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Old Aug 15, 2006, 9:17 PM   #1
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Tonight I was shooting an indoor volley ball game and I couln't figure out the best setting on my 20D to use. (I did not use an external flash) The athletic mode where shoots continuously focused on the girls' faces but their arms hitting the ball were blurred. Do I need to use a bigger flash so the shutter speed will be faster? I also shot in different modes but the images were either blurred with good lighting or crisp and really dark.

I normally don't use the athletic mode because my pictues are blurry--indoor and out. What's wrong (probably with me)?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Aug 15, 2006, 9:25 PM   #2
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kilobravo

Could you let us know what lens you were using for this? Their are some settings with the lens that might help you get a less blurred effect in these images.

Also, what ISO speed were you shooting in. I think the 20D usually is at ISO400 in sports mode, but changing this could help too.

How was the lighting in the location where you were?

Let us know, so we can help you out some more.

Bill
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Old Aug 16, 2006, 6:34 AM   #3
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Kilobravo,

The sports mode on the 20d defaults to using ISO 400. That's not going to be good enough for volleyball. In addition, it sounds like you tried to use the onboard flash - is that correct? If so, that's not going to work either - it isn't powerful enough.

In general lighting in a gym is going to be very bad. Given that, you have 2 options for capturing action shots:

1. Use high ISO and a fast lens (lens with constant aperture of 2.8 at least but more likely 2.0).

2. Use external flash or strobes. In this case, it's the flash burst that freezes the action, not the fast shutter speed.

I'm not a big fan of option 2 - most people do a poor job of flash sports photography - you get too many shadows and you get creature eyes (usually bright but not necessarily red).

Now you didn't say what lens you were using so I'm going out on a limb and guessing it wasn't a lens designed for low light sports - meaning that it focuses fast and has a 2.8 or better aperture. And, again, 2.8 really isn't fast enough in most non college gyms. If you're shooting in a college you're probably OK. If not then you'll want a prime lens (non zoom) like the 85mm 1.8 ($360) or the 50mm 1.8 ($70)

The 50mm 1.8 is ok but it's a little slow to focus and doesn't have much reach. Both these lens suggestions assume you are on the floor and not in the stands. If you're in the stands you really should get on the floor to get decent shots. If you have to shoot from the stands you'll need a longer prime lens which can get pretty pricey and you want to avoid that if you can.

Now, assuming you get an appropriate lens, the camera settings I provided in this thread will work for volleyball as well - the only difference is where you would shoot from:

http://stevesforums.com/forums/view_...mp;forum_id=37


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Old Aug 17, 2006, 8:13 AM   #4
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Seems JohnG's link answers the original question so I don't feel too bad taking one of the sideroads within this post.

"The 50mm 1.8 is ok but it's a little slow to focus and doesn't have much reach."

I follow all such posts and wonder if you could further explain one thing I've been wondering. There is a pretty extreme price difference between the "85mm 1.8 ($360) or the 50mm 1.8 ($70)" New to SLR, so forgive any ignorance.

Like many lenses, you get what you pay for. What in these lenses (besides the reach) makes one cost five times as much as the other? What makes the 50mm "a little slow to focus" that doesn't affect the 85mm???

Finally, JohnG, you and I have discussed a few scenarios. I'm initially ruling out fast zooms (saving up for one of these). Would the 85mm be a better overall lens for one wanting to learn how to capture sports types of shots. Again, one who has fairly close access to tiny gymnasts, little league baseball, under the basket of middle school basketball, skate parks and bike ramps, etc. Not really at the high school, night-game football, college sports, nascar, newspaper-quality, etc. Just beginner looking for quick focus, relatively fast action with fairly close access and where the shooter is willing to do the zooming with his feet and just wanting to learn composition, positioning, lighting, etc....

Besides reach, what really differentiates these lenses? It seems speed is (somehow) a factor).

Any and all help appreciated.


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Old Aug 17, 2006, 9:13 AM   #5
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leeraff wrote:
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Like many lenses, you get what you pay for. What in these lenses (besides the reach) makes one cost five times as much as the other? What makes the 50mm "a little slow to focus" that doesn't affect the 85mm???
Well, fist don't discount the reach - any time you add reach to a lens the cost is going to go up. The 135 2.0L costs $900 The 200mm 1.8 lens costs $3500. So adding length while keeping a wide aperture always adds costs.

There is an image quality improvement from the 50mm to the 85 but the 50 is still good.

But the focus mechanism also adds to the cost - the 50mm does not have USM and the 85mm does. The 1.8 aperture and the USM are really what adds to the cost of this lens. The combination of 1.8 aperture and USM makes this lens one of the fastest focusing in Canon's lineup.

