¡Sanfrecce Olé!


Rod Mar Blog

Posted by stefanole on 2009/03/30

Recently I came across this blog written by a pro sports shooter in America. Apart from following the interesting story of a new MLS franchise in Seattle, I like how he gives the camera, lens, focal length, aperture, shutter and ISO data with each photo. It’s very interesting for a beginner like me, although it does give me a bad case of lens envy. It’s something for me to look up to though, and I hope to see more.

In Sanfrecce-related news, the Great Violet Kingdom had the weekend off as we had a bye in the Nabisco Cup (the alternative name for the J-League Cup, although it would be more precise to call it the J1 Cup). Anyway, despite having that game in hand, Sanfrecce are second in Group A on goal difference, with the top two teams of Groups A and B passing through to the semi finals. Our next game is away to Gamba Osaka on the 4th.


4 Responses to “Rod Mar Blog”

  1. dokool said

    Greetings from Tokyo! Good to see another J.League blogger with a passion for photography; I just added you as a contact on Flickr and I’ll be adding you to my blogroll shortly.

    Dunno why you’re getting lens envy, your shots are pretty damned good (much better than my field shots!). What’s in your kit? Your EXIF data isn’t getting posted to Flickr so I can’t see what you’re using.

    Other than soccer I shoot lots and lots of concert photography; one of my Flickr friends has a D3 and I covet it. I shoot with a D300 at the moment but a D3 is on the agenda, just gotta save up 40man for the body… and then start working on the lenses >_<

  2. stefanole said

    Hi there 🙂 Yeah I was wondering if there were any other guys taking photos at these games as well.

    As for my gear, I’m shooting with a D80. I had an old old 80-200mm f2.8, the push-pull version, to start me out last year. I kept having to stop down to get decent sharpness though which kinda defeats the object of having a fast lens. It was cheaper than the slow kit lenses though since it was second (or third or whatever) hand. So I saved for a few months and I finally got the 70-200 VR a few weeks ago. I love it love it, sharp wide open and the AF is so fast compared to the old grinding screw in the 80-200. I saved for the lens before upgrading the camera because Ken Rockwell convinced me (correctly I still think) that lenses make more of a difference than the camera. I’m probably going to pounce on a cheap D300 though in the next couple of weeks, then we’ll see >:) The slow frame rate of the D80 drives me nuts, shooting RAW I get about 2fps and the buffer fills up after just a couple of shots. It forces me to time my shots, but really who wants to have to keep concentrating like that all match? I also got the TC-17 a couple of weeks ago but the last game and the next one were night games so I needed the 2.8 (I had the D80 straining at around 1/250 at ISO 1600 so 2.8 is the minimum for night games).

    About the lens envy, I think the Rod Mar blog shows that the 200-400mm is a great lens for football. If I’m honest there were only a few times when 200mm was too much and I needed to bring it back. I like to tell the story with the photos which means getting more of the surroundings, but with practice I could probably do that with longer lenses anyway. The TC-17 will give me a chance to practice, it’ll convert the 70-200 to a 120-340 so it’ll be getting there but the aperture will be nerfed to f4.8.

    I guess the other important thing that I’ve changed since last season is when I sit now – the Big Arch has a capacity of 50k but the crowd is usually only 20k, most of it concentrated in the supporters’ area. The upshot of this is that there is one corner of the ground that is relatively deserted, probably because it’s right next to the away supporters’ end. What it means though is I can sit in the front row behind the corner flag just the other side of the running track, basically a few meters shy of where a professional shooter could set up, so it’s a great position. The downside is there is less atmosphere and I can’t see the other end of the ground, but right now I’m enjoying the priviliged position.

    As for the D3, have you discounted getting the D700? Since you seem to be after the high-iso ability, I think they are identical between the D3 and D700. As for me, I think after I get the D300 I will save for the 200-400mm before thinking about the D700 (or its replacements) and the 24-70mm, but that’s going well into next year probably. I hear a lot of talk about the D400, but it sounds like the only improvement it would offer over the D300 is movies (yawn) and maybe a few extra MP (yawn, Canon 40D->50D noise débâcle comes to mind) so a cheap D300 sounds good (around 12.3man on kakaku atm).

    I like the shots with the 10.5mm by the way. Have you tried DxO optics? I think they have modules for the 10.5 and D300, I’d be interested to see what corrected images would look like.

