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Martial Arts Photography
Hi there, I am new to this forum and this is in fact my first posti need some help and some advice.

First, I am doing my best to learn this photography stuff, but I am in a bit of information overload, help and guidance would be great.

I take pictures at mixed martial arts tournaments, kickboxing, mma, and boxing, etc.

Stuff like the UFC actually, I am not a pro at this, I used to use a canon s3 is, and acutally ended using a kodax cam corder to take better pics.

I recently ( friday night ) borrowed a Nikon d80 for an event with a high speed card and sb400 flash.

My question(s).

I cover all kinds of events for martial arts and am always ring side, I am looking for the best camera for this type of action shot, what is better the nikon d80 or the canon eos 40D with an IS lens.

Thats my frist question.

Second, I used a nikon d80 at my last event ( friday night ) and noticed that other pros there didnt use a flash, I had to use a flash or I couldnt get a shot, I switched the dial to sports but the pics came out blurrywhat is the best setting for this ? .

Another questioni need to learn about this stuff and really want to do a better job with my pics.

They can be seen herehttp://www.subfighter.ca/index.php and click the gallery ( not a plug ) just hoping someone can take a look at them and see what I am doing wrong.

Anyway, I am not sure if this a rant or if there are questions herei am in information overloadi am giving my nikon d80 back and am going to try the canon eos 40dunless someone has a better idea and advice.

Thanks again, I wil be posting often I think..

Comments (5)

Tenge911 wrote:.

Hi there, I am new to this forum and this is in fact my first posti need some help and some advice.

First, I am doing my best to learn this photography stuff, but I amin a bit of information overload, help and guidance would be great.

I take pictures at mixed martial arts tournaments, kickboxing, mma,and boxing, etcstuff like the UFC actually, I am not a pro at this, I used to use acanon s3 is, and acutally ended using a kodax cam corder to takebetter pics.

I recently ( friday night ) borrowed a Nikon d80 for an event with ahigh speed card and sb400 flash.

My question(s).

I cover all kinds of events for martial arts and am always ring side,i am looking for the best camera for this type of action shot, whatis better the nikon d80 or the canon eos 40D with an IS lens.

Thats my frist question.

Second, I used a nikon d80 at my last event ( friday night ) andnoticed that other pros there didnt use a flash, I had to use a flashor I couldnt get a shot, I switched the dial to sports but the picscame out blurrywhat is the best setting for this ? .

Another questioni need to learn about this stuff and really want to do a better jobwith my picsthey can be seen herehttp://www.subfighter.ca/index.php and click thegallery ( not a plug ) just hoping someone can take a look at themand see what I am doing wrong.

Anyway, I am not sure if this a rant or if there are questions herei am in information overloadi am giving my nikon d80 back and am going to try the canon eos 40dunless someone has a better idea and advice.

Thanks again, I wil be posting often I think.

We can deduce you need a high shutter speed. You didn't mention it, but I assume the native lighting is poor because you had to use a flash..

Low light sports photography demands a lot of the equipment and photographer. Did you happen to notice what brand and model of camera and lens the other photographers were using? Did you get to see any of their results?.

If their results were good without a flash I'd suspect a couple of things:.

- the other photographers that get good results shooting the event are experienced- they understand the sport and are able to predict the action- they used high end camera's and very high end lenses.

I'd suggest looking at the shots the other good photographers got at the same event and ask their opinion of gear. Learn from their experience...

Comment #1

The others at the event work for the local paper I think and are pros.

I understand the sport and have cometed in it and trained it for years so I know when to take the pics I think, I am able to anticipate and understand the action intimately.

I just dont know the camera side of things, I am learning and am coming a long way.

I am also willing to put in time, just need a little advice cuz at first it's info overload.

As for the lighting, it is really bright and well lit at the ring, there are tons of lights above the fighters.

Thanks agian for every thing, I will be on this forum for good now..

Comment #2

Adding to MrXDimenson's good advice:.

Pro shooters who are not using flash are more than likely using very "fast" glass...most likely zooms with a very low constant aperture through the zoom range. You'll have probably noticed that when you zoomed in (assuming you were using a zoom) on the D80, the fastest shutter speed, or widest aperture you could take the shot at dropped. Cheaper zooms let in less light at the closest zoom and more light at the wide setting..

Unfortunately, the best zooms with constant aperture cost a small fortune!.

The pros are also probably using camera bodies known for their performance in low light - able to take photos without flash at high ISO, importantly without large amounts of "noise" affecting the final shot..

As MrXD said, a lot of the skill - especially in action sports - is knowing the limitations of your equipment and by anticipating the action...working round those limitations..

Next time, try winding the D80 up to a much higher ISO and see what you can get without the flash..

It might be an idea to experiment with using the shutter priority setting, and setting a shutter speed which will freeze the motion of the fighters..

Consider relying less on zooming in to the action - and losing lens speed - but taking wider shots instead and then perhaps cropping the shots later, on a computer, to get the zoom you want..

Hope some of this helps..

Tc-BThttp://www.flickr.com/photos/bigtom..

Comment #3

The D80 is fine.You only need to set 3 things. Speed, Aperture and ISO..

Pick the "A" mode on the camera and dial in your widest aperature (smallest number ie: F4.5) Set your ISO to 400 to begin. The camera will automatically set the speed. If your speed is not fast enough your pictures will blur. I estimate 1/320 sec or faster but depends on the action speed..

If your shutter speed is too slow you can either increase your ISO or use the flash. Increasing the ISO will begin to add more noise to the pictures...

Comment #4

The D80 might be able to work for you but as others have already said you need to max out it's capabilties. You can dial the ISO to maximum values. It will make the pictures a bit noisier (grainier), but noise can be removed, motion blur can not. Anticipating the action will also help because you can pan with the motion and limit motion blur. As already mentioned, you might do better with aperture priority mode and aperture set to maximum..

The cheaper alternaitve I was referring to was in regards to the lens. One poster above already mentioned that a really fast zoom lens is very expensive. Its not unusual for some of these lenses to cost $4000-$5000. That's probably far more than you were planning to spend unless you are going to make a living at this. A somewhat cheaper alternative might be to buy a fast 'prime' lens. Unlike a zoom lens, a prime lens has a fixed focal length.

It takes more experience to use one of these lenses because you have to physically place yourself at the right distance at the right time to get the shot you want. The advantage to these lenses is that they are much simpler and require less glass. The result is that you can get a pretty 'fast' lens for a fraction of the price you would pay for a fast zoom lens. I purchased a 105mm prime lens recently for macro work. It is faster than my old zoom lens so I have been trying it out at my daughters basketball games with better results than I got from the zoom.

Its just another option other than mortgaging the house to get decent shots..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Mike.

Http://www.liquidartgallery.com.

'For every complex problem there is a solution that is obvious, simple..and wrong'..

Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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