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Thread: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

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    Default Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Dear bros & sis out there.

    I need your advice on how to take sports event photos? What kind of lens, speed and iso etc....? Appreciate your sharing and pointers. Thanks

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    Member unseenshadows's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Depending on what sport you are shooting.

    Let me just assume you're talking about outdoor sports, eg soccer. For something like that you will need a telephoto lens, of perhaps 70-200mm in focal length range. Perhaps f/2.8 or f/4 to achieve fast shutter speeds. I sometimes bring up my ISO to 400 just to achieve 1/1000s, though some people find 1/200s suitable. It would also be useful to have a camera body that can do around five frames per second, and remember to shoot in AI Servo.
    I shoot film.

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    Senior Member knpan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Hello i will try to help or share with what i have done in sports. Use a fast shutter speed to achieve frozen subjects. 1/500th or 1/640th is actually the Minimum speed preferred to me to freeze subjects if light is not a problem. Raise the ISO if there is a need to. For soccer,rugby, those type of subjects where they will be far, 200 - 400mm would be the most used focal length for these type. For basket ball especially most probably it would be indoors, a large aperture type lens or u call it fast lens of F2 to F2.8 would be a must as light conditions are low. Focal length of 70 - 200mm would be more than enough for these close action sports as the field is not going to be big. Sometimes 200mm is even too much for basketball. Oh yeah not to forget a high burst rate of at least maybe 5 frames per second would be most ideal and not to forget, continous focus enabled on our camera.


    Hope i helped.

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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Sorry for hijacking, but is it better to get a USM lens or one with IS considering one is shooting sports? Getting a lens with BOTH IS and USM is very costly.

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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Thanks for your advice Is tripod needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by unseenshadows View Post
    Depending on what sport you are shooting.

    Let me just assume you're talking about outdoor sports, eg soccer. For something like that you will need a telephoto lens, of perhaps 70-200mm in focal length range. Perhaps f/2.8 or f/4 to achieve fast shutter speeds. I sometimes bring up my ISO to 400 just to achieve 1/1000s, though some people find 1/200s suitable. It would also be useful to have a camera body that can do around five frames per second, and remember to shoot in AI Servo.

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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Thanks for your advice Is tripod needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by knpan View Post
    Hello i will try to help or share with what i have done in sports. Use a fast shutter speed to achieve frozen subjects. 1/500th or 1/640th is actually the Minimum speed preferred to me to freeze subjects if light is not a problem. Raise the ISO if there is a need to. For soccer,rugby, those type of subjects where they will be far, 200 - 400mm would be the most used focal length for these type. For basket ball especially most probably it would be indoors, a large aperture type lens or u call it fast lens of F2 to F2.8 would be a must as light conditions are low. Focal length of 70 - 200mm would be more than enough for these close action sports as the field is not going to be big. Sometimes 200mm is even too much for basketball. Oh yeah not to forget a high burst rate of at least maybe 5 frames per second would be most ideal and not to forget, continous focus enabled on our camera.


    Hope i helped.

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    Senior Member knpan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    i would say that there is not a need for tripod as it would be more of a burden than any help. A monopod is enough as your fast shutter speed is already freezeing your camera shake.

    So far i have known there is 2 type way of how the sports photographer works.
    1, where all they do is just sit at 1 spot and fire all the way till the end of the event. Example of these type of events are Soccer matchs, Tennis, basketball etc.
    2, where the sports photographer goes around walks around runs around OR just to get the shots he/she wants to achieve. Example of these type of events are track and field, bialthon, marathon, where u need to go around to take different parts of the event or subjects.


    Therefore a tripod would be a burden when u are in option 2.

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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    Quote Originally Posted by pictureperfect View Post
    Sorry for hijacking, but is it better to get a USM lens or one with IS considering one is shooting sports? Getting a lens with BOTH IS and USM is very costly.
    The only IS lenses that don't have USM are the EF-S 18-55mm and 55-250mm. Those do not perform well in terms of color contrast, sharpness etc etc.

    IS would not be needed unless you're talking about very fast sports (eg racing / biking) where you might want to pan your camera to achieve some nice effects.

    To thread starter: For the normal sports like soccer, hockey, rugby, outdoor basketball etc, shoot at 1/500 (Use shutter speed priority mode ie Tv on Canon) to freeze action. Bump up the ISO if needed. For this shutter speed to be correctly exposed, you'd need a large-aperture lens of about f/2.8 or wider. Sometimes f/4 might do, but most sports don't take place under the burning bright sun, so f/4 might be a bit slow.

    A 70-200mm will do for quite a number sports. A 1.4x TC converter is usually used to give more range at a cost of sharpness, contrast, CA and 1-stop aperture. Only recommended if you have a fast lens, if not, rent a fast lens with more reach, or rent a 200mm + tc converter.

    At hand-holdable speeds of 1/500, there really isn't a need for a tripod / monopod. If you've got heavy lenses, you should bring one along just to save your wrist muscles.

    (Always) Use a lens hood when shooting anything, even more-so under the sunlight. This will give you better contrast and more vivid color tones. It'll prevent you from touching the lens at the same time. Since specialised filters like CPL and ND filters won't be used to take sports (other than snow sports of course), there wouldn't be a need to fiddle with the front of your lens.

    Hope this helps =)
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

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    Default Re: Need Help! How to take sports event photo?

    This is an excellent resource to read up on sports photography -> http://photo.net/learn/sports/overview

    Unfortunately, sports photography places a huge demand on equipment. Fast focusing bodies/lenses, wide apertures, good high-ISO control, etc. If you're able to use ISO400, I'd say you must have been real lucky with good light :P Of course, knowing the sport well and anticipating moments will take a significant burden off the equipment demand.

    You're unlikely to be able to set up a tripod... there are safety reasons for this. A monopod will have to do, especially if you're talking about using supertelephotos.

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