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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Alec Wittschiebe

member since: 9/7/2008

Night and Indoor Sports Photography

I am using a d-SLR camera (Canon Rebel XT), and I have a 70-200mm f/4 L series lens. I have been trying to take pictures of Friday night football games and indoor volleyball and basketball games. There are some pictures that almost make it that aren't too blurry, but I still don't know what to do.
Thank you!

9/7/2008 11:12:11 AM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member
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Carlton's Gallery

member since: 12/13/2005
  Hello Alec,
You may think about selling the 70-200 f/4 and buying a 70-200 f/2.8. They make an IS (Image Stabilization) and non-IS version. I would also recommend bumping up your ISO to 800, 1600 or possibly even 3200, so that you can get a fast-enough shutter speed to capture the images.
With higher ISOs, you will need to be exposed so that you don't have to lighten the images in Photoshop. Images shot with ISO 1600 can be noisy (grainy) and lightening will introduce even more noise.
Try shooting at the higher ISOs with your f/4 and see if this will work. You may also want to consider getting a prime lens at f/1.4 or f/2 and although you lose zoom ability, they will perform better at low light, and primes are generally sharper as well.
Hope this helps!

9/7/2008 2:49:43 PM


member since: 9/25/2006
And shoot RAW!

9/8/2008 3:08:14 PM

Jeff Coleman

member since: 2/5/2005
  I also shoot with an XT and you really can push to ISO 800 with good results. I'm not sure if that lens will be fast enough for indoor sports but you shouldn't have any problems with football.

9/9/2008 4:15:38 AM

Kennen White
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/21/2008
  I've had pretty good luck shooting high school girls basketball with a Rebel XTI and the 50mm 1.8 lens, which costs less than $100. Of course you can't zoom, but at the h.s. games you can usually get fairly close and move around as needed. I set ISO to 800 or 1600 and shoot AV at 1.8 (or a bit higher if there is enough light). For football, you might need a longer focal length.

9/9/2008 6:35:34 AM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 11/16/2004
  The Canon XT will only accept 1600 as the highest ISO.

Most people use lenses that are F2.8 (at the widest opening) or faster. These lenses are very expensive.

Use one or more Canon 580 EX external flash units around a given area. (One would be a master light and would be in your camera hotshoe, the others would be slaved units placed within 25 feet between you and the subject. The slaves could be carefully wired to strong vertical beams or carefully held in the needed direction to receive directions from the master and forward the lighting to the subject.

The other suggestion is shooting on a monopod that can be moved quickly around the "field" but would help to steady your camera.

There is an article at on sports photography.

9/9/2008 12:25:21 PM

Stephen R

member since: 10/11/2007
  Alec, For indoor v'ball and b'ball get an excellent 50mm 1.4, i.e., with useable quality wide-open, 400-800iso usually, avail light. Night football, soccer, get a high-quality 80-200 2.8 and monopod, 1200iso min. I shoot avail. light without VR or IS lenses.

I use a Tokina ATX828AF Pro that is as sharp a zoom as I've used. Add the Kenko 1.4x Pro300DG for afternoon/evening and get 300mm of tele at f4.

Disregard the opinion of anyone saying the above used on a 1.5xLF digital SLR is like shooting with a 450mm lens. The telephoto effect is 300mm. Only angle of view is like 450mm lens. In today's photo equipment media this distinction is blurry and has lead to prominent reviewers making statements like "effectively a 450mm lens".

As noted above, try not to underexpose these shots at high iso and attempt to correct exp in psp, outcome will be noisy. Better to select a higher iso to start.

9/9/2008 7:08:48 PM


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