Monday, March 19, 2007

8 frames a second

One of the questions I get asked the most out on assignment is how fast does my camera fire off pictures. There is nothing quite like the sound of an Eos 1 mk II ripping off a motor drive sequence. The camera is rated at imaging at up to 8 frames a second. That would be on fresh batteries and high shutter speeds.

Where does high framing rates come in handy? Sports is an obvious choice. I learned a long time ago the way to shoot sports action is you shoot through peak action. In other words you start shooting before the action hits its peak and then continue shooting the action till its over. You don’t try and wait for that moment when the ball arrives or the players makes the catch. Odds are you will miss it.

An example is this double play at West High baseball game. I started shooting well before the runner reached the bag and well after the ball had left the fielders hand. The shot that ran in the paper is second row left image. I doubt I would have captured that one moment if I had tried to get the picture with one shot.

In the age of digital there is no concern for wasted images as anything I don’t use is simply erased. Gone are the wasted days of several rolls of film, hundreds of exposures for just picture. As digital continues to grow the boundaries are being pushed. Canon’s newly announced Canon Eos 1D mk III is rated at a whopping 10 frames a second imaging rate.

Is 8 frames a second necessary for every assignment I shoot? Probably not but in the world of sports photography it is a huge asset. I can’t imagine shooting sports without it now.

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