Why You Need Long Glass to Shoot Sports

Marlins-1 On Sunday I went to a Florida Marlins game with several of our crew members from my ship.  Of course, I always have my camera with me and was looking to get some cool shots, but there was one problem.  I don’t own any really long glass or a teleconverter.

Marlins-2 The problem can be easily fixed, but it requires that you spend some money. A teleconverter is an in expensive way to reach out further with the glass that you already own.  On the other hand, I think it’s a very wise choice to invest in some really good, long glass where the optics are going to give you a better quality image.  However, it all comes down to what you can afford.

A teleconverter will provide a magnification factor (1.5x for example) for your current glass.  So if you have an 18-200mm zoom lens, it will then become a 27-300mm lens (assuming your teleconverter is 1.5x).  You can pick one up from B&H Photo for around $360.00 if you own a Nikon DSLR.  You can see a few of them by clicking here.  Canon users can click here.

Marlins-3 As you can see from my photos, I could have benefited greatly by either having some longer glass and/or a teleconverter.  I have plans to add both to my camera bag soon, but I didn’t have them in time for yesterday.  Also, if you don’t have the cash to throw down on the glass or a teleconverter, you can always rent a lens from a place like LenPro ToGo.  The only drawback to that is there has to be at least a little planning involved.  With me being in and out of ports, it would be hard to get an address to have the lens shipped to.  When I get back to San Diego, I plan on trying to shoot some games with some really long glass and LensPro ToGo will be where I will rent from.

While we are on the topic of sports, I highly recommend that if you are shooting any kind of sport that you shoot in Shutter Priority mode and have your shutter speed set to AT LEAST 1/640th of a second if you want to freeze the action.  Otherwise, you will wind up with a lot of blurred photos and you won’t get what you were expecting.

Yesterday was very overcast, so I had to bump my ISO up to 400 to be able to get my shutter speed at 1/640th to 1/800th.  I wouldn’t have wanted to go to a higher ISO with the D40 because of issues with noise, but I could have easily done so with a D300, D700, or D3.  Apparently the new D90 will have better low noise capability too, but more on that later. 

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend and be sure to click your way back over the next few days for more photography gouge!

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One thought on “Why You Need Long Glass to Shoot Sports

  1. Just purchased a TC-14EII tele-extender for my 70-200 2.8 VR. If considering adding a tele-extender to your kit keep in mind they are not compatible with every lens. Be sure to check the manufacturers specs first. My 18-70 3.5-4.5 kit lens willnot accept the extender.
    I will be putting the new combo to the test this weekend at the Great State of Maine Air Show.

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