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trihokie
25th of January 2005 (Tue), 18:10
I am looking for some advice for a lens to shoot night time soccer and football (American). These shots were taken with a 70-300 zoom and an ISO speed of 800 with the aperture wide open at f4 with a camera mounted flash. I limited my zoom to around 100mm so that I wouldn't out-distance my flash. I am thinking about a fixed focal length 100 or 135 with an f2.8 apeture. Will the fixed focal length limit my coverage of the action too much?

stealth
26th of January 2005 (Wed), 14:37
In my opinion you should avoid using flash in games which involve balls or intense concentration as the flash does distract the players.

You would be far better getting a faster lens and working with the light that you have available. Or go to daytime games! :)

For soccer and american football games you really do need a good lens. The reason that you see Sports photographers around stadiums with massive lenses is because to capture the image then you need to let in as much light as possible, hence the industrial unit drainpipe lenses. If you can get hold of a 70-200 F2.8 lens then this is a good starter lens, although you will have to wait for the action to come towards you. It is a real investment if you are serious about becoming a sports photographer. IMO Soccer is a difficult sport to photograph and will possibly dissappoint, Rugby on the other hand is a little more forgiving.

My final piece of advice is get a low as you dare, take a fishing stool or sit on your camera bag, it makes the players look much more impressive.

If you are stuck for a while with your slower lens, this is not perfect but you can if you are able shooting in RAW and putting your camera to -2 stops compensation. This will raise your shutter speed to around 1/250. You then have to use a popular photography editing package to pull the images back to life, you'll get loads of noise in your pictures but you'll be getting experiance, which when you get your new lens you'll be ready to take the killer shots!

You should also try putting the camera on a 'Decent' Monopod, which helps to cut down the shakes.

I hope these few ideas help. Purists, don't shoot me!

trihokie
26th of January 2005 (Wed), 18:22
Thanks Stealth,
I like the advice about getting low to shoot the action. I will give it a try at the next game. So far the flash hasn't been a problem at the high school games that I have been shooting. I don't have the option of shooting daylite games because all local high school games are played at night.
I am looking into either the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 ($800 U.S.) or the Canon 200 f2.8 ($660 U.S.). The fixed focal length will save me some money, but will I regret it in the long run?

stealth
28th of January 2005 (Fri), 07:01
Trihoke, just noticed that you got around 4 - 5 pairs of redeye in your shots! :evil:

I personally use the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 on a N***n but its probably a bit too short for most of the action, I find it a little short at the Rugby, I have tried a 1.4x converter but it gets stuck on my camera so I won't be using it again and it makes the 2.8 into a f4 which is rubbish at night.

Ideally you need to find the best lens you can afford with the lowest f-number. The less light their is the bigger the lens and therefor the more expensive. Unfortunately your entering a world of much expense, don't be afraid to buy second-hand as usually the users of this equipment generally can't afford not to look after their lenses! They are the windows to their next paycheck!

But most of all, have fun, shoot lots and only show the photographs that you are really happy with...

trihokie
29th of January 2005 (Sat), 22:26
The red eye caused by the flash is certainly a convincing reason to go with a faster lens and use the available lighting. I have attached a couple of night football (American) shots that were taken with a Sigma 70-300 wide open at f4 with a shutter speed of 1/320 sec and an ISO of 1600. Since high school sports are not as restricted as pro sports, I am able to wander the sidelines looking for the best shots. These two shots were taken with the zoom set at 100mm or less. I was looking into the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. I am hoping that the larger apeture opening will allow me to drop down to an ISO of 400 or 800 (reducing the grain) and keep a shutter speed of at least 1/200 sec. The Canon version of the 70-200 f2.8 costs about $250 more than the Sigma, but for my purposes I don't think it is worth it. I sell to parents and local newspapers and I don't think they will be able to tell the difference.

Hydro
30th of January 2005 (Sun), 14:36
I'm a newbie with a question. I also will be shooting night HS football of my son's games from the sidelines. I'm getting the Sigma 7-200 f2.8, and would like to ask this question of the knowledgable folks regarding the photos above. If those pictures were shot with the f2.8 wide open, would that produce the shallow DOF that highlights the players? Or is it because it was shot at 100MM? I like the shots a lot, but find the people on the sidelines distracts from the action on the field.

trihokie
8th of February 2005 (Tue), 20:06
The football shots were with my 70-300 f4-5.6 wide open. I don't have the 70-200 f2.8 yet... The actual aperture value was around f4, so there is a greater depth of field than you would get at f2.8. That would probably be enough to blur the people on the sidelines.