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Photography Question 
jennifer reid
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2009

Action Shots in Indoor Arenas

Hello all,
I am trying to get crisp and clear action (taekwondo) shots in a venue that has the big strobe lighting and high ceilings. If I use the tv, it is too dark. If I add flash, I cannot get continuous shots, and if I use the sports program, the shot have too much blur. My camera is a Canon 50D. Can anyone help please? Thanks.

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1/21/2010 1:18:26 PM

Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer   I would start by going to aperture priority (AV on Canon?) and open up the lens to the smallest numerical value which might be F5.6 or F4. Jack up your ISO to at least 800 and maybe even 1000 or more. You need to get as much light to the sensor as you can while maintaining as high a shutter speed as possible. Given these conditions the camera controls should find a suitable shutter speed. You probably need to be at 1/200 or faster to freeze the action. For the most part, using flash at a competitive event is rude since it can affect the participants by blinding them if you're anywhere close to the action. If you're not close, the flash may not help anyway depending on the flash you are using.
Also, if you aren't shooting in Raw, I would suggest you start, since that will give you more latitude in your adjustments.

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1/21/2010 4:37:44 PM

jennifer reid
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2009
  thank you jeffrey, I will try that. you have pointed out a few things for me that I didn't consider.
much appreciated

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1/22/2010 5:45:29 AM

Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer   Your welcome Jennifer. One thing I will note is that it is a lot easier to think of the little things when sitting here at home than when confronted by the actual situation or while trying to get a shot off in a hurry.

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1/22/2010 6:39:42 AM

Ralph L. Nuerenberg   My experience from shooting equestrian events in large arenas: use the lowest f/stop lens you can afford: I use Canon 85mm f1.2 L series; Canon 135mm f2.0 L series and Canon EF 200mm f2.0 L IS. Each does a good to great job depending on arena conditions and shooting location. Use fastest Always shot in Tv mode to control speed and adjust lowest ISO as needed. This method works if you dont have the alternative of lighting stations.

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1/26/2010 5:04:20 AM

Craig W. Myers
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/1/2008
  I agree with everything Jeffrey suggests, with one exception. If you want to get all the frames per sec your 50D can crank out, you won't get it shooting RAW. I usually have to use the best quality .jpg setting when I'm shooting youth sports that involve lots of fast action and require continuous shooting mode. Experiment. If the continuous mode shooting RAW is providing you with good results, by all means use it. If you feel like you're missing shots, switch to .jpg and compare the difference.

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1/26/2010 10:51:45 AM

Dawn M. Schneider
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/25/2007
Hi jennifer, as I am by no means a pro, I have the nikon d300 and used to shoot my daughters gymnastics meets in the worst lighting possible and to add no flashes allowed. well I bought the best lens I could afford the 70/200 vibration reduction lens that allowed me to get a 2.8 ap, raised my iso to 3500 and used the wb to set to the correct flourescent setting which was usually white flourescent. my speed was usually 1/880-1/1000. it was the best move I ever did as I got some amazing stop action shots. my kids were also in martial arts, but I could always use flashes there. Good luck to you :) It took alot of continuous shots to get a few that were good!!! ha ha I will post one like what I was talking about.

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1/27/2010 7:22:05 PM

Ralph L. Nuerenberg   I think Dawn & I are saying the same thing: freeze action with high shutter speed (use Tv mode to control); reduce ISO as much as possible to reduce graininess (depending on available light this could still be high) - doing this you must let in more light with as low an f stop lens as you can afford. White balance is also key to quality where I have had good sucess with ExpoDisk.

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1/28/2010 4:21:30 AM

Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  First off, don't use automatic settings. Shoot in manual with the widest apeture possible. I would try at a minimum 1/250 for your shutter speed. The 5D has excellent noise suppression so don't be afraid to crank your ISO up to 800. Shooting in RAW will allow any further adjustments. I should also mention, hopefully you have a lens that allows a fairly low ISO. If the lowest you can go is 5.6, you will have trouble getting the results you want.

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1/28/2010 10:00:04 AM

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