Youth football -which lens and tips?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by cyndenham, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Tonight I am going to take shots of my nephew's football game. I've never taken sports/action shots so I'm not expecting thrilling shots but
    thought I would ask for any tips for a noob.

    I have a Canon XSi. I need to decide between two lens. I have the 70-300mm 4-5.6 (I think this is correct) and the 24-105mm 4.0L.

    The game will be at night on a well lit field.

    I've read some tips already but would appreciate any extras. This is the first game of the season so I hope to practice to get some keepers
    for my parents and nephew for memories.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Even a well-lit field to your eye won't be as well lit as you think when you're taking pictures! You almost HAVE to have at least a F2.8 and ISO 3200 if you're not putting a flash on or off camera, and that will still not be *that* good. Maybe the lighting is as good as a professional stadium and the F4 from the 24-105 would be OK for the stuff happening RIGHT in front of you but you did say youth so I doubt the lighting is good enough for anything but F2.8 or faster.
  3. I agree with Dave on this one. I too have an XSi and the max ISO is 1600 (one of main reasons I added the 50D) which is just not enough for night sports.
    If those are the only two lenses you have then you really may have to use flash I think to get anything at all. With the flash you could slow the shutter down to around 1/200 and the flash will help "freeze" the action. Problem is that you will need to be right on the side line which may be accessible with youth football - hope so :). If you are close enough to the field you can hang out and wait until they run to your side.
    It is going to be very difficult at f/4.0 or smaller aperture. Do you have an 85 prime f/1.8. If so that would add a lot more light but you would have to be very patient and wait for them to come very close.
    Good Luck and post some shots if you can.
  4. Would a 85mm 1.8 get me anything perhaps? I don't mind investing a little but sports/action isn't teLly my usual type of
    photography so I don't want to spend too much on a faster lens. I can also use the 85mm for other things I like

    and thanks Dave for the quick feedback.
  5. Hi Andy - thanks for the input. I posted about when you did so I didn't read it.

    I called the local shops but the only lens that is comparable to the 85mm 1.8 is a tamron 90mm 2.8 for about $500. This
    was per a phone conversation. I may just practice with the 24-105mm for areas and invest in the 85mm. It's pretty cheap
    on amazon. I wouldn't mind spending more but I'm getting myself a 10-22mm for myself next month as a present so I
    can't afford as much as I would like.

    If only money wasn't an issue...

    Thanks again.
  6. DAve is right on! The lighting will be seriously lacking - to your 'camera's eyes'! go to the field the next time it is lit and take some shots of what ever.
    The lens' focal length...? I'd bring both with you. The 70-300 is great to cover most of the field - exzcept right in front of you or at far ends The 24-105 will let you get those shots when he is near you on the field.
    It will take you a game or 2 to be able to follow the action and your nephew. Know what his position is, when he is on the field, and how he moves etc. A big part of sports shooting is anticipating the action to come. You want to be on same side of field as him generally speaking - so you are closer to him. Look at photos by other pro sports photogs. Up closer, tightly cropped on subject. Photo editors comment: "Faces and Balls"!!
    for camera settings: - my suggestions: ISO all the way up ??1600??, Aperture - widest on the lenses - 3.4 or 4, set shutter to try to get decent expoosure and stop some action. 1/400 or 500 would be great for youth FB but at f4 or higher as you zoom - might not work.
    Anyways, since the lighting isn't changing use manual settings, which you may not be accustomed to. Now you will!! If the kids are there earlier when there is still some natural light and in uniform, start shooting while they practice. You may be able to get some nice shots with the setting sun light.
    My gripe!! Why do they have to have games after dark??!! Just an ego thing to play at that time of day? No other logical reason!
    Good shootin'
  7. Cyn - the other lens to consider, with many various uses, is a 70-200 f2.8. Both Tamron and Sigma make one for $700-$800. I'm selling my Sigma for $500 and going to invest in the Nikon model - the older version which is around $1700! That price has kept me away from it until now. Still a stretch, but..! The Canon model is about same price. I have mine on Craig's list. Let me know if you might want it.
    Also, Go to KEH, Adorama, B&H and look for good used models. They are relaible dealers with a very good rating system on their used stuff.
  8. Thanks everyone. I'm renting a 70-200mm 2.8 IS tonight to give myself half a chance at some shots.

    Steve I'll take a look at your post about the lens you have and let ya know asap.

