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Old Nov 8, 2014, 10:29 PM   #1
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Default Nikon D7000 and football (soccer) settings.

Hi guys,

After some research and a dwindling budget (which did limit my selection), I have finally upgraded from the Nikon D90 to the D7000. However, I could do with a little input from my peers on certain things.

As you may (or may not want to) know, my area is sports photography (mainly soccer), I have the following equipment:
  • Tamaron 70-300mls lens
  • Nikon 18-55mm lens
  • Sigma 150-500mm lens (This is the one that I use for the games)
As advised by people such as Mark1616, JimC and JohnG I have tried to work out for myself the settings that would provide the best pictures.

I was hoping that some kind soul would have a look at what I think is right and improve, comment if they know better, all help gratefully accepted.
  • Shooting in S mode with shutter speed set at 1/800.
  • Auto ISO between 800 to 6400. (I know that the camera can go a lot higher with the H0.3 H2.0)
  • AF-C with 21 dynamic points (although someone did suggest 9 points with the center point as the focus)
  • A1 (menu) set to focus
  • A3 (menu) Turned off
  • High Continuous Shooting
I know that the Sigma lens is a bit of a beast and night time shooting will probably need the Tamaron lens but I would obviously like to be producing some great focus sharp shots.

I have seen a few posts on other forums that there is a problem with the rear-front focusing but other threads have said that this is overcome by using the correct settings.

Again, any help will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers all, Pete
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Old Nov 9, 2014, 9:26 PM   #2
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Well I shot some soccer yesterday so I can share with you what I used and the settings I chose.

Be aware that I shoot kids soccer and I use older Sony equipment. So there are some differences in gear but Im sure the same rules apply no matter what you shoot with.


Sony A900, Sony 70-400 @ 330mm, ISO 320, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec.


First I want to mention a couple of items. A monopod and a small (10") Rubbermaid step to sit on. I prefer to shoot from a lower angle.

I change all the setting before I leave home when possible to:

AF area to spot (center). Sony's AF is not a strong point
AF set to continious
Metering set to center weighted
Drive set to Hi 5 frames per second
Aperture mode. I always try to shoot at the widest aperture available.

Sony A900, Sony 70-400 @ 160mm, ISO 320, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec


ISO depends on the light. Usually 320 to 640 for the A900.
White balance also depends on the camera. I use 5200 M1.

Well thats about it. Hope this is useful for you.
The more you get out and shoot the better you'll get.
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Old Nov 10, 2014, 7:51 AM   #3
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A few suggestions:
  • use less focus points - the more you use the easier it is for the camera to switch focusing to the wrong player
  • fill the frame with your subject(s) in-camera - try to ensure your subject fills over 1/2 the vertical frame. If they don't fill 1/2 the fram you are too far away for the lens you are using
  • kneel or sit
  • if using the bigger lens, use a monopod
  • as soon as possible, get into manual exposures. The problem with shutter or aperture priority is the metering can get thrown off - especially in bright sunlight. Until the time you are ready, switch to aperture priority instead of shutter priority - that way you can keep your aperture wide open and blur the background
  • Get as many day shots as you can as none of your lenses is going to be useful for night time shooting. You're going to need an f/2.8 lens for that.
  • Finally, post photos on sports forum here or other sports forums and ASK for critique. That will accelerate your learning by leaps and bounds.
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Old Nov 10, 2014, 5:23 PM   #4
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I shoot many running races- mostly mountain,fell and road races- so the settings would probably be similar...
I tend to use aperture priority for depth of field control- depending on whether I'm shooting single runners or bunches...
Metering,I usually opt for matrix... and go + or - depending on backlit subjects or otherwise (experience tells me how much I need...)
With that I set auto iso- along with a minimum shutter speed- a minimum of 1/500th sec if the runners are going uphill- more if flat or on descents...
On my humble D3100 I can also use Manual mode and set my aperture/shutter speed as I see fit and still use the auto iso as the "metering" (and you can adjust exp' comp in you switch out of M and then switch back in..!)... pretty much the same as the first option- but with more precise shutter speed control...
AF-C is used along with center point AF- simply because the AF tracking on the D3100 is hopeless...lol...

pic from weekend "Betws Trail Challenge"
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Last edited by SIMON40; Nov 10, 2014 at 5:28 PM.
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Old Nov 11, 2014, 8:13 PM   #5
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I'm not sure why you should have to use an ISO of 800 if it's a sunny day. Try to shoot as low an ISO as possible while still maintaining the aperture and shutter speed you're interested in.

The lowest ISO is going to give you the cleanest image.

Also, try looking at the histogram once in a while If you're camera is typically under or overexposing, you can use a little exposure compensation to trick your camera into a better exposure.

There's plenty of websites out there that will explain how to use a histogram.

SIMON40, interesting that you would use aperture priority in some cases. I can see the point, trying to blur the background. I used to use shutter priority because at the minimum I wanted to freeze the action.

Usually I would set the ISO first, then set shutter priority, then check what sort of aperture the camera is calculating (and then play around). I would check the histogram once in a while and decide if a little exposure compensation was in order
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Old Nov 14, 2014, 12:03 PM   #6
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I shoot mostly soccer. I generally have been shooting Aperature priority, using the ISO to keep my shutter speed up above 1/1000. I really like holding my at F2.8 for my lens to get as much isolation as possible. I have just started shooting Manual using auto ISO in the late afternoon and struggled a bit. I am fairly comfortable doing it for games in decent light but my 7D seemed to bump ISO really fast. I am looking forward to trying again with my 7d Mark II which has a better set up for auto ISO as well as better higher ISO characteristics.
I use a Monopod for my 300 lens and a low chair to sit on ( These old knees just don't like sitting on the ground ). I sit either on the side line near the goal or near the corner on the goal line.

Last edited by waoldrifleman; Nov 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM.
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Old Nov 14, 2014, 12:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waoldrifleman View Post
I have just started shooting Manual using auto ISO in the late afternoon and struggled a bit.
I suggest you stop using auto ISO. There is plenty of down time in shooting soccer to re-evaluate your exposure and change it manually as long as sun isn't moving in and out of clouds. After a few games, you'll get the hang of recognizing visually that you need to make an adjustment - either because light level changed or you changed shooting position. Full manual is your friend. Embrace the dark side!
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Old Nov 14, 2014, 12:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
I suggest you stop using auto ISO. There is plenty of down time in shooting soccer to re-evaluate your exposure and change it manually as long as sun isn't moving in and out of clouds. After a few games, you'll get the hang of recognizing visually that you need to make an adjustment - either because light level changed or you changed shooting position. Full manual is your friend. Embrace the dark side!
Trying to, The time I really had an issue was a 6pm start and the light was fading rapidly. I started at ISO 800 and ended the game at ISO 6000 (Really hated the lights, they were killing me in terms of metering! really looking forward to the anti-flicker mode on the Mark II!).
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