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Old Sep 10, 2007, 5:45 PM   #1
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I am wondering if the canon 70-200 2.8 IS lens would be a good lens for taking

football night shots. I have a canon xt 350, would this work? I'm not sure

on how to take night shots of football, I have tried, they are dark and grainy,

when I use a 135mm 2.8 lens, maybe I just have the wrong settings???

Thanks for any help!
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 6:59 PM   #2
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lakeida wrote:
... I have tried, they are dark and grainy, when I use a 135mm 2.8 lens, maybe I just have the wrong settings???
-> You're already @ f/2.8 with the 135mm so the 70-200 will not be any brighter!

Have you tried to increase the ISO?
Otherwise a flash might be what you need if you're already shooting @ the widest aperture...
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Old Sep 10, 2007, 7:14 PM   #3
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Many here can be more percise, but you might need to give a little more info. Dark and Grany and a IS and 135 lens too (you did not mention whether the grainy shots were with which lens)?

You do not mention how far you are from the action. I would imagine you would need at least a 300mm lens.

You probably want to use manual or partial manul. Somthing like ISO 400 or 800, probably the latter.Ftop wise you would want a lens that can do 2.8 when it is at its max zoom or a prime so it gathers a lot of light. The IS lens will not help since it only helps at very low shutter speeds which will not stop action, somthing shooting around 1/250 of second will.

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Old Sep 12, 2007, 4:54 AM   #4
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Yep, post a couple pics - preferably pics you DIDNT edit.

In general Nighttime football is probably the most difficult sport to shoot. Combination of horrible lighting, distance and helmets obscuring faces make it very difficult.

I'll have to see shots to be sure, but more than likely a quality external flash in addition to a longer lens is your best bet.

Typical football settings for me under the lights are ISO 3200, f2.8 and 1/320 - 1/400. So unless you're in a very well-lit stadium, ISO 1600 with no flash isn't going to be good enough once it's dark out.

There are 2 keys to successful high ISO action photography:

1. Fill the frame with your subject. This means when shooting a person you're shooting in portrait orientation and your subject fills about 3/4 of the frame. Which means with a 200mm lens you're looking at about 20 yards of coverage - that's it. Shoot action farther away and you're wasting energy.

2. Expose properly in-camera. This means exposing for the faces not the uniforms. A white uniform jersey will cause the camera to meter about a stop under exposed. So, people who rely on the camera metering without Exposure Compensation usually end upu with underexposed shots (if shooting the white jerseys). And when shooting at higher ISOs when you try to correct such under-exposed shots you get a LOT of noise. So even if you clean it up with noise removal software you've probably destroyed too much detail.

Some other points:

IS will be completely useless on a 200m lens for this type of sports work. You're throwing money away by spending $500 on IS if football is your purpose. Buy a $50 monopod if you're not comfortable hand-holding the lens - it will work 10 times better than the IS will.

Now - I mentioned flash. The built-in flash is useless for football. You're going to want an external flash - 580ex or sigma 500 dg super. I'd really recommend the 580 if you can afford it - recycle times are faster and that's critical for sports work. Realize though, without an external battery pack (and by the way the sigma cant use one) you're probably limited to single shot rather than burst. The flash just won't be recycled fast enough. The second problem with flash is monster eye - much worse than normal red-eye. The bright white / yellow bursts in the eyes usually destroy all eye detail. You can mitigate this by using a flash bracket. But the most affective method is to use a monopod and clamp the flash to the monopod BELOW the camera. You'll get the flash further away from the camera than most brackets will allow AND the light will be shooting up a bit rather than down so it will get inside the helmets.

And, of course, the other proble is - 135mm is way too short. So even if you did get the flash you'd need something like a 70-200 just for the reach.

Hope that all made sense. Let me know if it didn't
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