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Action Shots?

Triple Threat 33TTriple Threat 33T Regional AdministratorPort CanaveralPosts: 18,668 AG
I have a Cannon D80 and I'm trying to get some good indoor action shots at basketball games. I use the "Sports" mode and I'm still getting blurred photos. The lighting seems to be adequate.

What can I do to get some quality shots? Is it a zoom lens issue?

What about outdoor baseball games at night? I've had similar issues there.
"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."
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Replies

  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG
    A D80 is Nikon.

    Shutter speed is king!

    Forget the sports mode. Set your camera to Manual mode, ISO to 1600, Shutter speed to 1/400, F stop to wide open. Most inexpensive zooms only open to F4 or 5.6 when using the long focal length.

    It's ok if the photos are a bit dark, you can fix that in post. you cant fix a blurry subject due to slow shutter speed.

    If you really want to do it right, get a 70-200 2.8, but they aint cheap.
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • MaLMaL Senior Member TalPosts: 176 Officer
    I'm not familiar with the camera, I use an older 5mp olympus, but I'd say try it without the sports setting.
    go advanced, play with the shutter speed, try setting it faster.
    if you don't know how... well its a pretty expensive camera, you should learn. :)
    you will be happier with the pictures once you know how to do more than point and shoot.
    not trying to be insulting at all, cameras can be complicated. i only had basic highschool photography class to go on when i started and that doesnt count for much in today's cameras.

    (edit: my bad, that camera only does 1/4000 max)
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Senior Member Posts: 24,412 AG
    You have a DSLR, correct? What lens are you using? The lens that came with the camera something like a 18-55mm or a 55-200mm?

    Also, I don't think Canon has something called the "D80". DO you mean Nikon D80? or something like a Canon 40D?

    In any case, this is a way to stop the action on the basketball court. The lighting is terrible and varies greatly in high school gymnasiums.

    Learn to shoot in shutter priority.

    1. Move the mode dial to shutter priority ("S" on Nikon, "Tv" on Canon.) Dial the shutter to about 1/1000 second.

    2. Put the ISO on Auto. This way the camera will choose the lends aperture and the "film speed" for the lighting.


    Here is a little more for Canon and Nikon respectively. In the Nikon video move to about 1:40 for the shutter priority mode. Sorry these vids are not great, but what I could find quickly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_Vv8tjPehQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaFSNTegKSk

    I am sure Tim or Flash will be along soon to offer other ways of accomplishing the same goal. If not, feel free to PM me with specific questions. Be great.
  • Triple Threat 33TTriple Threat 33T Regional Administrator Port CanaveralPosts: 18,668 AG
    Cane Pole wrote: »
    A D80 is Nikon.

    Shutter speed is king!

    Forget the sports mode. Set your camera to Manual mode, ISO to 1600, Shutter speed to 1/400, F stop to wide open. Most inexpensive zooms only open to F4 or 5.6 when using the long focal length.

    It's ok if the photos are a bit dark, you can fix that in post. you cant fix a blurry subject due to slow shutter speed.

    If you really want to do it right, get a 70-200 2.8, but they aint cheap.

    I apologize, it is a Nikon. I don't know why I said Cannon.
    MaL wrote: »
    I'm not familiar with the camera, I use an older 5mp olympus, but I'd say try it without the sports setting.
    go advanced, play with the shutter speed, try setting it faster.
    if you don't know how... well its a pretty expensive camera, you should learn. :)
    you will be happier with the pictures once you know how to do more than point and shoot.
    not trying to be insulting at all, cameras can be complicated. i only had basic highschool photography class to go on when i started and that doesnt count for much in today's cameras.

    (edit: my bad, that camera only does 1/4000 max)

    You're 100% right, I need how to use the camera. I've relied on the different shooting modes and I'm not doing myself any favors.
    You have a DSLR, correct? What lens are you using? The lens that came with the camera something like a 18-55mm or a 55-200mm?

    Also, I don't think Canon has something called the "D80". DO you mean Nikon D80? or something like a Canon 40D?

    In any case, this is a way to stop the action on the basketball court. The lighting is terrible and varies greatly in high school gymnasiums.

    Learn to shoot in shutter priority.

    1. Move the mode dial to shutter priority ("S" on Nikon, "Tv" on Canon.) Dial the shutter to about 1/1000 second.

    2. Put the ISO on Auto. This way the camera will choose the lends aperture and the "film speed" for the lighting.


    Here is a little more for Canon and Nikon respectively. In the Nikon video move to about 1:40 for the shutter priority mode. Sorry these vids are not great, but what I could find quickly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_Vv8tjPehQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaFSNTegKSk

    I am sure Tim or Flash will be along soon to offer other ways of accomplishing the same goal. If not, feel free to PM me with specific questions. Be great.


