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Thread: Advice regarding sport photo blur

  1. #1

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    Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Hi everyone. Whilst this question is about cricket photos the principle applies to all action shots so bear with this Brit :-)
    I was at a game at the weekend where I was taking shots of a) a bowler running in to deliver a ball, using a 200mm zoom with continuous auto focus, following the bowler running in, with a shutter speed of 1/300 plus, supporting the camera on an advertising hoarding. b) a batsman standing stationary playing a stroke at the ball. Only difference from a) is I was using single auto focus. In both cases when I zoom in to the subject in RAW the players are slightly out of focus, motion blur is present. I'm not sure why this is happening....any thoughts please?
    Adrian

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    If you are shooting sports action (or any other action for that matter) at 1/300, I'm not surprised that you have some motion blur.

    I would consider double that shutter speed to be on the slow side.

    Getting sufficient shutter speed can often, I'm afraid, result in having to accept other problems like a wider aperture or a larger Iso setting. But you can usually work around that to some extent.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    +1 to what Geoff says. If you're using a crop camera, that means your 200mm is most likely 300mm+. A shutter speed of 1/300 is just barely enough to take sharp photos of still subjects at that range and not nearly enough for a typical action shot.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Hello Adrian, I don't have a DSLR so the info. might not be relevant to you but I will share these thoughts. I have been taking some images from my local cricket club. I used shutter priority with the speed at 1/500. Cricket is reasonably predictable and I found the best way for me was to prefocus. e.g. if I wanted to take a picture of a batsmen I would prefocus by framing the batsmen then press the shutter release halfway down then fully release at what I thought was the right moment. For a bowler you do have the umpire as someone who you could prefocus on and then take an image at the point of the bowlers delivery. I don't have continuous focus so my options are limited but it seemed to work ok for cricket.

    If you want some inspiration for cricket images try this website:

    http://sarahcanterbury.com/

    Cheers for now

    Gary
    Last edited by oldgreygary; 7th August 2012 at 06:50 AM.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Patrick and Geoff; god to know that's it's simply my shutter speed. I hadn't realised it needs to be so much faster particularly for the stationary, until playing a shot, batsman. Cheers, I'll experiment.
    Gary, thanks for your tips and I'll take a look at the website later :-)

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    This issue was raised fairly recently by another member and some suggested (very roughly) settings were given.

    Something like (absolute minimum) for a walking person, 1/500. 1/1000 if they are running. About the same, or a little faster for a gently gliding bird. 1/2000 or faster for a flying bird.

    And of course, if you are moving, that factor has to be added on. For example, shooting birds from a moving boat.

    Now, experiment and see what works for you.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Man that is so different from what I was told and used on my intro photo course. I used about 1/40 to freeze a person walking part me in the street.....1/60 to pan and freeze a passing car....so I really don't understand the speeds you're suggesting.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Sorry Geoff, just realised you're probably talking about speeds with a200mm lens? My comments were referring to using a 18_55 lens

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    ...but should that 18~55 vs 200 make such a difference in terms of shutter speeds to use? Remaining confused.....

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    The lens does not matter. The shutter needs to be open for a certain period of time and that has nothing to do with the type of lens. There is a difference between freezing athletic motion and panning a slowly moving car. When you pan, you move the lens with the subject so a slower shutter speed is possible. You actually want a blur in the surroundings. In sports, you need to freeze motion and typically want the background frozen, too. The speed you need depends on many factors including the subject's distance from you and the direction of travel (toward vs. across). I have not memorized all these factors and many times conditions will not allow me to get the shutter speed I need. So, some blur can creep in. If you shoot enough, you will start to learn what shutter speeds you need for different situations and when some blur might actually be desired. 1/300 might be fine in some slower moving sports moments: cocking the bat back, catching a fly ball. But, there will be situations when you will want 1/1000 or more (kicking a soccer ball, performing a spin in ice skating). It is usually best to be prepared with the faster shutter speed. That cannot hurt unless you want an artistic blur.

