I was curious to see how the Sony 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 GM lens would handle the low lighting conditions of an ice hockey game, so I booked some tickets for a local team to find out.
**Please Note: Unless otherwise mentioned no post processing has been applied to the image samples in this guide except for cropping. Full resolution SOOC JPEG images are available to download. RAW files are also available but password protected to help keep my hosting costs sensible. However, I do provide the username/password to all members of our community forum. All images are copyright protected and may be used for personal use only.
All of the following shots were taken from the stands. This was my first time shooting ice hockey, so I know the images could be a lot better! 🙂
With a maximum aperture of f/4.5 which soon drops to f/5.6 when you zoom past 170mm, this certainly isn’t a fast low light lens. I played around with various ISO settings but the majority of shots were well over 5000 ISO if I wanted to keep the shutter speed at 1/1000 second to freeze the action.
In the 100-250mm focal length focusing was not an issue, but above this it was hunting pretty badly for focus, to the point where I’d need to zoom out, acquire my subject, then zoom back in.
If I was shooting indoor sports for a living, the 100-400mm 4.5-5.6 GM lens would probably not be my first choice, at least paired with the a6500, the story could be very different when paired with the Sony a9. Hopefully at some point I might be able to afford the a9 to make the comparison.
If you love shooting ice hockey or any other sport with your Sony Alpha camera, then I’ve setup the Sony Alpha Sports Shooters Group on Facebook where you can share your photos with fellow sports shooters.