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08-20-2009, 03:52 PM   #1
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Lens Suggestion for Soccer Game

A friend of mine asks for help with photos for his website for soccer league in September. I have not been to the soccer field to know about the lighting. They have both afternoon and night games starting at 7:30pm.

I wonder what would be a good lens to work with my current camera with Pentax K20D. I have not done any sports photos except one casual shooting on a baseball game with a MF lens with Tokina AT-X SD 80-200mm f/2.8. While the lens seem to be reasonable in f/4.0, wide open shots tend to be somewhat soft and lack corner sharpness. My other lens are in Hin's Camera Gear, out of my current line up, I can think of my Pentax DA* 50-135mm but it will just be too short. I also thought of my Pentax F* 300mm f/4.5 but I think zoom will allow me more flexible in the framing of the shots.

For future planning, I may replace my Tokina with an AF f/2.8 in the range of 70-200mm, that leave me with either Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 or the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 with HSM. Both runs about $699 to $799. What other choices are out there for sport, would the Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4.0 or the Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8 be considered, your thoughts are welcome.

My current intention is to staying put with my current gear and not adding another lens unless I can get paid for my service. My friend confirmed me that flash and tripod can be used on the sideline of the game.

If you have done sports similar to Soccer games, please share me your lens, your work, your settings and approach. I am newbie on shooting sports. Please share your lens and tips. Your inputs will charm my nerves again.

Thanks,
Hin

08-20-2009, 05:31 PM   #2
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For rugby (same size field?) I use the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 with a 1.4x on it. Shots of the other side of the field have to be cropped quite a bit. Under good lights I can keep the 1.4x on, under bad lights I cannot. Under those bad lights I use 1/350, f2.8 and the ISO ranges from 1600-3200.

I try to use, in good light, min 1/500s, f4 (enough to blur the back, but give some dof to allow for misfocus). Use higher shutter speed or smaller aperture according to your needs.

Take AF off shutter button, use rear Af button. AFC, highest fps. I use TAv.

Try to pick your moments, like a tackle or header or whatever, to take the pic, then keep shutter firing for another shot or two. You can't predict what's going to happen next, and can't react fast enough.

Monopod may be required depending upon shutter speed and focal length used. I've always left SR on even with monopod, still not really sure about that point.

Try to get faces in the shots, so face the team your shooting if you can.

Good luck.
08-20-2009, 06:05 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
For rugby (same size field?) I use the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 with a 1.4x on it. Shots of the other side of the field have to be cropped quite a bit. Under good lights I can keep the 1.4x on, under bad lights I cannot. Under those bad lights I use 1/350, f2.8 and the ISO ranges from 1600-3200.

I try to use, in good light, min 1/500s, f4 (enough to blur the back, but give some dof to allow for misfocus). Use higher shutter speed or smaller aperture according to your needs.

Take AF off shutter button, use rear Af button. AFC, highest fps. I use TAv.

Try to pick your moments, like a tackle or header or whatever, to take the pic, then keep shutter firing for another shot or two. You can't predict what's going to happen next, and can't react fast enough.

Monopod may be required depending upon shutter speed and focal length used. I've always left SR on even with monopod, still not really sure about that point.

Try to get faces in the shots, so face the team your shooting if you can.

Good luck.
Arpe, thanks for the wonderful tips. Do you think a prime as in my Pentax F 300mm f/4.5 will do the job? I am concerned on the fixed focal length and the slower speed. I also have a fixed MF prime with Tokina SD 400mm f/5.6.

I think out of all the lenses choices that I am looking, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 seems to be the best candidate followed by Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 and Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4.0, but I won't go for them unless I get money out of my service. This can be a chicken and egg problem. If I manage to shoot well, the team may have future business for paid service, of course, I always dream about getting paid for shooting. My current plan is to try to shoot with what I have and go from there. No money, no new gear.

Thanks especially on your tips. I did try once and twice to disable AF on shutter release and use rear AF button for the real AF, I find it quite difficult to adapt to but I know many have adapted to the new AF button and swear by the importance of that adjustment. If I am shooting with a MF lens such as my Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 or Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5 adaptall-2 19AH, do you see the adjustment just as beneficial?

Thank you so much,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 08-20-2009 at 06:10 PM.
08-20-2009, 07:45 PM   #4
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Judging from the mountain sheep that I saw in another post recently, the 55-300mm might even make the grade. I know I'm definitely considering it for my kid's soccer season coming up.

