View Full Version : Shooting Highschool Football Games
10-15-2007, 08:04 PM
I have a Canon Rebel XT with a 100mm - 400mm lense to get up close. When shooting at night with the stadium lights on, what settings should I use to get non blurry, colorful photos? My ISO is at 1600, shutterspeed was at 125, and Aperture Value was at about 5.6. The Pictures were blurry at the tips of the figures hands and feet. Many great action shots of mine were blurry, which left me a bit dissapointed. I was on Autofocus, which I think might have been a problem. Any help or suggestions? I dont want the hired professionals to be the onyl ones who can take good pictures for our yearbook.
10-16-2007, 02:23 AM
I assume that you are shooting at night underneath the stadium lights.
To successfully stop a sport at night you need at least 170+ shutter. Or have a monster flash attached to your camera. It's ashamed that you can only open your apeture to 5.6, 4.0 or bigger would really help you.
Also are you using a monopod to steady the camera?
Image Stabilizer lenses really come in handy for sports photography.
10-16-2007, 03:34 PM
When I shot football I had two set ups.
I had a 200 f/2.8 and a 300 2.8 shooting with 1600 ASA usually getting 1/250th sec. Usually got pretty good results and depending on the athlete, I got a little motion blur.
The other system was with a 70-300 f/4 - 5.6 using a Vivitar 285 or a Metz CT-4 60 shooting at 1/125th second at 400 ASA
I usually like the flash shots better, but the teams weren't always crazy about it.
In sports, the higher the speed the better.
10-16-2007, 07:47 PM
Yes under the stadium lights. I first used a tri-pod, which had great results, but again slightly blurry at the edges of the figures. I switched to a mono-pod and it got a bit worse. In the daytime, the Rebel XT shoots great action pictures with little to no blur at all. At night, when our most important games occur, its a slightly different story. We cant invest in a monster flash, and we just bought the Zoom EF 100mm-400mm lens, its a Canon ET-83C. Our Rebel XT's can only go to a 5.6 Aperature I believe. Actually, for some reason, some of our cameras say they can go to 4.0, yet when i take a picture it suddenly changes to 5.6 or when I put in a media card. Weird?
10-16-2007, 07:58 PM
duff, a lot of times, the lens will claim f/4. That is only at the widest focal length though, as you zoom in the aperture number will go higher.
Unless the lens is 2.8 constant or 4.0 constant then it will change throughout the focal lengths
10-18-2007, 12:05 AM
Have you ever tried an experiement with longer shutter speeds from a tripod-mounted camera? You can get a little artistic with the results.
But if these are for your local newspaper, then you shouldn't be too concerned about a little blur. The half-tone printing will reduce the quality of the image anyways. (unless you print in color).
My advice is not to fret over it too much that a hand or a foot is a little blurred. It's football, a fast game (well not too much at the High School level). A blurred foot or hand, in my opinion, is better than a frozen athlete. The blur implies motion instead of a football player frozen on the field.
Hope I made sense?
10-19-2007, 04:07 PM
I have the same problem shooting under lights, horses rather than footballers. Using flash just isn't an option so it's a case of go with what you can! I have tried with a few setups, none of which are particularly sucessful for various reasons:
My favourite lens is canon 70-200L f4, but indoors even at 1600 iso you struggle to get a fast enough shutter speed. 3200 iso works better but is very noisy - I presume the rebel has this option too (I use a 20D).
I sometimes use my 100-400L f4.5-5.6 IS, despite it being a stop slower, the IS works well & you can get a tighter image so less cropping & the noise can be diserpated when you reduce the image size
I've also got a Sigma 28-70 2.8 EX. This wins hands down on the speed stakes provided you can get close enough to you subject to frame it well enough. I use this all the time for indoor showjumping - it's the only thing I've managed to get any decent images with & becouse you know the track the horses are going to take you can position yourself accordingly.
Unfortunatley my bank balance wont run to the 70-200 2.8 atm :(
Are you handholding - if so a monopod is worth the few $$ to get a bit more stability. It won't increase the shuttespeed but at full focal length on your setup (640mm equivalent) you shouldn't be handholding at anything less than 1/500th using the old rule of thumb.
Maybe I missed it but at the risk of sound silly, are you shooting from the grandstands or the sidelines? Get to the sidelines or end-zone. I think you have way too much lens to attempt shooting at night. Drop down to your 200 to 300mm lens. Go for quality rather than closeup images. Then crop them tight and you will have much better photographs. If you can afford a lens with optics the size of a paper plate your problem is solved, if not give this a try. Let us now how this works.
01-03-2008, 05:24 AM
For HS football I use my 70-200 f/2.8 and my 300 f/2.8 and some times I add a kenko 1.4x tc on to them. On the 30D I will usually be wide open, 1/400th, iso 3200. I usually set up a remote on the goal post with the same settings but with a 580exII on top. I have set up a few strobes around the field but it can get dicey leaving a $1000 studio strobe unprotected.
Your best bet would be to take a light reading in several places over the feild and find a average setting.
01-03-2008, 07:29 AM
Sounds like you need a faster lens. One thing you could try is renting one from your local pro shop. I know they don't charge too much for rentals here. At least rent one and see what kind of a difference it makes. If you can't, then open up your aperture as wide as it goes and push your ISO higher if you can. (Although I think 1600 is max for the rebel?) You'll get noise at high ISO but if you look at any of the pro sports photos, they are usually pretty noisy anyway.
Good glass is the best option, but not always an affordable one.
01-03-2008, 03:45 PM
IF you can rent (great suggestion Colin) then you can get real fast.
You might be able to find a 180 f/2 or a 135 1.8 that would let you capture more of a scene and allow you some great sideline shots too.
Get a second body too, that's always an option. Rent a camera that pushes to 3200 or 6400 to boost your shutter speed.
01-03-2008, 07:01 PM
Wow, this is kind of an old thread to resurrect, I'll still put my 2 cents in however. Like most everyone else said, what you really want is fast glass. You mentioned that you thought auto focus was the problem. it was not. Everyone shoots sports in auto focus, unless it is really really dark. You do however want to set your focus to AI servo. Also drop down to 1 single auto focus point, with this combination you can place your one active auto focus point on your subject and hold the shutter halfway down. The AI servo focus will continually focus your shot until you get the composition you want, then take your shot.
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