Sports Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by brighteyesphotos, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. brighteyesphotos

    brighteyesphotos TPF Noob!

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    For action shots and the like, what do you recommend? ISO, Shutter speed, etc. What about lenses? Flash? I will be shooting some sports and was wondering how to go about getting better shots than I have in the past.

    I have a off-camera flash, 18-75mm lens, 75-300 lens. I'm thinking 28-100mm would be better?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For sports, the usual preference is to freeze the action...which requires a fast shutter speed. The actual speed that you would need depends on a lot of factors...so there is no correct recommendation. 1/125 or 1/250 would be a good place to start...and faster is better.

    To get a fast shutter speed...you need lots of light and/or a wide aperture and/or a high ISO. High ISO means noisy images....so avoid that if you can...although in a lot of situations it's inevitable.

    The amount of light is not usually something you can control. Flash would help...but you have to consider distance to the subject and even if flash is allowed. You don't want to be distracting the athletes.

    That leaves us with aperture....bigger is better. This is why spots photographers often use prime (non-zoom) lenses...they will typically have larger apertures. Sports often require long (telephoto) lenses as well. When you have long lenses with large apertures...the lenses are extremely heavy and even more expensive.

    The sports that you shoot...and where you can shoot from...will often determine what lens is best. Your budget may be a factor because, like I said...these lenses can be very expensive.

    So what do you want to shoot? From where will you be shooting? What is your budget?
     
  3. brighteyesphotos

    brighteyesphotos TPF Noob!

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    Right now, it's mostly the local college. Think small scale, small gym, even the high schools have larger gyms than ours. Save for track, I think most of it, I can shoot right on the sidelines or close to it. I just shot the last basketball game unless I do one of the postseason games. I want the pictures to be better. I don't think flash is a problem but I don't think it would make much difference in the gym for basketball or volleyball. I'd like to avoid the flash if I can.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Gyms are some of the worst places to shoot...the light usually isn't very bright and the light temp can be weird.

    I'd ask about the flash...I'm guessing that they won't like/allow it. That would mean that you will want a lens with a big (aka fast) aperture. I suggest a 50mm F1.8 or an 85mm F1.8. That will help to get fast shutter speeds that will stop the action.

    For track, light probably won't be a problem because it will be outside during the day. A fast aperture would be an advantage here because it will give you the option to have a shallow DOF...which will help to isolate the subject from a distracting background.
     
  5. Orgnoi1

    Orgnoi1 TPF Noob!

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    The ideal setup for a small gym (some dont allow for flash so check with the location) is to run ISO1600, Shutter as high as physically possible, f/2-2.8 at the most... judging by what you have to work with you will want to run it as low as you possibly can... you will want to set a custom WB for the areas you will be shooting in and dont expect them all to come out ok as the lighting usually cycles and causes wierd anomolies in your images.

    Mike was dead on with saying about the faster prime lenses... normally for B-Ball and V-Ball you will want some or all of the following:

    Canon 50/1.8 or 1.4 Close Action
    Canon 85/1.8 Short Court
    Canon 100/2 or 135/2L Mid Court
    Canon 200/1.8L Far Action

    Now knowing that the 135/2L is $1k and the 200/1.8L is about $5k I wouldnt expect just starting out you would have those... but the 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm are great starting points for lenses that you can get sharp images at f/2 and keep your shutter up somewheres near where you will want it.
     

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