08-20-2009, 11:55 PM   #5
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The sigma 70 to 200 with a 1.4tc is a great option,
if you can afford it have a look at the 300 f.28,

I use these lenses for motorsport, especially in low light conditions (cloud, rain and late evening)
08-21-2009, 03:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Arpe, thanks for the wonderful tips. Do you think a prime as in my Pentax F 300mm f/4.5 will do the job? I am concerned on the fixed focal length and the slower speed. I also have a fixed MF prime with Tokina SD 400mm f/5.6.

I think out of all the lenses choices that I am looking, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 seems to be the best candidate followed by Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 and Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4.0, but I won't go for them unless I get money out of my service. This can be a chicken and egg problem. If I manage to shoot well, the team may have future business for paid service, of course, I always dream about getting paid for shooting. My current plan is to try to shoot with what I have and go from there. No money, no new gear.

Thanks especially on your tips. I did try once and twice to disable AF on shutter release and use rear AF button for the real AF, I find it quite difficult to adapt to but I know many have adapted to the new AF button and swear by the importance of that adjustment. If I am shooting with a MF lens such as my Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 or Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5 adaptall-2 19AH, do you see the adjustment just as beneficial?

Thank you so much,
Hin
At the games I go to generally the sports journos use a 300 or 400 f2.8, though I'm not exactly sure why. So a prime can do the job, though a zoom is obviously more flexible.

Your f4.5 will also be okay, if daylight. Of course my 2.8 with a 1.4x is only letting in f4 worth of light, so when I set it to f4, it's worth f5.6. May struggle in poor light. In winter here at the end of a game at 4:30 I'm struggling and sometimes take off the TC.

You'll get used to the AF button. It's way way better than otherwise. Try both. Not sure what you mean by the last question though. If you're using a MF lens you'll still get keepers.I've never done soccer, so not sure of the dynamics, but you will ahev to be quick, for sure.

As said above, even the 55-300 would probably be okay in good light (though it's not a fast focesser is it?)

My dream lens at presnt is the Sigma 120-33/f2.8 - but it's not made in Pentax mount!!
08-21-2009, 04:42 AM   #7
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I just took pictures of my daughter's soccer game Wednesday evening. They play on a junior soccer pitch in a local park. I sat in the corner of the field (right at the place where they do the corner kicks) to take the photos. This gave me a nice background of the fans and a small hill behind the players. I had my K20D and a Sigma 70-300 lens. I know it's not a great lens, but its the longest length lens I had, and it wasn't enough for my liking. I had great light as it was between 6:30 and 7:30 so the sun was low and almost the whole park was in the shade so it was an even light, except for the far corner which had bright sunlight.

My biggest disappointment is that I didn't have the length to get the action because most of it was at least 30m away from me and the girls are all in the 7-8 year old range, so they're not that big. Maybe with adults it would have been different.
08-21-2009, 03:09 PM   #8
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Most sport shooters of soccer games, use primes. Like 200/2, 400/2.8, etc. for isolation of subject. And for night games, you need all the speed you can get.

I have not done much, but hope to do more next year. Here is from a friendly between Chelsea and the club I follow, from some time ago.
I had just gotten the camera, so wanted to test it with some shots :














I would think that both your 50-135/2.8, and Da* 300 could be used


Last edited by Jonson PL; 08-21-2009 at 03:15 PM.
08-23-2009, 07:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Leaf Fan Quote
I just took pictures of my daughter's soccer game Wednesday evening. They play on a junior soccer pitch in a local park. I sat in the corner of the field (right at the place where they do the corner kicks) to take the photos. This gave me a nice background of the fans and a small hill behind the players. I had my K20D and a Sigma 70-300 lens. I know it's not a great lens, but its the longest length lens I had, and it wasn't enough for my liking. I had great light as it was between 6:30 and 7:30 so the sun was low and almost the whole park was in the shade so it was an even light, except for the far corner which had bright sunlight.

My biggest disappointment is that I didn't have the length to get the action because most of it was at least 30m away from me and the girls are all in the 7-8 year old range, so they're not that big. Maybe with adults it would have been different.
I suggest you prowl the sidelines so you can get closer, use a monopod if you have to. 300mm barely covers the width of the field, let alone the length.
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