Sports shots

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by cardonalj, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. cardonalj

    cardonalj TPF Noob!

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    So I've been headed out with my Bn Softball and taking shots. I've been using the sports function on my camera. Some of the shots tend to come into too blurry, but other times its comes out sharp and crisp. Any advice on what I should do? Also I want to try and snap some shots at our championship games in manual mode. Any thoughts on what I should do (i.e. ISO, getting more shots in instead of the preset, shutter speed, aperture, etc)? Below are some of the shots I've taken. Game will be played in same setting and same field. Also any ideas on better angles?

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  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Without going into an extreemly long reply (this one is longer than I would like) on sports shooting, two problems come to mind with the photos posted. First and biggest problem. Sports mode.

    Sports mode has got to be IMO the most worthless mode on any camera. In any of the preset modes the camera is just trying to come close to the programed idea for that mode. Sports mode, from my experience, misses the mark more that any other preset mode out there.

    Get out of the preset modes and into a creative mode. (AV, TV, Manual) I shoot a lot of sports and it is almost always in manual mode. If you want to ease your way into it a bit try AV. Several people will tell you to use TV as fast shutter speeds are a must to stop action. That is correct. To stop the action you need fast shutter speeds. I have found however it is easier for a lot of beginners in creative mode to keep up with sports shooting in AV instead of TV.

    Here is the general setup I would recommend you start with. Single focus point, usually the center, but that is up to you. Start with the center point until you get the hang of it.

    AI-Servo focus mode. In AI-Servo the camera continues to track/focus as long as you are depressing the shutter/focus button. Use the focus button on the back of the camera for full time focus and the shutter button only to trip the shutter. Check the manual, you can set a custom function to do this. (I should know but I don't as I shoot both a 40D & 30D for sports with grips. Both are set up the same with the * button as the full time focus button. This gives me full time focus in vertical and horizontal orientation.)

    AV mode with the aperture set at it's widest setting. This will do two things. First it will give you the fastest possible shutter speed at that aperture and secondly it will give you less DOF. This provides greater bokeh, which sets off the action better.

    You want to shoot for a shutter speed of at least 1/250th of a second. To achieve this you now need to crank up your ISO until you reach that point. This is why I suggest AV to learn over TV. In AV you just crank the ISO to get the shutter speed. In TV I find that people new to sports photography tend to forget about the aperture and end up at times with smaller apertures than would be desirable. If the light gets low, crank up the ISO to keep your shutter speed. A sports photo with noise is preferable to a sports photo that has motion blur from too low of shutter speed.

    Put that all together and learn apply it to one last thing. Track the action with the camera and anticipate what is about to happen. You can not expect the camera to instantly focus when you touch the focus button. Track the action with the camera focusing all the time and keep that focus point dead on the subjet you are shooting. Anticipate the shot. You will get more keepers that way.

    The second, and probably a minor problem is the lens you use. I have no experience with the Canon EF 20-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM, so I can not speak to the image quality it can produce. In terms of aperture range however a f3.5-4.5 will be fine for daylight outdoor sports with good light. Heavy overcasts days and indoors that lens is just too slow. All of my sports glass is f2.8 or faster. A favored sports zoom is the 70-200 f2.8L. It is expensive, but for the focal range it is sharp and fast. It is a lens that can even be used indoors. Something to possibly consider for the future depending on your needs.

    Finally, practice, practice, practice. I am doing just that for the collage I shoot for. I loose my touch over the summer and have gone to some of the cross country, football and soccer practices just to get back into shooting form for action sports. It also lets me learn the players. A good sports shooter not only knows the sport, but the players as well. If you know each players strengths and weaknesses you can again anticipate the action and be ready for it. Good luck.
     
  3. STICKMAN

    STICKMAN TPF Noob!

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    To new to help you on the settings other then FAST shutter speeds, BUT tell someone to rake in that home plate, my lord if that hole gets any deeper someones gonna brake an ankle...............
     

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