    I'm not exactly sure of the lens but I did get two with the camera. One standard lens that came with it and one zoom lens. When I get home I'll verify exactly which ones I have.

    Also, I'll try some of the suggestions you guys have made and try to learn really how to use this thing.

    By the way, what's your advise for a novice on how to go about learning? Are there classes that you would recommend? They closed a Ritz photo that I purchased this camera from and they offered classes but are now gone.
    "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG
    I've never seen a gym, or camera/lens where I could get 1/1000 speeds to work with reasonable ISO. 1/640...maybe 1/800...tops.

    I'm sure you can if you push the ISO to 25,000 or so, but good luck with that.

    Shoot Manual, trust me, I do it quite a bit.
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG

    By the way, what's your advise for a novice on how to go about learning? .


    Shoot, shoot, shoot, evaluate, shoot, evaluate, shoot.
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • Triple Threat 33TTriple Threat 33T Regional Administrator Port CanaveralPosts: 18,668 AG
    Cane Pole wrote: »
    Shoot, shoot, shoot, evaluate, shoot, evaluate, shoot.

    Or come and hang out with your buddy Cane Pole for the weekend and have him show you how to use it. :grin
    "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG
    Or come and hang out with your buddy Cane Pole for the weekend and have him show you how to use it. :grin

    That's it, learn from the masters!
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG
    Throw that D80 in the stick marsh and get a D600 with 24-70 and 70-200.

    Your skills will increase exponentially!
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Senior Member Posts: 24,412 AG
    After spending close to five grand. The D80 will take perfectly serviceable photos.

    However, I agree with CP that getting a wide aperture telephoto lens would serve you well, and agree a 70-200mm f2.8 would match up well with B-ball. I did not recommend because I figured you did not want a coronary on a Friday afternoon. I have a 70-200 that will work on your camera if you want to try one.

    CP is right about the shoot, shoot, shoot.

    Seriously, there is a video clip on Youtube that will answer about any question you have, but eventually you have to assimilate the learning and shoot shoot shoot.
  • MenziesMenzies Senior Member Jacksonville - Where Florida Begins!Posts: 19,289 AG
    Was the camera man and web master for many kids basketball teams.

    When you say that the light in the gym is adequate, it isn't. It never is. You have to go manual AND get off the bleachers and go stand behind the net so that you don't have to use the zoom. That is your best opportunity for good, sometimes, great, shots.
    Maybe if we tell people that the brain is an App, they will start using it.
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG
    Another good trick is to sit right on the floor, if you can. Players look a lot better from a low angle.

    Behind the basket is great...if they let you.
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • Cane PoleCane Pole Senior Member Stuart, FLAPosts: 10,024 AG
    I dont even own a 70-200 2.8..yet. Gotta save up a lot of pennies to get to $2400. There are a few off-brand 70-200s for half the price...but I'm gonna wait for the big boy!

    I've been barely shlepping by with my 28-300 3.5-5.6 this volleyball season. It works...but not very well.
    Live music 7 nights a week: http://www.terrafermata.com/_events
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,491 AG
    I shot basketball for years. Unless you are shooting pros, you probably do not have enough light. A fast lens helps, but shutter speed is king. Many times, I still had to put a flash on the camera to freeze the action. Even a fast lens will have limits if you are shooting at 2.8 It limits you depth of field and sometimes that can ruin a shot.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Senior Member Posts: 24,412 AG
    Thanks for the voice of experience, Flash. As I said above, I knew you would show up and answer the question.
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,491 AG
    Thanks for the voice of experience, Flash. As I said above, I knew you would show up and answer the question.

