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Photography Question 
Courtney M. Furber

Choosing Correct Lens

I currently have the Canon 30 D with the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS which I use to take pictures at my son's soccer games. While this lens has performed very well, I would like to get closer to the action with one of the following: Canon EF 300mm f/4.0 L IS USM, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, or the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lens. Would you be able to recommend which lens would be best. Unfortunetly cost is a consideration and what I looked at was the f-stop vs. cost.

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1/2/2008 10:07:14 AM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004

I'm a Nikon shooter so I can't help with the lenses you have mentioned. Perhaps Jon Close or one of the other Canon users will chime in. One thing I do when purchasing new equipment is I check out and Ken Rockwells site to see if they have reviewed the camera or lens I am looking at. I'll also do a Google search for example in your case "Canon EF 300 mm F/4.0 L IS USM review." That will usually bring up several hits. By looking at several different sources I usually get a good overall picture as to the pro's and cons of a particular piece of equipment.

You mention price will be a consideration. You may want to look at some Sigma lenses also. Their quallity has improved over the years and they have some very good optics now. I have their 50-500mm and I am completely satisfied with it's performance.

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1/2/2008 11:16:02 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Hi Courtney, the f-stop different between these 3 lenses is only 1 stop at the maximum zoom. Unless you are taking a lot of night soccer games, this one stop different can be compensated by raising the ISO.

Besides the f-stop and cost factors, I think you should also consider the weight of these lenses too. The 300mm weights 2.6 lb. and the 100-400mm weights 3 lb. The 70-300mm, being the lightest, at 1.4 lb. You probably need a good monopod support for the two L lenses. Also the 100-400mm zooming is the push-pull type. It extends from 7 inches to 10 1/2 inches at 400mm. With the lens hood, it will be over a foot long.

I own and used the 75-300mm (previous version of the 70-300mm) for soccer, basketball and baseball games. I am not a pro and those are not pro games. I found the 300mm is a good enough zoom range on a film camera. The newer version has better image quality and the pan mode IS. It just happened that I recommended this lens to a couple "soccer moms" who happened to have the XTi because of the price and weight factors.

This is just my suggestions. If you are a pro, get the 300mm (with a 1.4 extender for longer reach). The image quality is superb. The 100-400mm if you can handle the weight and cost for just a little bit better reach in range, build quality and the ability to use an extender. The 70-300mm for normal regular use. By the way, the 70-300mm does not come with a lens hood. You can purchase it separately or you can get a 58mm rubber hood. Just my two cents. Hope this helps.

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1/3/2008 6:50:32 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Courtney, If you've got $1100+ to buy a lens with you'd really be crazy not to look at the Canon 70-200 2.8 or (IS). I mean you're looking at lenses in the same price range and these 2 are mainstays in EVERY pro photographers you'll keep the 70-200 forever!!! and if you want a little extra kick buy an extender...1.4X or 2X and if you've still got auto focus.

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1/3/2008 11:44:22 PM

Necee R. Eddie
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/5/2008
  Hi Courtney!
I purchased the 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS lens in March 2005 (shortly after it came out) for my Digital Rebel (the original first one out). I purchased this lens specifically for when I attend NASCAR races and my childrens sportong events. I now have the Canon 30D like you as of September. This 'long' lens, as I call it, is wonderful on both bodies! I love it! I have attended 3 NASCAR races since purchasing it and have used it for many soccer and volleyball games as well as Jr Hereford Cow shows. I get great shots with it.
I have also used it for Church and school programs to get up close and personal as well as for weddings. The weight is not bad at all. I can hold the camera with lens attached for long periods of time without my arm hurting. And the IS helps for stabilization. I don't use a mono pod or even a tripod with it. Haven't needed to yet. When I purchased the lens at Ritz Cameras in 2005, I also purchased insurance on it there so its fully protected just in case. They have a great policy.

I just realized the lens is on my camera in my avatar photo. lol I will go work on posting some of the photos I took with in my gallery. Good luck!

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1/5/2008 9:39:20 PM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Courtney, I have to say you are going to be BUMMED out if you don't try the 70-200L (IS) RENT IT for at least one day. I'm in the pits at Nascar, AMA, MotoGP and most importantly My Daughters Soccer matches and if I could have only 1 lens in the world it would be the 70-200L (IS) and it ROCKS....try it and you'll be BLOWN away how every photo is Spot On....I not saying the other lenses you mentioned are not great but they're in the same price range...I'd at least try the 70-200L non IS and a 1.4X converter.

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1/5/2008 11:35:48 PM

Meghan Gonski   Hi Courtney,
I have been taking soccer photos for four, going on five years. I have always used a 80-200mm lens. This works great. Sometimes I wanted to be a little closer, like if the players were almost on the other end of the field. So I got myself a doubler (2x). This has worked really nice for me also. 500mm lens is too close and too hard to keep steady for soccer. My f/stop range on the 200mm lens is 4.5-22 They have worked good also. Sometimes for rainy cloudy days (not good photo taking anyways) f/stop 2.8 is better to have. But I hardly use it. (it's a 50-80mm wide-angle lens which I didn't like that far away anyways so that could be partly why.)
If you want to see some of my photos of soccer go to my gallery, they are taken with the lens I talked about above. (200mm or 200 plus 2x) Good luck!

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4/5/2008 3:20:17 AM

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