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X-T2: Does it work for Hockey?

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Hockey is one of the hardest sports to photograph. Fast, erattic, crappy lighting, Refs and players getting in the way and if you're a common schmoe like me and not shooting in a pro rink, you are shooting through Plexi-glas. Plexi not only adds an extra stop of light but if you aren't shooting perpendicular through the glass, you will get a haze or cloud on your image that you can't remove in post. Oh and did I mention that most often plexi has puck marks and scuffs galore? 

 

Yes, as a common guy shooting at a common rink, this is tough. So while it's sharper to shoot through a hole in the glass, just how does the X-T2 handle. Can you use it.

 

Well, you are going to have to do some post regardless to adjust the WB and possibly to bump up the exposure. I find anything over 5000 starts to incur too much noise.

 

Back Button focus doesn't work too well in fact almost all the images were off, however, by giving up control (gulp!) and switching to AF-C and allowing the AF to work when you press the shutter (AF-on still works in Manual mode) the images turned out much better.

 

I also discovered that JPG is much better than RAW for this. RAW had too much noise whereas JPG has a built in processor which makes the noise not as noticeable. A trade off is the images look a bit soft.

 

The biggest thing I found which was a surprise was how fast the buffer filled up. A quick burst and then it was full. What this means is that it's not a spray and pray tool which isn't a bad thing.

 

Although do-able, I will stick with my Nikon D500. Fuji isn't there yet. Pretty darn close but not as good as the DSLR. If the X-T2 is all you have, then you can still use it for hockey. Or talk nice to the rink rat in the hopes that he will let you cut a hole in his plexi!

 

Interesting story about image 141. The player celebrating had shot the puck and it hit the far post and then bounced ou tto his teammate who scored. The poor guy thought he had scored. Or...maybe he KNEW his teammate would so celebrated early!!

 

The last picture was not shot through plexi.

 

My settings were:

AF-C

AF-C setting of 5 for Eratic and suddenly accelerating/decelerating

1/1000s

F 3.2

ISO 5000/6400

AF Mode -Single point

 

The age group is Novice which is 7-8. Not fast but I also tried it on some older kids with the same result.

 

You may notice that some images are different WB, that's because I didn't have a preset made up.

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A few years back, I also shot hockey but with my X-Pro1. Also young guys. 

http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/hockey/index.html

 

Remote northern town (St. Paul, Alberta), low light in the town rink. I tested and found that at f/4.0 with the 60mm lens focused on the goal, everything from the opposite boards to the point where the players over-ran the frame was in focus. I just left it at that and shot. I used the white on a jersey for setting my white balance. I could, of course, fine tune it in processing, but the balance remained accurate. At ISO6400 the exposure was 1/500th at f/4.0. However, the histogram showed that I could safely under-expose by -1.0EV and still have full shadow detail, so I shot at 1/1000th and pushed it a stop in processing. Very sharp images with zero blurs.

 

The OVF was superb. I could see outside the frame area and quickly grab any action that an EVF or SLR would have missed. I could not imagine a better camera/lens for covering hockey.

 

A typical shot.

 

Edited by Larry Bolch

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Tried the X-T2 with 50-140 at another game but this time I was on the bench instead of shooting though plexi. These are JPG images using Providia (?)

Big difference! A bit of post to reduce the contrast and blacks as the fuji really saturates the image.

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I think if you bump your exposure when shooting by 1/2 a stop, the images won't be as saturated and the blacks won't be crushed.

 

I have shot a bit of kids hockey, kids box lacrosse and high school gym for volleyball/basketball and in all cases have found the XT1 and XT2 metering (as any camera would) says I'm overexposing by almost 1 stop.  I shoot in manual since the lighting isn't changing.  But with all the rink white boards and white ice or gyms white walls, naturally the camera wants to underexpose the bright scene.  But I don't get as much black crush as you but my images are definitely exposed by approx 1/2 a stop more than your samples.

 

Just my 2 cents.

Edited by Adam Woodhouse

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These photos make me think about a discussion we had last week, while I was in Scandinavia together with a guy from Pakistan, about the difference between "real hockey" and "ice hockey" [emoji6]

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I opened a thread at the Day One of the X-T2 (literally picked from the shop and brought at the match 6 hours later, alongside my Canon 1Dx of course because was work and needed to be sure of the result): http://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/4623-x-t2-does-it-work-for-hockey/

 

I can now say after months of work that i prefer working with my T2 over the Canon. I use the Canon onlt in the Hockey stadiums where i need the extra light that my 300 2.8 can provide (please Fuji, start to make a 300 F2.8 please).

