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  • Andrew JK Tan

Nikon Z 6 - Capturing Sumo Action at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament 2019

Sumo is a Japanese style of wrestling & Japan's National Sport. Sumo is more than 1500 years old and the rules are simple : the wrestler who first exits the ring or touches the ground with any part of his body besides the soles of his feet loses.

There are no weight restrictions & matches take place on an elevated ring aka dohyo.

Overall view of Sumo Arena Image captured with iPhone Xr

I have been a huge fan of Sumo for more than 20 years now but never had the chance to witness it live until now.

I attended the 2nd & 3rd day of the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament held in Tokyo' Ryogoku district on September 9th & 10th 2019

On the 9th , I was sitting at the Ringside Seat (~SGD$150 per day)

On the 10th , I was sitting at the Boxside Seat (~ SGD$70 per day)

The MAKUUCHI (Strong) Division of Sumo wrestlers during the ceremony at 3:40pm

Captured with the Nikon Z 6+Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AFP combo

Each tournament day has the following itinerary:

8:00am opens

8:30am JONOKUCHI Division starts

2:15pm JURYO Division starts

3:40pm Ceremony of entering the ring of the MAKUUCHI (Strong) Division

3:55pm Ceremony of entering the ring of the YOKOZUMA (Strongest) Division

4:10pm Makuuchi Division starts and ends at 6:00pm


To photograph all the action , I used the following :

1. Nikon Z 6

2. Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E ED VR PF (80% of the time)

3. Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E VR AFP


1. Hand-Held

2. RAW

3. AF-C (AF Tracking)

4. Shutter Speeds between 1/640s to 1/1000s

5. Aperture : f5.6

6. ISOs between 6400 to 10,000

7. No flash used (media photographers at the immediate ringside area did use flash)


1. Shutter Speeds need to be at least 1/2000s to best freeze Sumo Action

2. Best focal lengths were between 80-400mm focal lengths

3. Best seats were those in the MAIN section , I was seated in the WEST section.

Presenting my Sumo image highlights in both color and Black & White. To me both series communicates a different feel yet they are equally attractive. I hope you will enjoy both series.



Hope you like the images shared.

I will definitely be going back for a 2nd Grand Sumo Tournament experience next year and hopefully will improve on my sumo photography even further then.

Till my next blog.



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