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First Lacrosse shoot; first use of Nikon 80-200 2.8 Lens

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by Harry Lavo, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. Received my new lense Monday and after a solid day and a half of work and rain, I finally snuck in some shooting Tuesday afternoon and early evening after the sun came out..a little Jr. League Baseball and then the final period of a lacrosse game between two regional high-school powerhouses....South Hadley and Norhampton, MA. I used to watch lacrosse in college and even occassionally played "catch" on the commons...but I had never even thought of photographing it until now.

    Boy...is this one tough sport to shoot...the field is huge...the 200 was out of its depth on the far side of the field (although I've got one or two cropped shots from it anyway). The action with the ball is so quick and unpredictable that it is tough to follow while also attending to the camera. It is not hard to get fluid, graceful shots of ball handling and clearing...but very difficult to get good facial expressions or crunches...they happen suddenly and unpredictably.

    Accordingly my first shoot was good for me technically to begin to take the measure of the new (used) Nikon 80-200 ED IF that I just took delivery of Monday. And I think I caught the "feel" of the game okay. But that one or two great shots that we live or die for didn't materialize, or if they did I missed them.

    Here are four representative shots of what I did get. Your comments and criticism are welcome.

    1/4000s f/2.8 at 200.0mm iso360
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    1/1000s f/8.0 at 200.0mm iso800
    View attachment 99242

    1/4000s f/2.8 at 200.0mm iso360
    View attachment 99243

    1/4000s f/2.8 at 200.0mm iso400
    View attachment 99244

    The shot at f8.0 happened just as I arrived with action near me. I hadn't set the camera and just used what I had, then later set up for f2.8, high shutter speed shooting (thanks Frank:smile:) .

    I must say the 80-200 is a pleasure to work with...people complain about its weight but I find it steady and balanced, and with my arm supporting it propped against my chest, a joy to shoot with. I ran some quick tests earlier today using my favorite outdoor target and confirmed that it just smokes my 70-300 APO Sigma at low f-stops.
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Nice action shots
    Not sure why such high ISO
    You had great shutter speed and plenty of light
    Tad over exposure
  3. Hi Harry, you're right, the 200 isn't long enough for the far side, I have a 70-200 and just got a 17TC myself. Good sense of the action tho'.

    I've found shooting LAX that if I can, I stand behind the goalie's left; the majority of shots are from the player's right, as they're right-handed. However, this is girl's LAX, in boy's LAX the refs may not let you stay there due to higher ball speeds.

    If that's the case, I've also set up on the sidelines, about even or just slightly ahead of the goalie's right side, again, to catch the players coming across the crease and shooting on goal.

    I agree w/ the others, on my monitor they're a bit overexposed. W/ that sun, you probably could have dropped to 100 ISO. White (& reflective uniforms) are the banes of our existence. I found this primer very helpful. I shoot in manual, and at f2.8, ISO100 on a day like yours, 1/2000 is about -0.3 underexposed, which I can bring back out in PP.
  4. Thanks for the tip, Chris. I will read the primer. Unfortunately, I am using a D50 which doesn't have ISO100. I discovered yesterday in some tests I made before shooting that I can't often even get to f2.8 in bright sun at ISO200...the camera wants a higher shutter speed than 1/4000 which again the D50 doesn't have. (I'm beginning to understand why a D200 at minimum seems de rigour for this work.)
  5. Hi Gale -

    I was using AutoISO in Aperture-priority mode just to experiement, and may have accidentally set the cutoff at 400 rather than 200. I don't use AutoISO much and thought that the bottom ISO didn't influence the range on a D50.
    I'm still trying to sort out the best camera setup....I'd appreciate knowing what you consider the best setup for this type of bright sunlight sports shooting?

    I have no explaination for overexposure but I do notice that my Adobe Raw viewer always shows a slight exposure boost as default and changing my settings in the Camera doesn't seem to change it. I used the RAW editor on these shoots and except for one or two that were clearly overexposed, all appeared balanced in the curves. I'll continue to track down what is going on there. Thanks for the input.
  6. Thanks, Greg. Gale says the same thing, so I've got a problem to sort out (see my comments in the other post). My monitor is calibrated, so I'm just not sure what is going on. But glad you like the shots...I sure do like the lens.
  7. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    If you shoot ISO Auto, my suggestion is to shoot in manual mode. Set both the Aperture and the Shutter Speed then let the camera select the ISO.
    Maybe 1/1600th and f/4-5.6 on a bright day like you had. I normally shoot lacrosse with a 200 on one camera and a 400 on another. Lately I have been shooting it with a 300/2.8 on one camera and a borrowed 600/4 on another. That's the ideal combination in my opinion. As soon as the 600 is back in stock, I may have to get one this summer or maybe I'll just hang on to the one I have despite the fact it is due back at Nikon next week.
  8. Harry,

    nice images you got there with new lens.

