Renting a Lens for Sports Photography?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by peterj1967, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. peterj1967 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2002
    #1
    A friend of mine coaches a youth football team in NYC and I am taking team and game photos for them.

    I have a D200 and the 18-200VR more then fine for team shots and pictures on the sideline, but doesn't seem to cut it for action shots on the field. I'd also have to admit it is the first time I have tried action sports shot so there could certainly be some user issues there.

    So my question are, for a one or two time football photography

    - What Nikon lens would be a good suggestion
    - Does anybody have experience renting such a lens from an NYC shop is so where?
    - and about what would it cost.

    Did a little googling, but figured I'd ask the question of an experienced group.

    Thanks in advance

    --Pete
     
  2. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wenonah, NJ
    #2
    Depends on how much you want to spend. You can get by in football with a 70-200 lens, getting only the near side of the field. Or you can go for a 300 f/2.8

    There's a Calumet in NYC. I've rented from them a lot in Philly and their prices are fair. If you want, you can try mail order from http://www.rentglass.com which has better prices, but it's first come first serve. I have a rental from them now.

    http://webres.calumetphoto.com/webres/pdfs/NewYork.pdf

    Looks like a 300 is $50 a day and if you rent it over the weekend, friday afternoon to monday morning counts as a day. 1 week = 3 rental days too. The 80-200 is slightly less expensive at $40 a day.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    Are you finding that 200mm is not long enough or that f/5.6 is to slow? I'd guess the later.
    The clasic sports lens is the Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 but now they have the 70-200 VR that might be even better. But the 80-200 was "it" for decades. Around here (So. Calif.) You can rent the 80-200 lens for about $30 per day at Samy's They have a 400mm f/2.8 for $100 per day.and last I checked they don't count weekends. So it was pick up Friday afternoon and return Mon morning. There are some on-line outfits that rent but they cost moreRenting

    lenses is a good deal because the prices are good but the DSLR bodies are expensive to rent, I think because the bodies have such a short life before Nion replaces them with new models. Lenses can be rented forever. Samy's has some long discontinued rental lenses
     
  4. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a

    RevToTheRedline

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    #4
    The 70-200mm VR F2.8 is going to be about your only choice without taking out a small loan for a 300 VR 2.8 or 400 VR.

    Add a 1.4x TC it will be an effective 420mm F4 on the camera including the D200's crop factor. And still be sharp sharp sharp and keep the wonderful VR. I prefer going with the 1.7x TC you will get 510mm and F4.8, it's a little soft at F4.8 with the 1.7x but still fully usable. 70-200 is an excellent lens, hard to beat.


    Sorry I just posted for nothing, I didn't see you are wanting to rent. Guess I should have read the whole post.
     
  5. peterj1967 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2002
    #5
    Thanks, all helpful replies

    I think I'll take two paths.

    1) Patience - which I have found is truly the key to better photography. Meaning I'll wait for the game to get closer to me or I'll get closer to the game. No need to be taking pictures with the subject 50 yards away

    2) The 18-200VR is a little slow, so I'll shoot at the afternoon games hopefully under good sun.

    First game I shot was evening to night, and even with the ISO pushed up it was blur-fest, which makes sense.

    Good information to have on the renting, may give it a shot just to try a good size 2.8 zoom.
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    As long as your shutter speed is 1/1000 seconds, it's OK. A bit slower than that is OK too, but don't go below 1/500 seconds. At a shutter speed of 1/1000 seconds, it shouldn't be a blur fest. If it is, check to see if your camera is focusing correctly.
     
  7. cb31 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #7
    How can you check that your camera is focusing correctly?

    I have a Canon 350d and shots often come out a bit blurry on multiple lenses. I have always put it down to bad photography but it could be the body.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    Well sorry, I meant to say "check to see if the blur is caused due to poor focusing rather than slow shutter speeds." A shutter speed of 1/1000 seconds is quite good. I just thought that if he still experienced blur with the camera set to Shutter Priority 1/1000 seconds, then the blur is due to the AF not locking onto the subject (ie: at the right distance), or the subject is moving at a rate that's faster than the Servo mode can keep up with. This may be a problem, particularly if the subject is moving towards you (ie: the distance between you and him constantly changes).

    He has a D200, though, which should have quite a decent focus system. Maybe he should try Group AF. :confused:


    Technically, a camera can be calibrated incorrectly, but I believe it's more likely that a lens is calibrated poorly.
     
