Originally Posted by jamesgig
Does anyone use the Canon 70-200mm f2.8/f4 lens (IS or non IS) for night ski photography? I am planning my next lens purchase to complement my 50mm f1.4 and want a zoom that can take decent ski shots. I really do not want to spend more than $1000, so I am between the f4 IS and the f2.8 non IS. I will be using it on a monopod. The body is a Canon 40D and I am thinking that i will not be using a flash as it may prove to be a distraction to the skiers (one of whom will be myself).
Thanks for the advice.
Maybe a better topic for the new dedicated photo forum. Anyway...
IS is not going to help you for ski photography (night or day), as the moving skier is too fast for the shutter speeds that can benefit for IS. On the other hand, one extra stop will be VERY useful, especially at low light, and will give you better AF performance to boot. Both are great lenses, but I would get the 2.8 if you can tolerate the weight and size. For disclosure: I have the old f4 (non-IS) and love it.
Skiing photography is tricky, and skiing photography at night must be even trickier: you don't have enough light to expose with the proper sutter speed to freeze the action, and you don't have enough light for the peak AF performance (you may have to prefocus and then hope that your reflexes are quick...) I don't know how much light you will have at your event, but you better have a lot of it, shoot at high ISO and use the spotmeter centered on a skier. Frankly, 40D may not even cut it at high ISO, a better high-ISO camera such as 5D or especially 5DMkII could be very helpful, especially if you plan not to use flash. Whatever camera you use, shoot RAW, not JPEGs, that would give you more latitude for postprocessing.
Flash may actually be very helpful, as it tends to give a very short pulse that freezes the subject (and if you set the second curtain sync and use slower shutter speed you may get cool motion effects). (I am a bit worried about the delay between ETTL preflash and flash, which may be enough to move your skier a bit out of focus, but I would at least try it out).
Good luck and if you get good pictures, post it here...