    After checking a few of your posts lately I am thinking about your workflow. Would you mind sharing some details about PP? Your images somehow look different, they have kind of "pushed" look. Or is it just me? And they are rather large at about 1Mb each. You want them that way, even for web display?
  9. Good idea...I'll try it soon. The whole autoISO is something I'm really trying for the first time...if it is valuable, I'd better learn how to use it. Do you recommend this as your preferred way of shooting, or just A way?

    Well, first I'd better get that second camera! I can see the advantage...double lens lust!:smile:

    A really good lens is hard to give up, isn't it?
  10. :smile:Hi Ales -

    Happy to oblige for the help you can give.

    I'm shooting all but the most casual shots in raw and using Adobe Elelements/Adobe Raw for processing. Adobe Elements has been automatically pushing up the exposure 2/3rds EV...and I don't know why. I'm going to see if early on if I set some kind of processing guideline that I've forgotten about...the auto button is unchecked so it definitely is not default. In the Adobe Raw editor I use the curves and my own eyes to try to even out exposure...using the exposure and brigtness controls, which ever combination works best. I sometimes adjust contrast slightly up or down...rarely touch shadows, which is always surpressed (slider to left) for some reason. I check for clipping and try to adjust if possible (usually not a problem). Finally I adjust sharpening up to 50% from 35% where the camera leaves it. At this point I have a pretty decent picture by itself, and I save as a .dng file as part of the photo set, along with the NEF.

    I then open the file in the editor using "quick edit" and do only three things. I auto adjust contrast, followed by sharpening....if I have done my job well in Adobe Raw this makes little or no change, but it can add "snap" when saved as a .psd file later. I then crop if need. Finally, I do save any changes made in the editor as a .psd file, again in the version set. So what I end up with is a version set with the NEF, the dng, and the psd. For posting, I then copy a maximum quality JPEG into a shared folder (one source of file size). If it is just for posting a picture, I do this at 800x600, so it replaces the "large" file in pbase. If it is for critique (as these sports photos) I copy it at about 1200 x 800. The combination of size (1200x800) and quality ("12" on Adobe's JPEG quality scale) are what give a size as high as 1mb. pbase tells me my average file size is about 600mb.

    If you can help me reduce file size and/or improve quality at the same time I will be one happy camper. I look forward to your suggestions. I like modern technology in general, but there are days when I wish I could just send the roll out for slides as in the old days! :wink:
  11. Ok, I do not think of myself as expert and invite other members to chime in.

    But one thing I know for sure: you don't need to post images here at highest quality. If you save them with 8 on a JPEG scale (or "High"), your files will go down to third or even smaller of original size without significant loss in quality. Try on of aboves just for test.

    I have never used Elements or Raw so I'll pass on them. But will go thru your post again slowly and try to draw parallels with other packages or general PP.
  12. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    Just another way. It comes down to what you prefer to let the camera control for the task at hand. i.e. ss, f-stop or ISO. If I'm lazy and I only want to bring one lens and one body, I will take the 400/2.8 along and maybe a wide angle in my pocket.

    Or at least most of it. Two culprits.

    One was the automatic 2/3 EV boost in Adobe Elements. Took that to zero and boosted brightness as needed.

    The second was how Contrast and Sharpening are done. I took them to much higher levels while still in the RAW file, and eliminated any use of "auto" in the .psd file, then saved. Simply put, all adjustments in RAW and more even lighting and stronger contrast and sharpening by eye.

    I've posted a representative old and new file from the game on pbase with this link, so you can look at them side by side and also in original size if you so desire. I think this does the trick. Let me know what you think...and thanks to all of you for your help.

  14. Hi Harry,

    I'm a PSE 5 user myself...there's a very easy way to save...it's called "Save for Web" (I think, I now just use CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-S) to save a file, which saves you from fiddling around w/ .jpg quality level to get your size. In this dialog, there's an option to optimize the file size, I set it for 100kb and forget it as it's the max that some of my other forums mandate.

    My workflow is:

    1. open up file, straighten & align
    2. adjust levels
    3. adjust contrast/brightness
    4. adjust color
    5. adjust shadows/highlights
    6. save as .TIF
    7. crop for use-for Web posting, I typically crop 8x12 (to keep my 4x6 proportion) and 72 dpi (and then for some, tweak the longest length to 800 pixels, again to meet some forum requirements).
    8. sharpen (for screen or print)
    9. Save for Web (100kb), .jpg

    I can always go back to the .TIF file and crop different sizes....and dpi -- especially for printing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2007
  15. Thanks, Chris. I'll give it a try assuming it's there in PSE 4 as well.

    But those TIFF files are huge...hope you have lots of hard disk space.
  16. They are, but smaller than PSD :Crunk: I use LZW compression, which helps. And yup, it's in PSE 4.
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