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Baseball, Golf, Car racing and shutter speeds

Kloid 10 10 3 United States
18 Jun 2009 7:15PM
I am going to three events soon and I want to get some idea of the shutter speeds that will be required for freezing action. If you have some experience in this then please comment and include the shutter speeds that you use. I am going to the Brewers vs the Dodgers in a retractable roof stadium, but as long as it is nice outside the stadium will be open and it is a 1:05pm start. The golf outing will be a pro event and in the a.m. to early p.m. And the car racing is a Nascar event from about 1pm to 4pm. I have a Canon 50D. As long as it is sunny I hope that I can get fast shutter speeds, as I am using the slower 70-300 IS and 28-135 IS lenses for the most part. I will be bringing a fast 2.8 17-50mm lense in case I need it for the time before the events when the players sometimes interact with the fans that come early. Anyway, other advice is welcome. Thanks for any help. Nick

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bangalicious 12 1.3k 5 England
19 Jun 2009 12:35PM
Stick it in Aperture Priority to achieve desired effect and let the shutter sort itself out.

John_Frid 14 514 57 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2009 12:45PM
Anil, the desired effect is to freeze the action - you can't do this by letting the camera decide what shutter speed to use.

I don't know what spped you need, but I'd probably start as high as I could go without taking the iso over 400. You can do some rudimentary checks using the lcd display and then start adjusting things accordingly.

Hope that helps a bit.
digicammad 16 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2009 12:55PM
It is impossible to tell you the best shutter speed because it depends on so many things:

- your position relative to the movement (ie is it coming towards you or going across the frame)

- the speed of movement

- whether you are panning or holding the camera still

- if you are panning, how good you are at it and how frozen you want the background to be.

As an example, if you are at a motor race and want to photograph a car crossing in front of you, you would need to pan with it. A static camera would leave the car blurred unless you used a fast enough shutter speed (depending upon the speed of the car). Panning allows you to keep the car in the viewfinder, reduce the shutter speed necessary and introduce some movement blur into the background. For this I would suggest starting with a shutter speed of 1/250 and an aperture of about f5.6 (if the light allows it you can go higher but be aware more background will be in focus). Once your panning technique is good enough you could potentially bring the shutter speed down to about 1/60 if you wanted.

If you find you can't get the car sharp, increase the shutter speed.

The best thing is to practice and see what works best.

Have fun.

User_Removed 12 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2009 12:59PM
One of the risks of Shutter Priority is that you're not sure what aperture you're going to get, which can compromise compostion very quickly when objects are moving too fast to permit autofocus. Preferring AP can help reduce the risk of undesirable out-of-focus blurring by allowing the photographer to control where the subject sits within the field but for stop-action work you really need good light and in all probability a high ISO. If the subject position and distance is predictable, which it sounds like it is, then you can employ a reasonable depth of field and manual focus and then tweak the ISO to get the fast shutter you need, as long as the light is good.

...and prefer centre-weighted metering, as opposed to ambient or spot, so that you're metering in the general area of your subject.
John_Frid 14 514 57 United Kingdom
19 Jun 2009 1:09PM
As the primary desire is to freeze action (as stated by the OP), my advice is to work that out first. Once you know what minimum shutter speed you need you can start playing with aperture.

If you want to reduce depth of field then you are fine as you can open the aperture up and the shutter speed will just get faster (not a problem assuming you aren't already at the fastest available). If, however, you need more depth of field you will need to up the iso so you can maintain the miniumum speed you need.
Kloid 10 10 3 United States
19 Jun 2009 10:17PM
Thanks all for your replies, I guess there is no magic bullet, I just need to get some experience and hope I get some keepers and try to understand why the photos worked and were in focus. I am sure I will learn alot after the first event and I will try and keep notes for the shots and also study the EXIF info afterward. At least the 50D has a nice screen so I can get some idea of whats happening and the level of focus. Once again thanks for the replies. Nick
bangalicious 12 1.3k 5 England
22 Jun 2009 8:45AM

Quote:Anil, the desired effect is to freeze the action - you can't do this by letting the camera decide what shutter speed to use.

Sorry, i actually meant shutter priority.
gaelldew 12 376 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2009 3:18PM
If the golf is a Pro event you might not be allowed to take your camera in.
Kloid 10 10 3 United States
22 Jun 2009 7:36PM
You can't take a camera in during match play, but there are a few days of practice rounds prior that they let you do it.

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