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Camera settings for Basketball 7dii


I am taking picture of HS Basketball. I have a canon 7d mark ii using a 70-200 2.8.  I was wondering what settings guys find work the best.





I use the 1DX series bodies but this is what works for me and it should work well for the 7D2.


I take advantage of the great auto ISO capability and shoot in manual with the aperture set wide open and shutter @ 1/640. With the low light of most high school gyms, you need the wide aperture and 1/640 is as slow as you want to go to be sure of avoiding action blur.  With those settings fixed, the camera will choose ISO to make the proper exposure.  If you hit a gym with truly horrible lighting that is pushing your ISO too high you can try a slightly slower shutter speed but there isn't much margin here for basketball and if you have great lighting you can consider decreasing aperture slightly for better depth of field or using even more shutter speed but in most cases the lighting will be sufficient but not great.


Use servo AF, I like to use a single AF point but you will probably find using 4 point or greater expansion will work better as you are getting used to shooting basketball.   I don't know if the 7D2 has the different AF "cases" like the 1DX series but if it does then choose the one recommended for basketball ahead of time.


I would shoot in RAW so you can deal with white balance later and you have better ability to address exposure and noise.


I leave the drive speed set for high but mostly fire single shots.  Avoid the temptation to try to rely too heavily upon rapid multiple shots because it is a timing sport and you will miss a lot of good stuff trying to rely upon "machine gun" style photography.


I believe the 7D2 also has some programmable "memory modes" like the 1DX series and if so program one for the auto ISO, f2.8, 1/640 and the second for auto ISO, f5.6, and around 1/200 or so.  This second is good for quick group shots when you need more depth of field, just don't forget to switch back to your action shot.  Canon REALLY needs a shift button to instantly shift between two setups, it would make life much easier.


Be careful not to bump your controls and accidentally change one of the parameters.  If you aren't already, get used to paying attention to the viewfinder information (particularly aperture and shutter) so that you will catch any mistake quickly instead of at the end of a period.  Take some test shots during warmup and examine those on the camera screen but avoid the temptation to look at the results of captures except during stoppage between periods.  Action is too fast and taking attention away from the game makes it dangerous for you and the players when you are shooting from the floor.  Wear the proper shoes and be prepared to spend a lot of time shooting from down low so dress comfortably.


A lot of the Canon bodies have an anti-flicker setting so that the camera tries to avoid image issue due to light flicker.  If active, it will slow your burst speed and can also change the timing between depressing the shutter and the camera actually taking the image.  I don't use anti-flicker for that reason and flicker has not been a major issue shooting basketball and volleyball in HS gyms.


The 70-200 f2.8 is a very good basketball lens but on a APS C body it will be a little tight for some shots if you are right at the basket so you will have to adjust your placement as needed.


Good luck and have fun!



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Thanks Rodger,  I will give those suggestions a try.  You are correct i have to stand way back to get action by the basket.  I will post some pictues  next week i am shooting girls game.





Good luck with the game and you will have fun shooting it.  I tend to move around quite a bit to get a variety of images on both the offensive and defensive boards.  You will figure out quickly what placement you like best.


You can also get some very nice captures when a player is on the free throw line.  I like to be offset from the goal a bit both for the angle and more importantly not to distract the player.  A lot of HS players are quite good but they don't have the nerves of steel like the pros and you don't want to add any distraction.


And a little trick I tried when I first started shooting volleyball which is the toughest sport I have shot.  I wasn't at all happy with my photos from the first game and I decided to shoot the next one with both camera bodies set to single shot mode.  That is NOT a typical sports setup but it forced me to really step up my timing game and the photos were MUCH better.  I switched back to high speed after that game but I didn't forget what I learned and it made me a much better photographer.  I don't think basketball is quite as tough to shoot as volleyball but the same thought may help you, if you approach it like you will only have one chance at a shot in a given action series it really helps you to mentally focus on what the single capture should be and it forces you to think like a coach and a player which gives you a fighting chance of predicting a lot of the setup and action. 



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

You are correct my volley ball pictures reall were tough.  Good suggestions

"... my volley ball pictures reall were tough."


I did the volleyball, for Esolutions at KC's Corporate Challenge the last time it was held.  This is my first try at volleyball.

I had my 1D Mk IV and I took my ef 24-70mm f2.8L (my most used lens, BTW) and my ef 50mm f1.2L.  The gym was not well lighted.  I had my ISO in the 3200 range most of the time.






I can not stress how important it is to have full range of the floor.  Number one. Second is Raw files and post editing. Third is your gear, of course this best is always better!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

I took these vollye ball pictures from the bleaches with my 70-200 2.8 canon, then  the ohers beside the refs stand i used my 24-105 4.5 canonVar VolleyBall (51 of 177).jpg

I experimented a lot with different positions and lens setups while learning volleyball.  These were from an early attempt using an EF 200 f2 on the 1DX II and EF 135 f2 on the 1DX.  I primarily used the 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 pair for later games but the focus acquisition is just a little better with these two primes.  I never thought of the 135 f2 as being a good fast focus sports lens but I was taking some individual shots prior to that game and decided to try the 135 to see how it performed.


I was still experimenting with timing and the 1DX was still in single shot mode.


And I definitely prefer shooting field sports to indoor gyms 🙂







EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Oh, I really like the first shot.  Too bad you caught focus on the girl on the other side of the net. Nice shot.


"... I definitely prefer shooting field sports to indoor gyms"


I don't especially care for shooting sports at all but, ya, go where the job tells you!


This does bring to mind, always watch where your focus is going because you will probably be in a wide aperture setting

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

"I took these vollye ball pictures ..."


Hmm, why are you asking us?  Smiley Happy It looks like you are doing pretty well all on your own! Maybe you can give me some tips.

I can see a slight downward tilt but sometimes that is good.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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