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Lenses for sports photography - Help a newbie?


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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Feb 2013 23:16:35 GMT
S. L. Green says:
Sony Alpha 57 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lens Kits (16.1MP) 3.0 inch LCD

After spending 6 months attempting to learn sports photography on a film camera, I have decided to purchase the above model.

I am most passionate about photographing fast moving people in low light, and from what I read, this camera is ideal for that.

What I really need to know is how cheap a lens I can get away with buying until my budget is larger. Would it be better to buy the A57 with the standard 18-55mm lens and use the extra to purchase something like this:

Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2 Lens for Canon

or this: Sony SAL75300 - Telephoto zoom lens - 75 mm - 300 mm - f/4.5-5.6 - Minolta A-type

or would the A57 with the 55-200mm lens be better for now?

Any advice would be appreciated!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2013 12:02:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2013 12:06:46 GMT
I bought a Tamron 55-200 (very similar to the Sony badged version) off Ebay for 47 and was amazed how good it was for the money. Imo a 300mm lens is too big to hand hold effectively - but someone else may be steadier than me. It can be quite difficult to follow action with a lens of such great focal length. I find that my 70-210mm Beercan is a bit heavy though.
Get a decent monopod too (try ebay for a second hand quality brand like Manfrotto).
A good place to check out Sony fitting lenses is Dyxum.com. They are all rated by users. The Tamron/Sony 55-200 comes out well in all versions.

Posted on 2 Feb 2013 15:02:44 GMT
G. E. Hearn says:
Dr G:
We Nikon users can pick up the old Nikon 70-200 constant F/2.8 zoom lens from film days and use it on modern digitals. Is there anything from MInolta's past like that which would work on a modern Sony? Just curious.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2013 15:54:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2013 16:13:09 GMT
Hi Graham,
The Beercan (the real one that is) dates from Minolta's involment with Leitz and is a constant focus, constant f4 70-210 zoom. Its pretty good wide open I must admit and expect to pay 100+. I don't find the autofocus that quick for fast moving subjects and generally use the old manual pre focus method.
The Tamron 55-200 is very cheap, very light and not half bad. The Later version Tamron and the Sony equivalent are also pretty good. There is also another Minolta 70-210 f3.5-4.5 which is OK (but beware the AF II f4.5 -5.6 which is very bad - see Dyxum). The Minolta f2.8 70-210 APO is great - if you can find one and if you have deep pockets as is the f2.8 80-200. The Sigma and Tamron f2.8 70-210 are excellent too. Also F2.8 70-200. Say 300 - 400. Tamron 70-210 f3.5- 4.5 is good but the smaller aperture Sigmas are not so good. Anybody thinking of any legacy Sony/Minolta AF lens needs to check out Dyxum.com and see the lens flare score in particular since these are designed for film and digital hates flare. Build quality is usually less of a consideration IMO unless you intend to use it heavily. For instance the Tamron 55-200 has a plastic mount but is so light and small that it's unlikely to be a problen IMO - unless you are cack handed with it.
I'd love an F2.8 70 (or 80)-210 (or f2.8 70-200) but wouldn't use it enough to justify the expense (and its heavy).

Posted on 2 Feb 2013 16:43:46 GMT
G. E. Hearn says:
Same as me Graham. I'd have no use for a huge zoom and I don't want to carry it around. On the other hand, it does look cool! :-)

http://darktopography.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/my-lens-is-bigger-than-yours.html

Posted on 2 Feb 2013 17:06:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Feb 2013 17:10:40 GMT
"This was the first 'digital' tele lens I bought and has had considerable use on an a33 and now an a57. The price of this lens is simply amazing considering it's performance. Physically, the lens is very compact, almost as small as my 18-55 sam. It is light-weight and actually well built despite having a plastic mount. The hood is round and sometimes fiddly to mount, but that might just be me. The range of 55-200 is good, especially on APSC as the crop factor gives an excellent and useful range for medium tele shots. The colors are very pleasing, not Minolta, but they sure are nice, and flare is well controlled too. Chromatic aberration is also well controlled and only just visible in high contrast situations, and when the image is closely cropped in post-process, but it has never been a problem for me. Focus accuracy is extremely good, but like many lenses in this range, it can struggle when shooting into busy situations like compacted tree branches viewed from side-on, but for the most part, it performs very well. Focus speed, in good to strong light, is extremely fast. I have never used a lens that focuses so fast or is so quick to zip through the 55-200 range. Of course in low light, things get slower. Focus noise is not pleasant but also not too bad. Now, this lenses strength lays in it's excellent level of sharpness, of which, some people unfairly slightly under-mark it. At virtually all apertures, and all focal lengths, this lens delivers near-razor photo's every time. It has never failed me in over two years, from birds to flowers, from aircraft to animals. I have a TAMRON 70-300SP which is pretty sharp, especially at f9 and f11, but this little guy is just as good, if not, slightly better. When I want to take lighter kit, I will pack this instead of the SP, despite it's shorter range. I cannot recommend this lens enough considering the price. Like the TAMRON 18-250, this will in time be sought-after. It will always remain in my kit." I'd go along with that revue. It only weighs 300g. I'm not so sure about the 18-250 though (which I also have). It is pretty sharp but I don't much like the distortion and focus is a bit slow due to the triple extension design. I guess you could reduce it in Pshop though. It is light and compact though and you don't need to change it so its ideal for those dusty places. The aperture at 250mm is only f6 or something.

Posted on 2 Feb 2013 22:34:09 GMT
Zelazowa says:
Hello S L Green.....

First of all what sport in particular and please could you explain in connection with "fast moving people in low light"
This will also help with any suggestions.
Thanks

Posted on 2 Feb 2013 22:51:54 GMT
S. L. Green says:
Thanks all for your help so far. It is much appreciated.:)

Zelazowa: At the moment I am photographing roller derby which is a contact sport played on roller skates in badly lit sports halls.

Posted on 3 Feb 2013 01:55:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Feb 2013 02:02:01 GMT
Zelazowa says:
Thanks S L Green... it really helps to know the sport involved. I understand roller derby dates back to the 1930s and it was the Texans that got it under way again a few years ago. Looks like it's going to grow quickly in popularity.

Check out this site for photos of roller derby events and most importantly note the cameras used [top right]
Then look under "additional information" in the middle right column where you'll see details of the photo taken.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wintrmute/3417509411/

So the link above will show you that it was a Nikon D700... then:
Under "additional information" you'll see that the shutter speed was 1/200th
The aperture was f2.8
Importantly the ISO setting was 1600 to help with faster shutter speeds and possible lower light.
The focal length used was 180mm

If you need more "exif" information [camera settings] just click on the "additional information"

Have a browse through as many photos as possible noting the ones you especially like and then check the camera and "additional information" for details of the camera settings and lens.

So the key general guidelines for your camera and lens settings would be:
High ISO setting
High shutter speed
As wide open an aperture that your lens will allow.

Then try this link below where you'll find the ISO setting is a whopping ISO 6400 on a Nikon D7000. The lens setting is on this occasion 92mm and the shutter speed once again 1/200th.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/qcrg/8431645356/

Hope this all helps you decide as well as all the other suggestions posted. Z
Oh and it looks like your first choice of camera, the Sony Alpha 57 with kit lenses will more than do the job nicely for you!
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Participants:  4
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  1 Feb 2013
Latest post:  3 Feb 2013

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