basketball shutter speed?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by catherine_coleman, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. Newbie here struggling to get acceptable basketball shots. After reading posts, I bought an additional lens for my canon 40D - the 50mm 1.4. Tried to shoot some shots using flash because light is beyond horrible (no windows, 5/9 overhead cans burnt out). tried shutter priority, but shutter speed stopped at 1/250 with flash which doesn't makes sense to me. Also, don't mean to be stupid, but I thought a prime lense 1.4 meant the aperture stays at 1.4, but apparently not. I turned ISO up to 1600, but thought I wouldn't have to do that with this new lens. Got some decent shots, but grainy when cropped. Without flash in this particular gym, its just too dark. Why can't I get faster shutter speed with flash? This is at ISO 1000 with no flash - shutter speed 1/250 and 1.8 aperture [​IMG] And this is one using falsh, 1/250 shutter speed, ISO 1600 and 1.4 [​IMG] I would really appreciate feedback -- I am reading everything I can, but I would like to get good shots before season ends.
  2. Your lens WILL stay wide open if you put your camera in aperture priority mode. Your shutter speed won't go faster than 1/250 when using your flash because otherwise the time that the shutter curtain is open (as it moves across the sensor) won't synch properly with the duration of the flash's output.

    Try working your way through some manual exposures. 1/250, f1.4, ISO 800. See how that treats you. If you're going to use the flash, though, you'll still want to use a manual exposure for consisten results, and you'll know what you need to adjust by making one change at a time. What are you using for a flash?
  3. That place is just way to dark! Wow! First off, don't be afraid to go up to ISO 3200. I shoot for a newspaper, so the noise at 3200 doesn't bother me. Really it's not too bad on my 40D. Also, shoot wide open if you have to at f/1.4. You need a shutter speed of at least 1/400th, but I don't think you will get it in that place even at f/1.4 and ISO 3200. That's about all you can do. I don't like basketball with flash, but that may be your only option here. You could use studio strobes bounced off of the ceiling. That's better than on camera flash or speedlights. Search around for how to do it. Good luck and maybe they will put some more lights in for you.
  4. crap I knew I clicked the wrong thumbnail....sorry.
  5. Catherine, everyone has great suggestions so I'll just add one more. Custom white balance, in those badly lit gyms color gets real funky. The cheap method is a white card, a better method is a product called ExpoDisk.
  6. Thanks so far for suggestions. I am using a 430ex flash when I use flash.

    I am embarrassed to say that I don't understand white balance despite reading some stuff on it. Played with some pre-set options like cloudy, shade, tungsten (got blue people), etc... .I wondered if adjusting white balance would help the shots where the white t-shirts on the dark skinned players seem to glow. And it would be nice if hte white players were a sickly shade of green.

    Both the above pictures used 1/250th shutter speed (no choice with flash as I have learned) A faster shutter speed on the first shot would have produced and even darker shot right?

    Another post mentioned setting exposure manually - don't know what this means exactly. The canon manaul is not exactly a how-to.. Thanks goodness for this site. I will try to figure out how to set exposure manually and take the sugeestions to try manual settings and even up ISO.

    These kids really love to see their shots and I would love to do them justice as I am the only person taking pictures of them I think. They crowd around my LCD to see if I got them , and my abilities just aren't their yet.
  7. Catherine white balance really, really helps out. Iknow how to set it on Nikons and the Panasonic but I don't on the Canon bodies. Let me explain how I do it with the ExpoDisk, you can use a white card also.

    I point the camera at a white card or put on the white balance filter called ExpoDisk on the lens. Under the lighting I'm going to be shooting under I hold the WB (white balance) button and scroll to preset PRE. holding the WB button down until PRE flashes I'm read to set it.

    All you do then is take a picture of the white card or just a click with the while balance filter on. The camera does the rest. On a Nikon body after it does it's thing it will flash GOOD or No GOOD if it doesn't take.
  8. You may want to consider off-camera flash. Also put the flash in "manual" mode so you
    end up with consistent exposures. There's a lot of really good info here:

    You don't need a lot to get started with off-camera flash. A Bogen "Super Clamp" will
    allow you to attach your flash to railings or whatever is available. Add in inexpensive radio
    triggers from Gadget Infinity and you're just about there.

