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Old Sep 13, 2010, 6:56 PM   #11
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Sport photographers have no time to check the settings after each shot. We have to keep shooting. . I have yet to meet anybody who shoots in manual mode as a sports photographer.

Edited to add I am not trying to start an argument, but rather looking for a healthy debate.
Well, I'm guessing you haven't met too many professional sports photogs. Everyone I know primarily shoots in manual. For the exact reasons I specified. Again as you move up/down the same sideline the light levels aren't changing -the sun is in a pretty fixed location As for checking after each shot - no, but there are plenty of breaks in the action to validate your exposure is still good. For those that don't believe what I'm saying - next time you're at a game in bright light - take a close-up of a member in the home team and then one of the opposing team. In bright light you could see an exposure swing of 2 or more stops. That's not good.

If you shoot AV you must use exposure compensation. If light levels change you have to change the EC anyway. So, shooting manual requires no more adjustments then trying to shoot AV properly and you have the benefit of the uniforms not interfering with the metering (or the sky in the background for that matter).

As far as what sports shooters have time to do, I'd say after over 100,000 sports shots in baseball, softball, football, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, MMA, volleyball, basketball, wrestling I have a pretty good idea about what sports photogs have time to do. It takes no more time than properly using AV (assuming sun isn't going in/out of clouds) and gets faces properly exposed when jerseys/backgrounds and their light levels are changing (but the light on the faces is not).

But feel free to ask some more pros to jump in and offer their experience. They can perhaps offer an opinon on why they feel manual is bad.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 7:15 PM   #12
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If your lighting is 100% the same then sure you are fine. But more times than not it is not the same. How many sports games to do you see played at 3 PM? Not many. Most are at the time when the sun is just starting to set. If you are in well lit stadium then such as Cowboys Stadium, then you will have no problems in Manual mode as the lighting is level throughout. Though in an outdoor setting you cannot always have the same light as clouds, stands, people, etc can cause lighting conditions to change. If you find me 100% sunny day then you are doing well. For many people this is just not the case. Most stadiums people shoot in have poor lighting to begin with, so if the game starts at say 5:30 PM and goes to 7:30 PM, by that time the lighting has changed 100%. If you are lucky and all the games are at 12 noon then lighting becomes less of a issue. Anyhow all this boils down to is the chances of getting 100% consistent light outside is not good.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 8:14 PM   #13
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Most stadiums people shoot in have poor lighting to begin with, so if the game starts at say 5:30 PM and goes to 7:30 PM, by that time the lighting has changed 100%. If you are lucky and all the games are at 12 noon then lighting becomes less of a issue. Anyhow all this boils down to is the chances of getting 100% consistent light outside is not good.
And if you can't make adjustments over a 2 hour period you're not going to have much success as a sports shooter. You don't need consistency over a 2 hour period - if you make a change every 20 minutes, so what? The last game I shot at started at 7pm until about 9:30. Miracle of miracles I was actually able to make the adjustments necessary. Same as most any pro out there. Again, if a photog is too afraid to make decisions then sports shooting isn't for them. The human brain is smarter than the camera when it comes to metering for sports. The camera doesn't know that whether the jersey is white or dark it should keep the exposure the same because the FACE is the same. It's not that smart. But the human brain is.

Again, sports shooters reading this thread can try my test - shoot both players in bright light (one with dark jerseys and one with light) and see how the camera handles the metering. Then try with manual and see if the results aren't better. You can see for yourselves which works better.

If you don't have "time" to review exposures while they're calling the next play or, if in soccer, while the action is 60 yards away - what are you doing?

I'd say I've shot 90% of my outdoor sports in manual mode - and the editors and customers buying my product tells me it's worked. When other pros I've talked to have confirmed similar experience for similar reasons there's got to be something to it. If lighting is constantly changing minute to minute (not 20 minutes at a time) by sun moving in and out of cloud cover that's different. But that's really not the majority of cases at least not by me. It's either overcast or sunny - and yes over a 3 hour period the lighting changes. But any photog worth his/her salt can see that, and reviewing their photos can react to it.

