Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

Started May 22, 2014 | Discussions
kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

I'll be attending a night San Francisco Giants game at AT&T park, sitting in the first row between the home bullpen and the dugout. We attend a handful of games a year, and typically I take something along to just take snapshots, but this is the closest I've ever been or probably ever will be to the field.

I've shot enough youth soccer, baseball, and football to know that I'm not going to get a ton of crazy action shots from this spot, and I don't really want to go overboard watching the entire game through a viewfinder at the expense of enjoying the game, ignoring the folks I'm with, or lugging 50lbs of gear into the game.

If you had access to the following assortment of gear, what would you take to get just a few nice shots with a minimal kit and never been in a situation where you say "shoot... that would've been a great picture, if only I'd had X with me."

Bodies

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D7000
  • Panasonic GH3
  • Panasonic GX7

Lenses

  • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII
  • Tamron SP AF 24-70mm f2.8
  • Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 II EX DC HSM
  • Tamron AF 24-75mm f2.8
  • Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4
  • Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8 DX
  • Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8
  • Panasonic 14-140mm
  • Panasonic 20mm f1.7

I'd be inclined to go with the GH3 + 12-35mm + 14-140mm + 20mm on the theory that the GH3 + 12-35mm would be a nice compact size and get pretty much everything close without sacrificing too much image quality. But having the full frame D700 + 70-200mm f2.8 is obviously appealing... and maybe the best compromise is the D7000 + 50-150mm.

What would you do?

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
Nikon D700 Nikon D7000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
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jimoyer
jimoyer Senior Member • Posts: 1,879
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?
1

Providing the stadium doesn't have gear restrictions as some do for spectators, I'd take the D700 and 70-200 f2.8.  Shooting under stadium lights is significantly more difficult than you'd think if you'd never done it.  If you shoot anywhere near the shutter speeds you should be shooting to capture anything but motion blur with major league players, you're going to want shutter speeds in the 1/800-1/1600 range which is probably going to put you into the 1000-3200 ISO range for the early part of the game (when there is still some ambient natural light as well) and 3200-6400+ as the game progresses.

 jimoyer's gear list:jimoyer's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D7100 Olympus E-M1 Nikon D4S +14 more
chuckji Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

kshepp wrote:

I'll be attending a night San Francisco Giants game at AT&T park, sitting in the first row between the home bullpen and the dugout. We attend a handful of games a year, and typically I take something along to just take snapshots, but this is the closest I've ever been or probably ever will be to the field.

I've shot enough youth soccer, baseball, and football to know that I'm not going to get a ton of crazy action shots from this spot, and I don't really want to go overboard watching the entire game through a viewfinder at the expense of enjoying the game, ignoring the folks I'm with, or lugging 50lbs of gear into the game.

If you had access to the following assortment of gear, what would you take to get just a few nice shots with a minimal kit and never been in a situation where you say "shoot... that would've been a great picture, if only I'd had X with me."

Bodies

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D7000
  • Panasonic GH3
  • Panasonic GX7

Lenses

  • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII
  • Tamron SP AF 24-70mm f2.8
  • Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 II EX DC HSM
  • Tamron AF 24-75mm f2.8
  • Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4
  • Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8 DX
  • Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8
  • Panasonic 14-140mm
  • Panasonic 20mm f1.7

I'd be inclined to go with the GH3 + 12-35mm + 14-140mm + 20mm on the theory that the GH3 + 12-35mm would be a nice compact size and get pretty much everything close without sacrificing too much image quality. But having the full frame D700 + 70-200mm f2.8 is obviously appealing... and maybe the best compromise is the D7000 + 50-150mm.

What would you do?

I'm thinking the D7000 with the 70-200 shooting RAW and wide open.

You're going to want as much reach as possible - it is a MLB stadium after all - and the D7000 has decent high ISO noise performance.

Ferguson
Ferguson Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

Reach is what you want.  Expect gear restrictions however.  The 70-200 is a good choice on the D7000 or D700 - my guess (but you may already know) is the D7000 is a bit better since you'll likely be cropping.

Your best shots may be any plays at second or third, obviously.  200 on a DX sensor is even a bit short for second, I usually use a 400mm from the dugout and it's about right.  The outfield is hopeless with 200mm, and first is pretty tiny, and home may not be very visible (netting, fans, etc?) but is small.

