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View Full Version : Shooting a football game - recommend ANY lens


reemas
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 12:53
please recommend the best lens for shooting a high school football game at night.

i say any lens, because it will be rented and paid for. what is the best lens for this situtaion? i will be sitting on the field somewhere.

thanks.

etaf
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 13:12
you will need a long fast lens for this event - I assume floodlite
will you only have one body available

LightRules
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 13:15
Sigma 120-300 f2.8 EX

condyk
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 13:28
Sigma 120-300 f2.8 EX

Ditto ... and there a few people on this forum who've really shown why ;)

AjP
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 13:39
there are no just one lense.
here are few
300 2.8L or 400 2.8L (shooting from endzone)
and 70-200 2.8L (if they get too close)
24-70 2.8L(cover endzone)

if you want best results, you need tohave all 2 ranges. but 300 or 400 are the best action lenses

CyberDyneSystems
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 14:18
That Sigma is the best zoom for sure.

And the 300mm and 400mm f/2.8 IS primes are the best primes for the task.

reemas
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 14:59
thanks for the replies. i wasn't getting email notifications.

how is the canon 100-400 L lens?

reemas
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 15:03
damn they only have canon lenses. so the sigma is out. i was looking forward to it as well, based on the high reccomendations.

how is the canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM ?

CyberDyneSystems
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 15:06
The 70-200mm is as good as it gets.. it just may not be long enough for some applications.

The 100-400mm falls short on speed,. both aperture,. and focus.

Jim_T
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 15:14
Ditto.. The 100-400 is a great daytime lens, but it's not a good low light action lens.. f/5.6 just doesn't cut it.. (I'm speaking from experience :) )

rabidmoose171
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 16:11
200/f1.8 with a tcon.

DavidEB
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 17:02
I like AjP's advice.

If you shoot from the sidelines, 70-200 is perfect, you'll rarely need anything longer, as you're shooting across the field and the distance to the action is limited (except shooting the receiver on long pass plays). A lot of the best opportunities are in the shorter end of that range, especially runs to the same sideline as I'm standing on, so I'd be leery of going out with too long a lens. Running plays to the sideline I'm standing on are my best shots, because the ball carrier is facing me and there's usually lots of defensive action going on. Short passes to my side of the field fall into the same category. These need shorter focal lengths, 70-100 range.

The advantage of shooting from the endzone is the action is usually facing more at you, so you're more likely to catch the players faces, there's usually less background clutter and the background is further away and hence more blurred (compared to shooting crosswise), and you're less often in other people's way.

If you shoot from the endzone then 70-200 is usually too short. I'll move into the endzone when play is closer than the 20 yard line. The lenses with "300 f2.8" abilities sound good to me, but the 400 f2.8 sounds best. But I wouldn't only one camera and a long lens, 'cuz you'ld miss all the plays closer than the 20yd line (meaning the touchdown-making plays).

As I only have one camera, I'd vote 70-200 f2.8; work the sidelines, go into the endzone only when the action is closer than 20-30 yards.

With an f2.8 lens, you'll be struggling for enough light even at ISO1600. Don't get anything slower. If I had two cameras I'd consider putting a really fast prime on one and a longer f2.8 on the other. But that would like quadruple my photography spending.

reemas
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 18:10
sweet advice. anything else? ISO 1600. should i just leave my 20D in AI SERVO or AI FOCUS? sounds like it will be fun. i'll be using a bogen 3021 tripod as well with a QR latch.

by the way, as im renting the lens, does the tripod mount usually come with it? (is it built onto the lens?)

DavidEB
29th of September 2005 (Thu), 20:22
AI SERVO.

ditch the tripod. It'll just get in the way. get a monopod (the cheapest possible monopod will work fine). Or, use the tripod with only one leg extended (heavy, but saves you a little money).

The lens mount ring does NOT come with a QR plate (there are too many different kinds out there). All the rings I have ever seen are flat-bottomed with 1/4-20 holes. I've put an extra arca clamp from kirk on my monopod so it matches my tripod mount, and both my big lenses have arca foot plates, as does the camera body.

happy shooting, hope the home team wins.

reemas
30th of September 2005 (Fri), 02:03
thanks for all the tips.

reemas
1st of October 2005 (Sat), 02:46
i had one more important question. in AI SERVO does the camera auto focus on the center subject? i dont want it to search for too long or i may miss some action. is it possible to get shots where the subject is focused off center?

in ONE SHOT mode, i currently shoot so i focus with the * button. and ONLY the center focus poiny works. i expose with the shutter button half pressed. i'm not sure if this will be good for fast action though. so i'll have to use AI SERVO. just dont want all the shots to look the same and centered.

grego
1st of October 2005 (Sat), 03:05
70-200 f/2.8 and 120-300 f/2.8 are the best zooms. Depending on how much you can afford, chosing which one is up to you. The 70-200 is very usable if you are allowed on the sidelines, but that's up to how much access you get. At the end zoons, 200 is useful under maybe the 20 yard line, but that's stretching it. A 300 is a good choice for that area.

Also, its good to know what's going to happen in the game. That's more important than anything else, because a lens can be as long or as fast as possible, but if you think run and they throw, you are out of position, for instance.

ttmatsu
1st of October 2005 (Sat), 17:52
It's not just the lens, with HS football stadiums, you will need a flash. You will get motion blur without it. If your local paper covers HS games, you should notice that all the night shots are flash lit. You need a flash with the highest GN possible (580EX). Someone that use to shoot night HS games that was a poster would use 2 flashes on a bracket. Your GN will determine what focal length lenses to consider. I would stick with the 70-200 f2.8 since Canon is your only choice. Even using 3200 ISO and a f2.8 lens, I can't get sufficient shutter speed in our local stadium...well, maybe you are in one of those football crazy states where HS stadiums are lit up like NFL or Div 1 colleges.

