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Old Dec 31, 2006, 10:32 AM   #1
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As I'm laying in be last night excited about my new camera that should be here on Tuesday, I realize that my son's first soccer game is this weekend, and I don't even know to put the lens on the camera...LOL:lol:...For that matter, I don't even know what settings to use on the camera. In the past, I have always used the "P" mode. Since this is my first DSLR can anyone give me some pointers on where to start? What settings do I use? I will be using a Canon 70-300mm IS USM lens. Am I going to need a tri-pod? OK, so I guess I'm not really expecting any of these pictures to turn out...I'll probably have to take my old faithful p&S along just so I can have something to scrapbook when I get home.

I look forward to posting photo's and taking my next steps in the photography world. :-) Thanks,

FB Mom
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Old Dec 31, 2006, 11:10 AM   #2
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Assuming the game is outdoors - use the 70-300. Since this is your first DSLR, I would probably recommend just putting the camera in sports mode - that should allow you to get some pictures of the game.

Sports mode automatically puts the camera in ISO 400, turns on AI-servo focusing and continuous shot. It should work fine for this first weekend.

A note about ai-servo focusing. When you get your DSLR, and look through the viewfinder, you'll see nine focus points. When using sports mode (or just ai-servo with all focus points) you need to place the center focus point over your subject. Now when you half press the shutter button, the camera will lock focus on your subject. As long as you keep it half-pressed it will constantly track your subject even if your subject moves in the frame to the other focus points. Just make sure you half-press the shutter for a second before taking your first shot - give the camera time to get a good focus (in ai-servo the camera will allow you to take a shot even if nothing is in focus).

Now,several keys to initial success:

1. Don't try to shoot action that's too far away - a 300mm lens is only going to give you accurate and sharp focusing for about 40 yards - so not even half the field. If your son is a forward, set up behind the opposing goal. If he's a midfielder set up about 15 yards accross the mid-field line and shoot back towards him. If he's a defender simply slide 15 yards across the midfield line to his side of the field. Don't bother trying to capture action beyond the range.

2. Take a burst - about 5 shots per. In continuous shooting mode the camera will keep firing away. Take about 5 shots per but not more - you'll run out of memory. Eventually with practice you won't take so many shots per. But right out of the gate this will improve your chances of getting good keepers.

3. RESIST the urge to reduce the zoom - fill the frame with as much of your son as you can. Leave that puppy at 300mm the majority of the time - the more of your son that fills the frame the more accurate the focus will be (speaking of which, when gaining focus with that first shot - use his chest (or torso if from the side) as your target for that center focus point. Try to keep the center around his chest area throughout your 5 shot burst.

That's it - don't worry about setting anything else manually - just use sports mode and follow the above guidelines and you'll get some good shots.
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Old Dec 31, 2006, 7:35 PM   #3
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the 30D is a 1.6x crop body, so your 300mm lens will act like a 480mm lens on a film SLR, and will give you a lot more "reach" than you may be used to. you should easily be able to get clear shots from across the field, and you may have to back off on the zoom to shoot photos on the near sideline. the biggest challenge is going to be panning with your son to keep him in the viewfinder as you compose and shoot. tracking a moving target takes practice, but as JohnG pointed out, the AI Servo setting will help. once you have a focus lock, it should stay focused until you take the picture.

don't worry too much about a tripod... you will need the camera in your hands to properly track the movement and flow of the game, so no tripod. in any case, your lens is stabilized, which means you can shoot handheld down to about 1/250. but for sports shooting, it's all about shutter speed... you will need shutter speeds of at least 1/320-1/400 to freeze the action; 1/500 is better. slower shutter speeds will result in blurring andspoiled photos.Depending on weather, you may need to boost the ISO to keep the shutter speed up.. don't be afraid to do this. the 30D shoots clean at ISO 800, and even at 1600 the images are quite usable. i won't confuse you at this point with the 1/3 step settings; set it at 400 to start oput with, and you should be okay, unless the weather is gloomy, then i'd recommend upping it to 800 so you can keep your shutter speed up. don't worry about aperture; shoot wide open. this actually will make for better images, as it will keep your subject in sharp focus and blur the background.


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Old Dec 31, 2006, 8:04 PM   #4
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Thanks John and Squirl. Keep the information coming. I'm printing and hi-lighting everything. I have a pretty good idea of what you are telling me, I just need to get the camera in my hands and try a few things first. I'm sure after Tuesday (when I get the camera) I'll have a ton more questions.

Thanks Again!

FB Mom

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Old Jan 2, 2007, 7:48 PM   #5
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Maybe have your son pracice in an open field the day before and take a few pictures.

Make your mistakes then, rather than on the big day!
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Old Jan 2, 2007, 10:23 PM   #6
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Thanks Terry. I actually thought of that, but according to the UPS tracking number I got, my camera will be here on Thursday, and we are leaving Friday morning....I'm so hoping that for whatever reason, they aren't off by a day. I figure I will be charging the battery Thursday night and reading the manual Friday while driving down to the tournament. Here's to hoping the numbers add up!:-)

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