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brandon91 Sep 24, 2006 7:00 PM


I have been trying to take outdoor soccer pictures of my sons with the following equipment and can not seem to get the shots close enough or clear enough. I would appreciate any and all advice.


Minolta 35mm Maxxum 400SI camera

70-210 mm AF Zoom Lens 1: 4.5 - 5.6

Also, I have set it on the automatic sports mode and have been using 400 film.

Thank you,


JimC Sep 24, 2006 7:37 PM

Welcome to the Forums.

I moved this thread over to our Konica Minolta/ Sony Alpha DSLR Forum , where we have forum members using Minolta gear that can offer suggestions.

There isn't a lot you can do about the "close enough" part unless you get a longer focal length lens or move closer to the action other than cropping if the images are of good enough quality and the desired print sizes are not too large.

Are you having the images scanned when they're processed, or are you just getting prints made at the same time?

You may want to consider a longer lens if you aren't getting the results you need by cropping the images. There are a number of lenses to choose from, and you can find some very good deals on the used market, too.

Some of our forum members have some longer Minolta (and third party) lenses that would work on your Maxxum, and could give you some pros and cons if you have a budget in mind. You could probably pick up a lens that reaches out to around 300mm for not too much used if you stayed with a relatively dim lens (about the same available aperture you've got now).

What kind of light are you shooting in?

Shutter speed is likely your main problem with getting the shots "clear enough" if you are careful about focusing on your intended subjects.

That lens is not that bright with a largest available aperture of f/5.6 on it's long end. But, there are pros and cons to a brighter lens (with the cons being size, weight and cost).

So, even if the Sports Mode is keeping the aperture wide open (and that's what the sports modes do in most models), in less than optimum lighting, your shutter speeds may not be fast enough to stop motion blur from subject movement shooting ISO (a.k.a., ASA) 400 film.

With that equipment, if light is less than optimum, about the only thing you can do in order to get faster shutter speeds is use higher ISO speed film (or deliberately underexpose your ISO 400 and push it later).

If you haven't tried Fuji Superia X-TRA yet, it's not too bad from a grain perspective, and they make it in speeds through ISO 1600. Chances are, your local Ritz/Wolf carries it in ISO 400, 800 and 1600.

Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera will be able to use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture.

But, if you're shooting night games, even ISO 1600 may not give you enough shutter speed to stop all motion blur with that lens. But, it's likely to be a big improvement over ISO 400 (you'd get shutter speeds 4 times as fast).

If you're shooting in good light during the daytime, then you've probably got a different issue. It's too bad you're not shooting digital. You could easily post some pics and we could see the problem, along with the camera settings (what the camera was using for aperture and shutter speed).

Have you paid much attention to the shutter speed and aperture in the viewfinder to tell what the camera was using when you got photos that weren't very clear?

brandon91 Sep 25, 2006 8:15 AM

Thank you, for your comments.....

Their was mention of used equipment. I would be interested in a used 300mm zoom which is brighter then what I currently have. Where can I pursue this??



tmoreau Sep 25, 2006 10:33 AM

Thats a pretty low quality lens as far as the 70-200 range goes (I had one), the next step up in quality/clarity would be the f/3.5-4.5 version, then the "beercan" f/4 version. After that you get into near $1,000 f/2.8 lenses but I guess you dont need that, since your probably outside in sunlight.

However, none of those will get you any closer. You could add a 1.4x teleconverter, but need to make sure first that it works with the lens you want to use. They will not work well with your current lens, you will lose autofocus. They work well with the f/2.8 lenses, but that is NOT a cheap solution.

There are other long lenses too, like 100-300, but I am not so familiar with them. The sigma 400mm f/5.6 prime goes for $150-$230 used but maybe you would want a zoom instead?

JimC Sep 25, 2006 10:42 AM

In order for the forum members to make suggestions on lenses that may be more appropriate, we really need to know what kind of light you're shooting in.

Are these all daylight games?

If not, you'll need a much better lens (read larger, heavier and more expensive) to get the desired results. Those stadium lights appear much brighter to the human eye than they will to a camera's lens. ;)

brandon91 Sep 25, 2006 10:42 AM

I appreciate your comments and suggestions.


brandon91 Sep 25, 2006 10:50 AM


Everything is being shot outside....


JimC Sep 25, 2006 11:24 AM

I just wanted to make sure you weren't talking about games in poor light. If they are outside (and in daylight, not lit by lights on the field), then there are a lot of relatively inexpensive choices available that you may want to look for.

It will be tough to find a 300mm lens that is significantly brighter than your existing lens (unless you have a liberal budget). But, you can find some that are approximately the same brightness (or slightly dimmer) for not too much money.

Then, use faster film to help out with shutter speeds if you're getting any motion blur or blur from camera shake. See what kind of shutter speeds you're getting (keep an eye on it in your viewfinder). If your shutter speeds are much slower than around 1/400 second using ISO 400 film, I'd suggest trying Fuji Superia X-TRA 800. It's pretty good film as high ISO speed color film goes.

What's your budget?

If you want to keep in on the low side, I'd look at lenses like the Minolta 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6, Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 or Sigma 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Macro. These can be found for $75 to $200 on the used market. Check listings for Minota AF Zoom lenses at vendors like and you'll find a pretty good selection in less expensive zooms.

These are entry level lenses. So, you won't get the speedy Autofocus you'd get with a more expensive f/2.8 zoom, and they're not going to be quite as sharp at wide open apertures as the larger and heavier f/2.8 zooms at equivalent apertures. But, if you're not printing at extremely large sizes and you're shooting in good light, they'd probably work fine for you.

You'll find some reviews of these lenses over a (a site dedicated to Minolta and Sony DSLR models).

If you look through zoom lenses section (multiple pages of lenses in Maxxum mount), you'll see links for user reviews for any lens that has them).

Some good sources of used lenses are these vendors:

If you want something a bit faster, you may want to consider going with something like a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO and using a TC (Teleconverter) with it. I'd probably stick with a 1.4x or 1.5x TC for best quality (giving you a 40 or 50 percent longer effective focal length).

You'll lose one stop of light if you use a TC like this with an f/2.8 zoom. So, that means you'd have a maximum available aperture of about f/4 (which is twice as bright as your existing lens). This is a larger, heavier and more expensive solution. But, it's more appropriate for sports use (brighter, faster autofocus, better than average optics).

This Sigma is around $800 or so new at reputable vendors and less used. If you spot a Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8G HS APO lens at around the same price, that would be even better.

If you want something longer, you can sometime spot the Minolta 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 APO lens at a good price. It's not going to focus as fast as something like the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 I mentioned, and it's not going to be any brighter than what you've got (it's actually a little dimmer at it's long end, but since it goes longer, it's probably about the same at equivalent focal lengths as your existing lens). It would get you closer to the action (its maximum focal length is twice as long as your existing lens) and would probably be good choice for better lighting.

There are plenty of other options around, too. If you let users know what kind of budget you have for a better solution, there are more alternatives available if you don't mind spending more for a faster solution.

JimC Sep 25, 2006 1:52 PM


There are some new lenses that should be available at any time now that may be worth a look, too.

Here is one example:

Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO DG Lens at B&H

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