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  1. #1
    Junior Member

    Question Best Action shot Lens

    Hello,

    I will soon start taking H.S. football action shots. But was wondering if my current lens will do the job. I own the D90. So my question is what is the best lens for day and night action shots?
    All suggestions welcome…


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Joseph Bautsch's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Your 18-105mm will do very well. I have also used the 70-300mm VR. For day time shooting I would use "dynamic" auto focus and shutter priority set at 1/500 to stop the action and set the ISO on auto. The D90 will provide excellent pictures relatively noise free even at ISO 800. With the 18-105mm and good daylight you should get good exposed pictures. Getting stop action pictures at night will be more difficult. A good flash is needed such as the SB800 or 900. At night the flash provides the stop action. If you use flash with the 18-105mm remember to remove the lens hood.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Browncoat's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    I respectfully disagree.

    The D90 kit lens (18-105mm f/3.5-5.6) is probably not going to give you the results you want. Even worse news is...sports photography is just about the most expensive thing you can get into. You can easily outspend what you paid for your camera for a good quality zoom lens geared towards sports. Some thoughts...

    1) You're almost certainly going to need a tripod or monopod. More often than not, you're going to be at high zoom levels, so steadying your shots with some support is a must, otherwise they're going to come out blurry.

    2) Plan on getting out on the field to shoot from the sidelines. You might need to talk to some people in order to make sure this is okay.

    3) Most H.S. football games go on into the evening hours when it's dark. Stadium lights will help with your lighting needs, but there will be those odd times when the lights haven't come on yet and you need more light.

    4) I would be leery about using flash, especially if you're on the field.

    Football isn't "fast" action like MMX racing, so you don't need insane shutter speeds (like the 1/1000 I was using last weekend) but even still, 1/640 is about as low as I would venture for stopping action. Because of twilight/night shooting conditions, you need to run your aperture wide open to let in as much light as possible so that you don't need to crank up ISO settings and get grainy photos.

    I think the aforementioned 70-300mm lens would be a much better choice than the kit lens.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Joseph Bautsch's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Anthony - I must respectfully disagree with your disagreement. And please don't take offense, it's not intended. I don't know how much experience you have in shooting football games but I have shot football games both H.S. and Collage since 1960. I've use a lot of different types of equipment and shooting styles. I know for a fact that the 18-105mm Kit lens will do an excellent job used as I described because I've used it that way many times. I hope you are not planning on using a tripod on the side lines. That will never work. I've used a monopod on several occasions but found that it is clumsy and inconvenient in moving with and getting the action shots. At football games you have to anticipate where the action will be next and then go find it. Tripods and even monopods will slow you down and be nothing but a drag. Shooting at 1/500, even at 300mm hand held you should not have a problem with the pictures being blurry or with camera motion. I've never had that problem anyway. Also the 70-300mm is not better than the kit lens. Which lens I use depends on the shooting to be done. The 18-105mm for the sideline and closer in shots and the 70-300mm for the shots on the other side of/or down the field. I don't know why you should feel leery about using flash from the sideline. I've used flash from the sideline at every night game I have ever shot since 1960 and that's in the hundreds. Even with the stadium lights on, they don't help with your lighting needs, not for stop action anyway. It takes flash at night to get good crisp action stopped pictures. To get on the sidelines in a pro or collage game you will need a "Photographers Sideline Pass". I use to have a shoe box full of them I was keeping as mementoes of some of the games I shot. As for H.S. I don't think I have ever needed a sideline pass or have ever been denied access to the sideline. Although that might have been because I was very active in my kids and now my grandkids schools and most everyone knows me. Even then I've never known a photographer that was denied access to the sidelines. Not in the County I live in anyway. BTW sometimes even with a wide open aperture at 300mm you may need a higher ISO. The D90 will give you very good photos even up to ISO 800. So if you put the ISO on auto you can set a top limit of 800. But even then if it's a choice between getting a picture or not getting one let it float with no upper limit.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Browncoat's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Joseph,

    I'm not going to debate you again. You have your own way of doing things, and you've been doing them that way for a long time...and that's fine, for you. Just don't try to pass off your personal opinion as law, because not everyone does things your way. Case in point: Google search: best lens for football.

    Others need to weigh in on this topic, it's obvious where we stand and there's no need to beat a dead horse. Not with a 105mm lens anyway.
    Last edited by Browncoat; 07-21-2010 at 10:13 PM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Joseph Bautsch's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Anthony - I offended you with my comments, I'm sorry it should not have happened. My original post was to point out that lunv40 already had a lens that would do a good job, the 18-105mm kit lens. I did not clarify that and the post comes off indicating that it is the best lens for day and night action shots. The 18-105mm kit lens is a good general use lens but there are any number of lenses that are better. I try to make it a rule not to get into questions such as "what is the best lens for day and night action shots". There is no final answer to that type question and can be argued forever, as long as there are photographers taking pictures. Having made a recommendation regarding the lens he already owned I did not expect the context of your reply. Unfortunately I reacted, and I know better than that, and my reply was over the top. It should have been more diplomatic and I should have seen the confusion caused by my original post.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Browncoat's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    No worries, sir.

    It's easy for these things to happen on forums because message tone and intent can not be conveyed through a computer monitor. The last thing I would want to do is steer away a seasoned veteran such as yourself from posting their thoughts, because it's through experience that we all learn and grow. Sometimes my own posts can seem pretty blunt, when I don't mean them to come off that way. No hard feelings!

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Joseph Bautsch's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Hard feelings? - Of course not. I consider everyone on this site to be a friend. :>)

    I don't usually get involved in answering questions like this but since I sidelined the original I will give my opinion on it. The problem in selecting one telephoto lens for both day and night shooting of football games is getting one that will give you good exposures at night. My choice for doing this is the Nikkor 70-200mm, f/2.8 VRii. Even with a f/2.8 lens you will still need to use an ISO of up to 1600. Flash does work if you keep your shots inside 15 yards. With the lens extended to 200mm you will need a flash bracket that will raise it above the camera and avoid a lens casted shadow. With a higher ISO you will be introducing some noise but you will still get very good action shots. You will need to play with the settings and try various combinations to see which ones will give you the best results. The problem with this set up is the cost. The lens alone is around $2,000. Even a used one, if you can find one, will still be expensive.

    Having said this I don't really think you need a large zoom telephoto. I shot 3 years worth of football games at night for my collage year book with a standard lens and got a lot of great shots. The trick is to get down the field so that the ball carrier or receiver is running toward you. You'ed be surprised at how close the action gets and be prepared to run. It can get closer than you want. You can use an inexpensive 50mm or 85mm f/1.8 prime, use flash without a bracket, and greatly reduce the ISO.

  9. #9
    Senior Member

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Best Action shot Lens
    Anyone have a vote in for the AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens? That's the lens in my bag that I reach for most often for shooting sports.



    D300
    ISO 200
    f/2.8
    1/2500th
    70mm (105mm crop)
    Last edited by Essence of Imagery; 07-26-2010 at 10:22 AM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Browncoat's Avatar

    Re: Best Action shot Lens

    Wow...that's an amazing shot!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]





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