    What I found happened alot was my shutter speed might stop the players a bit, but the ball still ended up blurring, thus out came the flash. Being these games were indoors and at night, there was never good lighting.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • GermGerm Senior Member Tampa, FLPosts: 1,704 Captain
    post a pic, it be better to give pointers based on what you took and how it came out.
  • mississippi macmississippi mac Senior Member Ocean Springs, Ms. (da coast)Posts: 4,222 Captain
    i've used a flash to do action shots for years....
    i was shooting birds, car races, motorcycles, etc. in day light...
    i got good results and the flash will allow you to fool around with the DOF...
    i was also shooting close to the action with a big flash to get the results...

    if you are shooting indoors a good flash will get you the image you're trying for...
    a good piece of fast glass really helps too...

    otherwise as Craig and Dave have mentioned...shutter speed is king

    tim
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    The Real White Dog

    if you can't catch a fish...catch a buzz....
    #12976, joined 8-17-2002
  • MenziesMenzies Senior Member Jacksonville - Where Florida Begins!Posts: 19,289 AG
    Here is a great example of how tough it is, This is from the official Manchester United web site from today's game. Wayne Rooney taking a penalty. A penalty is a set piece, and yet the photographer still got a blurred ball (granted it does travel at speed), and this was a sunny day outdoors! I don't believe the photographer was going for the bokeh.

    552252_10151145682217746_616499402_n.jpg
    Maybe if we tell people that the brain is an App, they will start using it.
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,491 AG
    Germ wrote: »
    post a pic, it be better to give pointers based on what you took and how it came out.

    I wish I could, but stopped shooting indoor sports in 2005 when I retired from the Newspapers. I have since gotten rid of the photos. Only thing I have now is my Baseball, Softball, Little League stuff along with a little Football. All outdoors.

    Really it is always a question of shutter speed. Once you move to using a flash 1/125th of a second setting will do you fine. I usually stayed at 400 ISO when I could.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • WaterEngineerWaterEngineer Senior Member Posts: 24,412 AG
    Flash, I think the idea of posting a pic was directed at the O.P.
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,491 AG
    Flash, I think the idea of posting a pic was directed at the O.P.

    I kinda figured that but seeing others shots will help also.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • bmarkeybmarkey Senior Member Royal Palm Beach, Fla.Posts: 319 Deckhand
    Indoors, there is almost never a need to shoot on any program mode. Manual is it. The lighting won't change, so get your settings correct and stay with them.

    1/400 is a bit slow and will result in some blur. I know because I am forced to shoot at 1/400 if I want to shoot at 1600 ISO at FAU Arena. Otherwise, I must jump to 3200 ISO to allow for faster speed (1/650, 1/800, etc.).

    If you want to shoot indoors on a budget, try buying your brand's simple 50 mm F/1.8 lens. The Canon version costs around $75-$85 and is fine under the basket. You can shoot at F/1.8-2.8 at a higher speed.

    My guess is, ISO 1600 is not going to be fast enough for your gym. Bump to ISO 3200 or even 6400 if you have a later model DSLR. A sharp image with grain (caused by the higher ISOs) is better than a blurry smooth image.

    Another lens to consider is the 85 mm F/1.8. The Canon version ($350?) is fantastic. I use it mostly for college hoops. Canon also has a 100 mm F/2.0 version, which is equally good. I am sure Nikon has equivalent models.

    http://bit.ly/Tx0YwH

    Bob Markey
    United Realty Group
    www.WellingtonHomes.com
    Sport, Event & Real Estate Photography
    Palms West Photo
    www.MarkeySportsPhoto.com
  • NaplesDaveNaplesDave Junior Member Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    The basics of photography haven't changed since film. Set on any automatic setting, your camera is going to use the shutter to soak up the light in a dark gymnasium or stadium. You have to have enough light hitting your sensor/film to make a correct exposure for your film speed (ISO setting). That means balancing your aperture (the len's iris) and shutter speed (the curtain that opens really fast in the camera). Automatic settings like Av, Tv, P and "Sports" all try to average what the sensor sees automatically. It tries to assume the setting has an even amount of whites, blacks and greys. Your camera fails when there is a lot of dark jerseys, or a white background or anything else that will screw with the "dummy" settings.

    On the sidelines of professional sporting venues, you will see photographers with monster lenses on monopods. These lenses have wider apertures, usually up to f/2.8. If I had to guess, your lens probably goes to f/5.6 or f/4 at the widest. That gives you a 1- to 2-stop less of an ability to have a fast enough shutter speed to "freeze" the action. Anything below 1/500th of a second and you will see blur.

    A camera set to 1600 ISO with the aperture at 2.8 and 1/500th of a second is probably the bare minimum you can get in a brightly-lit professional sports arena. In a high school gym, it is probably 3200 ISO or higher. With an f/4 or f/5.6 lens, you will have to raise the ISO one or two stops beyond this to compensate for the lens to reach the correct exposure. Your pics will get extremely grainy at that ISO.

    What I am trying to tell you is invest the time to learn how to use your camera on Manual mode. It is a lot more work, but it will improve your pictures as you improve your mastery of the subject matter.

