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Football Blurry pics


Hello from a newbie.  I have a Canon Rebel T7i.  I have been using my 75-300mm lens to capture my son’s high school football game.  They are now a 7-0 team and are going to the playoffs, for sure.  It’s my son’s senior year, so I don’t want any more lost shots to blur.  I am struggling with capturing non-blurry action shots.  I realize I need to get out of these auto programs into manual mode.  The fields are well lit, as they have to be for football.  I had a suggestion from another "fairly new to photgraphy" person of 1/400 on the shutter speed (this camera’s range is from 30 to 1/4000).  That seems slow to me, given that the range is so vast.  Should it be quicker?  I also had the suggestion of the aperture at 8?  Does that sound right?  I am having difficulties trying to decide leaving ISO on auto or setting it.  Any suggestions?


@wq9nsc wrote:



Thanks for your kind words!


The lens is the most critical and a good f2.8 lens like the EF 70-200 f2.8 on a lower level DSLR body will provide better results than a slower 70-300 or similar on a 1DX series body.  A 1DX model and fast lens are a great combination but if I chose one or the other I would go with good glass over a better camera body in a heartbeat.


And an often overlooked low cost Canon lens is the EF 85 f1.8 which can do a very good job for night and indoor sports when you are close enough particularly since it provides a 135mm on an APS C body.   The 70-200 f2.8 is a much better and more versatile choice but at around $300 new it is a very capable lens for poor light, at one point I shot a bunch of indoor soccer with it and if you can get sidelines or near sidelines access in football then a lot of good shots are within its focal length capability.



I had wanted to recommend that lens, but I really dislike the lens hood because it doesn't lock in place.  It is free to spin, and the average bump can knock off the lens.  Otherwise, it is probably a great lens for night football.


I think the 70-200mm has the more versatile range of focal lengths.  But, this camera really needs the wider aperture for night football.  The 85mm prime will require that you use your feet to "zoom" in and out of a scene.

"The right mouse button is your friend."



That lens hood is a cheap design but I don't recall mine falling off.  Maybe a little bit of tape would secure it during action?  You will see broadcast crews using a number of solutions to fine tune their gear to avoid design/user interface issues.


I found when using two cameras with one of them on a Black Rapid side strap that when I was switching cameras rapidly during basketball I would sometimes accidentally hit the auto / manual focus switch on my EF 300 f2.8 lens.  After dealing with that a few times the first game, I put a tiny ball of plumber's putty in the recess to prevent me from accidentally turning off AF.  A cheap solution that leaves no marks on the lens.  It isn't a Canon design fault but just something I found was going on with my grip when rapidly switching between it and the other body.  I wish that there was as easy a solution for the arrow on the side of DPP to make the adjustment controls panel appear/disappear.  During a longer session with DPP I am sure to bump that a few times while trying to scroll through correction controls.  I have never felt the need to knowingly make that section disappear but I would love to make the disappear button disappear permanently.


At the other hood extreme, the included Canon lens hood for my EF 800 f5.6 is made from carbon fiber and the replacement price is $700 just for the hood.  My Corvette Z06 has a carbon fiber hood and it probably doesn't cost a lot more than the much smaller Canon carbon fiber hood and  it also looks nicer  🙂





EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Check your mail for a recall notice.  I heard something over the weekend about the Z-06 Corvette's

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Thanks Waddizzle, there is an old recall out for previous generation Z06 models for a roof issue and the current C8 generation (no Z06 in that one yet) has a recall for the "frunk" opening but no outstanding recalls show for my 2016 by model or VIN.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

"These guys are real pros, and rodger always has the best footbal pics."


Absolutely, he is amazing.  He has does the things that result in great sports photos.  He knows the sport, he has good places to shoot from and he has top of the line gear. Whether he knows it or not, his work is SI quality.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Thanks Ernie, I really appreciate your comments.  But every time I look at Peter Read Miller's book I am humbled.  I have never been a fan of motion blur sports photos EXCEPT he has one of a high dive shot from above that is so beautifully captured that looking at the image gives you a sense of vertigo.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Let's talk about lenses for jdmcpherson specifically. We all know her lens is a poor choice for night time football,  We have all seen this exact scenario many times as Canon has sold tons of Rebel with that lens combo. and, for normal decent lighting condition it works well enough.

The Rebel T7i can do a decent job. Our school photography department uses them for the paper and yearbook and such.


So, what lens do we see thsi Mon buying?  My schools choice is the Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 G2 model. I think it is a good choice for jdmcpherson, too. I would choose giving up 100mm of FL for the faster constant f2.8 aperture. I fear much more of a higher cost lens may not be acceptable but if it is? 


What say you?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!



The Tamron 70-200 2.8 provides the best all purpose focal length and aperture range for a wide range of sports and I agree with your advice.  I have never been at a high school football game without a 70-200 f2.8 on one of the camera bodies.  On an APS C Rebel body it provides a very good focal length range if she can get anywhere close to the field itself.


And the season is moving along quickly in places where HS football is actually being played so don't wait to buy 🙂





EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

"And the season is moving along quickly in places where HS football is actually being played so don't wait to buy"


Man, this is so important.  Just how much are the memories worth to you?  Most of the time you get one shot at a memory. Kids grow up so fast.  I get no greater satisfaction than when I do Senior photos and parents so happy to have them years later. There are a lot of photographers that just shoot for money but some of us do it with a passion to make people happy.  If you want to make a photographer happy give him/her a call years later and say how much you cherish the photos.


Recently I had a bride, six years later, tell me they had a fire and lost everything.  She wanted to know if by chance I still had some of her wedding photos. I did.  I remade an album. She cried! 

Made my day. Smiley Happy



EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

" I read where someone suggested you use Tv mode.  That is wrong because we already know the lens is the weak link here. You need to use Av mode and set the lens to its widest aperture.  Then the camera can select the fastest SS possible. Why is it this way? Because that lens will be at its widest aperture most likely all the time anyway. I also would select a high fixed ISO number. Try a high as you can get decent photos, say 1600 or even 3200."


My recommendation to use Tv and Auto ISO in this situation (very low lighting intensity) is based on the following:


1. reviewing the EXIF data for the posted image shows the following : f/4.5, 1/125, ISO 6400 135mm focal length. If Av was the choice with ISO 3200 fixed the shutter speed would need to be 1/60 with the current lens. The Tamron is a good recommendation. Going with an f/2.8 lens could put the SS back to about 1/125, but still  not enough to stop action or even avoid motion blur. 


2. with Tv and Auto ISO we would still have max f/stop, a selected shutter speed fast enough to stop action and a camera selected ISO that would give a correct exposure.


John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic
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