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Old Jun 26, 2008, 12:49 PM   #31
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Proper exposure is a function of three variables:
  • Aperture - the amount of light that passes through the lens to the sensor. [/*]
  • Shutter Speed -the amount of time the sensor is exposed to light. [/*]
  • ISO Setting -The sensitivity of the sensor to light.[/*]
You want to shoot football (fast moving subjects) under less than ideal lighting conditions. Because the subjects are moving fast, you need a fast shutter speed in order to get sharp photos; otherwise, the subjects in your photos will have a lot of motion blur.

Every time you double the ISO setting (go from 800 to 1600, or from 1600 to 3200), you can half the shutter speed (go from 1/30 to 1/60, or from 1/60 to 1/125).

Every time you open up the aperture a full f-stop (go from f/5.6 to f/4.0, or from f/4.0 to f/2.8 ), you can half the shutter speed (go from 1/60 to 1/125, or from 1/125 to 1/250).

You want the fastest shutter speed you can get, so you want the highest ISO setting and the largest aperture you can get.

Plus, large aperture lenses have another benefit for what you want to do. Large apertures reduce the depth of field, accentuating your subject. A large aperture lens willgreatly increase the quality of the types of photos you want to take, and in some cases, just make them possible.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 6:00 PM   #32
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Thanks. I think I'll spend the extra money on the 40d. In reality it is only another $150 than the d80 (plus a 2.8 lens.)

Being right in the middle of baseball will give me lots of good daylight shots to learn from (along with maybe a class as well) so by the time Football rolls around I will be ready to tackle the next obstacle of lighting.

Thanks to all of you for your help. Once I get a few photos under my belt maybe I'll post a few here for your review.


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Old Jun 26, 2008, 6:05 PM   #33
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That sounds like a great choice. The 40D is a well liked camera, it's got some nice advantages over the other models you've considered for sports use (AF system, frame rate, build quality and more), and you don't have to buy all of your lenses at once to get started.

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Old Jun 26, 2008, 6:17 PM   #34
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Baseball is going to be different.

First, in Football, most of the action is concentrated in one small area, but in baseball, the action could be anywhere, though mostly in the infield.

Second, you are more likely to get closer to the sidelines than you are to thebaselines (though both are probably equally dangerous.[suB] :-)[/suB])

Third, Baseball will likely be be played under better lighting (as in, during the day.) MLB can put up more lights higher to illuminate pop flys,etc., than high schools, so high schools schedule games to end earlier.

So, for Baseball, you probably could use something longer, but might not need something as fast as the 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses we've been discussing.

I, of course, defer to JohnG on this, but for baseball, you might be able to get away with a Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO or a Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro, andboth go for less than $200.
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Old Jun 26, 2008, 11:04 PM   #35
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How do I know if the aftermarket lenses are IS or will that be exclusive to CANON?
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 4:42 AM   #36
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robertpilote wrote:
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How do I know if the aftermarket lenses are IS or will that be exclusive to CANON?
Just as Canon identifies it's optically stabilized lenses with 'IS' and Nikon uses 'VR', Sigma uses 'OS' and Tamron uses 'VC'. Tokina doesn't have any stabilized lenses.

Telephoto lenses are where you will benefit from image stabilization, more so than wide angle lenses. But for sports, you'll be panning following the action. Some think that image stabilization is of little value when panning, but I disagree.

See my http://api.photoshop.com/home_321ba3...77a1b4573534f7

or http://api.photoshop.com/home_321ba3...858d4112171fcf

A 70-200/2.8 is a big, heavy lens, and a stabilized version will be even more so. A 75-300/4.0-5.6 will be smaller and lighter, stabilized or not. You would probably benefit from having a monopod for the 70-200, which could provide some stabilization, but not while panning.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 10:53 AM   #37
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So now we're down to lenses. Here in lies the next problem. There are 3 components to successful sports shooting:

1. Photographer skill / experience

2. Right camera body

3. Right lens

#1 you have to start at the beginning just like the rest of us. Only time will tell whether you have an aptitude for sports shooting or not. You won't find out until you try.

#2 you've chosen one of the 2 best prosumer sports cameras on the market today. So, you're good to go.

#3 - this is the rub. Put cheap tires on a race car and it doesn't matter if you have a good engine or not, the performance will suck. It's that way with sports photography and lenses. Bad camera / good lens = poor results. Good camera / bad lens = poor results. That's why I'm telling you this BEFORE you spend your money. I am not a fan of the lenses TCav suggested. There's a reason they're < $200. They're fine for casual photographers that really don't shoot anything difficult they just want more 'reach' for their snapshots. You want to do a fairly difficult thing - take sports photos. The only time I would ever recommend one of those lenses for sports is if you are considering it a throw-away investment. I.E. for this season use that lens because you can't afford better. But with the understanding that next seasono you'll be buying a better lens. The least expensive lens I would recommend is the Canon 70-300 IS USM ($560). You are free to buy one of the <$200 lenses but at least you've been warned ahead of time the quality will be poor. You should also realize that outside the fence, 300mm is very short for baseball. You will not be able to acceptably cover the entire infield. For outfield you can really only cover the corner outfielder nearest you (assuming you slide down the fence and are positioned to shoot the outfield - you can't stay in one place with 300mm lens and shoot both infield and outfield well) and maybe the center fielder depending on where they make the play. And remember you want faces in shots not backs of heads so positioning yourself BEHIND the outfielders isn't very useful so you have to be on the SIDE of them.

So, please realize that going in. Before you spend your cash, you are already limited by the fact you can't get on the field. So a 400mm or 500mm lens wouldbe more appropriate. But then you're talking $1000 plus for a lens long enough.AND, said lens will not be 2.8 so it won't be any use for your football.

