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Photography Question 
Nick Milton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/25/2003

Best Lens for Shooting Soccer

For sports photography, which lens would suit me best? I'm talking soccer, and forget price ... just tell me the best for my Canon EOS digital. I want clear, close shots for printing. If Sigma or Tamron makes such a lens, great, but I would prefer Canon.

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5/3/2004 4:33:31 AM

doug Nelson   For soccer, your action could be across the field or close-in. Canon's digital SLR's, except for the 1DS, have a multiplication factor, so an 80-200 zoom becomes about a 125-305. This might just be your lens for this. The "L" lenses have the best optical characteristics and will have "IS" (Image Stabilization). I'd still use a monopod, if it were me.

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5/3/2004 10:09:58 AM

Wim Wilmers   I would say the 100-400 is lens from Canon, because the player is mostly far away from you and your equipment. I think the 80-200 is not enough for soccer. It's just a 300mm digital, and when the player is about 30 meters away you can't photograph close-ups.

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5/4/2004 4:00:59 AM

John L. Webb   I do not use Canon, but I do use Nikon's 80-400 zoom for shooting both my daughter and granddaughter playing, and it depends on what league they are in and the size of the field. For my 11-year-old, they play a full field, and often I need the reach of the 400 and the ability to pull back and zoom when the action hits the sidelines.

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5/4/2004 6:01:54 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Sitting in the stands hand-held, or even from the sidelines with a monopod, your best option will be an image-stabilized lens. Sigma has an 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 EX OS (Optical Stabilized); otherwise your choices will be from Canon. Sharpest, fastest, heaviest and most expensive would be the EF 300 f/2.8L IS USM. This would also be the least convenient because of the weight and lack of zoom.

The EF 300 f/4L IS USM is much smaller, lighter, and less expensive, but still not as convenient as a zoom. The best zoom choices with IS then are the EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM, and the new EF 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM. The 70-200 is the most versatile of these with a big f/2.8 aperture for highest shutter speeds, but also very very good with the EF 1.4x and EF 2x extenders for longer telephoto at f/4 and f/5.6. While the 70-300 DO has a not-so-fast aperture, it has L lens sharpness at a fraction of the size and weight of the other options. Because of its small size and weigh,t the DO is probably the best option if you are shooting from crowded stands.

The economy option would be the EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM, but I personally would forego the IS feature at that point for the faster/silent ring-USM focusing and non-rotating front element of either the EF 70-200 f/4L USM or the EF 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 USM. Without IS, the Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO and Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD are also well-regarded consumer zooms (though each have rotating front elements).

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5/4/2004 6:42:15 AM

Nick Milton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/25/2003
  Thanks guys. Great response as always. I'm using the 90-300 USM Canon at the moment,f4.5. But I'll probably see about the EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. Or maybe just a 2x extender?? What are your thoughts on those? Thanks again.

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5/4/2004 9:50:45 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Nick: That Canon lens is very expensive. But yes, a 100-400mm or similar lens would be the best bet, even with a digital camera. (I would not recommend a teleconverter for your zoom lens: low quality and too much loss of light.) Why not check the prices of other brands too? For prices in Australia, check magazines such as Australian Photography for ads for mail order stores. Or check this Web site and you should be able to find some.

Cheers! Peter Burian, Contributing Editor, Australian Photography magazine (but I live in Canada)

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5/5/2004 11:58:10 AM

Ron Taylor   I have a 10D, EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM and shoot soccer and lacrosse. I love my 70-200 USUALLY, but for these "field" sports, it's the 100-400. Standing mid-field, and shooting the far ends of the field, the 70-200 just doesn't get it.

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5/11/2004 5:13:55 PM

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