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Using slow shutter speeds in badminton

Discussion in 'Badminton Photography' started by taneepak, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    I may sound like an old record, but it is my humble opinion that a solid and steady tripod is indispensable to sports photography, especially badminton photography. Even with a steady tripod all lenses must be no slower than f/2.8 for zooms and f/1.8 for primes. How can you take consistent badminton photography with slow zoom lenses of f/3.8 and slower hand-held? Hand-holding a slr is equivalent to losing two stops. Just try this : take a picture in a badminton hall at f/2.8 hand-held and take the same or a similar picture at the same f/2.8 with the camera on a solid and steady tripod using a cable release. Enlarge the two pictures 300 times and you can see the difference.
    You can see in soccer matches professional photographer using expensive and fast long telephoto lenses mounted on solid tripods. You can also see even more amateurs among the crowd using hand-held cameras. I am sure they don't produce comparable pictures. If so the amateurs among the crowd probably know something the professionals have never learned.
     
  2. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    try this, photo a badminton player who is moving very fast at f/2.8 and 1/60s shutter, with and without tripod. i can guarantee you that both pictures will come out so blur you won't be able to tell the difference.

    professional photographer using fast long lens on the soccer stadium are using monopods, btw, not tripods. the reason they used tripods is because those 400/2.8 lenses weighs upwards of 20lbs. have you tried handholding 20+lbs for 1.5 hours? the monopod is there for support.
     
  3. lurker

    lurker Regular Member

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    tripod and cable release for a sports that is all over the court?
     
  4. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    yeah. agree. i have tried it. tripod, even monopod, totally does not work if you are close to the court. i brought a monopod to shoot a tournament last time and after 5 shots i took it off and it sat in my car ever since. unless one is shooting at long tele range (> 150mm), the monopod is too restrictive. tripod is even worse, there are too much moving around and even more restrictive.

    i suggest in the future, taneepak should borrow a DSLR and try out his suggestions before making them.
     
  5. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    When on the move you have to compromise on the types of tripod, but the key is to get a steady one that is easy to move around. Tripods with a centre pole that you can raise or lower should never be used, because they cause vibrations. Some tripods are a pain and get in the way. I had always used a tripod when taking or video taping badminton matches. Yes, there is a difference taking badminton photos at 1/60 sec at f/2.8 with and without a tripod, especially with a telephoto.
     
  6. viver

    viver Regular Member

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    Hehe, Taneepak is Taneepak! ;) It is an educational experience discussing with him on any topic.

    The information on the lighting was very good. Never linked the indoor photos results with flickering lights.
     
  7. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Nope, I don't think anybody is suggesting that here.
    I agree, this is true. The picture of the badminton hall will be sharper. However, the subject will move. Heck, my children (age 2 & 4) move slower than a professional badminton player but taking candid photos of them can be a challenge for two main reasons.

    First at 1/60th of a second, movement of the subject causes blur of the subject and not the background.

    Second, by the time I set up a tripod, they've run off to the next room. Which rather defeats the purpose of trying to take a candid. Of course, taking a sharp candid shot of my living room (or a badminton hall) is rather nice but I'd rather try and get the children (or a badminton player) in it as well...


    hmm, now I think about it, my children do move faster compared to me playing badminton so indeed, 1/60th of a second might be a short enough duration of shutter speed to capture my movement.:p
     
    #7 Cheung, Jan 21, 2007
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2007
  8. Pete LSD

    Pete LSD Regular Member

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    You have more like one child now :eek:! Congrat :D. Busy dad.
     
  9. surge

    surge Regular Member

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    actually another option is a monopod. gives very good support up to 1/2 secs ( anyway for sports, dont think anyone will shoot at even 1/30, sure blur) yet it allows ver fast change of positoning of the camera. including panning shots.
     
  10. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    To use a monpod correctly you have to "convert" it to a tripod. Your two legs-and they better be strong and not rock all over the place-plus the monopod form the triangle or 3-legged tripod. You can also pan with a good tripod and it pans more steadily.
     
