Night football - Second body lens

Discussion in 'Sports' started by eric_goodwin|1, May 5, 2014.

  1. Hi all - first post, thanks for being gentle.
    I'm shooting a charity sports event at a fairly well-lit field for work. I have the Canon 24-105 f/4 and a borrowed 70-200 f/2.8 ii at my disposal, to pair with my 7D.
    I have the budget to rent a second 7D body, and a third lens... hence my question.
    I will be able to roam the sidelines freely, and I use the shorter focal range to capture huddles, player and coach emotions on the sidelines, team photos and ceremonial moments. Or if a play lands in my lap.

    I'm anticipating that, on the sidelines, the available light will be less predictable than on the field. I'm confident in the 70-200 for the on-field play, but not so much with the 24-105 f/4. I can keep a flash on the second body.
    Would renting the 24-70 f/2.8 ii be a large improvement or should I consider adding a 35 f/1.4 or 50mm f/1.2 prime as a low-light back up for the evening?
    There's a photo of the field in this article:
  2. If you can, do check the light throughout the entire playing field ahead of the game. See how much acceptable noise you'd get, adjusting to the highest ISO within the "miserable light level/s". If the 2.8 level is not low enough, you may have to spring up for 2.0 or 1.8 lenses....and you may not need to go as low as 1.4.
    For the most part you'll be shooting fairly fast action, so you need something around 1/500 sec shutter or better....and the 24-105/4 will likely drag you down (not enough light for it).
    Here is what I'd do, have 85/1.8 or 50/1.8, 200/2, and a wide angle of your choice (F2.0 or 1.8) for the near goalie shots. I wouldn't bother with the flash (unless the player/s are within range). In any case, having 3 lenses (total) is plenty...between 2 cameras. You'll be too busy with capturing action anyway.
    Good luck and let us know how things went.
  3. I photographed high school football for a newspaper for six years a few years ago. I never carried anything but a 70-200 2.8L. I usually stayed for the length of the game. You will need the 2,8. I had sideline access. My second most important tool was a monopod. My arms got tired. I mounted a flash because some of the fields I covered had very dark end zones. I could get close enough to where the flash was effective behind the end zone. Meter each light stanchion so as find bright spots where you could possibly get 1/1000th. The pictures are sharper the faster the shutter speed. I still shoot sports and I do a lot of head shots with that same 70-200. It's a good lens. Carrying two cameras for the length of a game is a pain. You can always back up but there are times when you can never get close enough. Remember that if you are on the sidelines you will be threatened by a thundering herd and you have to turn tail and run. I liked to get as much of that herd before I turned tail. I have proven you can do it with a monopod. With a ton of gear and cameras and lenses it might not be so easy. I like to get faces and expressions. My editor liked that too.
    If I were to do it today I would take my EOS M and stick it in my pocket. The little flash is good enough for groups and heads. I can get it in a big pocket. I use it now for that purpose at major swim meets instead of a second large body. I have a 100-400 but it is too slow indoors and at night. It is good out of doors when there is decent light. I used to store my bag in the booth or with the team mgr. of the team I was shooting but I rarely used another lens except for groups where I used something wide.
  4. With the choices given, the 24-70 f2.8 makes sense thus keeping settings on both bodies the same and simplify things a bit so you can
    concentrate solely on capturing images. OTOH either of the fast primes will allow you to yield some very shallow DOF pics when shot
    wide open at close range, though focus accuracy will be more demanding that at f2.8.
  5. Thank you for the responses. I don't mind running around with two bodies, but trying to coordinate two bodies in low-light might be a trick. And with the rental, there's always the danger of damage.
    The suggestion of having a point and shoot handy was an idea I had overlooked - thanks! My current plan is to go simple - I will have the 24-105 around for pre-game when there is still ambient light, and then just leave the 70-200 on for the duration of the game with a PowerShot in my pocket. With the available budget I might as well have the 35L or 50L on hand for wandering the field in post-game celebration as well.
    I appeciate the feedback!

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