Whats the absolute best on camera flash for shooting sports (mailnly football)?


TPF Noob!
Nov 23, 2008
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A Riverside Town by Canada
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Most likely, i will end up cranking the ISO on my camera to get the shutter speed I want. So if you dont feel like reading this, I dont mind at all.

I want to shoot high school football games--but all of them are at night with those humungo lights.

Now, if i wanted to take a picture of this game--i know those lights arent bright enough to get me a 1/250 or 1/500 and my flash is no where NEAR powerful enough to shoot something that far. (its pushing it at 50 feet at ISO 1000 at f/1.4...the brightest lens I have is 3.5 and the highest film I will use is 400 (800 is just WAAY to noisy...it ruined 2 really cool pics that i wanted blown up))

some kids (usually siblings of the football players) play a game of their own by one of the goal posts (they play behind it 15 or 20 feet of course) and if I want a picture of them...could i get a flash powerfull enough to shoot go about 150-250? feet effectivly
(I plan on getting the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED AF-D Autofocus Lens, 70-200 VR zoom lens, 200-400mm f/4, or some primes (maybe 200, 300, and 500??) or something similar)

I really dont care about the price...id rather it be cheaper...but I dont think i can get a flash powerfull enough to get something illuminated 250 feet away. (applies to a world where I have all the money :lol:)

Recycling time is not my biggest concern...but being able to fire it as fast as it will go without killing it is a concern.
Sounds like you will be best off with some wireless strobes strategically set up around the field.
I did a stint in sports and I quickly learned several things:

1) Flash is not your answer. If the flash is bright enough to illuminate say a football player, he will most likely stomp you and your equipment into the ground when he gets his vision back.

2) There is no substitute for fast glass. You need 200mm or more, and a constant 2.8, or just go home.

3) There are good films out there that will do 800, if you are careful with the processing. You are not however going to get grain free razor sharp 8x10 prints from a night game. Day games, oh yeah!

All of this is assuming we are not talking pro games. High school and colleges are usually horrible unless you are shooting a big college. And of course I am talking about shooting at night.

Yeah i wouldn't suggest using a flash on the sidelines of a football game. I would be seriously peeved if there was a photographer flashing away while i was running up the field. Don't do it.
Nope, get a 70-200 2.8.
The flashes dont bother us at all. We dont even notice anything but the field in front and to the side of us. A measly flash is the last thing that will take our mind off the game. Flashes are fine, they wont distract anyone. Use em all you want... Fast glass would most likely be the way to go in your case. Check out the Nikon 80-200 AF-S.

Anyone, feel free to fire off any questions you have regarding football players views on photographers at our games. (we love it! everyone gets together and looks at the pictures the day after the game)

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