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Archive 2012 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?
  
 
fhammond
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


I'm having a bit of fun right now, comparing a D4 with a 1D X. I've been a Canon user in the past, Nikon user for a while, D4 user now but I just got a 1D X and I'm thinking about switching. There's no compelling reason so far but I've only been using the 1D X for a day.

Anyway, I was curious about one thing: using the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports. I've always used the 70-200mm f/2.8 USM IS (or its Nikon equivalent) and I assumed I'd get another one for this test.

However, I'm wondering if the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L might be a better overall choice. If I look at all the photos I've taken with the 70-200mm, most of them have been at f/4 or slower and most of the photos I did take at f/2.8 would just as easily have been taken at a slower aperture. (Auto ISO has really made life easier!)

One of the lenses that's only available from Canon is the 400mm f/5.6 but perhaps with the 100mm extra length of the 70-300mm, I wouldn't want it.

If anyone has used the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports photography, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of it, particularly if you've also used the 70-200mm f/2.8. I'm photographing horse riding and soccer, so the light is usually very good. I'm mostly interested in focusing speed, as I hear that the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L has excellent image quality, comparable to the 70-200mm f/2.8.

Thanks,
Fergus



Aug 12, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


As long as you find 300mm is long enough, I think you will be quite happy using it with sports.

Both shots are with a 1.4x TC on the lens.




  Canon EOS-1D Mark IV    EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens    420mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    800 ISO    +1.0 EV  






  Canon EOS-1D Mark IV    EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens    420mm    f/8.0    1/320s    1600 ISO    -0.3 EV  



Edited on Aug 12, 2012 at 07:21 PM · View previous versions



Aug 12, 2012 at 07:20 PM
dbecker
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Fergus -

I do not have a 70-300 4-5.6L, so I can't really comment on the focusing speed. However, I started shooting with the 70-300 4-5.6 Non-L, and I switched pretty quickly to the 70-200 2.8L (and now use the 70-200 2.8L II). For sports shooting, at least in my opinion, a photo at 2.8 or 4.0 is far superior to a 5.6. Particularly with the 70-200 2.8L II, the image quality is amazing even with a 1.4x converter on it, which makes it a 98-280 4.0. I agree that the 70-300 range is great, but it's too bad that the long end has a 5.6.

DJ



Aug 12, 2012 at 07:20 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


dbecker wrote:
Fergus -

I agree that the 70-300 range is great, but it's too bad that the long end has a 5.6.

DJ


fhammond wrote:
If I look at all the photos I've taken with the 70-200mm, most of them have been at f/4 or slower and most of the photos I did take at f/2.8 would just as easily have been taken at a slower aperture. (Auto ISO has really made life easier!)



Aug 12, 2012 at 07:24 PM
fhammond
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Very nice shots!

Since you have one, would you happen to know at what focal length the aperture changes from f/4.0?

Thanks,
Fergus



Aug 12, 2012 at 07:36 PM
pKai
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Pretty close approximations from looking at the lens barrel and observing when min aperture changes as you zoom up.

70 -- 4.0
100 -- 4.5
150 -- 5.0
225 -- 5.6

This is a great lens..... you will love it as long as 300 is long enough and F4-5.6 is fast enough for your purposes. On a FF, 300 is not that long for outdoor sports and, IMHO, F5.6 is a bit slow for indoor sports. YMMV.



Aug 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


The 70-300L is a great performer alright but its forte is portability, lightweight and smaller size. Based on that, it is actually a great travel zoom. I am not shooting sport, at least not deliberately but as long as the light conditions are decent that lens should do just fine. If you shoot sport a lot and for general photography actually, I would say that the 70-200mm f/2.8 Mark II takes the cake. I am not sure which version of the lens you have use but the Mark II version of that lens is simply awesome, probably it is the best Canon zoom lens until the 200-400mm becomes available.


Aug 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM
fhammond
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Hmm...interesting. I was hoping the aperture would be wide longer out but on the other hand, when I look at what I've done with the Nikon 70-200mm I currently have, most of the wider aperture shots are actually on the wider focal lengths (i.e., shorter than 100mm). So, it's probably ok.

Of course, to do a correct comparison of AF tracking between the 1D X and the D4, it would probably make sense to get the Canon version of the 70-200mm Nikon I have. I'm curious about the difference: I've been very impressed with the AF tracking on the D4 and I would expect the Canon would be very similar and certainly a lot better than my old 1D Mark III.



Aug 12, 2012 at 08:11 PM
fhammond
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Ah, I found a list of aperture/focal length changes:

70-103mm f4, 104-154mm f4.5 , 155-228mm f5.0, 229-300mm f5.6

(From here: http://dancarrphotography.com/blog/2010/11/17/canon-70-300-f4-5-6-l-is-review-vs-70-200-f4-l-is/)



Aug 12, 2012 at 08:21 PM
eric_m
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


The 70-300L autofocuses extremely quickly on the 1D IV. It's about as quick as the 300/2.8 IS.

I've used it with sports when I wanted to travel lighter or use a zoom. I much prefer the subject isolation of f/2.8 over f/5.6 at 300mm, so most of the time, I prefer the 300/2.8 IS. If you're happy with a smaller aperture, then the 70-300L performs admirably, even as the light starts to dim. At one point, I was shooting ISO 3200 at 300mm at f/5.6, and the lens still acquired and tracked focus superbly.

I bought the 70-300L as a replacement for my 300/4 IS since I was no longer using it after getting its bigger brother.


