Username Post: How do I take better sports pics?        (Topic#1591887)
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 2
Joined: 11-24-05

I have a Canon EOS Rebel t3i camera and I am trying to capture some great basketball pictures for our yearbook & myself. The majority of the pictures that I am getting are blurry. I am currently using the sports mode on my camera. Any input on this would be appreciated.


 
AmyWho
AmyWho 
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Joined: 03-05-09
AmyWho
In response to mtnhomescrapper

I'm going to guess that your shutter speed isn't fast enough because of lack of light. You could try bumping up your ISO and open up your aperture as much as you can (small f number). If you're using a zoom, the more you zoom the more light you need because the way the aperture closes down, unless your lens has a constant aperture. Hope that will help some.


 
boysmom
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Joined: 03-22-06
boysmom
In response to AmyWho

indoor sports photos are really tough. one idea is stand very close to the action and try to get photos of whatever is going on near you. If it's close enough, you can even use your flash. Another is to turn off the flash, set the shutter speed fast enough, and take photos which will be in focus but too dark and then use photo-editing software to lighten them. Take loads of photos and hopefully you will get a good one.


 
Veteran
Posts: 537
Joined: 08-27-09
In response to boysmom

To get good pictures constantly it helps to have an understanding of how camera's work and to shoot on one of the manual modes. In my experience auto is really dumb, and likes to use shutter speeds that are to slow. Id rather hav ea darker image than a blurry one.

in fast moving sports, a faster shutter speed helps. for non moving subjects I like to use 1/200 and for sports if there is enough light Ill go as fast as the camera will let me.

you can try putting the camera on shutter priority and set it to 1/200 or faster and see how it does. If there is plenty of light you can set it to aperture priority and open it up as much as itll go and it will pick the fastest shutter speed it can do. But if it goes below 1/200 I would go back to shutter priority or boost the iso.

Cheap lenses are usually in the F4.5 to F5.6 range which is very slow.

Fast lenses are in the F1.8 to F2.8 range. If you have deep pockets there are also F1.2 and 1.4 lenses

For canon I think the 70-300 F4-5.6 lens is in the $700 range. the 70-200 F2.8 is around $2k, wit the 70-200 F4 being a bit cheaper, I forget its price point.

I would stay away from the 75-300mm lens, its useless between 200 and 300 due to to much distortion.

Ive heard good things about the canon 55-250 but its pretty slow, not bad for outdoor but not good for indoor. I think its in the $300 range?

yup, this is all expensive.


 
aubrieannie
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Posts: 321
Joined: 10-08-12
aubrieannie
In response to GeraldFagan

Yeah sports are very difficult, esp. indoors. I couldn't do it with my old camera, about the Nikon euivalent to what you have.


 
Veteran
Posts: 537
Joined: 08-27-09
In response to aubrieannie

I just bought a Canon 6D and the noise levels at high iso on this thing are amazingly low. I find myself wanting to go to some sort of indoor game to take some pictures for fun, to see what I can get.

Ive also recently found a need for the 70-200mm lens and I think I will go for the F4 non IS version for now since its only $500 used, which means I should get most of that value back if I decide to upgrade to the 2.8 version.

F4 is pretty slow in comparison to some other lenses, but with the ability to go up to iso 2000 and being noise free I should be able to get some good shots indoors and not be a problem outdoors.


 
aubrieannie
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aubrieannie
In response to GeraldFagan

Also this depends on closeness to the action. For an F 1.2-F 1.4 ish lens, you could do a 50mm prime (non-zoom) and not pay a lot. Nikon has a great F1.4 50mm prime that is seriously under $150. I'm guessing cannon has one too.

F-stop number is not about the speed of the lens. F-stop number is about how much light the lens can take in. The lower the F-stop number, the wider the lens can open (the wider the apeture). The wider the lens can open, the more light it can take in. That translates to your ability to run your camera at a higher speed. But f-stop itself is not speed, it is light.

So, for a cheaper alternative that lets TONS of light in, a prime is a good option. BUT there is no zoom. So, if you can get close to the action, it may not pose a problem.


 
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 9
Joined: 10-17-13
In response to aubrieannie

Lots of good responses here . . . I'll add a couple other tips that I've picked up along the way.

The zoom lenses do tend to be expensive, particularly if you try to get one with a lower F-stop. As aubrieannie said, you can get 50mm lenses (not zoom, also called fixed focal length) with very sports-friendly F-stop ranges. Canon's 50mm lens gets very high ratings from various camera geek websites and it's relatively cheap.

Image stabilization helps. You can shoot at much slower speeds with image stabilization than without it. Note that image stabilization helps resolve YOUR moving but not the subjects' movement.

Others have suggested bumping up your ISO. The caveat is that higher ISO means more noise (grainy speckling) in your images. However, if you shoot in RAW mode rather than JPEG mode you have greater control over your final image, and can apply noise reduction prior to converting to JPEG. You can do this with the free software that came with your Canon t3i. You can also apply noise reduction, edge preserving smooth in other programs like Adobe Elements after you convert to JPEG.

Always shoot in RAW mode. That's a repeat but it addresses more issues than noise from high ISO. You can adjust your exposure compensation, image curves, color, contrast, brightness, etc. with the RAW image more thoroughly than with the JPEG.

If you must, under-expose your image to increase your shutter speed to acceptable levels. This will add noise to the final image - again, you can get rid of some of that in post-processing - but a grainy picture is better than a blurry one.

Work off a tripod and a remote shutter release. You eliminate blurring from your own movement during slow exposures. Even the act of pushing the shutter release can cause a little shake during a long exposure.

Can't use a tripod? Try a monopod.

One other idea - time your photos for moments of relative stillness in your subject. A batter just starting a stride into a pitch is moving less than in mid-swing, for example. A subject moving towards you will appear to blur less than a subject moving left to right.

I had to use all these tricks for photographing my son in marching band. Black uniforms on a dark field at night, in constant motion. VERY difficult shooting situation!

Good luck!


 
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 9
Joined: 10-17-13
In response to sibelius

Here are a couple pictures I shot at a concert this past week. Concert photos are similar to sporting events - really bad lighting, lots of motion on stage.

I shot these with a very slow lens - meaning it didn't have a really low f-stop number. I think I was shooting at f5.6.

I was able to get clear shots, even at 300mm, by raising my ISO to 800 or 1600, using a lens with image stabilization, shooting at moments with little motion, and taking LOTS of pix. Several shots were blurred but because I took many pictures, I still came out with a couple hundred that were sharp.

One good way to do this is to set your camera to continuous shooting mode. You push the shutter release and it keeps taking pictures until you let go.





 
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