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Old 07-25-2012, 01:58 PM #1
iLL n1njA
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Paintball photo do's and don'ts

So I've been into photography for awhile. I shoot a D7K. I played paintball for a few years as well, so I'm not really new to either subject.

However, I'm kinda out of it when it comes to putting the two together. I plan on getting a bright orange mask (probably the Sly one) and an orange jersey to make myself stand out a bit. I'm guessing my 70-300mm would be an ideal lens as well. I'd put a UV filter on it for protection. Any other equipment that would be needed? My body and that particular lens are both weatherproof so I have no problem with them getting some moisture, dirt, debris on them.

What are the general rules with shooting paintball? Is it cool to just go to a local field, let the refs know what you're doing and take pics? Should I email them in advance? What about the players? I feel like taking some shots might give away positions and whatnot (because I'm pointing at them) and would end up pissing them off.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:57 PM #2
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just go shoot.. you're pretty much on the right track.

don't put crap filters on your lens though, they'll do more harm than good unless you get a quality filter.

a 70-300 works fine, same with your body. you don't need to wear anything different than a normal player. you're on the sidelines. a mask a shirt and shorts is enough.

someone else can answer your last question.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:01 PM #3
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Always introduce yourself to the field staff and referees. Make sure they know who you are and what you're doing there.

Do not dress too much like a player. No jerseys or pod packs. A yellow/orange mask is not necessary but can help when shooting novices and lower divisions. More experienced players will generally know when someone is on the sidelines, less experienced players shoot anything that moves.

Do not step over the sidelines and onto the field.

Do not telegraph otherwise unknown player positions. This isn't as hard as it sounds. Primary bunkers do not count. For everywhere else, if they're shooting, being shot at, or have a coach calling their position out, it's fair game.

Do not talk while the game is on. Refs are busy, other photographers are busy, and players are off limits. Do not try to "review" anything with refs. Your photos do not count in their decisions.

Players typically love having their picture taken, I wouldn't worry too much about that. Just exercise some common sense and you'll be fine.

If you must use a clear/UV filter, understand two things:
-A quality, multicoated Hoya, B+W, or Heliopan filter is necessary to retain image quality.
-A filter will not stop a paintball and will complicate such an impact with broken glass mixed in paint.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:02 PM #4
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Originally Posted by skwirnmn View Post
just go shoot.. you're pretty much on the right track.

don't put crap filters on your lens though, they'll do more harm than good unless you get a quality filter.

a 70-300 works fine, same with your body. you don't need to wear anything different than a normal player. you're on the sidelines. a mask a shirt and shorts is enough.

someone else can answer your last question.
Yeah I was thinking about the filter shattering and scratching the front lens element. I've got a few Hoya HD circular polarizers that are supposed to be 4x as strong as normal filters and have been tested to withstand several sizes of steel balls falling on them from a height of 50 inches. I wish there was a video of someone shooting one with a paintball at 300fps to settle my worries though lol. So you think I shouldn't risk that and just run with my lens hood? Was thinking of grabbing one of those plastic bags you use to cover the body with in rain just to keep paint from getting between buttons and whatnot.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:05 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Grenade View Post
Always introduce yourself to the field staff and referees. Make sure they know who you are and what you're doing there.

Do not dress too much like a player. No jerseys or pod packs. A yellow/orange mask is not necessary but can help when shooting novices and lower divisions. More experienced players will generally know when someone is on the sidelines, less experienced players shoot anything that moves.

Do not step over the sidelines and onto the field.

Do not telegraph otherwise unknown player positions. This isn't as hard as it sounds. Primary bunkers do not count. For everywhere else, if they're shooting, being shot at, or have a coach calling their position out, it's fair game.

Do not talk while the game is on. Refs are busy, other photographers are busy, and players are off limits. Do not try to "review" anything with refs. Your photos do not count in their decisions.

