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Old Jul 17, 2006, 8:28 PM   #1
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Hi guys, I am doing a junior soccor team shoot for a friend in 2 weeks and i have to admit it is the one style of photography i havn't done a lot of. Any pointers or suggestions that will help me out here would be greatly appreciated. I will be shooting in RAW with a KM7D using a 120-300mm lens. I was going to shoot in Aperture priority but if it is overcast I might have to switch to Shutter priority and keep it up around the 1/500. Is that fast enough?

Thanks in advance.

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Old Jul 17, 2006, 9:15 PM   #2
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Mountain Hawk-

You can probably get by with a 1/250th shutter speed if weather conditions demand it. Remember to lead the player your focusing on s;lightly to catch the action.

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Old Jul 17, 2006, 9:30 PM   #3
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Thanks mtc. I will do that. I think I will pop the focus mode onto continuous otherwise go manual. I am used to shooting manual most of the time but apparently I should be letting the camera do the focusing where possible.

1/125 soundsabout right actually because I shot some horses full bolt at 1/1000 and they were pretty good. Being kids that should help the "speed" factor. : )
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Old Jul 18, 2006, 7:43 AM   #4
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Since you haven't done a lot of sports shooting, keeping the camera in aperture priority is a good idea.

Here is what I suggest:

Av mode with aperture wide open (if it's the Sigma 120-300 that means 2.8 ).

1/500 should be your absolute minimum speed, but use your ISO to control that - don't switch to shutter priority. 1/250 will still show too much motion blur - especially hands, feet and ball. 1/1000 would be great - so if you can get 1/1000 with ISO 400 that's better than 1/500 with ISO 200.

Definitely use your servo / continuous focus mode.

Check your histogram - you want it at least centered if not pushed to the right. The important thing is that the faces are exposed correctly - depending on the uniforms and lighting conditions your camera may either under or overexpose faces. Be cognizent to check your histogram periodically as lighting conditions change - this way you avoid 50 shots that all have blown highlights.

Now on to framing and tracking - you want to zoom in fairly tight - your subject should fill at least 1/3 of the frame - preferably 2/3. More often than not, portrait orientation is a better choice for sports shooting - why? because you want to remove clutter from the image - if you shoot landscape orientation you end up with about 2/3 of the image that really adds nothing to the photograph. There are acceptions of course but I'm guessing over 75% of your images will look better with a portrait orientation.

For focusing - track the chest of the players (assuming they're not right on top of you) - it's a close enough focal plane to the head and much easier to keep in your focus area than a head alone. If you're not an experienced sports shooter - forget manual focus - without a LOT of practice at it you'll do much worse than the camera.

Also, if it is a Sigma 120-300 2.8 - use a monopod. You'll have a lot of issues trying to hand-hold a lens of that weight and keep sharp images for an entire soccer match.

Also use your burst mode.

Finally you might want to reconsider the RAW - I'm not familiar with the 7d but typically RAW will reduce your buffer handling and/or burst rate. As long as you have a good white balance and you're checking your histogram there's no reason to need RAW and the decreased buffer or burst rate isn't worth the trade-off.

Finally take LOTS of photos - you'd be amazed how bad people can look when they run - taking 300-400 photos of a game is not a bad idea.

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Old Jul 18, 2006, 11:27 AM   #5
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I agree with JohnG, use the aperture priority mode.

Nice thing with Av mode is that for a given aperture, the camera will choose the highest shutter speed which is nice for sports. You don't want to lock your self into Shutter Priority mode. Tv mode is nice for some other things like panning, car wheels in motions etc. but I would rather use wide apertures to give me high shutter speeds and nice blurred bg for sports shooting. Crank up the ISO if shutter speed drop coz. of less light.
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