  11. #11

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Hi Larry, thanks for the advice, very clear about the difference between panning and getting background blur and wanting the whole image to be frozen. I was standing, side on , about 100 feet away from the batsman/bowler when shooting. Thinking about it, whether it's the bowler releasing the ball or the batsmen hitting it, the actual movement involved is very fast hence why I was getting motion blur as my shutter speed was way to slow.

  12. #12
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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Quote Originally Posted by northlondon43 View Post
    Man that is so different from what I was told and used on my intro photo course. I used about 1/40 to freeze a person walking part me in the street.....1/60 to pan and freeze a passing car....so I really don't understand the speeds you're suggesting.
    Who took the course. regardless of the lens 1/40th sec even for a still person can be difficult to get completly sharp and minus any camera shake never mind a moving person. As a guide I would try for at least 1/60th sec for a still subject hand held and even using advertising hording it is still a poor substitute for a tripod. For a walking person I would be closer to 1/100th sec minimum and for action shots as already mentioned speeds of 1/ 600 and faster is the norm.
    John.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Advice I have previously had from a sports photographer, and it does work for me in most situations is to shoot in aperture priority mode.
    Pick your aperture to suit your particular sport & ground (I use between f4.0-6.0 for most sports - you want your DoF to be large enough to capture the whole subject sharply, but still shallow enough to blur any distracting background) and ISO to suit the lighting (eg 100-200 for bright days, 400 or higher if it is dark & dull)
    The goal is that your camera will then shoot at the fastest possible shutter speed for the conditions. (as previously mentioned 1/1000 is a good speed to aim for, especially for sports with a ball)

    This technique mightn't suit everyone, but it works for me. I haven't done cricket, but I regularly shoot fast moving sports such as rugby league, athletics & netball.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    My personal creed is that while it is preferable it doesn't have to be 'right in the camera' and given circumstances [perhaps cricket on an overcast day ] you pick a shutter speed that freezes the action properly and an aperture that results in the required depth of field and correct the image in editing with levels or curves. With a DSLR there is probably a two to three stop margin of 'error' to permit this approach.
    There is also the approach of picking the static points [ dramatic pauses ]in an action venue when quite long shutter speeds are possible.
    Another angle is the direction of the action relative to the camera so head-on/tail-away requires a slower shutter than if it is crossing the angle of view.
    The difference between sharpness and blur is the displacement of the subjects image on the sensor during the shutter's opening. [plus the degree of enlargement]
    Last edited by jcuknz; 9th August 2012 at 03:09 AM.

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    To freeze motion, for fast moving small ball sports, played by intermediate to senior level athletes a good starting point for the SLOWEST Shutter Speed limit is 1/1250s:
    Advice regarding sport photo blur
    Various FL: F/9 @ 1/1250s @ ISO1600

    For 1st Grade Cricket – Fast Bowlers and Accredited Batsmen - I would be looking at 1/2500s as my preferred base limit.

    WW

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Sometimes, you can break the rules, within reason, and just about get away with it by using the pan technique and a stabilised lens.

    Yesterday, I had to shoot a display of 'wingwalking' on a biplane. I knew that the 'proper' shutter speed would freeze the propellor, so to avoid that, I shot with 1/250 and 1/320 on a 500 mm handheld lens.

    And I got away with it. Well, I had 25% keepers which I reckon is quite good.

    Photos will be in my next Project 52 photos.

  17. #17
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    Consideration of what are the Relevant (moving) Subjects within the scene, will determine the ‘rules’ or what defines the technique the Photographer will choose. Panning, for example, is a wonderful technique when there is ONE Relevant (moving) Subject.

    WW

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    I continue to be amazed by the knowledge, helpful opinions, freely given on this site....long may it continue. Thank you guys for making me think and encouraging me to experiment :-)

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    Re: Advice regarding sport photo blur

    more ISO F3 or F4. i always prefer to increase my ISO for sports to get the freeze shot. a slight grain is better than blur... unless you want the blur of motion. if you want freeze action the i would always look at up 1000 shutter speed with a 200mm lens, then work with the ISO. good luck and enjoy

    regards
    Tim

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