Lenses and settings for youth wrestling

edited April 2012 Posted in » Canon 60D Forum
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@Onlyinak's Question: Hi Moose, so glad to be able to ask someone specific questions to my own problems. My son is a wrestler who has several tournaments coming up.

I can't seem to get those nice action shots that I know this camera is capable of, still learning the cam.. any tips on how to get good shots of a wrestling match, like settings etc...? They mostly turn out blurry or noisy, which I know is from a high ISO setting. Thank you mucho!

@Moose's Answer: As you may have already found out, shooting fast action in low-light is one of the toughest challenges photographers face. To improve your odds of capturing a sharp image with less image noise, you'll need to use a "brighter" lens.

Each lens has a maximum aperture, which is the lowest f-number they can use. Brighter lenses are those that can obtain apertures between f/1.2 to f/2.8. Lower f-numbers allow more light into the camera, which in turn allows you to use faster shutter speeds at lower ISO's.

Faster shutter speeds help you freeze fast action, which gives you sharper shots. Lower ISO's reduce the amount of noise (grain), which gives you cleaner looking images with more color and clarity.

Think of it like shades of glasses. Lower f-numbers represent crystal clear glasses, while higher f-numbers represent dark tinted glasses. When you're outdoors all is well, because you have plenty of light produced by the sun. The moment you step indoors, it becomes much harder to see with dark shades.

Assuming you're sitting in the stands at a distance from the action, the best lenses for your particular situation would be the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 (see here) or the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 (see here). These lenses will get you close to the action, while maintaining a low constant f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. The Tamron is more affordable and produces wonderful images. The Canon is sharper and is quicker to focus, but it'll cost you a bit more.

As for settings with these lenses, I would use Shutter priority (Tv on the mode dial). Set the shutter speed to 1/500. Change the AF mode to AI Servo and adjust the Drive mode to High-speed continuous shooting. With these settings in place, half-press the shutter to continuously focus on your son. When you're ready to take a shot, fully press the shutter and hold it down. The 60D will rattle off a series of shots in quick succession.

I would also set a custom white balance (see page 97 of the manual), as this will give you more accurate color and better looking skin tones.

That should get you going in the right direction. Happy shooting!
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