    Any other tips for me tonight? Hopefully I can get a decent shot or two (for my standards at least). I'll post them also for
    critique. I've been meaning to post some pics anyway perfect time now.
  9. Cyn,
    I was really just asking if you already had a really fast lens such as the 85 1.8. If you do not already have one then please don't buy it for football. It is way short and you would only get shots of action very close but it would be decent for that. I think your plan for the 70-200 f/2.8, rental, purchase or whatever is great idea. It is still a little short for football but close action it works nice and it takes a 1.4 extender very well. I have the Canon NON-IS version which is great for many sports and you really don't need the IS too much since you will usually have higher shutter speeds.
    Good Luck,
  10. Ah. Thank you, Andy. Then I probably won't get the 85. I can save money for other toys. ;)
    I went to the game tonight, I think I did half way decent for a first timer. The shots are award winning but out of 500 at least half our in focus and good frame - can't say much is going on in them. At least 15% are action and good enough to crop and post-process a little and put up for parents and etc.
    I found out that there are only a few night games total. So this was good experience for me. The other games are during the day and I'll take my 70-300 and should have good results with those. I will say I rather enjoyed taking this shots tonight. I'll keep practicing and hopefully get better with time.
    I want to say a big thank you for everyone on here, I was able to work with the tips I've rec'd and read to work with the game. I will definitely need to learn more about football to anticipate moves. There were a few touch downs/tackles that I should've been in the area for that were close and would've made some good shots if I was there, I think at least. I hope to post a few shots this weekend and look forward to feedback.
  11. I know you have already shot the game but i thought i would throw in my two cents anyway. I work for a daily newspaper with around 10,000 circulation and spend every friday last fall shooting high school football. There is no such thing as a well lit field period. :) I shot my first game with my trusty 28-135 Kit lens and my 40D. Thankfully it stayed light long enought outside that i got some artwork, but the light only lasted the 1st quarter and i soon realized that i would have to invest in something faster. I immediately went researching and found the Canon 70-200 2.8 the only problem was that i work on a newspaper budget and $1600 was not happening. After making some phone calls and reading tons of reviews i settled on the Tamron version of the same lens it was only $700. I have been happy for the most part with it. I've used it for every sport ive shot since then, football, basketball, swimming, softball, and even some wrecks and other spot news stuff. The only draw back i've encountered from it is that the focus motor tends to be a little slow sometimes, compared to the Canon L series. Overall though, I really think it is definately worth the money, considering its nearly $900 cheaper than the Canon version. One day i do plan on upgrading to the L series and adding the 100-300 to my arsenal, but i need more of a Sports Illustrated budget for that. :) Seriously though, if you are just getting into sports and on a budget this lens is really a great buy. It also does great portraits too.
  12. Thanks Paige.

    Also I just realized I forgot a rather important word about the shots I took. They are NOT award winning.
  13. I like to team up with someone else shooting on the field - The local newspaper's sports editor rocks his high end telephoto 70-200 f2.8 and walks up and down the field - I just use a 50mm f1.4 (I know, its short) but I'll sit and End zone corners for first down lines and try to anticipate where the play will end, and shoot that at extremely close range. This allows us to both get good shots at different angles and we share.
  14. To the person who would like to hook up and shoot photos I don't know where you are but if you are near Southern Iowa We shoot Youth Sporting Events. You can practice and get instruction and learn all at the same time. From Football to Rodeo to Wrestling to anything involving youth sports. You can contact us at TF Event Photography. Bob
    And Yes the Canon 70 200 2.8 is the go to lens. Daytime add a 1.4x If you want to try lense before buying we use in Memphis Tenn. They have excellent customer service and just plain great people.
  15. I recommend the Canon 300 f/4 IS over the 70-200 f/2.8. I know, blasphemy, yeah, yeah. I have both the 70-200 (non IS) and the 300. In bright sunlight the 300's reach beats the zoom everytime. Also you learn to crop in the camera. It takes awhile to get use to but overall your photos will show the difference.
  16. Thank you to everyone that gave tips and such. I was able to get photos decent enough from the night game. I was able to rent a 70-200 f/2.8L IS for the night. The next game was on a Saturday at late morning, so I used my own lens 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS. I did much better the second game I think. I was actually more aware of where the ball might end up.

    I figure as the games continue I will learn the game and be able to anticipate the action shots hopefully. And because I enjoyed sports shots so much I crept into taking other photos of people and am rather enjoying it. In the past I would avoid all human subjects if at all possible.

    I look forward to more input soon. If anyone has any feedback on the posted photos that would be great. (I chose photos that did not include faces/jersey names until I get 'permission' to post such shots.)

    Falcons vs. Federal (night game)

    Falcons vs. Green Machine (day game)

    And I'm happy to report, Falcons won both games.

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