Now i am very satisfiied of the performance of the T2, even when using the teleconverter.

 

This are some of the latest photos i made

 

HCB Bolzano vs Salzburg by Matthias Egger, su Flickr

 

HCB Bolzano vs Vienna by Matthias Egger, su Flickr

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I opened a thread at the Day One of the X-T2 (literally picked from the shop and brought at the match 6 hours later, alongside my Canon 1Dx of course because was work and needed to be sure of the result): http://www.fuji-x-forum.com/topic/4623-x-t2-does-it-work-for-hockey/

 

I can now say after months of work that i prefer working with my T2 over the Canon. I use the Canon onlt in the Hockey stadiums where i need the extra light that my 300 2.8 can provide (please Fuji, start to make a 300 F2.8 please).

Now i am very satisfiied of the performance of the T2, even when using the teleconverter.

 

This are some of the latest photos i made

 

HCB Bolzano vs Salzburg by Matthias Egger, su Flickr

 

HCB Bolzano vs Vienna by Matthias Egger, su Flickr

Great images! It's good to see that the focus and sharpness is crisp. Are you using single point or Zone focussing? I've found that Zone 3x3 works better than single point for me but I use single on my DSLR so I'm not sure.

 

 

How do you get it so your blacks aren't crushed and over saturated?

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I think if you bump your exposure when shooting by 1/2 a stop, the images won't be as saturated and the blacks won't be crushed.

 

I have shot a bit of kids hockey, kids box lacrosse and high school gym for volleyball/basketball and in all cases have found the XT1 and XT2 metering (as any camera would) says I'm overexposing by almost 1 stop.  I shoot in manual since the lighting isn't changing.  But with all the rink white boards and white ice or gyms white walls, naturally the camera wants to underexpose the bright scene.  But I don't get as much black crush as you but my images are definitely exposed by approx 1/2 a stop more than your samples.

 

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for the comment. I do shoot with it over exposed by 1 stop but you gave me food for thought. Although I take the meter reading off the jersey, maybe it's still under exposed as I find I have to bump the exposure up on all of my images. (Gee Chad, why don't you bump up your esposure in camera then?? D'uh!)

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I know the first time I shot a hockey arena I got underexposed images so I did a EV bump, but after that shoot I found I needed more of a EV bump and now find that if I just point the lens at the rink/boards while players are out and then note the exposure, I then make a change + 1 stop adjustment (while shooting in manual so that my results are consistent, particularly with video) ... found I get pretty good results.

Edited by Adam Woodhouse

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Great images! It's good to see that the focus and sharpness is crisp. Are you using single point or Zone focussing? I've found that Zone 3x3 works better than single point for me but I use single on my DSLR so I'm not sure.

 

 

How do you get it so your blacks aren't crushed and over saturated?

 

Zone focus 3x3 with the 4th setting of the Autofocus!

 

JPEG Provia

 

Sharpness +2

Shadows +1

Noise -2

Color +2

 

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Zone focus 3x3 with the 4th setting of the Autofocus!

 

JPEG Provia

 

Sharpness +2

Shadows +1

Noise -2

Color +2

 

/uploads/emoticons/default_wink.png">

Awesome! Thanks for the settings!

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Here are a series of shots that demonstrate the ability of the T2 to stay focused on the player when another passes in front. This was achieved by using an AF-C Custom setting. Tracking sensitivity was set to 4; Speed Tracking was set to 0 and Zone was Center.

 

These were shot through the plexiglas and I was on the goal line with the player on the center. Not great action but I was surprised when I came across it how it stayed with the subject.

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It works very good...and also it works very good with the Teleconverter 1.4x. Is sharp and the autofocus is untouched in the speed and precision!

 

HCB Bolzano vs Vienna by Matthias Egger, su Flickr

 

I never considered using the TC for hockey as the lighting is pooh. What is your ISO usually at?

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I know the first time I shot a hockey arena I got underexposed images so I did a EV bump, but after that shoot I found I needed more of a EV bump and now find that if I just point the lens at the rink/boards while players are out and then note the exposure, I then make a change + 1 stop adjustment (while shooting in manual so that my results are consistent, particularly with video) ... found I get pretty good results.

Great idea, Adam, I'll give it a go!

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