Tips on shooting badminton tournament

Discussion in 'Sports' started by f_k|2, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. I'm asked to shoot a high school badminton tournament this saturday. What would
    be the best way to do it? I assume it's going to be in a gym with multiple
    games going on. Should I shoot from a higher ground if possible? Shoot through
    the net? How do I shoot through the net without constantly focusing on the net?
    Telephoto or Standard zoom? Thanks very much!
  2. Check out the venue in advance if at all possible to see what access you are likely to get and to get an idea of the lighting - flash will not be welcomed by the players, so you will need to find out not only what sort of exposures you can manage, but also evaluate the lighting for any white balance/mains freqency cycling problems: ask to have the tournament lights switched on.

    For a general view if you have a very wide angle or even a fisheye it might produce an interesting shot from a highish or very low vantage point.

    Racquet tip speeds will be over 100mph at times with overhead smashes, so you are going to need your fastest shortish prime lenses (f/1.4 might be a good idea - an f/2.8 zoom is likely to be far too slow) to capture individual action - and even then you will have motion blur. Court dimensions are 44x20ft, and the net is 5ft, so players won't be far away. I doubt you will be able to shoot through the net very effectively - you'll be too far from it to make it a good framing device if you shoot from the back of a court. If the umpires are on high chairs you might be able to be alongside to get a good view of player faces. If you do get close, recognise that you may find that follow focus AF simply won't be able to keep up with the players because of the short subject distances: you may do better to use MF.
  3. Fievel, I agree with all of Mark U's comments, and have a couple of thoughts to add.

    I'm not sure what body you are using, but suggest you use Custom Function 4 to move autofocus from the shutter release to the * button on the back. Switch AF to centre point, set it to Servo at the fastest frame rate. Many advantages to this for covering sports, as you will find out.

    Are your shots going in a newspaper in B+W? If so you can crank the ISO up to 1600. For colour, you probably can't get publishable quality beyond 800 ISO, unless you have a 5D or 1 Series body.

    Unless the gym is unusually brightly lit, f2.8 won't give you a fast enough shutter speed to freeze action. If your lenses are slow, try waiting for a player to slow down (service, followthrough, on floor after diving) to get a shot, probably without the bird in it. Could get some intense facial expressions on players standing still while waiting to return serve.

    Try a low perspective, if you can, but try to keep the gym lights out of the shot.

    Good luck! Please post some shots here.
  4. Thanks for the tips. I will also look at some sample photos and see. I have a 20D, and f/2.8 zooms. I know 2.8 won't be enough. I might have to push ISO3200 and then reduce noise. If I were to rent, and this is what I can rent from, which one should I choose: 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 135/2.0? BTW, my photos are probably only used for website viewing. Thanks again.
  5. If you are able to get behind the umpire chair or the opposite side just behind the net then the 85mm f1.8 would be my choice as I use this quite a lot with Volleyball so working with similar distances. I agree with using CF4 to get the focus on the * button and you probably will be able to use all point focusing rather than just middle point so you can ensure you are framing to get the racket in as well as as much of the player as possible.

    Please do let us see the results as I've never shot badminton. Even with f1.8 you are probably going to be pushing ISO3200 to get close to the desired results unless you have an amazingly bright gym.
  6. Rent the 135/2, which is a good length for badminton. I've also used the 200/2 and
    300/2.8 in good light from up high, shooting across the net to the opposite side. Play with
    the timing, sometimes a good shot from up high looking long-ways down the court is
    when the shuttle has been hit and in flight, with the hitter in frame and the shot receiver is
    reacting to where he should be. Badmntion has lots of deception in its shots, so that type
    of photo really shows a potential tactical turning point in a game. Also, I wouldn't worry
    too much about a super high shutter speed, as the above poster mentioned, raquet head
    speeds are crazy and you'll still get blur. 1/250-1/750 is fine, the players are quick but at
    the moment of contact they actually kind of freeze. The best photo IMO is when you get
    really lightfooted close in net work in a singles game, the stretched out lean in tap over
    from a drop-shot looks great, and is fairly easy to get in a singles match.

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