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EOS Rebel T3 Wrestling Photography Recommendations

mmwellsfarm
Apprentice

My son has a tournament coming up that I want to try to take pictures at and I know my one lens is too big down by the mat but my smallest is an EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS II. That's all I have to work with. What settings are the best to set on my Rebel T3? I usually just use the action setting but I want to make sure the come out decently and not blurry. I'm not camera savvy with changing settings and what everything means but I take a lot of photos just with the action setting with other sports.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

I had full access when I shot wrestling and due to lighting I used my 135mm and 200mm f2 prime lenses shooting from the floor.  Those are effectively equivalent to 216mm and 320mm respectively on a T3 so I am surprised that your 55-250mm doesn't work well for this activity.

Hopefully the gym has good illumination, that will determine what shutter speed you should use.  Wrestling isn't as shutter speed critical as some sports but I would first try 1/500 with your lens wide open (maximum aperture) with ISO set to auto and see where that puts the ISO.  If it is too high, or if the image is too dark once it hits maximum ISO, then you could try slowing down to 1/400 or even 1/250 but hopefully that will not be needed.

With current camera bodies that have auto ISO, I shoot in manual mode setting the lens aperture wide open (lowest f number), shutter speed to as fast as possible while maintaining a reasonable ISO (not too much noise), and ISO set to auto to allow for a standard exposure.

You can determine these settings before the match starts, find anyone on a mat and see how fast you can set the shutter speed and still allow for a standard exposure with an ISO low enough to avoid excessive noise.

These were shot using Canon 1DX series DSLR bodies with 135 and 200mm f2 primes wide open @ 1/640, depending upon the spot in the gym (it was a large match) ISO ranged from 2,000 to 4,000.  And shooting wrestling is definitely NOT my sport of expertise!

Rodger

AQ9I8816.jpgB18T0372.jpgB18T0382.jpgB18T0436.jpg

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

View solution in original post

16 REPLIES 16

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

By "too big", are you saying that your larger lens wouldn't be allowed at the venue?   What is that lens though?

One concern with the EF-S 18-55 lens is that if you're going to be zoomed to its maximum and wanting to freeze action, you'll need high ISO values (leading to lots of noise).

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

By too big I mean I won't be able to zoom out far enough to get them in the whole frame. I don't know the technical term for that, I apologize. It is EF--S 55-250mm 1:4-5.6 IS II. Those are the only two lenses I have and it's next weekend so I don't have time to save up for another lens.

Ah, so the field-of-view with the 55-250 would be too narrow.  Got it.  Yes, the 18-55mm would be better in that respect.

There are very experiened sports shooters on this forum, so will defer to them on the best advice.  Though I'm going to assume that using shutter priority (Tv) may be a good start.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

I had full access when I shot wrestling and due to lighting I used my 135mm and 200mm f2 prime lenses shooting from the floor.  Those are effectively equivalent to 216mm and 320mm respectively on a T3 so I am surprised that your 55-250mm doesn't work well for this activity.

Hopefully the gym has good illumination, that will determine what shutter speed you should use.  Wrestling isn't as shutter speed critical as some sports but I would first try 1/500 with your lens wide open (maximum aperture) with ISO set to auto and see where that puts the ISO.  If it is too high, or if the image is too dark once it hits maximum ISO, then you could try slowing down to 1/400 or even 1/250 but hopefully that will not be needed.

With current camera bodies that have auto ISO, I shoot in manual mode setting the lens aperture wide open (lowest f number), shutter speed to as fast as possible while maintaining a reasonable ISO (not too much noise), and ISO set to auto to allow for a standard exposure.

You can determine these settings before the match starts, find anyone on a mat and see how fast you can set the shutter speed and still allow for a standard exposure with an ISO low enough to avoid excessive noise.

These were shot using Canon 1DX series DSLR bodies with 135 and 200mm f2 primes wide open @ 1/640, depending upon the spot in the gym (it was a large match) ISO ranged from 2,000 to 4,000.  And shooting wrestling is definitely NOT my sport of expertise!

Rodger

AQ9I8816.jpgB18T0372.jpgB18T0382.jpgB18T0436.jpg

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

I'll take both but being right on the edge of the mat and my son being 8u and 43lbs they move fast and to the edges so if they get too close to me I would not be able to get pictures using my 55-250mm. My kid is one that flies across the mat fast so I wanted to make sure no matter how close he got I would still be able to get a decent photo and not miss any moments. He's known to end matches in 10 seconds also so I have to be prepared for anything with him.

With your son moving that quickly, you are likely to run into an issue with focus tracking speed with that body and lens when you are that close and the movement is towards or away from you.  Even with a wide angle lens, the depth of field is going to be shallow allowing very little margin for focus error if you are very close and the AF/lens system has to be extremely capable to handle that situation which in terms of percentage distance change is huge.  I have never used a T3 but I doubt the body/lens combination is going to do well under those trying conditions which push the capabilities of most camera bodies and glass.

I think you will get better results by backing off a little and letting the lens do some of the "closing the distance" work.  Usually in sports, it is tough to get close enough but in wrestling it is easy to get too close.  Your major concern will be staying close enough that nobody else gets in your line of view but being back a little provides a few degrees of freedom for the focus system to handle the action. 

With that fast movement, you are also going to have to experiment with how to best utilize whatever focus point grouping options are available with the T3.  Most of the time I use a single focus point or a single point with 4 point expansion but you may find it difficult to hold a single point on a point of the uniform that provides decent material for the AF system.  With a little more distance, you will find it easier to keep the focus array where it needs to be on the subject so in this case reasonable distance is your friend.

Rodger

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

That's the hard part is distance. Parents, kids, and coaches don't seem to care and get right in front of you aren't right there at our tournaments. No one listens to the announcers and stays off the mats no matter how many times it's said. I'll play with it and see what I can figure out. I don't know much about changing my settings and shutters as like I said I usually only use my action mode for everything else as it seems to work for my kids sports and I never had the chance to learn more about my camera when I got it 10 years ago. Life got a tad busy.

In this case, I would recommend sitting further away and using the 55-250 lens. The field of view at 250mm will be quite narrow and should lead to less of the crowd being in your shots.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

That lack of audience control is crazy!  What age level is this? 

For high school sports, the AD should be all over this because it is a risk and liability issue for the school.  I am well known in the conference and no longer need to present ID at HS athletic events in the area but I have had to provide credentials at some regional and all state level events along with some D1 university level stuff I have done.

Some middle school facilities don't have an AD but there should still be a school official (principal, vice principal, etc.) representing the school and maintaining order.  Sports officials generally won't put up with this sort of crowding either because it creates problems for them and presents a safety issue for the student athletes.  When I coached youth soccer, it was very clear for any spectators that they stayed on the fan side of the field and well away from the side marking to give the officials working space and to provide safe run-off room for our players.

Rodger

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