There are certain things in terms of gear that are helpful, if not necessary, to get professional looking shots of action sports A camera body with a good auto focus system and a high frame rate is an asset in any light. To shoot under the lights, either outdoors or indoors, a body that has acceptable noise levels at higher ISO settings is desirable.
Fast lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 are helpful to keep shutter speeds high enough to freeze subject movement. An f/2.8 lens also helps to blur backgrounds so that the action on the field stands out. For full frame bodies, a 300mm lens is needed to shoot field sports from the sidelines. a 70-200 zoom is nice with a crop sensor body.
Canon's newest 300mm f/2.8 lens costs $7,299. The just upgraded version still costs $4,879. I can use my 300mm f/4 lens with my 5D Mark II but the auto focus and frame rate of that camera are not intended for sports shooting. I love my 70-200 f/2.8 non image stabilized lens and it pairs nicely with my 50D body. But, the 50D auto focus system is also not ideal for sports and the high ISO performance of the 50D is not stellar.
In any case, my first chance to shoot soccer this Fall season came last evening at a high school girls game. I used the 50D, my 70-200 f/2.8 and a monopod.
The game started in overcast, almost raining, light and ended under artificial lights. The ISO I set on the camera went from 400 to 800 to 1600 as the light changed. As the ISO increased so did the noise level in the photographs. I still had difficulty keeping the shutter speed high enough to capture sharp images.
Here some samples with exposure information in the captions.
|Canon EOS 50D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L USM at 200mm, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec., ISO 800|
|Canon EOS 50D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L USM at 108mm, f/2.8, 1/750 sec., ISO 800|
|Canon EOS 50D, EF 70-200 f/2.8L USM at 70mm, f/2.8, 1/350 sec., ISO 1600|