Just realize that you have to move with the action. A standard field is a little less than 60 yards wide and that is right at the limit for the flash unit and for decent coverage by a 70-200.

reemas
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 02:19
without flash, will i be able to take any photos? i'm assuming they'll be using the stadium lights.

what do you mean by highest GN?

grego
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 02:57
without flash, will i be able to take any photos? i'm assuming they'll be using the stadium lights.

what do you mean by highest GN?

Not sure what cam you have, but you'll need to shoot at 1600 to 3200. You don't necessairly need to shoot with flash, if you shoot raw and use a noise program like neat image.

I shot at 1/400 on M with Raw. It can be later cleaned up.

I'd say a good combo would be the 70-200 2.8 and 300 2.8 if you have two bodies. It would be a great combo, and something that would cover all the angles, needed.

reemas
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 13:29
i have a canon 20D. i'll be shooting a H.S. football. it seems thats important as a previous poster said there is not enough light during these events. im afraid to have them rent a lens and not have decent shots (due to blur). I don't know if a flash would be obtainable.

also, i'd only have one body, and be on the sidelines, by the coaches / players.

my biggest concern is too slow of a shutter speed.

SurfKahakai
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 13:45
I went out this weekend with Dwight McCann's 300mm f/2.8 and it allowed me to shoot up to 1/500th but at ISO 3200. The lens was too long for end zone shots and that's my only complaint. To do it again I'd use the 70-200 f/2.8 with a flash. Dwight tells me 1/320th, f/3.2, and ISO 1600 work well with an external flash on ETTL...but you'll only be able to shoot when the action is on your side of the field. Anything further away will probably result in some blur as the flash wont freeze the action as well.

clayk
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 13:50
I shoot a lot of HS footbal in dark stadiums. I use a 20D with 300 2.8. I usually shoot at iso1600 in RAW mode, 1/400th of a second wide open. This will usually be about 1 to 1.5 stops underexposed, but can be fixed in RAW conversion. I use Neatimage to reduce noise. I never use a flash because I hate the look. However, the other photographers at the paper use flash. The 120-300 zoom is a great pick for football if you only have one body. The 70-200 also does a great job. Just a little short for me because I like to shoot from the endzones to clean up the backgrounds.

I have attached a sample if you want to see

grego
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 18:42
I shoot a lot of HS footbal in dark stadiums. I use a 20D with 300 2.8. I usually shoot at iso1600 in RAW mode, 1/400th of a second wide open. This will usually be about 1 to 1.5 stops underexposed, but can be fixed in RAW conversion. I use Neatimage to reduce noise. I never use a flash because I hate the look. However, the other photographers at the paper use flash. The 120-300 zoom is a great pick for football if you only have one body. The 70-200 also does a great job. Just a little short for me because I like to shoot from the endzones to clean up the backgrounds.



Heh, sounds exactly what I did just this past weekend. 1/400 on M, with ISO 1600, although I have the 10D and the 70-200 IS.

I went out this weekend with Dwight McCann's 300mm f/2.8 and it allowed me to shoot up to 1/500th but at ISO 3200. The lens was too long for end zone shots and that's my only complaint. To do it again I'd use the 70-200 f/2.8 with a flash. Dwight tells me 1/320th, f/3.2, and ISO 1600 work well with an external flash on ETTL...but you'll only be able to shoot when the action is on your side of the field. Anything further away will probably result in some blur as the flash wont freeze the action as well.

And that where's 2 bodies comes in. :lol: One with the 300 2.8 and one with the 70-200, for the closer end zone stuff. I'm still waiting for that 300 to just appear in my bed next to me when I wake up.

reemas
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 20:22
thanks for all the tips and especially for sharing those photos. was the shot on the left also no flash?

and if i shoot about 200 images, is there a way to use neat image in a batch mode (for most shots), or is this not recommended?

grego
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 20:24
thanks for all the tips and especially for sharing those photos. was the shot on the left also no flash?

and if i shoot about 200 images, is there a way to use neat image in a batch mode (for most shots), or is this not recommended?

I don't think its good to batch edit low light photos, because different ones have different amount of details involved. Basically you don't want to apply the same editing to every photo.

Save yourself time. Be a good editor and select your 10 best, or 20 best or something like that.

clayk
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 22:35
Neither were with flash. Another note on bach editing low light football. Many fields have "cheap" lights. The results are a rather bad trait we call "pulsing". The result is one frame will look good and the next will be under exposed and red, then the next frame will be OK again. This is in a multi frame sequence. i am not a light expert, but it appears that the lights actually pulse and shift color. We see this at smaller fields that are very dark, and not so much at the bgger college and pro stadiums. Perhaps someone here can give the true reason why this happens. Anyway, the change in lighting makes batch processing difficult for me.

JohnTheLuck
4th of October 2005 (Tue), 23:06
I did a lot of soccer photography this summer. I used my 20D with a Canon EF100-300 (I just had the ok for something better...). Even if this len is not very fast, 4.5-5.6, shooting at ISO 400 or 800, 1/500 in AI servo and continious mode gave me very good results.

I used only the center focus point to avoid focussing on anything else than the player I wanted to shoot. I never used my 580EX since synchro is forced to 1/250 or slower, which result in some motion blur.

I also used my EF-S17-85 for close action, but I have found that IS needs to be turned off because it was confused by all movements of the players.

I am now reading these forums for the best len to get in upgrade for my 100-300. I am teared between the 70-200L F2.8 IS and the 100-400L IS. I don't have enough money for the 2.8 primes... yet!!!

JTL