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Old Aug 20, 2008, 8:31 PM   #1
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Hi... Has anyone every taken little football league night shots.. This is my first time using my camera for sports night shots and everything came out a blurr. I am so confused about what flash would be good and what type of settings. The day shots are pretty simple for me just pretty much auto or sport shot and click but this night stuff is bumming me out... I do the web for my son's team and all the pics are taken with this camera... PLEASE ANY SUGGESTIONS WILL DO...:O

http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome....;sid=742657050

Help me continue to make this an awesome season for my kids.....
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Old Aug 20, 2008, 8:58 PM   #2
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Well... flash would be one option. But, you'd need a bright lens, too.

Most sports shooters are not going to use a flash for football. But, in order to get shutter speeds fast enough to freeze the action without a flash, you'll want to use a very bright lens, as well as high ISO speeds (with ISO 3200 often needed to stop most blur, which your Sony doesn't have). So, you'd have to try and get photos using ISO 1600 or lower.

Right now, the choices are someone limited for suitable lenses, depending on budget. One choice would be the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 (around $1700 now).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...2_8_APO_G.html

Tamron has a new 70-200mm f/2.8 coming out in Sony mount. But, it's not in stock anywhere yet:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...2_8_Di_LD.html

Sigma also has one in Sony mount coming. Adorama is taking pre-orders for it:

http://www.adorama.com/SG70200H2MAX....&item_no=4

But, even with a bright lens, you may have difficulty at a night game. You'd probably need to shoot at ISO 1600 (which can be a bit noisy) for any chance of keepers without too much blur if the players are moving much without a flash.

Using a flash can get around some of that (since the flash itself can freeze the action). But, your lenses and ISO speed settings will influence flash range.

The Sony HVL-56AM flash has a GN (Guide Number) of 183 feet at ISO 100. To determine maximum range, you divide the GN by the Aperture (your lens f/stop setting). Then, each time you double the ISO speed, flash range increases by 1.4x.

So, if you're using a lens with a brightest aperture of f/5.6 at ISO 100, your maximum range is going to be around 32.7 feet. Increasing ISO speed to 800 would give you approximately 90 feet; or go to ISO 1600 (which will be noisy) to get up to around 125 feet. IOW, you're not going to cover the field without a very bright lens and a powerful flash, even if you shoot from the sidelines.

How close will you be? What lenses do you have?

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Old Aug 20, 2008, 8:59 PM   #3
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Night shots are going to be tough, and mostly the subject is too far away for flash to help. (And you wouldn't want a flash going off in a wide receiver's face anyway.)

What you need to do is turn up the ISO setting and get a large aperture lens.

From Steve's review of the Sony A100:

"Image noise is low at speeds up to ISO 800, and noticeable but usable at ISO 1600. Overall, the A100's high-ISO noise characteristics are very good for an amateur dSLR ..."

For a website you can probably use ISO 1600 without fear, but for prints you probably wouldn't want to go higher than 800.

You didn't say what lens you're using, but if it's the Sony 75-300, that might work for daylight, but under the lights, that won't be fast enough (have a large enough maximum aperture) to permit you to use the faster shutter speeds needed to capture the action. You can try just the ISO setting for the lens you've got, but I don't think that will get you far enough. Try shooting Aperture priority, keep the aperture open as wide as possible and see how it goes. But I think you'll probably need a faster lens.
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Old Aug 20, 2008, 9:53 PM   #4
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I probably am about anywhere from 20 to 50 feet away from them.. I bought the package deal so I have the shorter lens and the I have the Sony Telephoto Zoom Lens f/4.5-f/32 and recently I bought a Tameron 2x telephoto convertor but I am not sure about this convertor...

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...uctId=11035733

Since I am a single mom I am on a very tight budget..... Also, I browse around ebay to see about flashes and stuff but I get leary sometimes.. I have seen this flash on ebay

http://cgi.ebay.com/LCD-Power-Zoom-F...d=p3286.c0.m14

And I was also, looking at this lens

http://cgi.ebay.com/500mm-Tele-Lens-...d=p3286.c0.m14

Am I making myself more confused and wasting money?

Thank you Jim and TCav... any suggestions would be awesome....