I don't shoot in true major parks (just ones used in spring games), but I would expect lighting to be decent; you'll probably be around ISO 3200 and F2.8, if you keep your shutter around 1/800th or 1/1000th.   That's a wild guess.  Take some shots ahead, and consider using manually not automatic.  If it's fully dark (sky) the lighting won't change - get the right exposure for the faces, and use it.  Uniforms, grass vs. dirt in the background can make wild swings in exposure on auto.

If you've got a good view around the side of the dugout, look for good shots there as players come in and out, high fives, etc.  You really can't shoot a lot of the field, so make some opportunities if you can.

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sssesq Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

From the Giants website:

Cameras and video equipment are allowed in AT&T Park. However, the equipment may not obstruct the view of others. Guests are not allowed to reproduce or re-broadcast any film or videotape of Giants games for commercial purposes without written permission from the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball. The Giants reserve the right to ask patrons to put cameras or video equipment away.   Emphasis added.

Good luck

 sssesq's gear list:sssesq's gear list
Nikon D5 Panasonic GH5 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR +6 more
Clay King Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

I would take the D7000 and 70-200 f/2.8.  I just attended a game in Cleveland, front row behind home plate.  Even that close to the field, you are not as close to the action as you would think.  I took my 7D and 70-200 f/2.8L  I had to crop heavy for good pics of the pitcher, and the corners.  I didn't even try 2nd base.  It was perfect for the action at the plate.  The photog from the Cleveland paper was shooting right next to me with a 1 Dx and a 400 f/2.8 and only using it for infield action.

Here is a comparison between the pitcher and batter from front row behind the plate...

Have fun and enjoy the game!!!

 Clay King's gear list:Clay King's gear list
Canon PowerShot S100 Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM +4 more
OP kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
No votes for Micro 4/3rds?

I guess it's not surprising everybody's pretty photo-centric here... Seems the choice is just which body to take with the 70-200mm f2.8, vs "just take the Gx7 + 12-35mm f2.8 for some snapshots and enjoy the game"

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
OP kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

sssesq wrote:

From the Giants website:

Cameras and video equipment are allowed in AT&T Park. However, the equipment may not obstruct the view of others. Guests are not allowed to reproduce or re-broadcast any film or videotape of Giants games for commercial purposes without written permission from the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball. The Giants reserve the right to ask patrons to put cameras or video equipment away. Emphasis added.

I've come across the same text, so I figure worst case they'll be the ones to tell me if/when I get carried away and it's time to just watch the game. I've heard others mention a 12" lens rule at other parks, and that some ushers will consider the hood part of the lens, so the 70-200mm hood is staying at home for sure if I go that route.

Good luck

Thanks!

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
OP kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
D7000 + 70-200mm f2.8 Examples

This gallery from Brian Rothmuller taken at Lincecum's no hitter last year makes a strong case for the D7000.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/brothm_photos/sets/72157634637607981

This shot of Posey batting taken on the D7000 + 70-200mm @ f2.8, 1/1250, ISO 2000 might not completely freeze the bat, but I'll take it:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/brothm_photos/9372870510/in/set-72157634637607981

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
OP kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

Ferguson wrote:

Reach is what you want. Expect gear restrictions however. The 70-200 is a good choice on the D7000 or D700 - my guess (but you may already know) is the D7000 is a bit better since you'll likely be cropping.

Yeah, I crop pretty heavily as is just to tweak composition most of the time, and I quite often I wish I had more than the 12MP from the D700. Maybe I can trade up to a D7100 before the game... heh...

Your best shots may be any plays at second or third, obviously. 200 on a DX sensor is even a bit short for second, I usually use a 400mm from the dugout and it's about right. The outfield is hopeless with 200mm, and first is pretty tiny, and home may not be very visible (netting, fans, etc?) but is small.

Interesting. I've also got a 1.7 TC I can throw in the bag.... maybe that'll get me close to second... but f4.8's probably pushing it.

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
OP kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

Nice. Thanks for the examples. Are those JPGs as shot? RAW with some post processing?

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
Clay King Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

kshepp wrote:

Nice. Thanks for the examples. Are those JPGs as shot? RAW with some post processing?

They were RAW with some post, not a lot.  The shot of the pitcher was heavily cropped.  You will need all of the reach you can get.  Have fun!!

 Clay King's gear list:Clay King's gear list
Canon PowerShot S100 Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 6D Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM +4 more
Hinder Contributing Member • Posts: 819
Re: Which gear would you pack for a night MLB game?