So for those reading, no need to take my word or Bruceswar's word - you can experiment for yourselves and see what works.
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Old Sep 13, 2010, 8:24 PM   #14
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As always I can respect a good healthy debate. Obviously it has worked for you and worked for me. I have shot in both manual and AV modes. I find AV works best for me as the conditions are always changing. Maybe other people in other parts of the world have more stable conditions, but where I am they are ever changing.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 2:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bruceswar View Post
Sport photographers have no time to check the settings after each shot. We have to keep shooting. I have no clue why people would shoot in Manual mode. There is rarely a time when the lighting stays the same anywhere on any field. Even in the bright sunlight. Why would anybody, especially someone starting out want to have more things to worry about? If you never move from 1 spot that is a different story, but if you are up and down the field, then you have to worry about lighting conditions changing on the fly. AV makes this 10000% easier. Just my thoughts on this. I am sure many other sport photographers would agree. I have yet to meet anybody who shoots in manual mode as a sports photographer.

Edited to add I am not trying to start an argument, but rather looking for a healthy debate.
Healthy debate is fine, although IMHO it is quite clear cut within the pro sports shooting arena.

I only shoot Av if the lighting situation is very variable. Yes, AV might be able to meter a scene more quickly that I can, however what it can't do is know if the metering is actually correct for skin tones and that's critical. If you shoot Av (or anything apart from manual for that matter) the camera will vary the exposure hugely if you subjects are wearing different colour shirts, worst case scenario is one team in white one in black. The players in white will all be under exposed and those in black will be over exposed. This makes editing a real big job so I personally wouldn't want that added to my work flow (I know, I used to shoot Av when I was first shooting sports as I thought it would be easier). Even with the same player, let's assume they are running towards the camera, they have a white shirt, the background is dark and we are using a prime lens so that the player keeps getting larger in the frame. As they approach, the camera is going think that things are getting brighter as more of the white shirt fills the frame, however nothing has changed so at first the exposure is likely to be pretty accurate as there is a mix if light and dark but more and more things will get blown out and the face (key element remember) will be over exposed.

As for the speed of changing location, if you are exposing for the face and you don't change from front to back lighting then the exposure on the face is going to be the same. I don't mind if the kit is a bit blown, the face needs to be right. If I was shooting a motorsport where the driver/rider can't be seen then the exposure of the vehicle is key but for field sports etc you need the face correct.

Oh, just moving this on a bit further, I wouldn't shoot in AWB either as again this means the camera is constantly adjusting the white balance so as the colours in the frame change so does your white balance again making it a pain in the editing process. Basically I try to lock things down so I'm in control rather than the camera, doing this makes my life easier in post as I have consistency in my shots. You do need to be aware of changing light but you soon get the feeling for that. This is not only how I work with sports but also with weddings and other shoots. Auto settings are fine if you don't mind lots of variables and spending time editing but manual (once mastered) is much easier.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 2:38 AM   #16
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Oops, I didn't spot there was a 2nd page on this so hadn't realised John had already replied and the debate started.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 2:43 AM   #17
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As always I can respect a good healthy debate. Obviously it has worked for you and worked for me. I have shot in both manual and AV modes. I find AV works best for me as the conditions are always changing. Maybe other people in other parts of the world have more stable conditions, but where I am they are ever changing.
Now that I'm following the full conversation, I will add that the majority of my sports shooting has been in the UK..... changing conditions are a part of life but unless it is crazy changes every few seconds then I will still do manual. I can easily tell if the sun has gone in or just come out from cloud and I can do a quick change (mentally initially and then check that it is right with one shot of a face). If the action is close when the change happens I can still shoot and I know I will be pretty close to the correct exposure, probably within the accuracy that shooting AV with varying shirt colours will be. So there might be a minor correction if I've had to rush to get the action with a setting change but nothing that will cause a shot lost.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 2:47 AM   #18
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So for those reading, no need to take my word or Bruceswar's word - you can experiment for yourselves and see what works.
Both work, but for me as I've done both and am a convert from Av shooting, the reduced post production time due to getting more consistency in exposure (and consistency in the correct areas being exposed correctly) makes it well worth learning to shoot manual.
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 6:33 AM   #19
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I've never tried adjusting the white balance. Any suggestions?

Never meant to get this thread this heated. I just wanted to know if my shots were getting any better.

Thanks again,
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Old Sep 14, 2010, 9:49 AM   #20
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I've never tried adjusting the white balance. Any suggestions?

Never meant to get this thread this heated. I just wanted to know if my shots were getting any better.

Thanks again,
LOL, don't worry, wouldn't call it heated, trust me, I've seen heated threads

With the white balance pretty much go for what you have the majority of so either sunlight or cloudy.

As for the photos, yes you are getting better....... keep at it!!
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