Players typically love having their picture taken, I wouldn't worry too much about that. Just exercise some common sense and you'll be fine.

If you must use a clear/UV filter, understand two things:
-A quality, multicoated Hoya, B+W, or Heliopan filter is necessary to retain image quality.
-A filter will not stop a paintball and will complicate such an impact with broken glass mixed in paint.
Appreciated greatly. I should probably just run with a lens hood and no filter then.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:13 PM #6
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I've seen anecdotal evidence that the Hoya HD filters don't survive paintball impacts, but it remains to be tested AFAIK.

The decision on filters is really up to you. If you think dust, dirt and rain are going to be a frequent problem, then you may want a filter to spare the lens from excessive cleaning.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:17 PM #7
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Cool thanks. So how do you handle paint getting between buttons and other small nooks/crannies? That's my only other concern.

Edit: Also, shooting through a mask. Any tips? Or just use LiveView?

Last edited by iLL n1njA : 07-25-2012 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:06 PM #8
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Cool thanks. So how do you handle paint getting between buttons and other small nooks/crannies? That's my only other concern.

Edit: Also, shooting through a mask. Any tips? Or just use LiveView?
You can cover your camera with a plastic bag/rain cover/animal skin etc. but I've left my cameras naked for 4 years and haven't had any issues. If your gear takes a hit, wipe it off and keep going. Let the paint in any crannies dry out and scrub it off with an old toothbrush later.

Learning to shoot through a mask is an acquired skill. Live view isn't going to get you anything, just have to suck it up and do some guesswork if you're not quite comfortable with the area of your viewfinder yet. Getting a mask with a lens that's right in front of your eyes really helps. Dye masks are great, so are Flexes. I shoot with a pair of E-Vents which are ok but not the best. Profilers would be a pair to avoid imo, the lenses on those things are very far from your eye and really cut down on how much you can see through the camera.

When it comes to filters, depends on your lens. I've been running a Hoya HMC on my 70-200 F4 for 3 years and it's solid. That filter is very thick and isn't at risk for breaking on impact. However, I took a hit right to the front of a 70-200 F2.8 I was borrowing from a friend and his cheap, thin UV filter instantly shattered. It wasn't fun trying to clean splinters of broken glass mixed with paint out of his brand new lens without scratching the front element. Even with getting it clean, it left a spider scratch on the front glass so I would for sure avoid a filter on larger diameter lenses.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:15 PM #9
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Awesome, thanks. My friend actually refs at a semi-local field and has a spare Sly Profit in the full orange ref color he says he'll sell me for 15 bucks. Any knowledge on that mask? I'm not familiar with the brand because I haven't played since around '08 and I don't recall them. Last mask I has was a Profiler so I know what you're talking about.

As far as clothing goes, I'd like to grab something that stands out from a typical player as well. Is it typically ok to shoot in a ref jersey? My friend (same guy) also has a spare of the new sleeveless Empire striped ref jerseys but idk if that's sketch at all having "REF" across my chest when I'm not really a ref. Just want to avoid getting shot as much as possible.

I know it will happen, just trying to minimize here.

And as far as the lens element getting shot, that glass is pretty thick even without the protection of a filter. And I don't think a paintball could scratch it up unless it's got some dirt on it. Guess I'll go without it. Ever head of a paintball really ****ing up a bare front element though? That part just worries me the most because it's an $800 lens lol. I wouldn't dare bring a 70-200 2.8 out there.

Last edited by iLL n1njA : 07-25-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:41 PM #10
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67mm Hoya HMC off my 70-200 f4 at Cup last year.



Absolutely at risk of breaking on impact.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:46 PM #11
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Haha damn man. I'll be at Cup this year as well, wish I could get onto the field there though.

