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cdorsey Dec 1, 2008 7:13 PM

Gentlemen and ladies,

Headed to the rink for the first time with my brand new canon xsi and Sigma f/2.8 70-200.

This is as rookie as things get but can you make some suggestions and what settings I should be looking at for your standard so-so lit hockey arena?

I appreciate you guys getting me somewhere close to what I should be looking at so my wife does not look at me like I am nuts when I download my first pictures:)



JohnG Dec 1, 2008 8:24 PM


Good luck and have fun. There's a lot to learn - probably too much for this first night. Here are some basics. Your camera's manual will tell you how to do the following:
  1. Set focus mode to AI-Servo[/*]
  2. Select center focus point[/*]
  3. Set toburst (vs. single shot)[/*]
  4. Set exposure mode to MANUAL (M).[/*]
  5. Set ISO to 1600[/*]
  6. set aperture to 2.8[/*]
  7. set shutter speed to 1/250[/*]
  8. take some test shots during warm-ups. Look at the FACES in the test shots on your LCD screen. If they're overexposed, increase shutter speed to 1/320 - repeat process until they look about right. If they're underexposed, drop shutter speed down to 1/200 and repeat until they look right.[/*]
  9. For first time set WB to auto. Next time out you'll want to do a custom white balance. But getting into that might be a bit much for your first time out.[/*]
  10. when shooting - put center focus point over an area of contrast on your subject - letters/numbers on the chest or facemask. Half press the shutter button - that will engage the autofocus and tracking. In Servo mode the camera will allow you to take a shot even if focus has not been achieved. So be sure to keep the focus point on your subject and shutter half pressed for a second BEFORE pressing it all the way down and taking a photo. Keep the shutter pressed for 3 shots. I would recommend taking 3 shot bursts as you start off. Resist the urge to take 10 shot bursts - you'll just end up throwing out a lot of photos that way. But, 1 shot you'll find focus isn't great or something else is wrong. 3 is a good average amount. If you do YOUR job right (focus on area of contrast and give the camera a second to start tracking) one of the three should be good.[/*]
  11. Fill the frame with your subject. This is the toughest part of sports shooting. You have to really fight the urge to zoom out so you can "see" more of the ice. First time out just track individual players. If you're holding the camera in portrait orientation make sure the player fills up 3/4 of the vertical frame. If landscape orientation make sure they fill 90% of the frame. This will be tough but it's essential to getting good focus. In better lighting outdoors you can get away with framing looser. But in low light you MUST frame tightly to give your camera the best chance at getting the focus correct.
Again, good luck and have fun!

cdorsey Dec 1, 2008 8:44 PM

Thank you very much John. I appreciate your willingness to help me out. I will post some pictures for users to critique and hopefully allow me to learn. I am very excited as I have been dreaming about a camera like this for years.

Again, thanks and Happy Holidays.

TCav Dec 1, 2008 9:45 PM

You don't have to wait for your son to be there before you start taking photos. Chances are there will always be someone on the ice, so show up a day or two early and try it out.

And I know there isn't a lot I can do to keep my wife from looking at me like I'm nuts. Good luck with yours. [suB]:-)[/suB]

StevieDgpt Dec 1, 2008 9:49 PM

Also remember... what you see in the view finder does not match the results asmost view finders are not 100% display. You might be able to tighten up even more as the camera sensor sees more than what you see in the viewfinder.

cdorsey Dec 1, 2008 11:09 PM


Excellent point. With 3 kids playing hockey and defintely practice prior to this weekends games, I like your idea of getting out there...

Thanks again guys.


cdorsey Dec 1, 2008 11:09 PM

Thanks Stevie on the point of filling it in more.

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