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Maristar210
02-07-2009, 11:35 PM
I am trying to take Basketball Photos with a Nikon D40

Set on HI ISO on sports setting or M

crap yellow indoor light

High ISO = grainy photos

Lowering the ISO produces blurred photos

Any real answers from you Photography Experts?

TIA Steve

PS I have been Ken Rockwelled to death. I need some real help

Maristar210
02-07-2009, 11:45 PM
example......

3event
02-08-2009, 12:03 AM
Steve, my kids are in buckets, and I have been working on the same problem for some time. I spent a bunch of time on www.fredmiranda.com reading the sports forum. Sorry I am not a Nikon guy but I'll share what I learned. The semipros and pros seem to either:

1) get some darn expensive fast lenses f2.0 or f1.8 and shoot at 1600-3200 or even more. Grainy yes, but the better the camera the better the high ISO performance
2) set up multiple remote strobes on tripods, clamped to railings ,etc. Then can shoot lower ISO and get amazing results. This is too complicated a solution for me.

I tried shooting with my Canon and Speedlight. Not good. Tried 1600 ISO plus a 50mm 1.8 lens - focus too slow.

Solution recommended by other Canon users: 85mm 1.8 lens (a sweet spot in Canon line up at $350 online). Shooting now at 1600 ISO with this lens and so far I like the results. Gym lighting is highly variable, on well lit ones I can sometimes shoot 800ISO. To freeze the action, using shutter of 1/640 and shutter priority mode. In my reading 1/640 was mentioned by several as a good choice for basketball. Focus mode on AI Servo, so the lens continually focuses on moving subjects.

I think the problem we have is that we compare our results to Sports mag pictures of basketball and there is no way to achieve those results on a light hobbyist budget. In outdoor photography the playing field is more level. Indoors you need some serious coin !!! If you want to feel better about any of your shots, take a couple with a point-n-shoot to compare it to..... Good Luck !

Maristar210
02-08-2009, 12:12 AM
THanks for the reply.

I met a guyfrom our paper last night. He has 30k in his two bodies and 6 lenses....

Simply nuts

bigmac
02-08-2009, 09:06 AM
School gymnasiums are notorious for crappy lighting. IMHO, they are second only to indoor horse arenas. Mercury or sodium vapor lights are typical...usually means difficult white balance issues. The problem is compounded by restrictions on use of flash (bothers players) as well as the fact that you want a zoom of some kind because you're usually sitting in the stands, and zooms tend to be slow lenses. And even if you can use flash, the distance to the subject is problematic, and using just one flash will create some unevenness.

IMHO, there are few good solutions, at least few good CHEAP solutions to prevent subject motion blurring in low light situations. The problem is that, given the amount of light available (as limited by the lens aperture, and by the ISO that you can use) you end up using a shutter speed that is too slow to stop action. The $olution is faster lenses to let more light onto the sensor, or better sensitivity. Both of those are aimed at allowing you to use a shutter speed fast enough to stop action and prevent subject motion blur. For basketball motion, you're going to want a shutter speed of 1/250 second or faster, optimally. Might be able get by with 1/200th, depending of the action.

Couple of things you could do...one is to bite the bullet and drop $1800 on Nikon's really excellent 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens (unfortunately, it just underwent about a 12% price increase within the last few days). That lens is kind of a beast, but it is razor sharp and is f/2.8 across its zoom range. Another thing you could do is drop $4300 on a Nikon D3....that camera will shoot at ISO 6400 without discernible noise, and what noise it does produce is nice, even chroma noise. More practical, but maybe still not practical, is dropping $2700 on a Nikon D700, which uses the exact same sensor as the D3.

From a practical standpoint, maybe your best solution is to bump the ISO on your D40 as high as it takes to let you use a shutter speed that prevents subject motion blur and then deal with the noise in post-processing. For that, I highly recommend Noise Ninja (http://www.picturecode.com/).....what an excellent program! Shoot your images in RAW, and post-process them in Photoshop Elements with the Noise Ninja plug-in. Shooting RAW (Nikon NEF) would also allow you to control the white balance issues, as well as apply sharpening to the images. One other solution is to get a monopod (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/376203-REG/Slik_618_350_Monopod_350.html). That won't help you with subject motion blur, but it would decrease any blurriness being added from camera motion.

Good luck. You're facing a very, very common problem, one that has been brought up in photography forums for many decades. The solutions are few, and mostly expensive.

Look here for more info...http://www.nyip.com/ezine/sports/beeballhockey.html. And there's a lot more stuff on the web relative to this very common problem.

bigmac
02-08-2009, 09:44 AM
By the way, that shot is a little over-exposed. The EXIF data has been stripped from it, so I can't tell what settings you used, but my guess is that if you'd have stopped down by at least 1/3 stop, and if you'd have been able to use f/2.8, and if you could have shot at ISO 800, it would be a much more acceptable image to you, especially after running it through Noise Ninja.