  3. dokool said

    I feel for you, when I started getting into photography (only about two years ago, but still) it was with a D50 I’d gotten for my birthday. Had the 18-55 and 55-200 kit lenses and the 50mm 1.8, and that was it! I couldn’t tolerate the noise above ISO800. Ken Rockwell is a bit of an asshole and his attitude on a lot of things annoys me (especially how he’ll review a piece of equipment more expensive than my rent, say that we should go out and buy it right away, and then in the same breath say “but you don’t really need this when you can shoot with film and get it developed and put onto CD for much cheaper”), but he’s right about lenses.

    These days when it comes to sports I either shoot with the fisheye and the 18-55mm f/2.8 (for crowd/wide shots) or the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR for game shots. Because of where I usually sit (well, stand) it’s not really feasible for me to lug a heavy lens everywhere like I see some people do. The D300 has pretty decent noise levels even through ISO2500 so I can go up to 1/250 even at night and still have no problems… but I still wouldn’t mind the speed of an f/2.8 or the additional zoom you’re getting with that teleconverter.

    Another thing is that I really have to consider any upgrades in the context of my main subject, which is music photography. Taking photos at games is just something I do for fun but my passion is in shooting the stage so anything I buy will be for that purpose. That’s why I’m looking at the D3, because I specifically shoot the punk scene and I need a camera that can take a lot of abuse. Granted the D300 has performed marvelously in that regard…

    In any case it’s a moot point at the moment because buying a new camera (and new lenses for FX usage) is, at minimum, a later-this-year thing. I’m starting a job teaching as an ALT next week and so any expensive purchases are on hold, but it’s always something I keep in mind. Oddly enough I went to one of my favorite used gear shops and their display cases were half empty… not sure if I just showed up at a bad time or if people aren’t trading in as much equipment these days.

    Haven’t tried the DxO optics, mainly because I like my fisheye shots nice and distorted 😉

  4. stefanole said

    Yeah my first lens was a second hand Sigma 18-50 2.8. It lasted three months and froze up while I was out at karaoke in Hiroshima, soon after I arrived last year. I was NOT impressed and had to go out to DeoDeo next day to buy an el-cheapo kit lens, 18-55mmII. I contacted Sigma recently and they’ve invited me to send the lens in for assessment, but I’m going to hang onto it until I get the D300 at least so I know I’ll be able to afford a repair. Anything above 1man I think I’ll tell them to junk it.

    I saved up last year and got a 18-200mm, so the 18-55 has been retired. I prefer the colours from the Nikkor also, and DxO fixes the distortion. The colours and contrast from the Sigma are not to my taste. I got the 1.4 50mm G when it was released a couple of months and I’ve been having fun with that. Looking forward to more precise focussing with the D300 though.

    What with the 18-200 being such a great travel lens for the future D300, and with the 70-200 apparently being a great companion what with the crop area and factor, FX would be even more of a luxury for me at this stage, even though I am curious to see how the 50mm would look. If I did go for FX I would save enough to get the 24-70 at the same time, which would probably be stuck on the front most of the time. I think though I will have to assess how much I really need the convenience of the 18-200 as a walk-around system and whether a 24-70 would suit me. What with me needing the reach it wouldn’t replace the D300/a D400 for me, but the DOF and creative opportunities are intriguing. I’ve not been bitten by the wide-angle bug yet, but I’m starting to use the 18mm end more now so I might want to think about it more as I learn. Football awareness comes more naturally to me since I played when I was younger and I’m a qualified referee so I have the trained eye, but I’m a real novice when it comes to thinking about the distortion in space and distance that wide-angles create. I am a fast learner though maybe it’ll grab me eventually.

    So I hear that the second-hand camera stores in Tokyo are awesome. There is one in Hiroshima that I like. They have the 135mm DC lens for 6.5man for example, but since I read that the 70-200 is a great portrait lens anyway and it would be wasted on anything other than FX. It’ll probably be gone by next month anyway, since they had four copies last month and now they’re down to one.

    As for the D700’s durability, I found an interesting article on Jim Reed’s site. He’s a storm chaser who took the D700 into hurricanes. Seems like it would probably survive a mosh pit in that case, but I can understand your caution. It’s one of the reasons I went with Nikon over Canon after all. You are more invested in the DX system with the expensive 2.8 zoom though. Would you keep the D300 and lenses alongside or sell them to invest in FX? Also, flashes are out for music photography I guess? And who are you going to be teaching with, if you don’t mind discussing that?

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