I'd take the Nikon and 70-200 2.8

I took my EOS M and 55-250STM for fun. This was taken from left center from about 150 yards and cropped.

Was focused on second instead of first waiting for a slide.  He was safe at first.

 Hinder's gear list:Hinder's gear list
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Canon PowerShot S100 (2000) Canon PowerShot SD500 +21 more
OP kshepp New Member • Posts: 10
Results Are In

Thanks for the advice, everybody. In the end I took the D7000 + 70-200mm f2.8 VR II ... and used a Nikon TC-17E II for much of the night. I wish I'd had the dynamic range of the D700, but I think the crop factor and higher pixel count was for sure the right way to go. Aside from the one wide shot below of the park with a Sigma 10-20mm, everything else was just manual, wide open (either f2.8 without the TC or f4.8 with) at 1/1000 or 1/1250 with auto ISO.

I learned a bunch from my first night shoot... in particular...check your gear: I didn't realize until a few innings in that my VR was off. Ugh. And I'm a little spoiled shooting day sports, where I can just set the 70-200mm at f2.8 or f4 in aperture priority and let shutter speed float up above 1/1000. If I were a bit better in manual mode, I'd have slowed down the shutter to cut out some of the high ISO noise when I didn't really need to catch action shot.

What would I do next time? Rent a D4s and 400mm f2.8

Edit: I just realized my gallery uploads don't have EXIF data. I'll add it manually...

10mm f4.0 1/1000 ISO 720

120mm f4.8 1/1000 ISO 800

200mm f2.8 1/1000 ISO 220

175mm f3.2 1/640 ISO 200

270mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 2200

330mm f5.0 1/1000 ISO 3600

210mm f4.8 1/1000 ISO 1800

135mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 5000

240mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 6400

340mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 6400

195mm f2.8 1/1250 ISO 3200

 kshepp's gear list:kshepp's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
Ferguson
Ferguson Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Results Are In

kshepp wrote:

I learned a bunch from my first night shoot... in particular...check your gear: I didn't realize until a few innings in that my VR was off. Ugh.

There's no point in VR at 1000th of a second anyway.  You did good, in that and in general.  Really like the catcher shot, it's hard to catch them well, and nice expression.

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Hoddle Forum Member • Posts: 50
Re: Results Are In

A very good read and good pictures.

Very helpful too - thanks!

 Hoddle's gear list:Hoddle's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10
jimoyer
jimoyer Senior Member • Posts: 1,879
Re: Results Are In

kshepp wrote:

Thanks for the advice, everybody. In the end I took the D7000 + 70-200mm f2.8 VR II ... and used a Nikon TC-17E II for much of the night. I wish I'd had the dynamic range of the D700, but I think the crop factor and higher pixel count was for sure the right way to go. Aside from the one wide shot below of the park with a Sigma 10-20mm, everything else was just manual, wide open (either f2.8 without the TC or f4.8 with) at 1/1000 or 1/1250 with auto ISO.

I learned a bunch from my first night shoot... in particular...check your gear: I didn't realize until a few innings in that my VR was off. Ugh. And I'm a little spoiled shooting day sports, where I can just set the 70-200mm at f2.8 or f4 in aperture priority and let shutter speed float up above 1/1000. If I were a bit better in manual mode, I'd have slowed down the shutter to cut out some of the high ISO noise when I didn't really need to catch action shot.

What would I do next time? Rent a D4s and 400mm f2.8

Edit: I just realized my gallery uploads don't have EXIF data. I'll add it manually...

10mm f4.0 1/1000 ISO 720

120mm f4.8 1/1000 ISO 800

200mm f2.8 1/1000 ISO 220

175mm f3.2 1/640 ISO 200

270mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 2200

330mm f5.0 1/1000 ISO 3600

210mm f4.8 1/1000 ISO 1800

135mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 5000

240mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 6400

340mm f4.8 1/1250 ISO 6400

195mm f2.8 1/1250 ISO 3200

Nice job shepp.  When I'm shooting baseball with my D7100,  I'll normally shoot in M at f4 unless it's getting late/dark where I'll sometimes drop to 2.8, keep the shutter speed between 800-1600 (sometimes a bit more for an especially fast pitcher or for batting images...both of which I try to stay away from), and shoot auto ISO with a cap at either 3200 or 6400 depending.

 jimoyer's gear list:jimoyer's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D7100 Olympus E-M1 Nikon D4S +14 more
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