Sports Photos

Discussion in 'Photography' started by David Cleland, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. Hi all,

    not sure if anyone remembers me from posting here last summer. I purchased a
    canon 75-300 lens for my canon 300d - I am trying it out on sports
    photography with very average outcomes. Is the 73-300 lens at £120 fit for
    sport or do I need one of the pro lens that look massive and cost massive ?
    Some of my photos can be seen at but some are fuzzy others are
    just boring.... any tips on sports photography or any sites dedicated to it
    would be appreciated.

    David Cleland, Feb 5, 2005
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  2. David Cleland

    Guest Guest

    I think you have some good pictures there but they would have benefited from
    a faster lens with a wider maximum aperture to help to isolate the players
    from the background and also this would allow you to use faster shutter
    speeds to freeze the action.
    Guest, Feb 5, 2005
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  3. You need high-quality glass for really outstanding sports photos. A
    Canon 75-300 zoom isn't going to cut it. See:
    uraniumcommittee, Feb 6, 2005

  4. thanks for the replies,

    What lens would you recommend for the purpose ? is the canon 300d a good
    enough camera ? I found myself clicking fast to get the action and finding
    the camera jammed up writing to the cf card.

    also I am using the sports mode on the camera, would I be best to set it
    manually, and if so would anyone mind telling me how - I am a complete
    novice teacher taking pictures for the school website.

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005
  5. David Cleland

    grol Guest

    I see what you mean about fuzzy. Most cheap tele-zooms are very soft at wide
    open at max zoom. Usually they are sharpest at around F8-F11. This means that
    shutter speed is going to be real slow. Slow shutter speed is not good for
    moving subjects i.e. sports. With any telephoto lens, you really need a good
    sturdy tripod, if you haven't one already. I would think that the lens is the
    most limiting factor, not the camera. The 300D should be fine. A faster lens
    will improve the pics alot, but these a mega expensive. I guess you should use
    the highest ISO setting on your camera that you can get away with, use a tripod,
    and not shoot wide open if you can help it (perhaps just one stop under).

    grol, Feb 6, 2005
  6. David Cleland

    grol Guest

    Forgot to mention, if you suspect your lens is very soft, you should do some
    test images of still subjects on a tripod. It's not uncommon to get a soft lens.
    If so, return it, swap it. The Canon 70-300 is pretty sharp (not excellent
    though) for a consumer tele.
    grol, Feb 6, 2005
  7. David Cleland

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Agreed. When you look at most pro sports pictures, the background is always
    extremely fuzzy (small aperture), and the action is completely frozen (high
    shutter speed). The lens quality is critical in sports photography, because
    it needs to be fast and sharp when fully zoomed. I think the camera being
    used is fine (though the buffer is limited to only 4 shots, which provides a
    challenge), but the lens doesn't look to be up to par with the expectations
    of the shooter.
    Mike Kohary, Feb 6, 2005
  8. David Cleland

    Mike Kohary Guest

    How much are you prepared to spend? ;) Seriously, a 300mm or 400mm zoom
    lens that's as sharp as you probably want it is going to cost you a small
    It's good enough, but as you say, you'll be limited by the buffer, and
    therefore challenged to be more picky in your shooting. It can be done - I
    do it all the time - but I'm also upgrading to a 20D next week, partly for
    the purpose of doing away with this limitation. That said, the 300D can
    take terrific sports shots. The lens is what is critical here.
    You would be best to set it manually, or at least on one of the priority
    modes. Try setting it to aperture priority, and then set your f number as
    low as possible (use the wheel to dial it down). That should ensure a fast
    shutter speed (at least as fast as that lens is capable of) which will
    freeze the action and help with sharpness, while providing plenty of blur
    for the background, isolating the player as they do in all pro sports
    Mike Kohary, Feb 6, 2005

  9. I will try some test shots, I think I need to learn technique, would a
    mono-pod help ?

    What do you think of the pics other than the sharpness ? as a newbie any
    tips comments would be appreciated - are the pics acceptable with the pros ?

