one body. Currently my longest lens is a 70 – 200 2.8 zoom I also have a 2x extender.

    I guess my questions is would a 100 – 400 4.5 be a better choice or a fixed 400 2.8?

    I don’t own a second body nor do I own this new lens yet. I think I would rather not have to use two bodies, though perhaps that’s the only way to cover it all.

    What are your thoughts? Oh, I would have unrestricted access along the sideline and end zones.

    Thanks for the input

    Pete
     
  2. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    What's your shooting style? Do you shoot handheld or with tripod? Do you stay in one place or move around? If speed is a requirement, go with the 300/2.8 or 200/2.8, with a TC in pocket. The 400/2.8's I've seen are pretty hefty and would require a tripod. If you want a zoom range, you'll sacrifice large aperture to get it. It's a trade-off. Maybe a camera around your neck with a 300/2.8 hanging from the front of it, and a camera in hand with a zoom on it. Best of both worlds, and you can claim one is a backup in case you feel guilty about EAS (Equipment Acquisition Syndrome). Experiment and see what works best for your style of shooting.
    Chris
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    What's the product ? Prints ? Scans for the local paper ?

    Shoot sports much ?

    Do you like football ?

    Night games or Day games ? How much light do you have ?

    A top-end camera like an F5 has nearly thought-control AF with certain lenses,
    and for our middle aged eyes, that makes all the difference. Couple that body to a lens that can actually shoot wide open and you've got a good set-up. ( reference is Nikon, substitute your own brand please ! )

    An 80-200 AF Nikkor would be my choice for a zoom, leaving the Teleconverter in the bag. A 300/2.8 Nikkor would be my prime lens. I wouldn't mind using the 300 all by itself.

    The most important choice is whether you plan to chase action, or wait for it. If you have to deliver a given number of images for a contract, you chase. If you only need to please yourself, you let the action come to you. You can't be everywhere,
    so pick your favorite view.
     
  4. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    A long tome ago, i shot tons of it. a long time ago! These shots would go to the school for the paper, and yearbook. Most of the games are night, outside in the cold. I could use a monopod for a heavy lens, but i am concerned that without the zoom capability i'll miss too much close action. I can get away with using fast film, and i can push it, but i may still need that extra stop.
     
  5. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Holy cow Pete! The last time I shot football was in high school. And that was with a 4x5 Crown Graphic. The usable image area on some negs were about the size of a 35mm neg but served its purpose at the time.

    I think I would use a monopod and a good zoom - gives you added stability without sacrificing mobility. Just don't talk to the coach during the game unless you're contemplating suicide.

    If I can find it, I could post a shot from back then where one player was about to collide head-on with the ball carrier directly in front of me. About 0.5 seconds later, there were two football players and one photographer splattered on the ground on the sideline. The camera survived, but I wasn't sure about the photographer for a couple of days.

    Bob
     
  6. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    Well it wasn’t exactly leather helmet era, but lenses have changed a lot in the time.
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    My advice would be to if at all possible, stay away from using the teleconverter in low light. It will kill the light coming into the lens, regardless of aperture or focal length, by as much as three stops. Zoom gives you more compositional control whereas fixed focal length will give sharper images, though only marginally with the advent of modern lens technology. Just depends ultimately on what you can afford. But I must advise you steer clear of the teleconverter in low light.
     
  8. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    What you really need is one of THESE which comes in case that looks remarkably like a coffin... :D :D :D - even better it would squash any D*****L camera you 'accidentaly' put it down on

    Of course you can use polaroids etc :D

    Lachlan
     
  9. Troy Hamon

    Troy Hamon Member

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    If you can afford the 400 f2.8 I'd get it and put it on a monopod with one camera body and have a second camera around the neck with the 70-210 f2.8. If I were going to be stuck shooting one body, I'd go either for a 400 or 300 f2.8, and a monopod. Probably the 400 to be honest. Don't mess with a tripod as you need to be able to pick up and move out of the way immediately when bodies come flying out of the field in your direction.

    As far as the comment from cdholden...I have a 300 f2.8 and I've shot it handheld a lot, but no way could I walk around with it hanging from my neck. Too heavy, I wouldn't last long. And I'm a big guy. It's no coincidence that all the guys at the professional games have their long lenses on monopods.
     
  10. jedrek

    jedrek Member

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    I recommend you shoot one game with your 70-200, using the extender as well, and see what fits your style. The 100-400 should be good enough for day games - my copy works extremely well with an extender - but for night games it won't hold up at all. The 400 2.8, on the other hand, is an EXTREMELY expensive and VERY heavy lens - you can get a 300 2.8 and an extra NEW 1VHS body for the price of a 400 2.8.
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Peter,

    The 70-200 with a 1.4 and a 2.0 convertor will work just fine, a friend and I run around here where I live and we shoot the high school games, he uses a 80-200 and I use a 70-200 and I have never felt like I was lacking, I at times have also used my 300 f/2.8, but it so much heavier, that it rarely sees use anymore, and we have been doing it for almost ten years now, the 70-200 is handhold friendly and lets you shoot quickly, you didn't mention what type of camera system you use, I shoot with a Minolta 9xi with a 4.5 FPS motor drive, which allows banging off frames pretty quickly when needed..

    I would not even consider a 400 f/2.8, that is a monster of a lens, that is cumbersome to shoot even under the best conditions..

    Have fun, head to the nearest local park and take images of people at play and you will find your sweet spot that will work for what your wanting to do.

    Dave
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Rete - you don't say what your current 70-200 f2.8 lens is. I'm after a similar fast lens too.

    I tried a modern 70-200mm f2.8 Canon lens with Image Stabilization and the quality really surprised me, the photograper I borrowed the lens off specialises in football photography in fact it's over 80% of his living !

    Ian
     
  13. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    Ian, the gear is Canon, and the 70 -200 is quite amazing. My only concern is will it get me close enough.

    I used to be a nikon guy, but i must say canon has done a good job on the "L" series lenses. Now if i could just get a 14 - 600 f1.4 zoom from them!
     
  14. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I make my living shooting sports. If you have a few minutes you can check out my site at www.thepicturedesk.ca.
    The 70-200 2.8 is a great lens, on a second body for indoor sports like basketball. If you plan to provide great shots you will need either a 300 2.8 or 400 2.8. I used a 400 and 600 combo when I shot with Nikon but when I switched to the Canon MC II a couple years ago I went with a 300/500 combo. It's a bit lighter, cheaper and Iamb getting old.
    I wouldn't consider a long zoom, they're just not good enough. I would leave the teleconverter at home as well.
    Just one guys opinion.
    -Rob
     
  15. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    Rob, thank you for the input. Great work by the way!

    Pete