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Thread: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

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    Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    I always have trouble with my Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights. Maybe I need a new camera!! What would be good settings for capturing action shots in a evening, lighted setting??

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    Hi and welcome to CiC,

    We tend to use first names here, as we are pretty informal, so if you look in My Profile you can include your Real Name and it will appear in the left margin.

    It would help greatly if you tell us what camera and lens combination you use but generally to get sharp action shots you need a faster shutter and this could be difficult with artifical lights and even more so if using a longer focal lenght lens. The best bet is to open the aperture as wide as it will go. This will give you the fastest shutter speed available and then start increasing the ISO until you get a shutter speed that gives you the results you want.

    Try posting a shot with the camera/lens details and settings so we can see what you are trying to do and maybe then we can be a bit more specific.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    Night field sports is arguably one of the most difficult venues in which to shoot. Of course, the shooting depends greatly on how well lit the field will be and this varies greatly from one venue to another. The exposures will vary depending on the quality of the lighting. You would want the fastest shutter speed available and this will probably mean shooting in AV with your lens wide open and bumping up the ISO as far as possible to maintain a decent shutter speed. In most venues flash is not allowed because it can momentarily blind a player.

    The general thought is that shooting night field sports requires somewhat specialized equipment including fast telephoto lenses and professional cameras which can shoot at very high ISO levels and get good results.

    As the song from Porgy and Bess goes "It Ain't Necessarily So!". Here is an example of what are IMO very acceptable night field sports (American Football) images shot with a Canon 30D (which is not exactly generally considered a camera to be used when you need high ISO levels) and a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens (which at f/4 would be considered pretty darn slow for night sports). Scroll down to the examples posted by JMAN13.

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=746074

    That said, IMO, most lenses which have variable apertures are too slow to shoot night sports. An example of these type lenses are the 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS (Kit Lens) and both the Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS lenses (including the newly released "L" model) because they become f/5.6 fairly fast as you increase the focal length.

    Additionally, many photographers want a minimum of f/2.8 when shooting night sports and for most photographers, a 1D series camera is the ticket. However, as we can see in the link above, lesser equipment used by a skilled photographer can do the job.

    I was the beneficiary of a photographer's need for faster glass. I bought two telephoto lenses, a 300mm f/4L IS and a 400mm f/5.6L, at an exceptionally good price from a professional sports photographer friend who had just landed a lucrative contract to shoot night high school football in the state of Texas and needed to upgrade to f/2.8 lenses. For members who don't know about high school football in Texas, the interest generated in that sport by Texans equals the interested shown for the recent royal wedding in the U.K!

    There are techniques which you can use for getting sharper imagery at slower shutter speeds. Some of these are: shooting at the peak of action, shooting during momentary pauses in action and panning. You also can often get a sharper image at a slower shutter speed when the action is diractly approaching or going away from the camera than when the action is going across the frame.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 14th June 2011 at 05:01 PM.

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    Re: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    Hello Peter,
    The camera I use is a Canon EOS Rebel / 300D, with a 75-300mm Stabilizer lens.
    The shutter speed goes up to 4000 and the ISO goes to 1600. What do you think would be a 'good' shutter speed to stop the action? With the ISO only going to 1600, is this really good enough for low light?
    [IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/oa822w.jpg

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    Re: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    Hello Peter,
    The camera I use is a Canon EOS Rebel / 300D, with a 75-300mm Stabilizer lens.
    The shutter speed goes up to 4000 and the ISO goes to 1600. What do you think would be a 'good' shutter speed to stop the action? With the ISO only going to 1600, is this really good enough for low light?
    [IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/oa822w.jpg

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    Re: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    Hello Richard,
    The camera I use is a Canon EOS Rebel / 300D, (maybe too old??) with a 75-300mm Stabilizer lens.
    The shutter speed goes up to 4000 and the ISO goes to 1600. I really don't know what I'm doing when adjusting the AV. Is it better for these types of shoot to max it out on the + side of things and as far as shutter speed maybe somewhere in the 800 range?? With the ISO only going to 1600, is this really good enough for low light?
    [IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/oa822w.jpg

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    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: Action Sports shots at night under the Friday night lights

    I think you might struggle with that camera. I would say that unless you have exceptional glass like a 400mm f2.8 IS lens you will need at least iso of 1600 and on your body, that is going to introduce some noise. You might be happy with the results but you probably won't be selling the images to Getty. I recently bought a 1D M iv ( the absolute top camera Canon make for sports) from a professional and he said that he always uses a 400 f2.8 for night sports. His 500 f4 was not even up to the mark in a lot of cases.

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