Action Sports Photography Tip Number 1....A Fast Camera is a Must Have
Tip #1) You Need A Fast Digital Camera.... In order to take good sports photographs, you NEED a fast camera, one that can take at least 5 or more frames per second(FPS). You need that to be able to get many shots in a row to stop the action and have a chance at getting the perfect action photo.
Great Deals On Digital SLR's!
When you are photographing a baseball pitcher throwing a pitch and the batter hitting a homerun, or a hockey player shooting the puck and scoring a goal, you want your camera to take as many frames per second as possible, to have more photos of that special moment to choose from. If your camera only shoot 2 frames per second, you will only have 2 to 4 photos to catch that sports action that happens in a quick 2 seconds. Your chances of getting that special photo of the ball hitting the bat or the puck just passing the goalie, will be very remote. Now if your camera could take 11 frames per second, then your chances of getting that special moment are much greater. In that 2 seconds of action you could have 22 photos to choose from, compared to only 4, that's the huge advantage of having a fast digital camera for action sports photography.
In the photo slideshow below you can see 15 photos that I took of a high school football game. This all happened in about 3-4 seconds, so I captured lot's of decent action shots in the short time. The camera that I used was a Canon EOS 20D which is capable of taking about 5 frames per second. It's not the best, but it still did a decent job of taking good action sports photographs.
At the time of the writing of this article, the fastest camera on the market was the Nikon D3, which can take a whopping 11 frames per second in the DX Format(24x16). DX Format(24mmx16mm) refers to the size of the image sensor area. In its full format size FX Format(36mmx24mm), which is about the same size as a 35mm film camera negative, it can still take 9 frames per second at 12.1 megapixels, which is very impressive.
The second fastest camera on the market was the Canon EOS-1D Mark III, which can take 10 frames per second at 10.1 megapixels. Both of these cameras are very impressive and are dream cameras for the sports photographer. Currently Nikon has Canon beat when it comes to the fastest camera, but I'm sure Canon will come out with a new digital camera to out do Nikon, and then Nikon will have to out do Canon and on and on.
Fast Digital Cameras!
These cameras are very fast and made to handle the abuse from busy professional photographers, so they are also big and bulky and expensive.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III retails for $3724.95 and weighs 40.7 oz./1,155g, and its dimensions are 6.1W x 6.2H x 3.1D in./156W x 156.6H x 79.9Dmm.
The Nikon D3 retails for $4099.95 and weighs Approx. 1,240 g (2.7 lb.) without battery, memory card, body cap or accessory shoe cover, and its dimensions are Approx. 159.5W x 157H x 87.5D mm (6.3W x 6.2H x 3.4D in.).
Most hobby photographers can't afford to buy one of these cameras, and don't want to carry around such large cameras, but there are cheaper smaller digital cameras on the market now that have very good FPS.
The Canon EOS 50D is a good option for a cheaper, smaller, fast camera. It sells for about $1169.95 and can take up to 6.3 frames per second at 15.1 megapixels.
The Nikon D300 is another good option for a cheaper, smaller, fast camera. It sells for about $1568.95 and can take up to 8 frames per second at 12.3 megapixels.
The camera also has to be able to follow the action and keep sharp focus on the fast moving action, or all your photos will be blurry, which is very annoying. All of the digital cameras that can shoot many frames per second, should be able to keep sharp focus on the action, but of course some will perform better than others. It's impossible to know how a camera will focus on fast action sports, by just reading the specs. The best way is to test the camera yourself if possible.
Also don't be afraid of taking lots of photos, you need to in order to get a good action photo. If there is good action in your viewfinder, keep your finger on the shutter until the action stops, which leads us to the next action sports photography tip.