  11. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    A tripod or monopod will produce sharper pictures, even with fast lenses. Also, if you know how to use the tilt and pan head of a tripod or monopod, you can learn how to take fast action with low shuttle speeds. The tilt is ideal for jump smashes and the pan is essential for that huge lunge from the back to the net. Some perfectionist and almost all sports photographers consider the tripod as one of the 3 essentials of a complete camera gear-the other two being the camera body and the lens.
     
  12. red00ecstrat

    red00ecstrat Regular Member

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    As i said before. Everyone will has his/her own way or style to make images out of their cameras. And it's absolutely no need to push someone to follow any opinion in anyway.
    So, if you think it's helpful. Ok, just go ahead and give it a try. If not, then forget it.
     
  13. storkbill

    storkbill Regular Member

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    I guess for older people or people who unsteady hands, a tripod will provide sharper pics. Myself, I can easily handhold a 70-200 IS and get tack sharp images at 1/500, similarly, monopod with 200f/1.8 will get me sharp images at 1/1000.
     
  14. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Almost all advanced digital cameras are of the slr type, and this is the heart of the vibration problem. The mirror, the auto closing of the aperture, and the shuttle all generate vibrations. Most people do not know how to handhold a camera properly and very few understand the principle of employing opposing forces when holding a camera. This further compounds the problem.
    A tripod, if properly used, will enable you to use a smaller aperture by two stops, giving you increased depth of field for sharper pictures. It will enable you to pan and tilt smoothly that no hands can do. Taking action pictures with the subject in sharp focus and everything behind out of focus will be a breeze with a tripod's pan and tilt.
     
  15. lurker

    lurker Regular Member

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    Your statement is very generalised.

    have you tried shooting badminton with such a setup and have images to show with? It is easy enough to talk theory but pratical is where one would see the results of the theory. My original question is about shooting badminton - high speed action on difficult lighting conditions. Very specific situation.


    Besides, your "A tripod, if properly used, will enable you to use a smaller aperture by two stops, giving you increased depth of field for sharper pictures." and "Taking action pictures with the subject in sharp focus and everything behind out of focus will be a breeze with a tripod's pan and tilt."
    sentences contradicts each other.
     
  16. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Do they really? Well, let us hear what others have to say.
     
  17. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    taneepak, i would answer lurker's question above if i were you...
     
  18. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    Yes, I have shot still photographs of indoor badminton matches as well as video taped them, always with a tripod. I have been in still photography since 1957, in cine movie since 1968 and in video recording since 1985. But sometime about 10 years ago I lost interest in photography and I am now having trouble sorting out all my camera gear, darkroom equipment, close-up and copying work and lighting equipment, tons and tons of photos and colour slides, super 8 movies (almost 500 reels), early Sony video 8, projectors, a large silver screen, at least 10 or more tripods, monopods, tablepods, what-have you. Also, I find it a nightmare to even do a search of all my photos, negatives, slides, movies, which are being packed away by my family.
    Lighting conditions in badminton halls where open championships are played are not that difficult. I would not consider such conditions extreme.
    If you think it useful, I can suggest some tricks, like how to tilt, pan, move around, how to guestimate degree of potential blur with different focal length and aperture. etc. that you may find useful in taking pictures in a badminton hall.
     
  19. storkbill

    storkbill Regular Member

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    Yes, if you can't handhold a camera properly, i guess you have no choice but to use a tripod. I guess if you are old and your hands shake a lot.... maybe you shouldn't even bother to take such demanding photographs anymore... just restrict yourself to taking still life in photo studios and leave badminton photography to those who can rather than cluttering a badminton hall with equipment like tripods.

    Fortunately I can hold a camera properly so I have no need for a tripod for indoor badminton photography.

    As an interested photographer who visits photo forums, i notice there are always a few who 'talk big' about photo techniques, but when their photo portfolios are revealed, one wonders whether they possess the techniques they talk a lot about. Of course there are different types:
    (1) People who are lousy photographers who like to act like they are experts in the field
    (2) People who can take a decent photograph of a flower, and assume that this qualifies them to talk authoritatively about a completely different type of photograph like indoor sports photography even though they've never even tried it themselves.
     
  20. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    i agree. and those are the types who never have any photos to show and would come up with blatantly wrong suggestions like using a tripod and shoot badminton at 1/60sec shutter.
     

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