    A custom white balance using a slow shutter speed in gymnasiums is a big help, too.

    Hope this helps! Shoot 'em up!
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    All it takes is good technical skills, good composition skills and good gear designed to do the job. Quality gear designed to do the job at hand just makes it easier for a good photographer to create compelling images. An example might be Dave (Flash) shooting kid's baseball. His gear is somewhat old, but his skills easily make up for it. Given my gear, he'd do even better.

    I have no problem shooting indoor sports. You have have to understand basic photography and have the gear which allows you to use that. Under the net, I use a Nikon D3S and a Nikon 85 f/1.4G. I think it's one of the best close in sports lens. Sidelines, same camera but sometimes an 80-200 f/2.8D AF Nikkor. Sometimes the 85 f/1.4 again. High stands, a 300 f/2.8 AFS Nikkor and any FX camera. I like the new D800 a lot but it's framerates aren't the fastest. It allows me to crop a great shot though which can make up for the framerates.

    Light isn't as much of a deal these days as it used to be because of the massive high ISO improvements. I don't like moving too high if I don't have to though because as you increase ISO, you lose dynamic range, but I have it if I need it. I can be fairly clean out to ISO 6400 or a tad higher. If I can, I like to be closer to 1000th of a second for sports and a little higher for birds. It all depends on location and timing.
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • FlashFlash Senior Member Chiefland/Cedar KeyPosts: 12,491 AG
    Guidenet wrote: »

    An example might be Dave (Flash) shooting kid's baseball. His rear is somewhat old, but his skills easily make up for it. Given my rear, he'd do even better.


    :cool :kick
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    heheheh.. given my rear, you'd look funny. Hey it was you who made be love that 80-200 f/2.8D. Great lens and no need for VR.
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • FusionZ06FusionZ06 Senior Member Posts: 1,031 Officer
    Shoot ISO800 or higher indoors and get your shutter well over 1/300th. As a general rule your shutter speed should always exceed your zoom!
  • GuidenetGuidenet Senior Member OrlandoPosts: 239 Officer
    FusionZ06 wrote: »
    Shoot ISO800 or higher indoors and get your shutter well over 1/300th. As a general rule your shutter speed should always exceed your zoom!

    I'm not sure I understand this point. How can a shutter exceed a zoom? What does it even have to do with a Zoom? I mean let's say I have a 16-35 f/4 zoom lens, what shutter speed exceeds that zoom? Are we talking the f/4 and that means I can shoot at 4 seconds. Are we talking the zoom ratio which is around 2x so 2 seconds? What about a zoom is exceeded? Now take a Nikon 200-400 f/4 zoom lens. It's only a 2x zoom which is somewhat less than the 16-35 f/4 zoom, so can I shoot at a slower shutter speed? I don't think so.

    The point I'm making is that you're probably talking about using a shutter speed which is the reciprocal of the focal length and has nothing to do with a Zoom lens. If the lens is a 55-300 zoom and you're using it at 300mm, the rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed of 1/300th of a second or faster.

    A 500 f/4 lens has no zoom at all, but it does have a focal length of 500mm so you'd want to be at 1/500th of a second or greater. Again, Zoom has nothing to do with it.

    FusionZ06, I think I knew what you were trying to say, but just wanted to set it straight for someone that might not understand. :-)
    Cheers,

    Craig
    Nikon D800, D3S, D700, D300, Canon G1X, Sigma 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR, Nikon 28 f/1.8G AFS, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AFD, Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 AFS VR, Nikon 35 f/2, Nikon 50 f/1.8 G, Nikon 60 f/2.8 G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.4 AFS G, Nikon 105 f/2.5 AI, Sigma 150 f/2.8 APO Macro, Nikon 300 f/2.8 AFS VR, Nikon 500 f/4 -P, Interfit Stellar X complete six light studio
  • bmarkeybmarkey Senior Member Royal Palm Beach, Fla.Posts: 319 Deckhand
    I rule I was taught was that your shutter speed should be twice (or close to it) the focus length of the lens. So, a 200 mm lens should be used at 1/400 shutter speed or greater. Of course, that can't always happen and was set before IS.

    Indoors for sports such as basketball, 1/400 is barely enough to stop action.

    http://www.diyphotography.net/shutter-speed

    Bob Markey
    United Realty Group
    www.WellingtonHomes.com
    Sport, Event & Real Estate Photography
    Palms West Photo
    www.MarkeySportsPhoto.com
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