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sports photography with the 7d.


I am new to the 7d and canon all together.  I am trying to take pictures of my sons baseball games and I cannot get the bat or ball to be clear.  I want to be able to see the seams of the ball and the name on the bat.  However I have to admit I am a little intimaidated by the 7d as I am not a professional by any means but wanted to good camera, now I am wondering if I made the right choice since I am a little confused.


Thank you everyone for your time and great advice.  Very much appreciate it!

I love photography but when it comes to knowing how to use a camera properly I am left in the dust by these professionals above who have given you a ton of great information and suggestions.  When I got my 7d I was truly disapoointed with it and considered returning it.  I actually thought the camera was broke.  Anyway I decided to give it one last chance and applied myself in learning the camera.  I was finally successful and I have some truly great professional shots to prove it now.  I am into my second year with the camera and would not give it up for anything.  So take your time learn the camera and you will master it and be quite happy you joined the ranks of people that use great equipment.  



I guess that different sports get shot in different ways. The majority of my shooting is Tv mode & in general I think most people shooting motorsports use Tv mode with low shutter speeds & careful panning for motion blur. The same is true for prop plane aviation work.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Here is a link to suggested settings for the 7D to shoot sports.  It was compied from the Sports Shoot website that is comprised of photographers who predominately shoot sports.  To become a member you have to submit photos for approval and in the event your are approved you may become a member.

      Here is a link to the page where the suggested settings reside.




This is gonna sound dumb.  But how do I change shutter speed?  Trying to take action shots with the 7D and it will only take one shot at a time.




I'm an amateur sports photographer myself, shooting with a 50D since 2008 and a 7D since 2010.  Like an earlier poster, I am curious what glass (lenses) you are using. When I started, I got mediocre results with "kit" glass during the day and absolute garbage at night. I had to invest in higher quality f/2.8 lenses for nighttime varsity football and indoor track. If you are shooting daytime baseball, your results may differ, but knowing what lenses you are using would help frame any advice I could give. 


Here are a few samples of recent daytime and indoor shots I have on my SkyDrive to show what a 7D is capable of. All shot with 7D and 70-200mm f/2.8 II either with or without 1.4X Extender II. I believe I used a polarizing filter on the outdoor Penn Relay shots as well.



I have a 7D with 55-250 lens.  Trying to take daytime baseball shots.  Any advice would help I know nothing about this camera.

Thank you!!

You set the camera to Tv mode to control shutter speeds. Using the manual set the AF to AI Servo & the drive to multiple shot mode & if I remember correctly there is 2 selectable settings so you can hive High (more frames per second) & low (less frames per second but more than single shot mode)

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

You would probably get more responses if you started a new thread, rather than tagging onto this post from November of last year.


Did you read the info above? It pretty much tells you how to use 7D to shoot sports.


As mentioned before, 7D is sort of pro-oriented.... It doesn't have the highly automated "easy" modes that some of the less expensive models do. The camera's designers appear to have assumed that most 7D buyers would be fairly experienced photographers who had little need for the extra automation. .


Regarding changing the drive mode.... I presume you got a manual with tthe 7D. If not, you can download one for free on the  Canon website. Page 97 of the manual tells you how to change the drive mode from single shot to low speed continuous (about 3 frames per second) or high speed continous (about 8 fps). The same button and dial combo also give access to a 2 second self timer and a 10 second self timer.


For sports photography there are two primary considerations.... First, do you want to freeze the action, or do you want there to be some blur reflecting the movement? The shutter speed you select is the deciding factor. A slow shutter speed will allow blur, while a fast shutter speed freezes everything. 7D can shoot at up to 1/8000 second, but to freeze a ball in flight or a bat in a swing, you will probably be able to accomplish that with 1/1600, 1/2000 or so. Either set the camera to Tv or to M exposure mode, then select the necessary shutter speed. Tv is an auto exposure mode, where you select the shutter speed and the camera chooses an appropriate aperture. M is the camera's manual exposure mode, where you have to set both the shutter speed and the aperture. You will probably also need to adjust the ISO in either of those exposure modes, to get in the range allowed by your lens and the camera.


In either Tv  or M exposure mode, you change the shutter speed with the top dial, right behind the shutter release button. To change the ISO, you press the ISO button first, then use the same top dial to select an ISO.


The other big consideration shooting sports is tracking moving subjects with the Auto Focus, such as a runner heading for home base. You need to set the camera to AI Servo, which is a focus mode designed for this purpose. To keep it simple, I suggest you also select a single AF point and keep that right on your subject while tracking, with the shutter button half-pressed so that AF operates continuously . If yours is the original 55-250mm lens, it isn't very fast focusing. The newer "STM" version is better, but still not as fast focusing as a USM lens such as the Canon 70-200 and 100-400 zooms. In a sense, you have "hobbled" a fast camera with a slower lens.


There are some other ways to set this up and some enhancements you can use when you get more comfortable and experienced with the camera. But the above should get you started.  


I have to reiterate what I wrote early in respose to the previous poster.... Spend some time studying the manual to learn the controls of the camera. Besides the lack of a lot of highly automated stuff that most experienced photographers don't use, it's really much like any other Canon or, for that matter, DSLRs in general. It will seem overwhelming at first, so learn a little at a time.


You also might want to go to Amazon and get a guide book for the 7D. I also highly recommend the book "Understanding Exposure", by Bryan Peterson.


With some study and practice, you can learn to use the 7D and get proficient with it. If instead you really just want to pick up the camera, turn a single dial to some highly automated mode, and start taking snapshots, well - to be rather blunt - the 7D might be the wrong camera for you. A 60D or one of the Rebel series cameras would be an easier model to use, for example.


Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


Thank you for the helpful advice.  I agree about the post, I didn't realize I was on this feed.

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