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Old Nov 14, 2008, 8:00 PM   #1
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I just bit the bullet and no am the proud owner of a Canon 40d with Canon 18-135mm IS USM, and Canon 70-300mm IS USM.

I am looking for advice for shooting full field U-14 soccer (I have full access to the field), and shooting a cheerleading competition indoors.

What settings, lens, etc should I use. I am new to the DSLR arena so any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 14, 2008, 8:38 PM   #2
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Others will chime in, I'm sure.

For soccer, you probably want your 70-300mm mounted.

The main thing is you need to keep your shutter speed at 1/500th or faster to freeze the action.

So if you want to be very simple about it, just shoot shutter priority 1/1000th and the action should be frozen.

If it's overcast you could change the ISO to 400. If it's sunny leave the ISO at 100.

For indoors, your going to be in a low light situation. You probably want your Canon 18-135 mounted because you'll be closer to the action.

If you want to be very simple about it, crank up the ISO to 1600 and shoot shutter priority 1/500th. At least you'll freeze the action. ISO1600 will help you cope with the low light of indoors.

Beyond that, you can try different stuff like aperture priority - different apertures to blur the background. The main thing is you don't want the athlete blurry so you have to keep the shutter speed pretty fast - 1/1000th for soccer and 1/500th for cheerleading.

good luck!

Terry
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Old Nov 14, 2008, 9:50 PM   #3
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Soccer:
  • Use the 70-300 the 28-135 is way too short[/*]
  • Set camera to AV mode. [/*]
  • Set Aperture at 5.6 (max value for your lens), [/*]
  • Set ISO at 400.[/*]
  • Set WB to auto.[/*]
  • Set focus mode to AI-Servo[/*]
  • Set shooting mode to continuous[/*]
  • Select center focus point only[/*]
  • Kneel or sit[/*]
  • Shoot with camera in portrait orientation[/*]
  • half-press the shutter to start focus - in ai-servo as long as you keep it half pressed it will continually focus and track your subject. Even when you press it fully and it starts taking shots it will continue to track focus. Just make sure you half press and track the subject for about a second before you take the shot.[/*]
  • Take a couple of test shots of players during warmup. Look at the shooting information in the LCD. If your shutter speed was below 1/1000 then bump iso to 800. Otherwise leave it at ISO 400[/*]
  • Keep zoomed in TIGHT. You'll naturally want to frame loosely under the misconception you can crop down later in post processing. You really can't.[/*]
  • Don't bother shooting anything where the player isn't filling at least 2/3 of the vertical frame in portrait orientation. This means you're going to have to let a LOT of action take place without taking shots. The reality is that lens will only get you decent shots out to about 40 yards from your position. For soccer that isn't much. But if you take shots that are further away all you're doing is wasting your time. Concentrate on the action that's close to you.[/*]
  • Make sure you shoot from a kneeling position (sitting works but kneeling is better so you can get out of the way when you need to).[/*]
  • You're going to find out this isn't as easy as you thought but it's a lot of fun.[/*]
  • There's a lot more to learn but the above will get you started. Have fun.
[/*]
As for the cheerleading, sadly you're going to be out of luck. The 28-135 isn't going to get you fast enough shutter speeds indoors - neither is the 70-300. You can try settings similar to above except set ISO to 3200. Still use the 70-300 lens (same aperture as the 28-135 but more reach) You're shutter speeds are still likely to be in the 1/100 range which is too slow. So concentrate on shots where there isn't much action.
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Old Nov 14, 2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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Trying to catch a jumping and falling cheerleader in mid air at anyshutterspeed is a major bytch due to our friend gravity.

Bottom line, the super fast shutter speed needed to capture such movement is almost always impossible due to theusually poor lighting found indoors combined with theslower than f/1.4 lens in your arsenal.

Thus try to time your shots so that the cheerleader is at the apex of the movement (ie shoot as she/he is just about to the top of the jump so as to capture the movement right before the sudden and increasingly faster downward fall starts).

By the way, timing shots takespractice rather thanrapid continious shots. If your timing is off even a little bit and those 5fps will occur at the wrong times.