    Just be aware that the flash duration is very short and will freeze motion, even with longer
    shutter speeds (as long as the flash level is a couple of stops above ambient).
  9. I use Canon's 85mm f1.8 lens primarily. Keep the camera in aperture mode, turn the ISO to 1250 or 1600, and shoot in gyms where the light allows a shuuter speed of 1/800 or higher.

    Unfortuneately many gyms just don't have the lighting necessary for decent shots. Also, I'm not a big fan of using flashes as it interferes with the players.

    I've added some more detail with examples on my blog.

  10. Flash does not interfere with players if it is placed properly. I place mine up high and to the
    side at the baseline. That way it doesn't hit players in the eyes. Also note that during every
    NBA games pro photographers use flash (PWs triggering ceiling-mounted flash).
  11. When using your 430ex you can set your shutterspeed to what ever you want it to be. its set at 250 with the pop up flash on your 40d camera and you cant adjust that.
  12. Kenny - I used TV, but with my 430EX on, camera will not go beyond 1/250. Can you tell
    me how to override - even store tells me it can't.

    I never thought about whether flash upset players...Don't think I am shooting into their
    eyes from this angle, but should I be concerned?

    I don't think I got blur at this 1/250 shot with flash, but maybe It would be even better at a
    faster shutter speed? I can try increasing ISO and going without flash, but it may just be
    too dark.
  13. 1/250 is the limit -- which is not a problem for you flash is probably firing at 1/1000 or faster.

    Go into a dark room and open your eyes (shutter) then flip the lightswitch on/off real fast. Now, you had your eyes open for a long time, yet the light you saw by flicking the switch was very quick. That's how your camera can "stop the action" with flash. The key is to make sure when your camera fires at 1/250 (without flash) it's pretty close to dark.
  14. You can use a higher shutter speed with your 430EX - but it comes at the cost of greatly reduced flash power, because the flash is set to provide continuous light all the time the shutter curtains are moving rather than in a brief pulse while they are wide open. Light is wasted because much of it falls on the shutter curtains rather than the sensor, since high shutter speeds are achieved by having the second curtain follow behind the first leaving a moving narrow slit of sensor exposed as the curtains travel. This mode is useful when you want to use fill in flash for a backlit subject in sunny conditions, and a wideish aperture to blur the background.

    In order to be able to use high speed sync (known as HSS or FP mode flash) you need to use M mode on the camera to get the higher shutter speed (any shutter speed can be set with flash in this mode), and to set the switch marked with H and a lightning bolt on the flash. However, it has a severely limited maximum range suitable for portraiture, making it impractical for sports work.

    Spend some time with your camera manual, and practice what your are learning from it on your camera. Look up "custom white balance" under "white balance" in the index. Practice setting custom white balance (in the gym or other artificial lighting it's best to use Tv mode and 1/60th for this - one complete mains power cycle). Don't forget to reset white balance if you start taking flash pictures or leave the gym. Look up M mode, and check you understand how to set a shutter speed and an aperture in M mode (and also perhaps how to turn off the rear dial to prevent it from being jogged). Look up how to set the 3200 ISO option via the custom setting menu. Work out how to assign all the settings to the C1 position on the dial, so once you have everything set up for your gym all you have to do is use the C1 setting any time you go there.

    Looking at your first image I would guess you are probably going to need to shoot 3200 ISO at f/1.8 to get a shutter speed of 1/320th-1/400th without flash. You may want to use a program such as Neatimage, Noiseware or Noise Ninja on the results.

    If you feel you want to go the flash route then I recommend you buy several cheap second hand flashes provided they offer a range of manual power settings. The reasons for having several flashes is are that they can be set to give more even lighting; sharing the lighting of an area of the court between flashes reduces the load on each one so a) they recycle faster for your next shot and b) you won't get caught having to change batteries during the game; having several flashes further away also reduces differences in light levels due to inverse square falloff; and spares are always a good idea. Professionals would use the expensive but very reliable Pocketwizard radio trigger system, but you can get away with cheaper versions. You will need to mount the flashes at a high angle to the court so you don't get distracting ghoul shadows on the walls as well as avoiding distracting the players, and the mounting must be secure and safe.

    I would suggest you start by seeing what you can achieve without flash (partly because you may need the tricks for away games where flash may be banned or you would lack access to set up your flash system).

Share This Page