I will reiterate my advice of earlier - before you buy a lens, do some searches and ask some questions - here, at dpreview.com, fredmiranda.com, dgrin.com of other sports shooters. Seewho has shots of baseball with a lens you're considering buying. Then you can judge for yourself whether the quality is good enough for YOU. And you'll know it BEFORE you make your purchase. Again, LOTS and LOTS ofpeople out there shooting sports. A TON of them using Canon. So you should be able to find someone shooting baseball with any lens you're considering. If you can't find someoneusing that lens it should be a BIG red flag.

I just wanted you to understand - good (not great, but good) sports photos require all 3 elements above.For baseball, the 'right' lens is made more difficult because you'll be forced to shoot from so far away. For football it's made difficult because of poor lighting. Not trying to discourage you - just educate you.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 1:36 PM   #38
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Thanks. The 40d package comes with a 75-300 lens but I can upgrade to the 70-300 is lense for $400.00

Do I need to spend the money for the 18-35mm lens to be IS as well?

I guess your question brings me back to one of my points- An expensive camera and lens does not make a great photographer. Hence my reluctance about the 2.8 requirement. I know that ultimatley that is what I need, but I doubt that I can shoot at 3200 and still produce a decent shot at my skill level without too much noise.




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Old Jun 27, 2008, 2:02 PM   #39
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robertpilote wrote:
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I guess your question brings me back to one of my points- An expensive camera and lens does not make a great photographer. Hence my reluctance about the 2.8 requirement. I know that ultimatley that is what I need, but I doubt that I can shoot at 3200 and still produce a decent shot at my skill level without too much noise.

The ISO 3200 is really the least of your worries. From a skill standpoint, the amount of noise in a photo is controlled by getting a proper exposure. The camera plays a big part, but you've already chosen a camera that has good 3200 performance. So your part is to get a proper exposure. The GOOD news is - that's easier for nighttime football than it is for daytime baseball. It is MUCH more difficult to get proper exposure in sunlight than in artificial light. We can talk you through how to set up proper exposure for a football game - it isn't that difficult.

You'll have a harder time getting proper exposure for baseball. You'll be at a lower ISO so noise won't be as big of a problem but shadows and blown highlights WILL be.

What IS difficult for football is your technique. And that's independent of ISO. And it's true of both baseball and football. First and foremost anticipating the action and positioning yourself so you can capture it. Remember 200mm lens is only good for 25 yards of coverage FROM YOUR SHOOTING POSITION. So, what players do you want to photograph? Where is the best position - at line of scrimmage, down field or in the backfield? When should you move to the endzone vs stay on the sideline?

After you're in the right position THEN comes the problem of finding your subject and tracking them. With a camera plastered to your face and with tight framing you don't have the benefit of the field of view your eyes normally give you. So you can't see everything that's going on.

Then comes the challenge of aquiring and tracking focus. Guess what? Even the best cameras aren't magical. You'll have a focus point or points. Not only do you need to keep that point on your subject (if it slips off suddenly you focus on the referee 5 yards away and your shot is ruined) you want to keep it on an area of CONTRAST on your subject. AND, to facilitate that focusing and to get quality shots you want that subject filling a large (think 3/4) of the frame - which makes your field of view very small again.

People who have never shot sports before underestimate this field of view issue. With the naked eye, sitting in the stands it's pretty easy to follow action of a football game. You can take in 60 or 70 yards of the field. But when you're tightly framed in on your subject suddenly you're looking at a 5-10 yard field of view. Especially difficult on pass plays. Trying to switch from covering the quarterback to a receiver 20 yards down field is VERY, VERY difficult.

Now, back to the noise - even with that camera and even with proper exposure you will have noise. You then need to apply a quality noise reduction product. The noise reduction in normal photo editing software is not quality. You want a speciallized product - Noiseware, Neatimage or NoiseNinja are the top 3 products.

So, you are right to be warry of the complexities of shooting sports from a skillset standpoint. But for the wrong reasons. The low light of football forces you into expensive gear. But it's actually fairly easy to get a correct exposure. You'll have a lot more exposure issues with baseball or daytime football than you will with nighttime football (because the lighting is constant within an area of the field).

I'll close with this. In case you haven't guessed, there's more to sports shooting than meets the eye. And each sport has it's own challenges. The only way to get decent shots at any sport is to practice and get experienced advice from those that have been there and done that. That advice is usually sport specific. How you shoot baseball is completely different than how you shoot football for instance. So, you've got a learning curve for either. Night football isn't more difficult to shoot if you have the right gear it's just different than baseball. But it's certainly reasonable to say: I don't have enough money to shoot BOTH well so I'll invest the money in lenses that maximize one over the other. In that regard you could decide to invest more in the baseball than the football.
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 10:58 PM   #40
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John-

Thanks again for all your adivce and wisdom. I know that a few pointers here and there certainly aren't going to prevent me from taking LOTS ANS LOTS of poor quality pictures during the learning curve, but it helps to know that I am at least moving in the direction with the equipment.

I have no doubts that the dance a photographer must perform in shooting sports takes not equipment but experience to master. I would be willing to guess that that is a life long educational experience and with "2 strikes against me" (sorry...had to do it) at least when I do end up in the right place in the right time for the shot I won't have equipment that would under perform.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to be into the equipment for at least $1800.00 by the time I have at least a starter lens for sports (300mm) the housing and something other than a walmart bag to carry it around. This kind of blows my budget out of the water, but I think I can absorb the initial investment.

Anyone here ever bought from "Digicombos?" Still not sure on a source for my purchase yet.


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