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If not Sports mode???


Didn't want to add to another thread. It was stated that pros don't use the Sports mode which turns the camera into a P&S. What is recommended for taking action shots at a sports event? I have grandkids in baseball and track & field which has lots of movement. Continuous shooting mode? Thanks.



Hi, Tintype_18!

So that the Community can help you better, we need to know exactly which Canon camera model you're using.  It would also help to know which sports you had in mind and whether they're being played indoors or outdoors. That, and any other details you'd like to give will help the Community better understand your issue!

If this is a time-sensitive matter, click HERE search our knowledge base or find additional support options HERE.

Thanks and have a great day!


Just because "Pros" don't use Sports Mode does not mean you shouldn't.

Try it, if it works, see what the settings are and you can use that as a launchpad for your own explorations. Trust yourself!

@kvbarkley wrote:

Just because "Pros" don't use Sports Mode does not mean you shouldn't.

Try it, if it works, see what the settings are and you can use that as a launchpad for your own explorations. Trust yourself!

Sports Mode presets the camera to settings that favor capture of decent images of moving subjects. You can looks at your camera and see the settings it chose.

It's a gray day here in NH. Using P mode on my wife's T6s the camera selected 1/25 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100 with zoom lens at 18mm. One Shot AF, single AF point.

Switching to Sport mode the settings were 1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 800. Continuous Shooting, Automatic AF point selection - settings favoring a moving subject. Good starting point for the type of conditions a Rebel shooter would be snapping in.

The SCN modes are actually good learning tools for beginning shooters.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic


The cameras that professional sports photographers use don't even have a "Sports Mode".  Sports mode is basically designed for the "soccer mom" person. They want better lenses, better pictures, but they don't want to learn or spend the time learning anything about cameras or photography. But I certainly agree with KVB, if it floats your boat go for it.

However, the two main reasons you buy a DSLR are interchangeable lenses and the ability to use whatever settings you desire. If you then decide to let the camera, Sports Mode make the choices for you, you may as well use a P&S because that is essentially what you turned your DSLR in to.


I also agree that current cameras are smarter than ever. Sometimes they are smarter than you are. And, most of the time they do exactly what you tell them to.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


FWIW... I have never used sports mode, even though it exists on some of my gear.  I predominantly use Av mode, to ensure I control the DoF, but keep an eye on the shutter speed, perhaps using auto ISO.  If the speed element is significant, then I will use Tv mode, dial in the speed I want and then watch the aperture, again perhaps with auto ISO.   It's always worked for me, but I certainly accept that these things are personal.

This takes some practise and experience to assess the DoF and SS desirable or acceptable for specific situations, but that comes with time.

This example is one of the trickier ones: I wanted to freeze the motion of the aircraft in the air, but keep movement of the propeller.   I chose matrix metering as the aircraft were moving quickly across my line of sight, which worked well with the tracking system of my Canon 7DMkII, and the EF 100-400MkII lens. With plenty of light, I set the camera to Tv mode (since that was the most critical) @ 1/500sec, had the FL@ 400mm and f/10 (so I had a good DoF) and the ISO at 200.

Boeing-Stearman Model 75 01-1.jpg

On the other hand, at a baseball game (which is a more likely scenario for you), I chose to set my camera up differently. Again, the light was reasonable.  I was using a Canon EOS 60D with the 70-300L lens.     
I was using spot metering and focus (both back-button), and I decided aperture was more critical: so, in Av mode, I set that at f/7.1 (balancing a reasonable DoF with SS), ISO was still at 200 (it's my go-to setting, too many years shooting Ektachrome 200!).  With those settings, I got a SS of 1/200sec which captured the movement of the extreme end of the bat, and caught the movement of the ball as it was struck by the bat, yet froze the people.

Ball on Bat.jpg

In the last scenario, I was using a Canon 650D (you would say a Rebel T4i) with the EF 24-105 f/4 lens.  I had been using Av mode and kept it that way. Again, I was getting good light.  I had the aperture at f/7.1 for some separation from the background, and ISO was 200, I had a SS of 1/250sec, which seemed reasonable - the trooper was not moving but I wanted the muzzle blast and that needed to be just long enough to allow for it to extend.  I was using single-shot mode.   I watched the loading and shooting drill once and then on the second round I took my shot.

Canada Ontario NOTL Fort George Musket Firing.jpg

Now, all of these photo's have one thing in common: they all had reasonable light.  I don't shoot indoor sports, for example, so the experience of others would be very valuable in that context.   What I do is decide beforehand what is critical to my expression of the image: do I need to freeze action, show movement (which suggest Tv), isolate the subject from the background or include it (Av)?

cheers, TREVOR

Professional photographer, engineer and educator since 1980

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri
Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me


All are, track & field as one granddaughter runs several events. I have a T7. I'll dig up a couple of Sport Mode photos for your critique.


Many thanks to all for awesome photos and replies. The assistant sports editor of the local paper is always at the varsity baseball games. I peaked over his shoulder and saw he had Tv as his setting. Not sure what camera he uses. I have used Av in the past and Sport Mode. As I have said before, I like to experiment to see what the camera, T7, can do as it is much smarter than me. Now you guys have an open door to step through.😉


The reason Canon includes the fully auto modes is most folks that buy this level of camera do not want to spend the time to learn how. In my DSLR 101 classes all or most all the people came in using the fully auto modes. None or at least almost none left still using it. That's why the full on pro model cameras don't have a Sport Mode or any fully auto mode.

Canon has some pretty smart to brilliant people working for them. They designed a camera that is very smart but it is still just a guess and it may do changes that the shooter doesn't want. Pros want the settings they want. No surprises or changes they don't know about.


I have a Powershot G1X. I use it in P mode with auto ISO.  That is what I want when I need my G1X and it works very well. Mostly!

Bottom line is, if you are happy with your results it really doesn't matter how you got there.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


My thought is to learn as much about the camera so I can cash in on taking good photos when a certain situation comes up. I call my wife, Automatic Annie, as she uses A+ all the time on her SX530 HS. She isn't really interested in learning all the things built into the camera. But...she has some outstanding shots of critters in the backyard. Will dig up some and share. Her favorite is photos of hummingbirds taken from the kitchen window!

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