  9. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #9
    If shooting daytime games, your 18-200 can get the job done as long as you let the action come to you, and learn to anticipate the plays. It does help to have some rapid (5 fps) exposures, but if you can anticipate the peak of the action, and then nail the first shot, perhaps cranking off a few follow-up shots with the continuous feature. However, you'll get much better subject isolation with the 70-200 f/2.8, or even better with the 300 f/2.8 (400 equivalent on your body) which will make the pictures pop more, look more professional. Get shots of the coaches interacting with the players, players cheering on the sidelines, etc.

    For night stuff, it's probably next to impossible with your 18-200 to get any action shots, because the lights are probably fairly dim, and you can't really "push" the ISO like with b/w film, or even color film. You'd probably need an ISO of at least 3200 or 6400 with that lens, or a flash shooting 1600 or less if you can synch at at least 1/250th or better. Even with a 2.8 lens on a dim field you have problems with lighting for clean action shots (I can't see 1/1000th sec happening with that light.) I've seen very few community football fields, even at the high school level that have really bright lighting for night games.

    One interesting observation on shooting basketball: During a high school state championship tournament at a professional arena, the local newspaper sports photographers were hooked into a flash system in the arena which triggered several strobes from above at numerous angles so it looked natural in the pictures, and didn't even seem like flashes were going off. And there I was with my 2.8 getting decent shots, but not the beautifully lighted stuff you see in Sports Illustrated. So, don't be discouraged if your results don't look like the pros'... just keep learning and improving and find your own way of telling the story. There are only so many ways to shoot a kid carrying a football (hmm..that actually sounds wrong, but you get the point..;) ) so don't hesistate to break out of the box - and have fun!:)
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #10
    The 300/2.8 is the sports lens of choice these days. With a crop factor body, you get the angle of view of a 450, but with smaller players a 400 might be a better option- it's difficult to say. You'll want a good monopod for either lens as you'll need to be fairly mobile, though you could likely get away with a good tripod with kids- the 400 will need more support than the 300 all things being equal. You'll need good long lens technique combined with good sports action "prediction" for the best shots.
     
  11. peterj1967 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2002
    #11
    Thanks for the good tips.

    Here's some of the results

    http://harlemgators.pete-j.com/

    It's no pro photography, but it does what it needs to do and that is to give a group of kids who work hard something to look at.

    Good deal of cropping, and you won't see these in Sports Illustrated, but I think they give a feel for the kids and the game

    Thanks

    --Pete
     
  12. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #12
    You'll notice your gameday pictures–the ones shot in natural light–were 10x better than those with a flash. To get good flash exposure with sports is difficult to say the least... you really have to rely on field lighting, which is often pretty bad at the high school and even college level.
     
  13. peterj1967 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Aug 30, 2002
    #13
    I agree completely, but most of their practice and games are at night. It worked out ok but daylight, especially in the early afternoon, is far better.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    So what lens did you shot with? It looks lie maybe you stopped down a little for some of them because you have some chain link fences and other harsh backgrounds. -- Some times I'll go in with photoshops and blur the backgrounds just like if I had shot at f/1.8
     
  15. peterj1967 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2002
    #15
    Everything is shot with the 18-200 VR and D200.

    For the game photos, I shot ISO 400 with in shutter priority with the closes subject dynamic focus on. In good sun that gave me apertures between 7.1 an 13. I kicked the ISO up to 800 and 1600 after 3:30 and went down to 250 for shutter speed as there was just no sun left.

    Since I am new to this I wanted a pretty large depth of field as I don't know the D200 focusing capability in continuous mode or how quick it is. Most of the time I photograph much slower or stationary objects. I am happy with the results.

    The practice session was shot in program mode at either ISO 800 or 1600 with an SB 800. Again fully programmed as I haven't used a flash with dynamic subjects in the dark. I am happy with the results here too.

    Some of the photos are pretty severely cropped. They work well on the web, you can see high ISO noise in some of them and there are many I wouldn't print past 4x6. But as a first pass at photographing football, I'm happy.

    I know what I wanted to get out of it, and with a little cropping I got it. I would need to know the game much better to get full frame photos that needed no cropping.

    Maybe if I shoot 100 more games I'll get there.

    I can make it work for me and for now that's what's important.

    --Pete
     

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