Still looking for a reply on my previous post as well
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:26 PM #12
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i broke the filter threading on my 70-200 2.8 a while back.. i took everything apart and had to replace the filter threading. the front element itself is pretty thick so i don't really worry about it breaking. ultimately, paintball photography is something i do on the weekends that pays very little. there is a small risk in bringing gear on the field, but that's the way it goes with almost everything you shoot.



oh, one thing that isn't a bad idea is keeping a sweet band over the lens mount on the camera. it'll keep paint from getting in between the lens and camera.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:28 PM #13
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That's a great idea man thanks
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:39 PM #14
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:42 PM #15
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What's the story behind that? Do I want to know?
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:02 PM #16
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What's the story behind that? Do I want to know?
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:08 PM #17
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:08 PM #18
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67mm Hoya HMC off my 70-200 f4 at Cup last year.



Absolutely at risk of breaking on impact.
Mine has been shot multiple times and still looks pristine, maybe you got a dud Mike

Paintballs by themselves are harmless to your glass, the only time it gets dangerous is when you add a filter into the mix.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:55 PM #19
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There are certainly a lot of variables in play. A paintball that's traveled some distance or bounced off something will have shed a lot of energy. Paint grades and temperature probably play into things as well. Filter ring hits are survivable, as are hits inside the hood. The one that caused the damage up there was straight out of the barrel at less than 30 feet on a cool morning.

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Still looking for a reply on my previous post as well
Rather than use a ref jersey and risk confusing players and other refs, pick up a reflective safety vest. I have one with "PHOTO" written across the back, but I've only needed to use it for scenarios. On speedball fields I usually wear t-shirts and BDU pants, nobody seems to mistake that combo for a player.

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And as far as the lens element getting shot, that glass is pretty thick even without the protection of a filter. And I don't think a paintball could scratch it up unless it's got some dirt on it. Guess I'll go without it. Ever head of a paintball really ****ing up a bare front element though? That part just worries me the most because it's an $800 lens lol. I wouldn't dare bring a 70-200 2.8 out there.
A paintball can leave minor, but permanent marks in a lens, and a broken filter can leave scratches.

Gary Baum has busted a fairly substantial lens before, I think it was a Canon 28-300L?

I've seen kit lenses shatter, but those have thin front elements compared to telephotos.

Last edited by Mike Grenade : 07-25-2012 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:35 AM #20
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Hi Mike,

I had the front element on my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L Lens damaged by a paintball strike at World Cup Asia last year. The front element needed to be replaced, thank god for Canon Professional Services

In my over a decade of shooting paintball this is the first time I had to replace a front element in a lens

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I've seen anecdotal evidence that the Hoya HD filters don't survive paintball impacts, but it remains to be tested AFAIK
I actually somehow scratched my Hoya HD filter at a local tournament last weekend

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Paintballs by themselves are harmless to your glass, the only time it gets dangerous is when you add a filter into the mix.
There are so many misconceptions about the use filters in paintball photography. As a general rule of thumb picture quality decreases as you add pieces of glass to the front of any lens and I would prefer to shoot without any filters. But since shooting paintball takes place in some very dirty and gritty environments, perhaps the harshest of any sports photography, very frequent lens cleaning are required due to paint and dirt splatters. I use a filter to protect the lens from these frequent cleanings, NOT paintball hits. I would much rather scratch a $50 filter than the front element of a $2000 lens.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:40 AM #21
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There are so many misconceptions about the use filters in paintball photography. As a general rule of thumb picture quality decreases as you add pieces of glass to the front of any lens and I would prefer to shoot without any filters. But since shooting paintball takes place in some very dirty and gritty environments, perhaps the harshest of any sports photography, very frequent lens cleaning are required due to paint and dirt splatters. I use a filter to protect the lens from these frequent cleanings, NOT paintball hits. I would much rather scratch a $50 filter than the front element of a $2000 lens.
Amen Gary, I agree 100%. My 70-200 has had a filter on it since it came out of the box and the front element looks absolutely mint. I can't say it's anything less than luck that I ordered a filter that's thicker than average, otherwise it would probably be long gone by now.
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