Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shooting rugby with the Sony A55 and 70-400G

I have a love hate relationship with the Sony 70-400G lens.

I'm not a huge fan of zoom lenses at the best of times.

I usually shoot sports with a 300mm F2.8 and live with it. If it's too long, too bad.

I first shot with the 70-400G when it came out and the first event I used it for was downhill skiing. I didn't like it, which is always a drag when you get something new and don't like it right off the bat, it was too heavy and large to ski with, and the wind seemed to catch it like a kite and blow me all over the hill. Halfway through the race I switched to a Sony 70-200G and was happy again.

Anyway, I've continued to use it on and off the last couple years and today I shot a high school rugby game with lens and the Sony A55 camera.

I love having a huge zoom range at a game.

I hate having to carry such a heavy lens.

I love going to a game with only one camera and lens combo and still feeling you can get a shot out of most situations.

I hate using a lens that's F5.6 wide open.

I hate using a lens that changes aperture when you zoom.

I hate using a lens that sits so low on the tripod mount. Now my overpriced Gitzo monopod that I've used for 17 years is too short and I have to stoop down to see through the viewfinder.

Did I mention I love having a huge zoom range at a game.

Rugby is a sport I never shoot, I don't know the rules, it doesn't seem there are any, so every shot has an element of luck to it.

I shot these with the A55 on high speed continuous drive, but not the 10 fps mode. I set the ISO to 400, and the aperture wide open on "Aperture Priority". The focus was set to continuous local with the focus square slightly higher than centre selected. These photos are all cropped.

I'm sure I can do better. I had a fair number of in focus shots from the game, very few good shots with the ball, and I usually missed the part where the player is running in the open field with the ball. Having the big zoom did allow me to move in tight during the scrums and other tight field play.

Overall I thought the camera lens combo worked OK but the fact that the field was muddy saved a number of the pictures just because of the mud factor.

I'll try again next week.

Rob Skeoch

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