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Old Sep 29, 2008, 10:10 AM   #1
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Just shot a weekend of youth soccer with a 30D and a rented 70-200 2.8 lens. I managed to get a few good shots (The blind squirrel analogy fits) but overall I'm not happy with the focus ona majorityof the shots.

I shot in shutter priority mode with the aperture varying but averaging in the 4.5 range (the sun was going in an out of clouds). I used servo focus and it didn't seem to lock on the main player which I tried to keep in the center of the frame. It would often pick a forward player or background player or even the crowd. I tried to shoot pretty wide open to keep the depth of field on the narrow side keeping the main subject in focus and blur out other distractions.

Any tips from you pros?
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Old Sep 29, 2008, 12:31 PM   #2
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A couple tips:

1. A common mistake is to try and shoot action too far away. 200mm is good for about 25 yards of coverage - not much at all for soccer. So if your subject is further away, expect poor results.

2. Shoot portrait orientation. With the exception of slide tackles or goalie dives 90% of the action is more vertical than horizontal. So, framing landscape usually leaves the image with a lot of uninteresting deadspace or non-interesting players on the left/right side.

3. When shooting in portrait - don't worry about the 25 yard rule - the easier rule to follow is: make sure your subject is filling 2/3 of the vertical frame. If they're not, zoom in ORthe action simply isn't close enough to your position - be patient until it is. This is the most important part of sports photography for beginners. No one likes the fact the subject has to be so close but it is still a fact. That's why people shooting soccer professionally are using 400, 500 and 600mm lenses. The rest of us have to be patient and wate for the action to get closer.

4. Select a single focus point. Given the layout of focus points and their technical ability on your camera that usually means the center point. That will keep the camera from focusing on the wrong thing. BUT, it means you need to keep the center focus point on the player. BUT, if you're following rule 3 above and the subject is filling 2/3 of the frame, keeping the center point on them isn't that difficult to do.


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Old Sep 29, 2008, 6:44 PM   #3
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John,

Thanks so much for your reply. I think my real downside in this session was in not choosing the center focus point. I understand your point about the 70-200 mot being a long enough lens. I was planning to add the 1.4 TC to it and since the 30D isn't full frame I thought that combination would work reasonably well and still allow me the opportunity to have a nice all purpose zoom.

Your suggestion to shootin portait mode is very interesting. I never thought of that. My intentwas to crop the keepers in a postprocess stepto whatever makes sense for the shot.

When I get home, I'll post a few of the better ones to see what others think.
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Old Oct 1, 2008, 2:29 AM   #4
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I posted sample photos in the post your pictures section under the sports category. I'm not sure if it's ok to post them here.
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