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Thread: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

  1. #1
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    Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    I have a Canon digital rebel and was wondering if anyone had any advice on which lens is best for taking football or lacrosse action photos at night?

    Any info you can provide would be helpful!

    Thanks

    Buck

  2. #2
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    Re: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    Which Canon Rebel (300D, 350D, 400D, 450D)? Knowing this will help assess the camera's high ISO noise performance. It would also help to know whether you will be able to take these photos from the sideline or not. I am also assuming that this is American football...? Is budget a big factor?

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    Re: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    The end result and required quality of the photographs is an important factor as well. If you are using the end product for high-profile print applications (Sport Illustrated for example) you will obviously need far better equipment than if it is you neighbour's nephew's grandson who's playing assistant waterboy, and you've been asked to take a couple of pictures.

    In all seriousness however, you will want the fastest glass you can afford, ideally an f2.8 zoom in the 100-300mm range. Anything slower than an f4 is probably not going to be all that useful. Regardless, this is going to be an expensive purchase.

    If you will always be working in the same venue(s) take your camera and your general use lens and meter the different areas from where you would likely be working. That will allow you to calculate the ideal speed/apeture combinations. Remeber you'll want at least 1/250 sec shutter speed to freeze the action.

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    Re: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    tirediron,

    will IS help to get down for those?
    I just read some canon doc on IS and how you could gain like 3 stops by using them.
    would that be something to consider? (mostly ask because might be cheaper to get an IS lens with a limitation of F4 than getting a f2.8 zomm lens...or maybe not.. just a thought)

    Thanks
    Vincent

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    xeliex's Avatar
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    Re: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    Vincent
    While IS allows you to use a slower shutter speed, it does nothing to slow down the players. Motion blur might be a problem if a fast enough shutter speed is not used (as tirediron mentions) On the other hand, getting the right focus at very large apertures such as f/2.8 is another challenge by itself.

    However, if you have the XSi which I believe has superior higher ISO IQ, you might get away with a smaller aperture lens (ie:f/4) at the same required shutter speed (by cranking up the ISO).

    I am not sure about the required range/focal length though. Probably 200mm or more should be ok since your Rebel has a ~1.6 crop factor which will provide you "higher magnification."

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    Re: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    Something else I would suggest is the purchase of a good monopod (which you will often see the pros using at sporting events). This will alow you to hold the camera in a more steady manner, and allow you to track the action as well.

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    New Member Dwaine's Avatar
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    Re: Night Sports Photography... What lens is best?

    I shoot in a lot of low light including night football and indoor poorly lighted gyms. Over the past four years I have retired my early Rebel STI to also available. Presently my grandson is cutting his proverbial photography teeth using it. First I upgraded to the Canon 70 X 200 F/2.8L IS Mach II. Two years ago I added 17 X 35 F/2.8 IS. Then a friend loaned me his Canon 7D for an evening of dark gym wrestling. That settled that! I immediately needed the 7D to work behind my good glass. Recently I have upgraded the body to the 7D. Based on what I have discovered this is the most quality I believe I will ever be holding in my hands. I now borrow back my Rebel to use as a backup but have actually never used it since getting the upgrades. I agree one should have a good monopod first. The wish list might include another lens and/or a doubler. However one can cover the low light sports very nicely with two lenses and a good body. I am seventy six years old following my grandchildren through college and high school sports activities. The information preceding my post is very good. I am happy to have found this site. That's my two cents worth.

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