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Old Oct 14, 2008, 6:58 AM   #1
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C&C welcome

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I'm still trying to solve the grain issue. Cropping down some of the cross field shots enhances the grain. I realize that the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 is not the best lens for shooting night football. I wish I could justify the expense of the 400mm f/2.8 but I may just go with the 300mm f/2.8 after I sell off a few things.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 10:11 AM   #2
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Can you post your exif info for a shot or two?

If you're going to use a flash there's no need for such high ISOs. Right now you've got noise, motion blur and overexposed faces from the flash. Let the flash take care of exposure / motion stop. You want to use manual exposure about 1.5-2 stops below ambient. And frame tighter in-camera. Heavy crops just don't work well (this in response to your comment about cropping really bringing out the noise).

Keep at it. Football isn't an easy sport to shoot.

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Old Oct 14, 2008, 11:13 AM   #3
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Thanks John. Using the flash for night football is new to me. Any tips are appreciated. Here's the exif data for all.

1)
Focal Length:100.0 mm
F-Number:F/4.5
Exposure Time:0.002 sec. 1/500
Metering Mode: Partial
Exposure Program:Manual
ISO Speed:3200

2)
Focal Length:285.0 mm
F-Number:F/5.6
Exposure Time:0.0025 sec. 1/400
Metering Mode: Partial
Exposure Program:Manual
ISO Speed:1600

3)
Focal Length:260.0 mm
F-Number:F/5.6
Exposure Time:0.0025 sec. 1/400
Metering Mode: Partial
Exposure Program:Manual
ISO Speed:1600


4)
Focal Length:260.0 mm
F-Number:F/5.6
Exposure Time:0.0025 sec. 1/400
Metering Mode: Partial
Exposure Program:Manual
ISO Speed:1600

5)
Focal Length:115.0 mm
F-Number:F/4.5
Exposure Time:0.002 sec. 1/500
Metering Mode: Partial
Exposure Program:Manual
ISO Speed:1600

I built an arm for my flash head and it sits, like yours, about 2' below the lens. That's me in the other guy's shot here:


If I remember I try to get a picture of it and post it tonight.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 11:26 AM   #4
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OK,

Stay in manual. Turn off high speed synch. Set 5.6, 1/250 and ISO 800. Give that a try. Make sure you're frequently checking photos between plays to adjust exposure and flash exposure compensation (so you don't get washed out faces)

Of more critical importance though is the focal lengths. I see 260mm for an across-the-field shot at an angle (shot 3). That should be closer to 400mm. Even with a flash - when you crop images from football under the lights you just don't have enough detail left (and I don't mean you specifically I mean anyone). Capturing action is the first level of sports shooting. Capturing faces the second. Capturing DETAIL that contains action and faces is the goal. In my experience, you can crop a tightly framed portrait shot to landscape if exposure and noise performance are good. But you cannot crop a loosely-framed shot to a tightly framed one and get detail. So, you need to change the way you think - start at 400mm. Don't zoom out until body parts of your subject start getting cut off. In fact, try the following:

Set zoom at 400mm and tighten the clutch so you can't zoom. Shoot an entire half at 400mm only. You'll be amazed how your shots improve. Will you miss some shots? Yep. But, you'll see from the results how much sharper your images are. In a way, that's the nice thing about the 100-400 you can lock that clutch and force the lens to stay at a specific focal length.

Framing tighter and dropping that ISO down will provide a HUGE boost to the sharpness and detail in your photos.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 11:49 AM   #5
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Thanks John. Anything to improve is welcome.
I was shooting in manual. I started the game at ISO3200 but quickly found that I could step down to 1600. With the 100-400 if I set the f stop to 4.5 at 100 then zoom in it automatically goes to 5.6. And back to 4.5 when I zoom out. Nothing I can do about that other than lock in at 5.6. I'll give the locking at 400 suggestion a go.
In shot #3 that was bad timing on my part. Mea culpa. I was much closer to the line of scrimmage and was anticipating a run. Of course they passed and I didn't zoom in in time.
Our town's team won't be playing another night game until the playoffs if they make it. However a neighboring town is playing this Friday so I'll just show up and play around using your tips. Besides, one thing that I've discovered is that I get much better shots when I have no emotional attachment to the participants.
Again thanks for the suggestions.
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