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

Need help with low light nighttime sports photos

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.
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 942
Registered: ‎11-19-2017

Re: Need help with low light nighttime sports photos

Greetings,

There is no substitute for more light (except more light).  Seriously.  Your F4.5 lens will struggle when using higher shutter speeds to capture action in low light.  There is no magic setings.  The 75-300 is the wrong lens for your shooting conditions.   

 

You need a lens with a lower F stop, something that you can open up and still use with a high enough shutter to freeze the action.

 

DOF will suffer slightly, but if you are able to get closer or can buy a lens that has the focal length, this won't be very noticeable.     

Rick
Bay Area - CA
~6D2 (f/w 1.0.4) ~16-35mm f2.8L II, 50 f1.8 STM, 85 prime USM, 70-200 f2.8L IS II ~70-300 USM II ~Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Art (f/w 2.02)
~Sigma 150-600 C + TC1401 1.4x (f/w 2.00) ~Speedlite 430 EX II ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~Windows10 Pro1903 ~EVGA RTX 2080 FTW3 Ultra
VIP
Posts: 11,320
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Need help with low light nighttime sports photos

[ Edited ]

"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!
VIP
Posts: 11,320
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Need help with low light nighttime sports photos

"...my pictures have a very poor quality."

 

Keep in mind, even the best, highest paid, sports photographers miss shots. They don't get every shot.  You only see the ones that they want you to.

  Never show anybody your flops!  Smiley Very Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Reputable Contributor
Posts: 568
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Need help with low light nighttime sports photos

Ernie wrote:

 

"Keep in mind, even the best, highest paid, sports photographers miss shots. They don't get every shot.  You only see the ones that they want you to."

 

I volunteer for the local high school football games so it isn't a paid job but you would have a hard time coming up with a better example of a missed shot than the one below from a game last Friday.  I caught in perfect focus at the exact proper moment... the WRONG player Smiley Sad 

 

That is what happens when you are thinking more about standing in the mud and freezing drizzle than keeping your mind on what you are doing.  Shooting a game like this is like fishing; a lot of the big ones are going to get away and many times that perfect shot is going to be destroyed by an official or player blocking the camera view at the critical moment. Just like the players when a play doesn't go right you have to immediately put it out of your mind instead of letting that cause you to miss more opportunities.  After the game when you are editing the photos is the proper time for self reflection and critique.

 

Rodger

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EOS 1DX M2, 1DX, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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