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New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-23-2015

HELLO TO EVERYONE

Hi,

I'm new to the community, and just want to say Hi.

Really hope I get some help with simple questions, as I'm eager to learn about my camera.

 

I purchased a Rebel T3i, which came along with 2 lenses, the EFS 18-55mm & the EF 75-300mm.

 

The purpose of the purchase was so I can take action shots of my son at his high school football games. As this season progressed, one thing led to another, and I was asked by the school to please take pictures of all 3 football teams (freshmen, JV,  Varsity). The day games are no problem. I might get a few blurry shots here and there, but for the most part they're Ok. However, the night games are a problem. I'm using the 75-300mm lens, increasing the ISO to 1600 or 3200 (sometimes), but the pictures are still coming out blurry.

 

What other settings on the camera am I suppose to be using, to get nice still action shots of the players?

Do I need to upgrade to a better lens?

What setting should I have the camera on...(A-DEP, M, AV, TV, P, Auto, etc...)?

Do I need to tamper with teh AF mode?

 

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks Everyone

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: HELLO TO EVERYONE

[ Edited ]

Hi

 

Night sports are the toughest thing on equipment. The need for a fast shutter in low light is what drives people to invest tons of money in lenses and cameras. 

 

I had a T3i and while not a sports camera it will do the job.   A few things will help. 

1.). Select just the center AF point and follow the subject around with it. Don't just let the camera pick which points to use. 

2.). If everyone is moving use AI servo autofocus mode. If it is start and stop sometimes AI Focus autofocus mode is better. 

3.). Shoot RAW!  You can recover underexposed or overly grainy shots much much better in RAW than in JPG. 

4.). Figure out the minimum shutter speed you need for football (1/400th?  1/640th?) and shoot in Tv mode, selecting that as the shutter speed. If you just shoot in Sports mode the camera may pick a speed too slow and you get blur, or it may pick one faster than really needed which forces you to go higher ISO which mangles your image quality. 

 5.). Get close enough to frame the shot tightly so you don't have to crop. If you are at high ISO like 3200, especially on a Rebel sensor, you have not only graininess but also a lower level of detail/resolution. Cropping further reduces the amount of detail as blowing it up throws out a lot of the megapixels and spreads the ones left out further.

6.). It may be impossible to get shots in the very darkest conditions.  Consider shooting at the beginning of the game before the sun fully sets.  Consider staking out a spot where the subjects will be under the best light.  Consider shooting slower parts of the game when it is too dark to get a fast shutter speed for fast action.

 

 

 Lenses. The 75-300 is perhaps Canon's weakest telephoto zoom for IQ. Aside from that it also does not open up to a very wide aperture so it will hinder your camera in low light.  

What is your budget?  An $1,800.00 EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS 2 would really do a nice job but that is a substantial investment. 

Scott

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"?
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Honored Contributor
Posts: 6,419
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: HELLO TO EVERYONE

Scott is right on with his recommendations; the 70-200 f/2.8 is a terrific lens.

 

An alternative suggestion for similar money would be the 70-200 f/4L zoom and a newer body like the T6s. You lose an f-stop with the f/4 lens, but you gain more than one f-stop in low noise performance with the newer body.

 

Use a monopod as well.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic
Highlighted
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,971
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: HELLO TO EVERYONE

[ Edited ]

@ScottyP wrote:

Hi

 

Night sports are the toughest thing on equipment. The need for a fast shutter in low light is what drives people to invest tons of money in lenses and cameras. 

 

I had a T3i and while not a sports camera it will do the job.   A few things will help. 

1.). Select just the center AF point and follow the subject around with it. Don't just let the camera pick which points to use. 

2.). If everyone is moving use AI servo autofocus mode. If it is start and stop sometimes AI Focus autofocus mode is better. 

3.). Shoot RAW!  You can recover underexposed or overly grainy shots much much better in RAW than in JPG. 

4.). Figure out the minimum shutter speed you need for football (1/400th?  1/640th?) and shoot in Tv mode, selecting that as the shutter speed. If you just shoot in Sports mode the camera may pick a speed too slow and you get blur, or it may pick one faster than really needed which forces you to go higher ISO which mangles your image quality. 

 5.). Get close enough to frame the shot tightly so you don't have to crop. If you are at high ISO like 3200, especially on a Rebel sensor, you have not only graininess but also a lower level of detail/resolution. Cropping further reduces the amount of detail as blowing it up throws out a lot of the megapixels and spreads the ones left out further.

6.). It may be impossible to get shots in the very darkest conditions.  Consider shooting at the beginning of the game before the sun fully sets.  Consider staking out a spot where the subjects will be under the best light.  Consider shooting slower parts of the game when it is too dark to get a fast shutter speed for fast action.

 

 

 Lenses. The 75-300 is perhaps Canon's weakest telephoto zoom for IQ. Aside from that it also does not open up to a very wide aperture so it will hinder your camera in low light.  

What is your budget?  An $1,800.00 EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS 2 would really do a nice job but that is a substantial investment. 


Just to clarify when using AIServo and automatic focus point selection on the T3i (and most Canon cameras) the camera starts with the center AF point and then hands off to the other AF points for tracking of a moving subject. 

 

There are other lower cost options to the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. The older EF 70-200 f2.8L (non-IS) is about a $1000 less than the newest IS version. There are also 3rd party 70-200 f/2.8 lenses available for even less. Just avoid the older non-USD Tamron lenses as their focus is too slow and unreliable for football.

 

In Ohio almost all photographers use a flash like the 580EX II or 600EX when photographing night football games. Just be aware the use of flash photography may not be permitted in your area. Also, you'll want to get the flash off the camera using a flash cord like the Canon OC-E3. I have a flash bracket (Manfrotto 233B) that extends the flash about 1 1/2 feet above the camera. Others simply velcro the flash to their monopod upside down.

As you probably all ready know, be sure to introduce yourself to the game officials prior to the game.

Highlighted
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-23-2015

Re: HELLO TO EVERYONE

Thanks everyone for the quick reply.

 

I'll try the suggestions you guys are providing. As to the budget, well I can't really say I"m in a position to drop another $1000 for a lens at this time...maybe down the road.

 

Can't really use the flash on the field, don't want to bring a lot of attention to myself. lol

I have access to walk up and down the field, as the teams move along, but I can't interfere with the flow of the game.

 

I was looking over several videos on the internet yesterday, and came across several which recommend to shoot from the Manual setting. Only problem is learing the ISO, shutter speed, and f/stop combination, and what each one contributes.

 

I wanted to share this picture, so you guys get an idea of the problem I keep coming across. I was trying to take a pic of the kicker, but this is what I kept getting most of the night. photo 1.PNG

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