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Old May 11, 2010, 2:42 PM   #1
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Default Graduation & Martial Art Settings Help?

I was recently gifted a new Canon EOS 50 D with a zoom lens of 28-135. I have been reading up on the manual and been playing around with some of the settings, but I have my brother's graduation and his martial arts tournament coming up. I would like to take some photographs during these two events with my new camera, but I'm a little unsure as to what kind of settings I could use to come up with quality pictures. Any suggestions as to what kinds of settings I could use for both events would be greatly appreciated.

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The graduation will take place in three different settings---part of the ceremony will take place indoors of a chapel early in the morning (8 AM), and the actual ceremony will take place outside around 10 AM, then at night time they will be having a dinner.

The tournaments take place inside a high school's gym.
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Old May 11, 2010, 4:26 PM   #2
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The martial arts tounements will be tough. The lighting is poor and you need to use fast shutter speeds to capture the action and avoid motion blur. The 50D is a fine camera for shooting sports, and while the 28-135 is a very good lens, it's not a good choice for that. Depending on how close you can get, you'd be better off with a Canon 85mm f/1.8 (~$380), 100mm f/2.0 (~$435), or 135mm f/2.0 (~$1,000.) You might be able to get away with a Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 (~$750) or 70-200mm f/2.8 (~$800), but you'll be disappointed with the results with your 28-135. If you really want to give it a try, you can rent any of those lenses from LensRentals.com, instead of buying them.

You stand a much better chance of getting good photos for the graduation with the 50D and the 28-135. The way to know for sure is to practice. If you can go to those locations ahead of time, do it and try it out. The chapel and the dinner will be in dim light so you'll want to use as large an aperture as you can, and try different ISO settings to see how fast a shutter speed you can get before you get too much image noise. You should be ok for the outdoor cerimony if you're close enough. 135mm isn't very long, but if the venue is small, you should be ok.
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Old May 22, 2010, 11:49 AM   #3
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Thanks TCav for answering my post. I'm looking to purchase another lens for my camera to shoot the sports pictures, but I'm unsure which to go for as there are so many options. In the past, I've been extremely close to the mats used during the fights; therefore I don't have to zoom in that much. I know when deciding on a lens I have to take into consideration lighting and whether its outdoor or indoor sports. The pictures I am thinking of taking are primarily just indoors in a highschool gymasium (during the day) but poorly lit. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old May 22, 2010, 12:09 PM   #4
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What I'd do is take the 28-135 to a meet (or just to the gym), and see what focal length you can get away with. You don't want to be too close, but you may be able to get away with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II for about $100. But I think you'd be better off being further back and using something like the 85/1.8 I mentioned in my prior post. I really don't think any of the zooms would work well, so it's important to determine which focal length would be best.
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Old May 22, 2010, 8:58 PM   #5
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You could also try cranking up your ISO to get the faster shutter speed with your current lens. Also find out if you are allowed to use a flash. I was at my son's karate tournament last weekend. Some of other parents were using flash on their P&S and none of the officials told them to stop.

Sometimes motion blur may not be all that bad. A bit motion blur at the end of the bo staff coming down on an opponent is an interesting effect.
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Old May 22, 2010, 10:22 PM   #6
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You can try 3200iso, it work pretty well with the 15mp in the 50D. But if you do not want to spend the money on a brighter lens. You can push the 50D to 6400iso. It is a bit noise but you will still get the shot. I have used my T1i in lighting lower then gym lighting at 3200 and 6400 iso which is pretty much the same senor as the 50D.

The last 3 shots were taken in doors at a club, at high iso in very very low light dancing shots, and it did a respectable job. Much lower then at a HS gym. There are some flash shot mixed in, but ignore them. Gym lighting would give you better results then I got in this low light environment at 6400 iso. It will not be as good as adding a brighter lens. But it should let you get some memories.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...s-dancing.html
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Last edited by shoturtle; May 23, 2010 at 3:45 AM. Reason: typo
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Old May 23, 2010, 3:38 AM   #7
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If you want to get close to freezing the action then you will need fast glass (the zoom won't do it even if you push the ISO to 6400) and probably still need to use ISO 3200 at f2 in many places. My choice is the 85mm f1.8. Here is a thread where I used it at an international event so the lighting was far better than average.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...ent-egypt.html
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Old May 23, 2010, 6:41 AM   #8
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Unfortunately, while shoturtle's photos are quite nice, they are reduced, so they're not good for judging the quality of the T1i's performance at high ISO settings. (See Why a resized photo is no use in showing camera quality ) I shoot sports/action in low light with a Nikon D90 and start getting objectionable image noise at ISO 1600, and according to DXOMark.com, the Nikon D90 has less noise than the Canon T1i.

I think Mark1616's photos are better examples of the types of shots you'll want to get, and with the right lens, (plus years of experience, or a bit of luck) your results could be equally good, and you wouldn't need to risk image noise by using high ISO settings.
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Old May 23, 2010, 10:21 AM   #9
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As usual, Mark's advice is right on the money. You'll need f2.8 or 2.0 in most HS gyms. You could rent a 70-200 2.8 lens for the tourney if you want. You'll have to shoot at 3200-6400. Not ideal, but working with the 85mm 1.8 on a aps-c sensor camera takes some getting used to because you have to frame extremely tight to get good results. Like Mark I base my advice on hands-on indoor sports shooting experience.
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Old May 23, 2010, 10:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Like Mark I base my advice on hands-on indoor sports shooting experience.
He is modest, not just hands on, but very high quality work compared to nearly all the rest of us on here. Actually, we've not seen anything from you for a while John, you need to get out
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