300 or 400mm for Runners?

Cory

EOS 7D MK II
Oct 20, 2012
550
3
Yardley, PA
eorthoTENS.com
For full-frame would you say that 400mm might be better most of the time for "running" events?
Standard or wide-angle for the Start, of course, but it's critical to remain hidden during the race so that runners don't wave at me completely destroying the shot.
Thanks and on the verge of ordering a 400 5.6.
 

PavelR

EOS 80D
I've tried 300/4 on 1.5x body on athletics event in my town and found that 70-200 is better because of the versatility.
Thus on FF I would use 120-300, because it is the longest bright handholdable zoom lens. (AF on 1ds3, 1d4 works pretty good on moving subjects.)
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,221
522
There are many types of running events, different ones might require longer or shorter focal lengths.

I'd decide how far away you will be, then, do you want full body. Work back from that to get focal length. A 70-200 works fine for field and track where you are close, for example.
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,517
7
When shooting Track & Field, my basic walkaround kit on 1DX is 400 f/2.8 and 70-200 on a 7DII. I keep a 24-70 f/2.8II & 600EX-RT with external battery in a small bumbag just in case.

The 400 f/2.8 is the standard long lens for sports shooters.

-pw
 
Nov 14, 2016
4
0
I’m a runner who’s participated in hundreds of races (from 5Ks to marathons) and an amateur/hobbyist photographer.

When I’m not racing, I usually bring my Canon 5D Mark III and a 70-200mm lens. It’s worked very well for what I’m trying to get—some close-ups, and some wider angle shots. If you’d like an example of my photos using this combination at a recent race, here’s a link: https://gojim.smugmug.com/Sports/Bridge-Dam-Half-Marathon-10K-5K-2018/ Most of these photos were cropped to some extent, and reduced in size for web viewing. I don’t sell photos (this is strictly for fun), but I’m not sure that I’d do anything differently if I did.

I might add that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pro photographer at a marathon using anything as long as a 400mm. May I suggest you go to a large running race, where you can talk to some of the photographers at the start/finish line or out on the course, to ask for their thoughts? They’ve always been willing to share their thoughts when I’ve stopped to ask questions. (I’m so slow, it doesn’t really matter. :) )

Hope this helps.

Jim
 

Cory

EOS 7D MK II
Oct 20, 2012
550
3
Yardley, PA
eorthoTENS.com
Go_Jim said:
Hope this helps.

Jim
Helped immensely. Thanks and all of the wavers confirmed the selection of a 400mm lens. There has to be a way to prevent runners who wave at the camera during a race to not have children. I think that thumbs ups might even be worse; if that's possible.
On a side note, just started Marine Corps Marathon 2018 training.
 
Nov 14, 2016
4
0
Oh, Cory, Cory, Cory. You don’t understand runners. They’re the BIGGEST hams in the world, and LOVE to be photographed smiling, giving a thumbs-up, doing heel clicks, flexing biceps, etc. I’d wager that most runners don’t like photos showing a blank, pained stare on their face. Other than at the finish line, they’re suffering (and show it on their faces), and are usually looking at the pavement ahead of them. Who needs or wants a memory of that?

Good luck at MCM!

P.S. I usually carry a small point-and-shoot camera with me during marathons, and bring home some great memories. You might think about doing the same. Here are two examples:

GO! St. Louis Marathon 2017: https://gojim.smugmug.com/Sports/GO-St-Louis-Marathon-Half-Marathon-7K-2017/

Chevron Houston Marathon 2015: http://gojim.tv/Photo_Files/Chevron_Houston_Marathon_2015/Race_Photos.html
 

NancyP

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 17, 2013
1,297
14
Go_Jim, thanks for the information. Next GO_St. Louis, I may enter as a walker in the half-M - or just skip it, photograph the scene, and then go on a long trail. I didn't know that half-marathon walking was an option, that would be about 3.5 to 4.0 hr at standard pace. I am not crazy about running on pavement.
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,009
97
A 70-200 or 100-400 would be useful.
The 300mm 2.8 is a beauty.
Runners would be drooling over photos of themselves
 

Cory

EOS 7D MK II
Oct 20, 2012
550
3
Yardley, PA
eorthoTENS.com
Thanks Jim:
I don't know what it is - runners waving just makes me nuts.
This Sunday's race is for 2 organizations that serve the sight-impaired.
I've totally decided to keep my day job and am doing it for free and maybe using my 135 to capture a barn in the background that's on the course.
Doing it for free is nice because I run the show and not the Race Director; although he's super nice in this case.
 

Hillsilly

EOS 6D MK II
Oct 16, 2010
1,096
0
I photograph a lot of cross country running. With a crop camera, I tend to use 35mm, 60mm and 135mm lenses - but that is mostly because you can position yourself anywhere and be as close as you want. I think the final answer just comes down to access to the track and what sort of image you want. 300mm is usually too long for me, but I still use it when I can get a reasonable distance in front of the runners and want a shot of everyone running towards the camera.
 

TexPhoto

EOS 6D MK II
Apr 15, 2011
1,227
3
San Juan, PR
There are many reasons to go to a long lens like a 300 or 400. Reach is obviously one. I can't walk closer, but I can shoot closer.

But style is another. A long lens photo looks very different. In many ways it "says" sports photography. I looks like the photos in sports illustrated.

And of course today you might be shooting with $5000 of the best DSLR and wide angle lens, and the guy next to you is using an iPhone and getting similar results. But he is not going to be shoot at 300mm f2.8...

My advise is if you do pick up a long lens, use it!, but don't use it exclusively.