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Author Topic: Wrestling Shots  (Read 2986 times)


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Wrestling Shots
« on: March 12, 2012, 04:29:22 PM »
Hi everyone, new here and frustrated. I bought my husband a 60D canon to shoot our son's wrestling tournaments. I have to give him credit for trying to learn the piece, but just not working out so far and our son has all these tournaments coming up. This weekend a lot of the shots came out blurry and grainy. Can someone please give me some advice on what settings I should be using for this type of event? I would love to be able to get those great pictures taken but havent had much luck lately. Thanks in advance!


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Re: Wrestling Shots
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 05:41:45 PM »
Although I've never shot wrestling, I do a fair amount of sports and I'm guessing the issues you are facing are poor light in the gym along with the need for a high shutter speed to stop quick moving athletes.

The "grainy" is likely the result of a high ISO setting which is needed to get the shutter speed down to where it needs to be, and "blurry" is either out of focus or motion blur.  If it's motion blur, then it will be the wrestlers that are blurry whereas the mat and background will not.  The biggest trick to getting these shots is you have to have a fast (i.e. low "f" setting.)  Although these can be quite expensive, the 50mm f/1.8 is just over $100 and will let in way more light than most kit lenses and enable him to get the shutter speed to where he needs it to be.

In practicle terms, you want the shutter speed to be fast: probably 1/200 or faster.  Once he knows how fast of a shutter speed he needs to freeze the motion, then he can play with ISO vs. aperature.  Raising the ISO makes it grainier but allows for a smaller aperature (say f/4.0-5.6) which will have a greater depth of field (more is in focus).  Opening the aperature will allow for lower ISO setting and reduce grain, but focus is more critical because the depth of field (how much is in focus) can get very thin.

Let me know if you need more/different info.  Best of luck!


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Re: Wrestling Shots
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 09:11:40 PM »
Thanks pancakeman! He actually has the 50mm f/1.8 that I bought him for Christmas, he mostly uses that for portrait shots but I'll tell him to try it at the tournament this weekend. Thanks


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Re: Wrestling Shots
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 09:42:12 PM »
Agree with everything Pancake Man said.  There is not enough light in the gym, so to compensate the camera (or its operator) is lowering the shutter speed (creating motion blur), and/or raising the ISO light sensitivity (making it grainy).

He could try a monopod, which helps avoid camera-shake blur, but that won't help subject motion blur.  At very least, the monopod will be useful shooting other (outside) sports in the daytime.  Just remember to turn off the IS image stabilization on the lens, or put it in "panning" mode if the lens has it, or else the IS will fight the monopod and make things worse.
He can shoot a wider aperature (lower f/number like f/2.8 or f/3.5) to let more light in, but if you open your 50mm all the way up to f/1.8, the depth of field in focus will be paper thin and unforgiving, so you will find it hard to shoot moving subjects (wrestlers) in-focus.

It would help to get RIGHT UP CLOSE, rather than sitting back at a comfortable distance using the zoom/telephoto.  That eliminates some of the blur the old-fashioned way.

You just need more light, when you get right down to it.  Is flash allowed in the gym?  That would make a WORLD of difference.  You don't have to (or really want to) aim the flash right at the wrestlers.  Plug a speedlight flash into the hotshoe, and aim it at the ceiling, so it bounces back down softly on the scene.  It won't be in anyone's eyes, and it will also prevent ugly direct-flash shadows.  With the added light, you can shoot the fast shutter to freeze the action without having to up the ISO above 400 or so, which will prevent the grainy-ness.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 09:45:04 PM by ScottyP »
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Re: Wrestling Shots
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 05:26:38 AM »
Can you post some example shots with the settings that he used?

I would recommend to shoot in Tv or Av mode and not in auto mode. As wresting can involve rapid movements, 1/200 may still give some motion blur. Also make sure to have your AF on the servo (this will track moving subjects) and not in one-shot mode.
The 60D can be used quite well up to 1600 ISO; above that noise will become problematic and your pics will get too grainy. Shooting in RAW instead of JPG can also help as it gives you a bit more options to optimize your pics on your PC.

I can imagine that for wresting shots you need a bit more focal length than 50 mm to get a good view the athletes. What focal length (and which lens) does your husband normally use? After trying your 50/1.8, you could consider a 85/1.8 (~$390) or 100/2.0 (~$470). Both are affordable fast focusing lenses suitable for low light action sports.

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