The truth is the 50mm 1.8 is one of the greatest bargain lenses out there - for what it does, there isn't a better $70 investment - it's a great low light lens with very good sharpness (not great but very good)and very inexpensive.
Quote:
Finally, JohnG, you and I have discussed a few scenarios. Initially ruling out fast zooms (saving up for one of these), would the 85mm be a better overall lens for one wanting to learn how to capture sports types of shots. Again, one who has fairly close access to tiny gymnasts, little league baseball, under the basket of middle school basketball, skate parks and bike ramps, etc. Not really at the high school, night-game football, college sports, nascar, newspaper-quality, etc. Just beginner looking for quick focus, relatively fast action with fairly close access and where the shooter is willing to do the zooming with his feet and just wanting to learn composition, positioning, lighting, etc....

Any and all help appreciated.
The 85mm is a greatfocal length on a 1.3 or 1.6 crop bodyfor basketball/volleyball where you can count on the action being relatively close to you. 85mm is way too short for baseball/softball/soccer where action isn't within 30' and you can't exactly walk out to 2nd base even in a little league game to take a photo of a runner or the shortstop. You need 200mm at least - preferably 300mm to get halfway decent shots there (remember even though little kids have smaller fields they are smaller so you need more reach to get them to fill more of the camera frame). So, if you want an inexpensive field sport lens you should look at something like a 70-300 (Canon or Sigma) until you can get a better lens. An 85mm lens is just too short.

For skate parks, I'm not sure - I've never shot them - so I don't know the angles and distances to say if 85mm may be too long or too short I honestly can't comment on that sport.
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Old Aug 18, 2006, 10:53 PM   #6
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I used a Tamron lens 100-300mm. (what numbers printed on the lenses tell the aperature?) This lens was given to me, and I'm too new at photography to know a lot about lenses and things. I think my problem is I want to learn too many things too fast, and all the numbers, settings, values, formulas, etc. are confusing me.

I was shooting vb in a highschool gym with very high ceilings--really bad lighting. I was right on the floor (and yes I know my lens was too big in some situations).

question... what lens would you recommend ("fast" wise) for shooting sports. Probably still volleyball, tennis, softball/baseball (long lens). Is it better to go Sigma or Tamron?

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Old Aug 19, 2006, 9:28 AM   #7
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kilobravo wrote:
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question... what lens would you recommend ("fast" wise) for shooting sports. Probably still volleyball, tennis, softball/baseball (long lens). Is it better to go Sigma or Tamron?
Different lenses required.

For volleyball - an 85mm 1.8 if you're down by the court. If you're in the stands than a Canon 135mm 2.0

Softball / baseball - you want a 300mm lens if you're on the field / in dugout. 200mm will work for limited infield use but forget any outfield shots and forget cross infield shots (i.e shooting 3rd base from first base). My recommendations for these are:

Sigma 120-300 2.8, Sigma 100-300 4.0, Canon or Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC and finally bargain shopping - Canon 70-300 or Sigma 70-300.

Tennis depends on indoors or outdoors. But a 70-200 2.8 lens is probably the best bet there (although either sigma 100-300 would also work if you're shootingbaseline to baselineas opposed to shooting from the net area.

I have no experience with Tamron lenses and have never seen longer Tamrons discussed for sports although they do have a shorter lens - something in the 28-75 range I think that gets high marks. But 2.8 is usually too slow for HS or lower indoor sports - you can do it but a prime is preferred.
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Old Aug 19, 2006, 3:43 PM   #8
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JohnG,
Still following this post. Hoping not to detract from original post, but to add.

In a similar post, you and others spoke of primes falling out of favor as the quality of zooms had closed down the gap substantially, if not completely.

Can you elaborate on a why a prime? Why is a prime recommended in this context when other posts seem to say save your money and just get a good zoom? I certainly don't mean this as a challenge. I may have simply read the other posts out of context. For a while, I was thinking advice may be to get a good prime as a reasonably priced, high performing indoor, under the basket type of lens (as I save for more expensive zoom). Then, it seemed some advised not to waste money on primes. Just save up for a good zoom.

In that same context, could you elaborate and possibly discuss a little where you think a 50mm falls out of range and where an 85mm takes over. Limitations of one over the other and Vice versa. What are some real world shooting examples where the 50 would be favored over an 85? Or, could either be overcome simply by where the positioning of the shooter.




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Old Aug 19, 2006, 4:21 PM   #9
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Lee,

I assume you're talking about my recommendation of the 85mm 1.8 since it's the only prime I mentioned. The answer is simple - I don't think anyone makes a zoom with a 2.0 aperture or wider. Most zooms max out at 2.8 and that simply isn't fast enough for many indoor sports venues.
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Old Aug 21, 2006, 9:39 AM   #10
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2.8 just doesn't cut it on indoor sports. I've got a 24-70 f/2.8 L, 70-200 f/2.8 L and a 400 f/2.8 L(not used for indoor sports of course)and had to purchase the 85 f/1.8 last year for basketball. The 2.8's just couldn't cut it. I'd love to get my hands on a 200 f/1.8 but they are tough to find.

Joe
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