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Old Feb 18, 2009, 7:36 PM   #1
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Any advice on shooting Gymnastics? I have a Sony a300 and Im cgoing to use my Minolta 75-200mm lense. The area is well lit with HPS lighting.
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Old Feb 19, 2009, 10:08 AM   #2
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Shooting gym is hard, I've only ever shot floor and vault so can't give too much advice outside of this, but I can say unless you have very above average lighting it will be tough to freeze the action.

I was using a mix of kit so with a 85mm f1.8 and being able to shoot at ISO 6400 I could get 1/1000s, when shooting with an f2.8 lens and ISO 3200 then working about 1/250s. I was using the latter for floor balances when the gymnasts were across the other side of the mat in a balance.

You have a f2.8-3.5 lens and from what I've seen ISO 3200 on the A300 is not too usable (depending on the size print you want to be able to get).

So shutter speeds will be at the low end, as this is the case, focus on shooting where the gymnast is not moving so any of the held/balance positions. Jumps, flips etc will be pretty well out (you could try some deliberately slow shutter work for some crazy motion blur).

Basic settings you will want.

Set manual white balance, manual exposure (don't under expose to get the shutter speed up, this will really hurt the results at high ISO), centre point focus, continuous AF.
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Old Feb 19, 2009, 10:53 AM   #3
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I'll second Mark's advice. Shoot the poses/ jumps on beam and poses on the floor. Your shutter speeds will be way too low for action.
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Old Feb 28, 2009, 4:36 PM   #4
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Ok. Just got home from my daughters gymnastics comp. I tried what you guys told me with very little luck. The lighting in the area today was awfull. I spoke with the profesional photographer that was hired for the compitition and he said he was having a real hard time getting good results with the bad lighting. Of the 160 shots I took I maybe will keep 20. I think the one main mistake I made was not using a tripod to hold the cam still. I thought I did but they ended up slightly blurry. The other I think would be the Lense, that I think I mentioned in a earlier post. I mannaged to get the whitew balance thing down, but that was it. Maybe time to buy some different glass?? Any sugestions?
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Old Feb 28, 2009, 4:42 PM   #5
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I think for a badly lit gym without a fast prime lens then if you have 20 keepers out of 160 you have probably done pretty well so don't beat yourself up.

As for using a tripod just like using IS you are pretty much not going to see a benefit as the movement is likely to be in the competitor. All in all shutter speed is your friend and this is only possible with high ISO and a bright lens.

When you get a chance start a new thread and post some of the shots, we can give some advice to see what you can do differently (within the limitation of kit) to get the best results possible.
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Old Feb 28, 2009, 6:08 PM   #6
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I will get those up asap. As allways thanks for your help.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 3:30 PM   #7
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Hi Vexed;

I'm not a pro and so I'm not offering you advice on settings, but on gear.

My tripod is a bit of a pain to move around with and it's kind of clunky. Who's tripod isn't?

I have a heavy lens (sigmaEF 70-200 2.8) and have trouble keep it steady, so I use a monopod. I bought my at Walmart for about $15. (I know, you get what you pay for.) It's not anything fantastic. But it's quick, easy and adds wonderful stabilization for a heavy lens.

So when you say tripod, you might be including monopods as well. But just in case you're not, you might want to try a monopod next time. If you're alreadythought ofthis, then I probablyjust insulted you. My apologies.

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Old Mar 4, 2009, 6:03 PM   #8
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Not at all insulted by your suggestion. I will take all the advice as I can possibly get. I will certainly look into a mono pod. Thanks so much for your response. Have a great day.
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