Thanks, John. I was hoping to get comments from you.
Yep, getting close at a MLB park is tough, and these particular seats were pretty good....15 rows from the field and one section beyond the Rangers' first-base dugout. To have gotten a few rows closer would have meant a higher price than the $65 I paid for these tickets....I know....cheap compared to the same seats at Yankee Stadium or Fenway!
The f7.1 aperture was brought on as a result of using a teleconverter in an attempt to get closer at the expense of a higher ISO setting and more noise. As a fan shooting these mainly for my own enjoyment, it's a price I'm willing to pay and it makes the game fun to give it a try. the lens was an f2.8-3.5 by itself and with the teleconverter, an effective field of view of an 800mm lens (actual FL of 400mm), and a wide open f7.1, meaning high ISO settings of 2500-3200 once the stadium lights had totally taken over....and I still had to crop many images to get what you saw above, so even getting pretty darn close sometimes isn't good enough when it comes to reaching all the way across the diamond in these big stadiums. In past years I have taken a Canon 10D and the 100-400L, sat in pretty much the same seats and had to do similar cropping, so I second the comments you made to someone in another post about getting at action at a major league baseball game.
Still saving (maybe forever) for that 90-250mm (180-500 EFL for this format) f2.8 Zuiko! By the time I'm able to buy the lens, the MLB teams may have priced me out of the market on tickets down this low.
Noiseware Professional helps quite a bit on the noise front. I shoulda used it the first time I processed these..