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Old Nov 15, 2008, 1:03 PM   #5
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Follow John's advice. Aperture priority is the way to go rather than shutter priority. If you use shutter priority there is a chance that you will get an under exposed photo unless you keep an eye on what is happening. If you use aperture priority the worse that will happen is the shutter speed gets to slow. If you notice the shutter down to say 1/500 then just increase the ISO bit.

Another benefit of Av and selecting f5.6 is that you will be reducing the depth of field (dof) so you are going to isolate your subject as much as possible, shooting Tv will mean there could be quite a range of apertures.
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 3:58 PM   #6
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Whether you shoot aperture priority or shutter priority, the key is to keep the shutter speed over 1/500th.

Not much point to have a well exposed photo of a blurry athlete. This can happen if the photographer selects F/5.6 aperture priority, but doesn't set the ISO appropriately to get the corresponding minimum shutter speed. of 1/500th.

The difference in lighting conditions between a sunny day, an overcast day, or a dark and dank gym can mean that the ISO should be set anywhere between 100 and 3200 to make F/5.6 useful.

There's no real "formula" for a good shot. Better for this photographer to understand the relationship between ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focal length and depth of field. Certainly a recommendation is a staring place - but just a starting place.

If we just give him a formula, then he won't know what to adjust if it's not quite working for him.

So, go with a recommendation but try to learn what the thinking is behind the recommendation - else you'll get a few lucky shots and never improve beyond that.

With your 40D you have the chance to take lots of useful keepers - go for it!
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 4:21 PM   #7
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Hi Terry,

It wasn't personal, but with Big Texx wanting to shoot soon Av generally is the way to go. The majority of sports shooters will be working with either manual or aperture priority as controlling dof is often key and ensuring the shutter speed it as fast as possible. Usually shutter priority is only used when things need to be slowed down for motorsport or other similar events where some motion blur is desired.

B'T', basically no option is perfect, with Av you need to keep an eye on shutter speeds getting low, with Tv you need to be sure you are not under exposing or also not good that the aperture is getting narrow (this means that the background is sharp so doesn't isolate your subject) so need to be aware of this.

Usually when shooting field sports I will try to keep the shutter speed to about 1/1000 while keeping the aperture as wide as possible (small f number) so that I'm getting as much light into the camera and separating the subject.

Here is a link that might give more info that might be helpful. I was looking for the one that JohnG put together but can't find it so John please add if you know where it is.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=82


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Old Nov 15, 2008, 4:39 PM   #8
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Hi Mark,

Not to worry, all good discussion.

Yes, I see your point of shooting F/5.6 aperture priority.

I guess my bias is shooting years back when cams could hardly deal with low light. I was often shooting indoor track and field where these centers pride themselves in keeping the lights real low to keep electricity costs down.

I used to shoot F2.8 wide open , 1/250th at ISO1600 (highest ISO setting available to me). Even at that, the athletes arms and legs were a little blurry, and I'd have to adjust the shot up 1-2 stops in post-production (software) to get a reasonable enough looking exposure for news print. That's how dark it was!

If some kid was about to set the state record in the hurdles, I had to get the shot. If it came out blurry I had a useless shot. If the action was frozen but the shot was dark - I could fix it and at least have a useable shot. So freezing the action was the highest priority - and getting the right exposure was a question of wringing out everything I could get from my cam. But I needed the "money shot" no matter what.

Some of the sports I covered were long jump, javelin, relay events, hurdles etc.. There was really no time to even think about framing shots - you just had to react!

So I would often shoot wide and crop later. Else I'd end up with the perfect shot - with half the javelin out of frame (spoiled shot). To get that perfect shot of the entire javelin JUST leaving the thrower's hands meant great anticipation and shooting wide!

So my thinking comes from survival of poor equipment, and all sorts of sports where you don't have really any time to compose the shot.

So, it depends on the sport your shooting, the equipment you have, your background. In the end you and I would probably be standing beside each other with different thoughts, but probably end up with the same camera settings - lol.
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 7:31 PM   #9
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Great advice....

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I'd like to add more thing in sports you can never shoot too many shots. You can always delete them if they turn out bad but you can't bring them back once the game is over. Just make sure you have enough memory cards/memory card space so you have ample room to capture all those images.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"dave
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Old Nov 17, 2008, 5:39 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice. I shot some good ones and not so good ones. Its a step in the right direction. I guess practice makes one better.
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