I’ve starting taking on more assignments for inside Lacrosse magazine and for the Florida Launch Lacrosse team. After shooting two games with a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, I wanted to see if a new lens would make a difference. The go to lens for sports photographers is a fixed 400mm f/2.8 lens. The cost…a commitment of $12,000.00. Pretty steep. Before I decide between the lens or a full year of college for my son, I called our good friend Chase from Lens Rentals. As luck would have it, one was available on our two day short notice. The cost, about $500 including insurance and shipping. As a bonus, if I like the lens, I can apply the $500.00 towards the price of used one for $7000.00.
The excitement of new equipment
It felt like Christmas when the gear arrived. To say I was excited is an understatement. We brainstormed and created a list of shoots we wanted to try with the new lens. A Major League Lacrosse game across the state won out. I have to admit, walking on the field with a 400mm lens commanded instant respect.
After using the lens for the shoot, I wrote out a list of Pros and Cons. I tried to keep ego and emotions from swaying me either way.
- Tack sharp
- Incredible image quality
- Very fast focus
- Very little cropping in post
- On / off VR feature
- Honestly, it looks awesome ( yes this is an emotion but I had to include it)
Cons for my shooting style.
- Needs a mono pod.
- Fixed lens caused me to miss a lot of shots.
- Next to impossible to run and gun shoot.
- Price tag of a new lens too steep, used not as bad.
What I need
400mm was a little too much for my shooting style. A 300mm lens would be better. A telephoto in the range of 120-300mm with VR or equivalent would be best.
Try before you buy
You can research all day but until you get the equipment in your hands, you won’t know if it’s right for you. That’s why it’s important to try before you buy.
Currently he is teaching workshops, writing for Photofocus and creating tutorials for various plug-in companies and for the Vanelli and Friends series.
You can find out more about Vanelli at www.VanelliandFriends.com
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