Football photos at night under the lights

by Dawn
(Menomonee Falls, WI)

I will be in the stands. I have a Canon rebel XT. The lenses I have are Tamron AF 70-300, Tamron AF 28-105, and a Tamron - F AF Tele converter. When I used to take action shots of him during the day I would use the 70-300 lens with the tele converter, but now that he is playing at night I cannot get those shots. Can I get a lens that doesn't wipe out my savings that will help me take good photos at night with my older Canon camera? Should I get a larger flash also or will that not be helpful in long distance shooting?

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Aug 04, 2009
Wide Maximum Aperture
by: Digital SLR Guide

Taking sports photos in dim light is one of the most challenging things you can do with a digital SLR and it pushes the limits of what a camera is capable of.

The main issue is that you want the photos of the the fast-moving subjects to turn out nice and sharp - but in order to do this you have to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion.

When you're taking pictures at night under overhead lights, the shutter speed naturally slows down to get a good exposure since there isn't a lot of available light.

There are two ways to compensate for this: 1) set your ISO to a high setting and 2) get a lens with a wide maximum aperture.

The Tamron 70-300mm has a variable maximum aperture: at 70mm the max aperture is f/4 and at 300mm that NARROWS to f/5.6.

An aperture of f/5.6 isn't all that great for taking photos in dim light - in order to get even a reasonably fast shutter speed you will probably have to set your ISO to 1600.

While you can get a telephoto lens with a wider maximum aperture, there's a real drawback: lenses like this are extremely expensive.

The cheapest one that I know if is the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 ($800 USD) but you do lose some range on the telephoto end with this lens.

Sigma does have teleconverters that you can use with this lens to extend the range, but they are expensive as well: there is a 1.4x teleconverter ($250 USD) and a 2x telecoverter ($300 USD).

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