I always shoot in aperture-preferred mode, but my camera has a lot of headroom in ISO, and I always use f/2.8 zooms. Really, it probably doesn't matter aperture vs shutter-preferred. If you shoot in AP and there's not enough light, you're going to get subject blur. If you shoot in SP and there's not enough light, your images will be too dark. I guess I'd rather have blurry images where you can make out detail than sharp images that are too dark to see anything.

thijs
02-08-2009, 09:47 AM
You got some really good advice here Maristar210. Advice I will be passing on to my wife- "but honey I neeeeeed it, bigmac and 3event both say so" It is going to come down to bucks, maybe try enrolling your kids in soccer?

bigmac
02-08-2009, 10:07 AM
THanks for the reply.

I met a guyfrom our paper last night. He has 30k in his two bodies and 6 lenses....

Simply nuts

Over the last 5 years, I've probably spent about $15,000 on photography equipment. OTOH, I don't play golf. And I don't drink.

Maristar210
02-08-2009, 05:34 PM
Thanks for the replies. Especially Howard's.

I knew there was no magic answer but the tips will help.

The camera budget has been blown for this set up and the 200mm lens. Why? because I do play golf and I do drink - LOL

Thanks guys.....

VOLFAN
02-09-2009, 08:33 AM
Pick up these two books. They are very good!

http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Photography-Book-Scott-Kelby/dp/032147404X

JimN
02-09-2009, 10:00 AM
I am trying to take Basketball Photos with a Nikon D40

Set on HI ISO on sports setting or M

crap yellow indoor light

High ISO = grainy photos

Lowering the ISO produces blurred photos

Any real answers from you Photography Experts?

TIA Steve

PS I have been Ken Rockwelled to death. I need some real help

If the camera has a "shutter priority" setting, use that. Yellow light is the reason video and digital cameras have a white balance function. That should always be used when changing from one kind of lighting to another.

bigmac
02-09-2009, 11:20 AM
If the camera has a "shutter priority" setting, use that. Yellow light is the reason video and digital cameras have a white balance function. That should always be used when changing from one kind of lighting to another.
White balance is automatic on modern dSLRs, but if the autoWB isn't doing the job, it can be set manually in the camera. Those menu choices usually aren't very good, however, and the best solution is to shoot in RAW mode so the white balance can be changed in Photoshop Elements after-the-fact to suit the photographer's preference.

Shooting in shutter priority may freeze action, but at 1/250th of a second @f/4, the photos will be unusably dark, and unless shot in RAW, no hope of recovering lost shadow detail. Shutter priority would be a good way to go if he could use an aperture of f/2.8 and maybe bump the ISO to 800. That extra three stops of exposure ought to just about do the trick. As I mentioned, Noise Ninja could be used if ISO 800 gives too much noise. As to shooting at f/2.8...well, that means $$$ for a new lens.

JimN
02-09-2009, 12:37 PM
White balance is automatic on modern dSLRs, but if the autoWB isn't doing the job, it can be set manually in the camera. Those menu choices usually aren't very good, however, and the best solution is to shoot in RAW mode so the white balance can be changed in Photoshop Elements after-the-fact to suit the photographer's preference.

Shooting in shutter priority may freeze action, but at 1/250th of a second @f/4, the photos will be unusably dark, and unless shot in RAW, no hope of recovering lost shadow detail. Shutter priority would be a good way to go if he could use an aperture of f/2.8 and maybe bump the ISO to 800. That extra three stops of exposure ought to just about do the trick. As I mentioned, Noise Ninja could be used if ISO 800 gives too much noise. As to shooting at f/2.8...well, that means $$$ for a new lens.

White balance is usually auto, but with a digital camera, it's easy enough to shoot a couple of tests to determine if it's correct for that lighting.

I don't know that model but at F/4, it looks like it would be hard to get the correct exposure without additional lighting.

C'mon! $10k For a new lens is peanuts compared to a ski boat.

stuartmcnair
02-09-2009, 01:30 PM
I have been shooting my son's basketball season so I know what you are going through. You really have no chance of getting the shot you want without adding light. You need to shoot at ISO 1600 and set exposure to 1/500th. Do you have an external flash? If you do (you will have to to get the shot) then use it and set it to about -1/3 power to get the highlights but not blow out the shot. I use a 2.8 lens but this will work with a 4.

The setup I have is a Canon 50D with a 70-200 F2.8L IS and a Speedlight 580EX.