Youth Hockey with a Canon EOS 50D

Discussion in 'Sports' started by sam_amato, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. I just purchased a Canon 50D. It is my first good SLR and now have to tackle taking pictures at an ice rink. I know this isn't easy.
    I cannot afford any extra lenses at this point so I have what came with the camera.
    28-135 lens.
    Can anyone help me out on the best settings to use for it? I have only used it one day at the rink so far and it was the day I bought it. I set it on sports and let it rip and did ok but I am sure I can do better even though it isn't the optimum lense.
    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Sam -
    Set the ISO to it's highest natural point - 1600 or so...
    Then set to the Tv (Shutter Preferred) mode - and a shutter speed of 1/250 - which should be enough to capture most kids hockey action.
    White balance is tricky - I'd shoot in raw and then fix later, unless you're doing this for a sports shooting gig - then I'd shot jpeg and still fix later.
  3. Shooting hockey games in absurdly dim light, which most public rinks are, is extremely difficult to say the least.
    You will need to set the custom white balance off the ice, which pretty much will act as a grey card, ensuring accurate colors. I would shoot in manual mode...aperture wide open, shutter speed no less than 1/250th of a second and an ISO of at least 1250. Shoot continuous high and fire away.
    Eventually, you will determine that your variable aperture lens will not suffice for indoor sporting events. You really need a constant f2.8 at minimum. The following image was shot at 1/320th of a second, f2.8 and ISO 1600.
    I spent years photographing underwater marine life...and I thought that was difficult! Youth hockey in dimly lit arenas with the speed of play is a whole new ball game.
  4. "I know this isn't easy." Actually, it isn't that hard. You will just need to practice.
    You want to try to find a good spot to shoot from, preferably not behind the glass.
    If you will be shooting JPGs at this time rather than RAW, you will need to learn how to set custom white balance. This is VERY important. Read your instruction manual on how to do this. It is actually very easy to set and will make a huge difference in your images.
    Use your center focus point with continuous focus. Keep the focus point centered on your subject. If you don't have steady hands, a monopod will be very useful.
    As your lens is not fast aperture wise, you will be forced to shoot at lower shutter speeds. Poor arena lighting also 'forces' you to do so or your pictures will have an uneven brown cast through them. The good news is that you don't have to shoot at high ISO/high shutter speeds. I find I get many exciting action shots at speeds of 1/100 or less. There have been numerous threads on this topic in recent months. Just type in "YOUTH HOCKEY" in the search window of the sport's forum and you will get a lot of helpful information.
  5. I have to agree with Glenn that a 2.8f lens or faster is a must. A good inexpensive lens to start with would be a 50mm 1.8f, for about $90. It may be a little short in focal length, but typically youth hockey venues allow you to get right up to the glass rink-side for some good shots. Getting a good white balance is also important, but having a gray card handy is not always practical. An easy way to get a good custom WB is to get a close up of a referee's shirt and set it as your WB sample. Good luck, --George
  6. Thanks guys for all the help. I practiced a lot this weekend and got some good shots but as you all mentioned my white balance was off. I also made the mistake of shooting in JPG. Oh well, the beauty of youth hockey is lots of game to practice at.
    Here is what I ended up with.
  7. Your going to need more lens, no way around that. Get the 70-200 2.8 non IS, you'll be set for 90% of everything you will ever shoot. Hockey is tough. I've never really gotten results that I was happy with, without using strobes. I know some of the newer bodies may be breaking new ground, and you can get something that is crisp enough to make prints with just ambient lighting, but, I can't comment on that since I have an old 1D Mkii. This was taken using 4 eilinchrom strobes bounced off the arena ceiling...
  8. If your team goes to tournaments you'll probably encounter outfits that take hundreds of photos at the games and display the results on a screen in order to sell the prints to parents after the game. These people use pro cameras and long lenses in order to get close-ups of individual players. However, there is always someone at their table and it wouldn't hurt to pick their brains about technique and lighting. It might help to break the ice (no pun intended) if you buy a print from them. It's also best to speak with them at sometime that isn't immediately after a game when they are very busy taking orders.
  9. I enjoy taking photos of my son play at a competitive level of hockey, and need suggestions concerning which Canon body to buy.
    Presently I have a 85 1.2 IS and a 70-200 2.8 IS lens.
    Which of these two cameras is preferable.A 7D or a 5Dm2?
    The 7D is easier to focus, lighter, quicker focusing, and with the crop factor increases the effective length of the lens.
    The 5D, best resolution good for cropping, better DOF and better high ISO.
    I know I will have more misses with the 5D, but the hits should be of better quality!
    Right now I have a 50D and not really happy with the quality of image at 1600 ISO. Thanks for any help.
    I shoot at approx. 1/500 but will try to take photos at 1/100 it might help but I know it will blur the quicker action on the ice.

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