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Old Aug 20, 2008, 10:07 PM   #5
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You lose two stops of light with a 2x Teleconverter. That means only 1/4 the light gets through (meaning shutter speeds 4 times as long for any given aperture setting and ISO speed). That also means you'd lose Autofocus on a lens as dim as your 75-300mm (not enough light gets through to the Autofocus sensors), and a Teleconverter will also degrade optical quality. A TC is best used on a much brighter lens, and is certainly not suitable for something like night football, even if you had a much brighter lens. You lose too much light with one for that purpose.

As for the flash, you'd be taking your chances. Very few third party flashes are going to be fully compatible, and I'm not familiar with that vendor.

As for that 500mm lens, it's probably junk, and it's *very* dim at f/8 (suitable only for very bright light). You wouldn't have Autofocus with it either (it's manual focus only), and I suspect optical quality would be very poor, even if you were using it in bright lighting.
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Old Aug 20, 2008, 10:23 PM   #6
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Lika always Jim, YOU ROCK..

So I will try for the testing on ISO settings and also, I will look into find the HVL-f56am.. But would I still use sports setting on the camera? and should I try using any of my 35mm minolta AF lens.... I notice that when you stated f2.3 that the distance goes down? Sorry with so many questions... But if you had an opportunity to see the website, not too shabby for a newbie eheheheh but man this night shot scares me to death (not literally though) LOL. But the shots I will be taking are very much like the ones on the web except at night..:-)

Do you think just a point and shoot camera will be better? My head is so spinning...:?
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Old Aug 20, 2008, 10:24 PM   #7
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If that flash works correctly, and it's Guide Number of 42 Meters is correct, you can expect a maximum range of around 67 feet at ISO 800 (you'd need to set the camera's ISO speed that way for better flash range). That's because you'd be down to an aperture of f/5.6 when you zoom in much with your current lenses.

But, I'm not familiar with that flash or vendor and you'd be taking your chances.

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Old Aug 20, 2008, 10:32 PM   #8
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I missed your last post while I was replying about that Ebay Flash.

I've never used the scene modes, so I don't know how they'd behave. I think the Sports Mode probably just sets the Autofocus to Continuous and allows higher ISO speed settings. But, I don't know for sure.

I normally use either Aperture Priority or Manual Exposure.

What you'll need for maximum flash range is a lower f/stop number (which is a brighter aperture setting), and you'll want to set your ISO speed higher (I'd probably go with ISO 800 for a good compromise between noise and flash range).

Most of the modes (for example, Programmed Auto) are going to use the brightest available aperture in low light anyway. But, you'll need to set the ISO speed to something higher for more range. You may want to try Sports mode and see how it behaves with a flash after you get one. I'd practice with some of the different modes in similar lighting before a game to find out.

The question in my mind is what shutter speed it's going to use with flash in a given mode. If it's too slow and lets in too much ambient light (light other than the flash), you'll get motion blur. I'd see what kind of shutter speeds it sets in the same lighting prior to a game using different modes.

You may end up needing to use Manual Exposure at around f/5.6, ISO 800 and 1/180 second (the fastest sync speed the camera would support with a flash like that) for best results. That's the way I'd probably do it.

My only flashes are the type where you have to use manual exposure on the camera and set the aperture and ISO speed on the flash to match. So, I'm used to doing it differently.

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Old Aug 20, 2008, 10:40 PM   #9
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Quote:

Do you think just a point and shoot camera will be better? My head is so spinning...:?
No.

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Old Aug 21, 2008, 7:42 AM   #10
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I saw your website. Very nice. But I didn't see any game shots, so I presume that there hasen't been one yet or the ones you took didn't turn out well. Browse through the Sports & Action PhotosForum to see what others are doing; you might get some ideas.

As JimC has said, the TC won't work for you for a night game.

Football schedules don't have many games, so you've got to do as much testing as you can in a single game, yet keep things conservative so you'll get some keepers out of every batch. Becasue the light will change during the course of the game, as the sun sets, you should try different things at different times. Also, since reviewing your results on a 3 inch display is tough, if you have a laptop or a computer near the field that you can use to critique your shots, I think you should do that. You can probably get way with ISO 800 during the first half, but have to use ISO 1600 in the second half (until you get a flash.) The Sports Mode presets a bunch of things but won't necessarily do everything you need doing. You might try Continuous Autofocus (AF-C, pg. 53), Continuous drive mode (pg. 61), Aperture Priority (A, pg. 34), and use the Control Dial to keep the aperture large (small numerical value.)
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