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mctrees02 Dec 11, 2006 2:29 PM

This is my second time shooting from field level. I didn't post anything from the first time as I wasn't very pleased with my shots. I haven't gone through all of these yet...but here are the first two (resized but showing full image). I believe both of them are 150mm ISO1600 with my Olympus e500but I will double check when I get home tonight.

JohnG Dec 11, 2006 3:49 PM

Welcome to the sports forum.

Here are a few observations on your first posts:

Photo 1: Exposure looks pretty good. But shutter speed is a bit slow - you can see motion blur in #71 I see the shutter speed was 1/125. Really you want 1/400. The aperture value was 4.5 - is that as wide as your lens will go? If not, you need to open it up all the way. Ideally you want a 2.8 lens for football so you can get the necessary shutter speeds. But the biggest challenge is: the subject just isn't very interesting (no offense if it's your son). Linemen can be tough to get an interesting photo of. If 78 is your subject you probably want to get a shot of him actually blocking, rather than missing a block. If 71 is your subject, he is out of focus and you should try to get a shot of him from the front.

On the second shot - this photo just looks wrong. Did you try to add blur in post processing? It just looks very wrong that the quarterback's torso is in focus and everything else is not (except for the calf of the defender which inexplicably is also in focus). Again, shutter speed is way too slow - 1/60 this time.So I'm guessing the 'wrongness' is a combinationof motion blur and camera shake. If you shot at ISO 1600 (I can't tell, I don't have my normal EXIF viewer here at work), that's 3 stops too slow. Without flash you need ISO 3200 and a 2.8 flash to get this shot in that lighting. Even that will be tough. In lighting that bad, a flash may be necessary.

That's the tough thing about sports - night time football especially requires some fairly pricey gear to get the shot.Unfortunately your camera can't go to 3200 (at least I don't believe it can) - so the best you can do is to get a 2.8 lens and a flash for next season.

Advice for next steps depends on what your goal is: shooting varsity football or shooting sports? If your goal is to shoot varsity football under the lights, I'm afraid you really need a Camera with ISO 3200 ability AND A 2.8 lens and probably a flash as well (sometimes it takes all 3). If your goal is just to shoot sports, I would suggest shooting daytime sports - where the camera's high iso limitations and the lens' aperture limitations won't hurt you so much.

mctrees02 Dec 11, 2006 9:31 PM

I checked the others and they were shot at ISO 800...not ISO 1600. This one is shot at ISO 1600 f4.5 1/250 @ 150mm. I have a feeling that during nights games, this is about as good as my camera can capture...outside of improvingthecamera shake (my own fault). I don't like shooting with this setup at ISO 1600 as I end up with a lot of noise in my pictures. It's bad enough at ISO 800...and even worse here. I don'tyethaveany pp software so I'm limited on the editing capabilities that I currently have. I just bought the camera a few weeks ago so I'm still working with the two kit lenses that come with it.

While shooting football at night isn't my primary goal, it's where I've been able to spend most of my time lately as 1) football is the major sport in Texas from August until Christmas and 2) by the time I get off work I can't really do much else. This is my first run with a dSLR so I'm trying a lot of different things with my limited equipment and learning what I'm doing right and wrong. I do plan to get a flash and (hopefully) a bigger lens by next fall as I'll be doing some side work for the Dallas Morning News on Friday nights reporting games...and I'd like to be able to include some photos with my reports as well.I do have some other shots that I took one day at the neighborhood park when the Mexican soccer league was still in session. It was on Thanksgiving and I took them off my camera and haven't even gone through those pictures yet. I will look at some of those and post them for review when I have a chance.

Thanks for the critique...

JohnG Dec 12, 2006 7:50 AM

Well, I wish you luck. You're finding out the hard way that shooting sports is very demanding of the equipment (not to mention the photographer). And night time football is probably one of the most demanding areas there is in sports photography. So, there is no 'cheap' way to do it. You absolutely need a 2.8 lens. I don't know if Olympus has something like a 70-200 2.8 lens (constant 2.8 aperture throughout the focal range). That is pretty much the starter lens for any serious sports shooting. Even with that, you'll have to use ISO 1600 (and unfortunately that's where the Olympus camera is very limiting as it has very poor high ISO performance).

It's also why I suggest shooting day sports. You can shoot some very decent day sports with less expensive equipment but as you can see the results trying to shoot night sports with inexpensive equipment isn't very encouraging.

Best of luck!

mctrees02 Dec 12, 2006 12:14 PM

One other question...once I improve my equipment for night there enough pp available that can reduce the noise significantly? Thanks again.

Mark1616 Dec 12, 2006 12:45 PM

Just to add to what John has said and to help you out a little. If you have a good exposure at ISO1600 then with something like noiseware pro you will be able to do a pretty good job of reducing the noise levels while maintaining quite a bit of detail. As soon as you under expose then things get far more difficult.

As for the lens on the Olympus you are looking at very expensive toys that would make it more cost effective to change systems completely. The 2 options you have at the moment are the 35-100mm f2.0 (70-200mm equiv in 35mm terms) which is about $3,000 and the 90-250mm f2.8 (180-500mm equiv in 35mm terms) which is more like $6,000. For your $3,000 you can get a Canon 30D and Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 (112-320mm equiv in 35mm terms) which will give you a good starting setup if you want to do sportslots. This is the combo I use (have a look at My Website) and I really get on well with it.

JohnG Dec 12, 2006 12:49 PM

There are some great software tools available for noise reduction. Noiseware, Neatimage and Noise Ninja are 3 of the most popular (I use Noiseware myself).

But, it's a tricky thing. When you remove noise, you also remove image detail. A common misstep is to apply too much noise reduction - and things start to look like plastic - they lose all texture. So, you still want to have less noise to start out with. The camera, itself, plays a part in that - different cameras handle noise better than others. But, beyond that, you can reduce noise by getting the exposure correct in-camera. If your shot is underexposed, when you correct the exposure in pp, you'll see a dramatic increase in noise. It's' not an issue at lower ISOs, but when you're using 1600 and 3200 the increase in noise can be substantial.

Now, on my Canon 20D, the metering is designed to protect highlights so I typically find that my low-light shots were underexposed by about 2/3 stops (because the camera is trying to protect a hot spot on the uniform rather than the face of the player) and in bright daylight it could be almost 2 stops. So, the key is to try and eexpose for faces as much as possible. But, strictly from a noise standpoint, you'll have less noise if you don't have to improve your exposure in PP.

Some of the products I mentioned have free trials or free versions - you might try them and see which you like before buying one.

Here's a couple ISO 3200 pictures cleaned up in Noiseware:

JohnG Dec 12, 2006 12:51 PM


WOW - I didn't know the Oly lense were so over the top expensive. You're absolutely right - it would be cheaper to change systems - get a better sports camera and less expensive lenses.

Mark1616 Dec 12, 2006 12:53 PM

I know, I couldn't believe it. I think the numbers I gave were about right as I used the price over here and converted roughly to USD. However I would love a 35-100mm f2 for my Canon LOL.:cool:

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