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New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-16-2018

HELP needed

I am using a Canon EOS Rebel T3 with a Canon Zoom Lens EF 75-300mm 1: 4-5.6 III. I have always used my Canon in sports mode, as I am not sure how to set up the camera to allow more lighting while keeping pictures from becoming more blurred. I have tried the techniques to keep my body still, and have tried a tripod with no success. As we are now playing at night, due to time change, my pictures have a very poor quality. Help with settings, or another lens that would work better would be appreciated.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: HELP needed

There are limits to what you can expect sports mode to do. Your camera is not one that gives good image quality at the high ISO settings needed to shoot action in low light and that lens is known as one of Canon’s poorest in image quality as well as being limited in low light due to having a smaller aperture for letting in light. 


What sport is it?


To understand the conundrum you face in low light with fast action watch a couple of free tutorial videos on “the exposure triangle” in YouTube to see how the 3 variables you can control (shutter speed, aperture size and ISO sensitivity) act together and against each other to give you a properly exposed shot. Then get out of using automatic sports mode and start shooting in shutter priority mode. 


See if if you can get closer to the action and depending on the sport consider buying a better faster lens and maybe get away with a shorter focal length to keep price down. A 135mm prime maybe. 


A camera upgrade would help but not as much as the lens upgrade. A newer crop camera like a t6i or T7i will perform better in low light than your current crop camera does but not as much better as a big aperture lens would help. 


Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 949
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: HELP needed

[ Edited ]

Scotty provides great advice and if you can't swing the cost of a 135 F2 right now if you can get close enough to the action the very inexpensive Canon 85MM F1.8 can work decently.  It has OK sharpness even wide open although that improves when it is stepped down slightly.  I am confident it will focus at least as fast as your current zoom and it should be significantly faster focusing in low light with its much wider aperture.  Before I upgraded equipment it was the lens that worked best with my old 1D Mark II body for horribly lit indoor soccer.  With an 85mm lens, even on a crop body, you need to get close to the action but it will provide very usable images in lighting conditions that are completely beyond the capability of your slower zoom lens on that body.


When upgrading lenses do so for the future because a good lens will be useful long after the body itself has become technologically obsolete.  If there is any chance you will go with a full frame body in the future then avoid EF-S lenses which only work with a crop body like your current Rebel.  If Canon makes the lens length and aperture that you need then my preference is to go with Canon over the third party suppliers.


You will likely have the most success setting your Rebel to choose aperture priority (Av mode).  Manually set your ISO to the highest that provides a usable image (probably 3,200 but maybe 6,400 will work with your camera body), set the lens wide open (its lowest number F stop), and then the camera will choose the shutter speed necessary to provide a proper exposure.  You could also try full manual mode also setting your shutter speed manually in addition to the aperture.  1/500 will freeze a lot of soccer and football action but certainly not all plays (like a player rapidly approaching your position) and 1/250 can catch some nice images when things are temporarily frozen (quarterback dropped into the pocked and stationary while waiting for the receiver to get in position, a soccer player who has paused dribbling before switching direction).  But until you gain more experience I think that ISO to maximum usable and lens wide open with the camera choosing shutter speed will provide the most "keepers".


Experiment some before the next game choosing a low light setting to see how high you can push the ISO without losing too much image quality. If you get there before the game you may find another photographer who has a bit more experience willing to help you out.  For football games I will get there in time for the team's pre-game warm-up and to talk with the coaches before the game starts and during that time I will take a few shots but then once the team leaves the field there is downtime until the game is ready to start.  I have helped several parents with setting up their camera along with some quick tips on capturing images of "their" players.  With your current setup you aren't going to be able to capture fast action shots in low light but there are a lot of good images to be captured including post-play celebration, interactions between coaches and players, player expressions and interactions on the sidelines, etc.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
Posts: 12,505
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: HELP needed

"I am using a Canon EOS Rebel T3 with a Canon Zoom Lens EF 75-300mm 1: 4-5.6 III."


OK, here is the 3 most important things you need to consider.  They are location, location and location.  Yeah, it is where you shoot from more that what gear you are using. The best affordable sports lens for most of us is the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 for Canon. It isn't any faster, really, than the lens you already have.  It is way better however. Unless you have a spare wheelbarrow full of cash you can't buy a better lens for sports.


Next, when I shoot sports, I use Av and I fix the lens at a more open aperture I.E. f5 or f6.3 (for the big Tammy). When conditions become more challenging, you need to abandon the 'auto' modes like 'Sports'. You tell the T3 what you want it to do. With Av you fix the aperture and let the camera select the fastest SS it can. Set the ISO at 1600 but don't be afraid to change it if necessary. That is the limit of the ability of the camera.  All cameras and lenses have a limit to what they can do.


Back to the most important part, location.  Where are you shooting from?  The sidelines, good.  Able to roam the sidelines, great. From the bleachers, bad.  Lastly, know the game.  That's right learn how the game is played.  This way you act and don't re-act to the plays.  If you constantly re-act to sports, you will never be a good sports photographer no matter how good your gear is.


My personal gear I use for most sports is my 1DX and Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Lens. I don't have that wheelbarrow full of money any longer! 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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