Should I Change from F2.8 to F4.0 to Enjoy a Wider depth of Field when Shooting Repeatedly at This Location?
After shooting test images at the Wichita Wings new indoor soccer practice field open tryouts last Sunday evening, I concluded that the good news was that my Sony A7R4 full frame camera would get an excellent exposure set on: (1) Manual (2) 1/640 second shutter speed to stop action; (3) aperature to F2.8 to let in as much light as possible without cropping highlights (4) I settled on an ISO of 6400 to get an acceptable histogram and shot off of a monopod. The bad news is I got a lot of noise in the dark shadow areas shooting at 6400 and only about eight feet of clarity in the depth of field at 109mm distance. Topaz denoise software helped remove much of the noise, but I had a lot blurry images where the players moved just outside my area of clarity.
So I began to wonder... Would shoot a higher percentage of sharp images, by changing my camera aperature to F4.0; 1/640 second and raising the ISO to 8000, or 10,000 or 12,800 OR would it be better to change the exposure compensation to accommodate a F4.0 aperature setting? Later I plan to use these images in a autograph book featuring the players and being published for fans to buy and bring to autograph signings.
I am attaching my original image as well as my edited image your evaluation and helpful suggestions on which option you would recommend to widen my area of clarity. Thank you for sharing your time and photographic knowledge.
I shot indoor soccer at a venue that looks exactly like yours here in Rochester at f4, which is wide-open on my 24-120 Nikon, with my D750. At that shutter speed, you don't need a monopod. The monopod can slow down your response to the rapid action out there, so at least try shooting some without it and see if it makes a difference. I would stay with the f2.8, especially if you are having noise problems. (You paid a lot for that extra f-stop, so use it!) At f4, noise would only increase. I think both players would love the photo you posted, they care much more about the subject matter than being picky, like we are, about critical sharpness and noise.
I would likely use at least f/4 and possibly f/5.6. Run your images through Topaz DeNoise or DxO Pure Raw to eliminate most of the noise.
Assuming that the 2nd shot posted is close to what you want to put in your book (assuming is dangerous, I know), then the biggest issue to noise you have is that you are cropping and throwing away at least 80% of your pixels. You note that the lens is set at 109mm, which is not nearly close enough to “fill the frame” with the desired subject matter.
As 109mm is not a prime lens, suspect you are using a zoom, but you don’t say how long the long end can be. My guess is that you need to be over 200mm, and possibly in the 300-400 range depending on how far you are from the action. This will do more for your noise issues than the f stop change.
Some of the much more talented sports shooters here, like Jules or Thomas, will undoubtably have much better advise and guidance
At worst, try some shots (not even during the game) at different settings on the same subject matter (say casual group standing around before the game) and then compare the results between them.
Good luck on your journey
When I shot collegiate sports we wanted to isolate the subject from the background so we shot at 2.8. I doubt you will get any more in-focus pictures at f4 than at 2.8. Can you go to 1/2000 of a second and 1200 iso?
I would say that your shutter speed is hurting you more than your aperture. To avoid motion blur you might try closer to 1/1000s or more.
Leave your aperture wide open for two subjects close together like this. At 75' subject distance and f/2.8, the DOF is over 20'. At 50' subject distance, the DOF is 10 feet, so good for this kind of action.
The distant background is not really helping the composition. Wide open helps with background separation and the reduction of ISO to reduce noise.
david vt wrote:
Hi br br Assuming that the 2nd shot posted is clo... (
Dear david vt...I think you hit the nail on the head. I am shooting with a Sony 70-200mm lens and I got lazy and pulled back to 109 mm because I was having trouble keeping the players in the viewfinder with the fast action of the players at 200mm. Sometimes they were only half in the frame as they ran up and down the pitch juking side to side. When I shot across the field at the coach standing behind the wall observing the players at 200mm, the image was clearer. IE...(I need to fill the frame with the subjects and not have to crop 80% of my pixels away.) Thank you for your excellent observations. Shooter41.
After shooting test images at the Wichita Wings ne... (
Dear ELNikkor... Thank you so much for your excellent observations and comments. At the Wings next practice session, I plan to try shooting without using the monopod to see if that helps me stay up with the action and ability to keep my subjects completely inside the the frame at 200mm so I don't have to crop away 80% of my pixels. Shooter41
Loc: Raleigh, NC
Keep the lens wide open for subject isolation and of course, use the full zoom range so you need less cropping. Now you’re balancing shutter speed (freezing the action) against iSO (noise). Rather than shooting a faster SS, I would experiment with 1/500, which is typically fast enough. In fact, I shoot indoor wrestling often at 1/250 with no motion blur even on very fast moves. I’m assuming flash is not allowed/encouraged, which would fix all your issues. Lacking that, you’re using the right lens on a FF body so it’s just SS vs ISO (and of course shoot raw and use noise reduction in post)
I'll not repeat the good advice given already but will mention the processing side of things when there's no option but to crop heavily. The edit you have posted shows visible signs of artifacts, introduced by your procedures somewhere.
I took the original, denoised then increased resolution to produce the same pixel size and framing as yours and sharpened. Similar results were achievable using just PS or PS + Nik Dfine2. It may be worth you finding out where and when the artifacts are being caused.
I have been making images of pickle ball.
I don't believe you can get acceptable sharpness at anything less than 1/1000 of a second.
I shot indoor soccer at a venue that looks exactly... (
Is a magnified viewfinder 'add on' available for the Sony?? I do not know. I own a 1.2x magnifier that I use with my D800E and D850. I have definitely benefitted from it. (If Sony doesn't make/offer a magnifier lens, third party vendors' offer are likely to be lower in quality than something that Sony made/offered.) It helps me to make better selection of the field of 'sharpness' for the images I am taking. - Maybe it's my ageing eyes, but it works for me!
The reason to change from a lens designed for a maximum F2.8 to a maximum f4.0 is the comparative resolution of each lens at the distance/situation you are shooting. It is not throw away or sell one lens so you can buy another. And, usually, a F2.8 lens shot at F4.0 will be sharper than a lens that is designed for F4.0 as the widest aperture. Compare test results from an impartial 3rd party like dxomark.com. Look at the test results of each lens to help you make the decision, not someone who is trying to sell you a different lens.
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