Fist time shooting sports. Need help :-)

Started Oct 17, 2004 | Discussions thread
tomkatzid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,428
Thanks you

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Nill Toulme wrote:

I shoot sports in Av, evaluative, lens wide open, i.e. typically
f/2.8. I always shoot wide open not only for the additional shutter
speed it affords but moreso because I like an out of focus
background that isolates the subject better.

I shoot at the lowest ISO that will give me plenty of shutter
speed, and the more the better. This will not only help to stop
action but also make up for some camera movement, which is
inevitable when you're trying to follow action.

In broad daylight I might start out shooting something like ISO
250, 1/6400 at f/2.8. As the light falls I'll start easing up the
ISO to keep the shutter speed at least up around 1/2500 or so until
maybe I hit ISO 800. Then I'll let the shutter speed float on down
till it gets to maybe 1/1000 or 1/1500 or so, then to keep it there
I'll start ratcheting up the ISO again in steps till it hits 1600.
Then I'll let the shutter speed continue to float down till I'm at
1/400. And then I'll switch to manual mode, 1/400 @ f/2.8,
because I've found that for me, 1/400 is the absolute minimum to
get reasonable stopped action. 1/320 or less and it really starts
to fall apart.

At that point, depending on the stadium lighting I'll either stay
at 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600 or if it's really dark, with the Mark II
I'll go all the way to ISO 3200. I wouldn't do that with the 1D,
but with the Mark II ISO 3200 is really very usable, especially if
you crank up the black point in the RAW conversion (and I should
add that I shoot RAW exclusively and process with C1) to block up
the shadows and mask the noise.

This all probably sounds complicated but it's really not. Really
all you do is keep an eye on your shutter speed and ramp up the ISO
as necessary to keep it where you want it. IOW, exposure really
becomes a dynamic combination not just of shutter speed and
aperture, but those two things and ISO. It's one of the really neat
things about digital as opposed to shooting film. In fact, for me
it's really just shutter speed and ISO, since it's so rare for me
to shoot at anything other than max aperture.

Hope this helps. FWIW, here's the very first soccer match I shot
with the Mark II, and it illustrates all of this, both right and
wrong, the good, the bad and the ugly. EXIF is below each shot if
you scroll down a bit — note how the settings change as the light
goes from late afternoon sun to full darkness under really lousy
high school stadium lighting. (Ignore the red-challenged uniforms
in the Mark II shots — I was converting with beta software that was
not quite ready for prime time.)

There's lots more soccer and baseball, and more, on my site.

As for focus, try center point only, AI servo, CF4-1 to activate AF
with the * button (and if you're using a 1D-series body, CF17-1).
AF with the * button takes a little getting used to, but once you
do it makes it a lot easier to lead the AF before hitting the
shutter, and to keep tracking the subject with AF on while hitting
the shutter periodically. It also allows you to effectively use AI
servo as one-shot to lock focus and recompose, just by focusing
with * and then releasing it to lock focus, e.g., for reaction
shots of the bench.

Also note that on all Canon DSLR's, in AI servo the first frame in
a burst is shutter-priority, i.e., the shutter will fire even if
focus is not acquired. Subsequent frames in the burst are
focus-priority. The result is you will not infrequently find that
the first frame in a sequence is OOF, and subsequent frames sharp.
The best cure for this is leading the AF and giving it a chance to
catch up to the subject before you fire the shutter, and also
always firing at least two or three frames, as you have a better
chance of the later ones being in focus.

Last tip: Shoot tight, and don't be afraid to crop your shots
aggressively. IMO good tight cropping can turn an OK shot into a
good one, and a good shot into a very good one.

Oh one more: Use a monopod!


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Money can buy you a pretty good dog, but it can't buy the wag of his tail... Josh Billings

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