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Gymnastics photography tips

Dr Deej is off-line
24 August 2014 11:56
richie4tfp
Photographer
richie4tfp
Location
United Kingdom
Northamptonshire
Daventry

Just wondered if anybody had any advice who may have shot in this field before. I have shot in a studio (a while back now) but I am looking to do a number of shoots emulating competition lighting in a gym as well as actually (eventually) shooting at competitions.
I will be using a Sony NEX 5 Series and have a 16-50mm F3.5 - 5.6 lens and will shortly be getting the 55-210mm F4.5 - 6.3 lens. I'd just like to be able to use what I have got to the best of its ability. Obviously, flash is a big no-no for competition so I have to work on using what else I have to its best. I have been reading around what other people use and I'm getting all kinds of figures. I also notice that not a lot of people use Sony cameras (not a bad brand surely). 
Anyway, any relevant advice appreciated.


marlham is off-line
24 August 2014 12:10
marlhamphoto
Photographer
This member has been reset to pending
marlhamphoto
Location
United Kingdom
Kent
Canterbury

I would have thought you're going to need a long lens in order to fill the frame (assuming you're not going to be wandering about in the arena up close) and although you have a bit of reach in the 55-210 I doubt it's going to be anywhere near fast enough at 6.3 long end. Unless the event is going to be blessed with excellent lighting (unlikely I'd have thought) you may want to consider hiring a much faster and image stabilised lens. A monopod wouldn't go amiss either.


Rupert Rudd is off-line
24 August 2014 16:49
RupertRudd
Photographer
RupertRudd
Location
United Kingdom
East Yorkshire
Hull

Light - find out what your highest ISO is without too much noise. You are likely to need it. Guessing 1600 NEX 5.
A little help is worth a lot of sympathy.


Profile Pictures is off-line
24 August 2014 17:13
profilepictures
Photographer
profilepictures
Location
United Kingdom
Suffolk
Bury St Edmunds

Same thoughts here, I'd be surprised if you can catch much other than static shots with much certainty with your kit. Probably better off with a 50mm and f1.8 at least to get a clean focused picture and then crop rather than a relatively short range and probably noisy potentially blurred pics? Can you get hold of an f2.8 zoom?


alex crawford is off-lineSilver Member
25 August 2014 18:12
alexcrawford
Photographer
alexcrawford
Location
United Kingdom
Essex
Chelmsford

this seems to be one of those extreme cases that stretch the kit as well as the kit operator !

i'm in the same position of wanting to shoot some indoor sports, in dim to awful lighting, and
thankful that i've got decent kit to use, but still hankering after better/faster.

sony don't make a bad camera, but the lens max aperture is the restriction in my opinion.

i am considering upgrading a canon 5d2 to a 5d2 allowing me to capture better quality high iso shots,
and although i'd dearly like a 300/400/500mm lens, i will be staying with the 70-200 2.8 stabilised lens
as i do not want to spend even more money on what is now totally hobby photography.

good kit is an investment, but sometimes its difficult to justify the initial outlay
when balanced against eating/paying rent/mortgage/etc. only you can answer that part...

good luck, and keep us advised on what you do, and show us the results if you can,

cheers alex


KHV is off-line
27 August 2014 03:17
Keltica
Photographer
Keltica
Location
United Kingdom
London
London

When I'm doing my sports photography, have bumped into the same people now and again and they have the advantage over me, in that they are working for an organisation that provides a pool of lenses but they would normally have three top of the tree bodies (Nikon D3s & D4s or Canon EOS 1D), and a range of lenses such as Nikon 200mm f2, or the 300mm, a 70-200mm f2.8 and perhaps a wide angle 14-24mm f2.8

Unless you can hire a body and a lens, and have your own kit as a back up then you will struggle I'm afraid.

The reason that not many use a Sony (although it's probably a good camera), is that they do not have the huge system, and range of lenses that Canon & Nikon have accrued over the years, and there is only two choices for professional shooters.





Spike is off-line
27 August 2014 04:32
Spike
Photographer
Spike
Location
United Kingdom
Hertfordshire
St Albans

I'd agree with Keltica - a Nikon/Canon camera with F2 or F2.8 lenses.

Great camera it is the Nex-5(or 7) & lenses aren't up to the job - I use a couple for underwater & travel photography so I know their limitations.
"Photoshop is there to cut diamonds, not polish turds"


Laurence Power is off-line
28 August 2014 12:20
LaurenceJPower
Photographer
LaurenceJPower
Location
United Kingdom
Surrey
Esher

Quote from Keltica
The reason that not many use a Sony (although it's probably a good camera), is that they do not have the huge system, and range of lenses that Canon & Nikon have accrued over the years, and there is only two choices for professional shooters.



More importantly it's the availability of hire kit, I can walk into a number of dealers and wlk out with long fast lenses, until Sony start giving/loaning kit away to dealers to hire out people like me cannot afford to change over.

Having said that, it might be worth going to the venue in advance to check the light levels, for action shots you will need 1/250 to 1/500th of a second, unless your focus is perfect, f3.5 possibly f4, now work out the iso needed, then decide if the NEX system can cope remembering that you will want to fill the frame if possible.

Laurence J. Power


29 August 2014 11:51
emmwood
Model


At comps you need a camera with very low noise on higher isos. It's an absolute nightmare and honestly, your best bet is forget all "figures" and go and do trial and error. All the gyms I've ever competed in or trained in are about the same lighting as a sports hall, so see if your local leisure centre will let you stand in there and have a play with settings when it's empty


Tim Williams is off-line
29 August 2014 16:37
ExcelR8
Photographer

Location
United Kingdom
Cheshire
Sandbach

All above comments, re aperture and ISO are obviously totally correct and lights in a lot of sporting venues (unless Premiership grounds) is pretty poor. However, my basic advice is to take lots of shots (in the World of sports photography you can never have too many - most work on a 15-20% shot to useable image ratio) but also to try to find that different angle over the normal. Put ten 'togs in the same place and most will get similar type images of the main action, but the one who gets that different shot (facial expression, slip up, atmosphere, etc.) sometimes gets a better image and, to be blunt, with your equipment it may be the better bet.
In shot, ignore what anyone else is doing at the event, or where they are standing (you'll just get the same shot as them) and do your own stuff.



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