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005
  10. David Cleland

    Mike Kohary Guest

    My thoughts:

    - They need to be even more close-up, or cropped to appear so.
    - The best pictures show the ball in action, or the players engaged in
    action. It's also nice to see at least one face.
    - Don't post every single picture you took. Pick only the best ones, and
    post those. Quality over quantity. You might find that only 10-20% of the
    pictures turn out really good, and that's perfectly ok. If people have to
    go through every picture to find the few good ones, the perception of the
    pictures as a whole will drop. But if you post only the good ones, the
    overall perception will be very positive.
    Mike Kohary, Feb 6, 2005

  11. Agreed, the 4 shot is a challenge, but there is no way I can afford a big
    camera. I have increased the size of the photos on site - as I found the
    ones I published actually looked fuzzier than the real ones. if anyone had time could they
    comment on the sharpness.

    I am happy with this shot 046.jpg

    but should have focused on more to remove other player.

    This one is ok 048.jpg

    but I think this is my best, not in terms of action but it grabs a moment, a
    player shaking the hand of the other team's coach, there is just something
    about it that............ 076.jpg

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005

  12. This is where I am lost, is there any books on this ? I got to AF mode and
    that the f number as low as I can with the wheel.

    I will give this a go -the team is playing again wednesday week, so I am
    back out in action. Is there an ultimate set up or lens for this work ?

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005
  13. - They need to be even more close-up, or cropped to appear so.

    Yes, the problem is from the ones on the site I find it hard to pick the
    best ones..... they all look the same.

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005
  14. David Cleland

    Mike Kohary Guest

    The sharpness actually looks fine. I would focus more on framing and
    composition. For action shots, try to get all of the player in the shot.
    For sideline shots, it's ok to go waist-up or face portrait, but for action,
    I want to see everything.
    I was going to point this out as the best shot myself. I wish the framing
    had been a little lower - where's their feet? ;)
    Yeah, again I wanted to see the feet.
    That is a pretty nice shot - but again with the feet! :) Sorry to nag, but
    I'm distracted by it each time. It's also too bad the guy in the yellow
    shirt is standing between them, but there's nothing you can do about that.

    That's the thing about sports shots - you're completely at the mercy of the
    circumstances. That's why you take a thousand shots, and just pick the best
    25-50. But I think the ones you pointed out, if they were framed just a bit
    lower, would make very nice shots indeed. Keep it up!
    Mike Kohary, Feb 6, 2005
  15. With the 300D isn't sports mode the only mode that supports a tracking auto
    Stephen Maudsley, Feb 6, 2005
  16. 25-50. But I think the ones you pointed out, if they were framed just a

    Thanks - these are good points, I will work on this for next time and see if
    I can make any improvements. Really at this stage my equipment is fine I
    need to work on technique.

    Thanks for the comments, it does look (as I go through the photos) that I am
    aiming too high, too much sky and not enough action.

    There was a really brilliant photo opp that I missed as the camera was
    writing to the CF card, I was tempted to run on and ask if they could do it
    again - but I refrained.

    Thanks again,

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005
  17. Mike,

    I checked out your site, your photos are unreal !! The colors etc are
    brilliant what digital camera do you use. Obviously it is nothing to do with
    the camera but to the photographer but just looking reassurance that my kit
    is up to it.

    David Cleland, Feb 6, 2005
  18. David Cleland

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Tons. :) Just pick up a photography basics book, and start from there.
    You just need to know how to manipulate the aperture, shutter speed and ISO
    in order to achieve certain desired effects and exposures. It's actually
    not that hard once you get the hang of it.
    Yup, that's what you want. What's the lowest number you can get?
    I currently use the Canon EF 70mm-200mm f4/L. I'd like even more zoom, but
    it does well in most situations for my amateur needs. (Sorry, I don't have
    any sports shots posted on my website, which is badly in need of updating,
    but I'll see if I can post something soon to give you an example.) Setting
    my aperture to f4 gives me nice blur and separation, and on brighter days
    allows for very fast shutter speeds. Even on overcast days, it's fast
    enough. If I were going pro, I'd get something that could reach at least
    twice as long and with a lower f-stop, like f2.8.
    Mike Kohary, Feb 6, 2005
  19. David Cleland

    Mike Kohary Guest

    I'm not familiar with either lens. They seem pretty inexpensive, and you
    tend to get what you apy for, so... :) Not to say they're bad, I'm sure
    they're fine. But what kind of results are you looking for? If you're
    looking for pro-style results, these probably aren't satisfactory. But if
    you're just into it as a hobbyist, they might be perfectly fine. Check
    Google to find reviews on these.
    Mike Kohary, Feb 6, 2005
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