Sports Setting on the T2i

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  • wvubrandigirl
    Hello! First, thanks for sharing! I am new to Canon, switching from Nikon. I am real excited to learn how to use the camera for taking even better pictures than ever.

    My son is a tumbler and gymnast. I am anxious to use the action sport mode. In practicing on that setting in bright light, low light and indoor light today, the pictures are all a blur :( (He was doing jumping jacks for my practice shots. I wondered what I am doing wrong. Any pointers?
  • Moose
    Howdy @wvubrandigirl - Sports mode (running man on the mode dial) automatically adjusts the in-camera settings to use a fast shutter speed. When shooting outdoors in bright daylight, you should have no problem freezing your subject. However, the moment you step indoors or you're shooting late in the day if will be much more difficult to obtain a sharp shot of a subject that's moving.

    I'm guessing you're shooting with the 18-55mm kit lens. This lens has a very average aperture range. The lowest available aperture when shooting towards the wide-end (18mm) is f/3.5 and the lowest available aperture when shooting towards the long-end (55mm) is f/5.6. This is the equivalent to wearing dark tinted glasses.

    Wearing dark tinted glasses outdoors is fine, because of all the bright light emitted from the sun. However, the moment the sun sets or you step indoors, it becomes much more difficult to see because the dark shades aren't letting enough light through.

    This is what happens to your T2i when it's equipped with a lens that has an average aperture range. When it can't get enough light, it will first try to raise the ISO which is the image sensor's sensitivity to light. Next it will slow down the shutter speed so that more light is passed through to the image sensor. These two things can contribute to blurry images with lots of noise.

    Really the only way to capture fast action in low light is to add a "bright" lens to your arsenal. A bright lens is capable of obtaining an aperture between f/1.4 and f/2.8. The lower the f-number, the more light is being passed through to the image sensor.

    This in turn, increases the shutter speed and lowers the ISO...giving you the ability to freeze movement and reduce the effects of image grain.

    One of the more popular "bright" lenses for beginners is the "nifty fifty"
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. This lens will allow you to obtain an aperture of f/1.8, which will increase your odds of capturing a sharp shot of your son tumbling indoors.

    Hope that all makes sense and happy shooting! :)
  • Lmadison8217
    Hey Moose, I have been using the 55-250mm lens for indoor cheerleading competitions. I have been using the Tv setting with the shutter speed set between 1/500 to 1/1000 with the ISO set to 3200, depending on the lights. I get a lot of noise and my white balance is off. How do I correct this?
  • Moose
    @Lmadison8217 - Like I mentioned above, when shooting with a lens (like the 55-250mm) that has an average aperture range (f/4 to f/5.6), it's the equivalent to wearing dark tinted sunglasses indoors...reducing the amount of light entering the camera.

    In order to freeze subject movement in low light (indoors, gym, arena, etc...), your camera needs lots of light. You can either use a "bright" lens or turn up the ISO. A "bright" lens is one that is capable of obtaining an aperture between f/1.4 to f/2.8. When using apertures this low, it allows you to obtain fast shutter speeds at lower ISO's.

    When you're forced to use higher ISO's, your images will be greatly affected by image noise (grain). The only way to minimize the effects of noise is to use dedicated noise removal software (like Noise Ninja).

    As for the white balance issues you're experiencing, you can use one of the preset white balance settings (tungsten, fluorescent, etc...) or set a custom white balance by accessing the MENU, highlighting the second tab and selecting the 'White Balance' option. This will greatly improve skin tones and give you more natural looking colors.

    Hope that helps. Happy shooting! :)
  • Llr143
    I use the Sigma f/2.8 for football shooting and I'm still getting a lot of blur. I use 250-320 shutter and ISO at 3200 on the TV setting. What am I doing wrong?
  • PBked
    Hi @Llr143, Your shutter speed is not nearly fast enough. You should be using 1/500 upwards. Your ISO of 3200 will not cause blur, it just gives you more noise. To reduce noise cut your ISO to 1600 and toggle in a bit of exposure compensation.

    Regards, PBked
  • Moose
    Hey @Llr143 - Yep, you'll want to increase the shutter speed to a minimum of 1/500 for football. Anything lower and your chances of freezing the action go way down. If you can, I would stay closer to 1/1000, however, it can be incredibly difficult to get speeds this fast at dimly lit high school football fields.

    To increase your odds of a keeper, be sure to enable continuous burst mode. This will allow you to rattle off a series of images in quick succession. All the best!
  • jennkoni
    What lens would you recommend for low light sports that you cannot get close enough to use the nifty-fifty?

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If you've ever been in a situation and wondered which settings to use with your Canon T2i, these nifty little cheat sheets will tell you exactly which settings I would start with. Click here for more info.