Eric



Aug 12, 2012 at 09:15 PM
 

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rddelliott
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


I use the 70-300L with the 1D4 for daylight sports. I would use the 70-200 II but it is too short for what I shoot. The AF is quick and the combination is very sharp. The disadvantage in my opinion is that you do not isolate the subject from the background very well at f/5.6.


Aug 12, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Deanh
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Cannot comment on the 70-200 don't own one, but I love the 70-300L. It makes a great outdoor sports lens on my crop 60D.

He is a recent example from me, a rank amateur (never shot a rodeo before).


2012 Columbia County Fair and Rodeo by Deanhedges, on Flickr

60D 300MM f/5.6 1/200 ISO 800

I would have loved to have 2.8 available to increase my shutter speed, but I like 480MM at 5.6 in such a small size.



Aug 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


fhammond wrote:
I'm having a bit of fun right now, comparing a D4 with a 1D X. I've been a Canon user in the past, Nikon user for a while, D4 user now but I just got a 1D X and I'm thinking about switching. There's no compelling reason so far but I've only been using the 1D X for a day.

Anyway, I was curious about one thing: using the 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports. I've always used the 70-200mm f/2.8 USM IS (or its Nikon equivalent) and I assumed I'd get another one for this test.

However, I'm wondering if the
...Show more

if you also have something long to go with it then on the zoom side a 70-200 2.8 without question, you often want f/2.8 to help blur backgrounds and if the light it at all bad it sure helps

for a single lens solution, the 70-200 is kind of short for field sports though and 70-300L focuses pretty quickly so it's better if you are doing field stuff and won't have anything else (also nice in that it is small enough to be let into more stadiums for times shooting as a regular spectator), the variable aperture means you may be stuck at f/5.6 at times

longer and faster can help of course, demo:

1. here is the pic taken with 70-300L f/5.6:






2. here is nearly the same shot but taken by someone else who was using an even longer lens and f/2.8 by a different photographer (go to 1:52 in the video and freeze it, i know awkward but I don't know of link to the still for this shot, and notice the background way more blurred out here):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB36KNMD0mo&feature=relmfu

notice the shot in the video has the BG way more blurred out

but anyway it has good image quality wide open at 300mm and it focuses well, maybe not like a super-tele, but like a 70-200



Aug 13, 2012 at 06:43 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


You can see the photo they used in the YouTube video here: http://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/news-photo/alex-morgan-of-the-usa-heads-the-ball-over-li-jiayue-of-news-photo/145370584

The photographer, Drew Hallowell, I believe shoots Nikon (it's what I recall from seeing him at Philadelphia Eagles games), probably with the 400 2.8.

If you want to ask him: http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=8577

skibum - was that shot at 300mm?



Aug 13, 2012 at 07:37 AM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


The background blur depends more on focal length than f-stop. So if he is shooting with a 400/2,8 lens you can't compare those.
A 800/5,6 has more background blur than the 400/2,8



Aug 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Will Patterson
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


eric_m wrote:
The 70-300L autofocuses extremely quickly on the 1D IV. It's about as quick as the 300/2.8 IS.

I've used it with sports when I wanted to travel lighter or use a zoom. I much prefer the subject isolation of f/2.8 over f/5.6 at 300mm, so most of the time, I prefer the 300/2.8 IS. If you're happy with a smaller aperture, then the 70-300L performs admirably, even as the light starts to dim. At one point, I was shooting ISO 3200 at 300mm at f/5.6, and the lens still acquired and tracked focus superbly.

I bought the 70-300L as a replacement for
...Show more


Hmm, interesting what you say about the fast AF. I went to my local camera store with my 1D X and asked to try out one of these lenses. I shot with it around the inside of the store and then outside on a nice sunny day, and the AF was one of the first things I noticed with how slow it was. I'd twist the focus ring to MFD, then point the lens at something very far away, activate the AF, and it would take a while to get there and lock on. No where NEAR a 300 2.8 IS's AF speed. I actually decided right there not to purchase it for that reason alone. My 70-200 II is about three times faster.



Aug 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM
fhammond
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


That's interesting, Will. I'm going to rent the 70-300mm L today (fortunately I live in the Bay Area, close to borrowlenses.com's headquarters). I know the 70-200mm will be fast, so I'm not going to rent one of those, but it will be interested to see if the 70-300 is good enough for sports.


Aug 13, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Will Patterson wrote:
Hmm, interesting what you say about the fast AF. I went to my local camera store with my 1D X and asked to try out one of these lenses. I shot with it around the inside of the store and then outside on a nice sunny day, and the AF was one of the first things I noticed with how slow it was. I'd twist the focus ring to MFD, then point the lens at something very far away, activate the AF, and it would take a while to get there and lock on. No where NEAR a 300
...Show more

I found mine focused as fast as a 400 f5.6. Maybe it was your cheapo 1D X.



Aug 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM
fhammond
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


Haha! I love the 400mm f/5.6: the perfect lens for aircraft.


Aug 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Lars Johnsson
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 70-300mm f/4-5.6L for sports?


I also think the AF speed is rather fast on the 70-300L. And so does every review I have been reading. Here are two reviews from Digital.Picture com and Photozone.

"The ring-type USM AF is blazingly fast and near silent"----Photozone

"Powered by Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM Lens focuses very quickly and quietly without extending the lens"-----DPC



Aug 13, 2012 at 03:55 PM
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