I am a big fan of the Canadian Football League and my home town Edmonton Eskimos, so when I was invited by Raneeta, the Sony Rep. for Northern Alberta to join her and the Sony Northern Alberta Photography Meetup Group to photograph from the sidelines at an Edmonton Eskimos verses the Montreal Alouettes game in September I didn’t hesitate. Not only did it allow us access to field level, but we also got to take part in the Endzone Party. Raneeta has been organizing this event for the past few years and she also organizes other outings, workshops and seminars for Sony camera users in the Northern Alberta area. I had the privilege to lead one of their outings to Elk Island National Park in June this past year and had lots of fun.
Raneeta also brought along a ton (no exaggeration) of Sony cameras and lens, including a number of just released cameras, for the participants to try out. One of the more popular lenses that a lot of the photographers who attended tried out was the Sony 500mm f/4 Super Telephoto lens, a wonderful lens but also expensive. I didn’t use it during the football game as I had the opportunity to give it a try (and carry it around a lot – its not light) on the Elk Island National Park outing. Raneeta was kind enough to let me use the new Sony SLT-A77 II DSLR body and the Sony 70-400mm F4.5-5.6G SSM II lens (Sony A-mount) for the entire game. The A77 II is a 24 MP APS-C DSLR camera with an electronic viewfinder and it is capable of shooting 12 FPS and has in-camera image stabilization making it ideal for shooting sports, like the football game, and wildlife. Since this A77 II is an APS-C sized sensor, adding the Sony 70-400mm F4.5-5.6G SSM II lens made it equivalent to a 105-600mm lens that is lightweight enough to easily handhold, although I used a monopod for most of my shots.
I took about 580 RAW images, most with a high 1600 ISO, and I was pleased with the results. The A77 II and the 70-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens combination preformed very well and I am sure that I would have even gotten more consistent results if I had more time to fine tune the camera’s setting and get use to using it since I only got it just before the start of the game. For photographing sports and wildlife the A77 II and the 70-400mm F4.5-5.6 lens is a great combination.
The game was enjoyable, the weather was cool but nice and the Eskimos ended up winning the game 33 to 16, so overall it was a very good evening. Here are a few of my favourite images from the game. – Mark