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Redop13 Aug 18, 2007 3:02 PM

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Here are some shots that I took. Wow I need alot of practice. :GI know that I need to get more up close and personal with the players or crop but right now I wont to focus on the camera settings.

First problem, I know is I need something f2.8. I am actually looking at the Sigma 100-300mm f/4. Does anyone have any pictures or comments on this lens? I am looking at this lens because I not only want to shoot football but baseball, lanscape, drag racing, NASCAR and anything else that catches my eye. Not to mention the Sigma 110-300mmf/2.8 is about a grand more than I can spend. :sad:

Second. I shot some of ths as the player was running down the field. How do I minimize the blur? Did I just have the setting all wrong?

Equipment: Canon 30D, Sigma 28 - 300mm

Redop13 Aug 18, 2007 3:03 PM

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Runnin scared

Redop13 Aug 18, 2007 3:04 PM

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5 more yards and its 6 on the board.

Redop13 Aug 18, 2007 3:06 PM

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where did he go?

Redop13 Aug 18, 2007 3:07 PM

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Redop13 Aug 18, 2007 3:08 PM

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returning an interception

JohnG Aug 20, 2007 2:07 PM


Blur is caused by having shutter speeds that are too slow. You've got shutter speeds of 1/40 - 1/125 that's way too slow. You need to have shutter speeds with a MINIMUM of 1/320. The problem is - you've chosen one of the toughest sports to photograph - nighttime football. In generaly you're not going to have much success at nighttime footballwithout a 2.8 lens. It's a simple fact. Now, there are some things you can do to improve your success for sports in GOOD light:
  • Get out of TV mode. Unless you are going for a panning affect (and for a sport like football that type of thing is nice for maybe 1% of the shots - the other 99% you want to freeze motion) you don't want to use TV mode. You should either use manual mode (most reliable) or AV mode. TV mode can be dangerous because it will allow you to get an underexposed shot. AV mode will help protect you from that - BUT BOTH modes can be fooled by uniform colors. White jerseys may cause 2/3 to 1 full stop different metering than dark jerseys. But what DOESN't change is the FACES. The faces are what you want to meter for. Also to complicate things - the helmet puts the face in shadows. So you often have to overexpose by 1/3 to 2/3 stops just to combat those shadows. To keep things simple, here's my advice - use AV mode and dial in +2/3 EC. That will help get the right exposure for football.[/*]
  • Crank up that ISO. Your goal for shutter speeds should be 1/500. So, in a given situation if you're not getting 1/500 (after using +2/3 EC) then crank up the ISO until you do. Stop incrementing the ISO only when you get to 3200.
In the end you'll have to get a 2.8 lens if you want to shoot night football successfully. The Sigma 100-300 f4 is a fantastic lens but it isn't good enough for night time football. It's great for daytime sports just not up to the task for night time. Welcome to the world of compromises. You have to decide what is most important to you when shooting outdoor sports. If nighttime football is most important to you and you can't afford the 120-300 2.8 then your next option is a 70-200 2.8 lens ($1100 for Canon's , $850 for Sigma's). I used the sigma 70-200 2.8 for a year of football and it did very well.

Now, here's the other thing - if you want quality shots you have to stay within the range the lens was designed to work in. With a 200mm lens - that's 25 yards. A 300mm lens is good to about 40 yards. So, for football you can get away somewhat with a 200mm lens - you just follow the line of scrimmage. Of course you're limited to only action going to YOUR sideline - if it's going to the other sideline it will be too far away. BUT, 200mm is too short for HS level baseball. If you're in the dugout you can reach most of the infield but if you're shooting from foul territory on 1st / 3rd base line then you need 300mm just to reach the other corner of the diamond. Even with 300mm, outfield shots are hit/miss. YOu really need 400-600mm to get the outfield.

For nascar/drag racing you'll need even more reach - you'll want 400mm for that.

So, the Sigma 100-300 f4 plus 1.4x TC would be a great lens for all your daytime needs - baseball, football, racing etc. But it won't do for nighttime football.

So, you need to decide which sports are most important for you to shoot because you can't afford the least expensive lens out there that will meet all your needs.

Specific feedback on your shots (since this is a critique forum after all :G):

Shutter speeds way too slow (as discussed)

Need faces - that's what's imortant. Need to see people's faces. So avoid/resist the urge to shoot people from behind - it just isn't very interesting. Occasionally the action is interesting enough that the lack of faces doesn't matter but for 90% of football shots if you can't see a face it's probably not a good shot. But don't get too down - again it was your first time out. You can't pick one of the toughest sports to shoot and expect to do perfectly your first time out.

We've got a good group of sports shooters in the sports forum and I'd strongly encourage you to post there after your next outing. You'll get some very good feedback. And by 'good' I mean honest - we all have room for improvement and it does none of us any good if we want to improve to post in forums where everyone just congratulates one another. There's nothing wrong with those forums - some people just want to share photos without critique. But without critique it's difficult to improve. So, give it some thought. Hope to see you over in the sports forum if you decide to continue shooting sports!

Need to be a LOT tighter.

jschoenr Aug 21, 2007 2:18 PM

New to the forum.. Where do you see the EXIF data for the images posted here?

JohnG Aug 21, 2007 8:54 PM

exif data is imbedded within the image file. You need software to view it. I happen to use Opanda Iexif - it's free. Do a google, download and install it on your pc. Then when you right click on an image you'll see an option to 'view exif'.

You should also note that some software people use strips the exif data so you won't always be able to see it. Or, in my case - the company I use to host my photos - smugmug - provides different size files to view - those other file sizes do not contain the exif information.

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