Discussion in 'Sports' started by lana_ferreira|1, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. I really need some advice shooting school basketball games. My photos are really grainy. I have a Nikon D7000 with a Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 lens. I am a novice at this. I have fiddled around with different settings to no avail.

    The photos I took yesterday had a shutter speed of 400 and ISO of 1600. I was using the Shutter mode. I also have the ISO sensitivity control off. I shoot in JPEG and have no desire to use RAW

    Can someone please advise me in layman's terms the settings I should use? I also have no idea which settings I should use on optical stabilizer on the lens. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you!
  2. Why not try your question at the Nikon forum where they have a little more traffic.
  3. Graininess is often caused by under-exposure. You could try bumping the ISO up to 2500 or 3200. I usually shoot at 3200 1/400th at f/1.8 in the junior college gym where I shoot most often. Sometimes I use a 70-200 f/2.8 lens, but when I'm sitting on the baseline, I like the 50mm f/1.8. The wider aperture is a big help and the 50 mm focal length is wide enough that I'm less likely to cut people off.
    Here are a couple recent examples.
  4. Lana,
    Hi. Hope the following helps.
    No problem with your kit combo. You should have your image stabiliser set if you're at 1/500th or less (as a rule).
    Why not set your aperture to f/3.2 or f/3.5 (to get a bit of depth as your 70-200 is more like a 100-300 under DX), set your shutter speed to 1/640th or 1/800th or whatever you are comfortable with and then set your ISO to auto (up to a maximum of, say,3200)?
    Your pictures are fine given that gyms are usually poorly lit.
    Andy Chubb
  5. Haven't shot basketball in a long time but when I did high school basketball courts were poorly lit. I dont' think you have much option other than to shoot wide open at 2.8 in order go get all the shutter speed you can. When I have shot indoor sports recently (figure skating) I have shot aperture priority at 2.8, ISO at 1600 or sometimes 3200 and been able to get a shutter speed in the 1/250 to 1/500 range. If the gym is lit consistently from one end to the other, best to shoot in full manual. Do some test shots to find the correct exposure, then set it and leave it alone. That way you will get consistent exposure rather than having to worry about whether the camera is seeing a bright background/uniform/whatever one minute and dark the next and overcompensating.

    I prefer to have control over everything and never, ever use automatic ISO. it's bad enough to have the camera deciding what shutter speed or aperture to use. I don't want the camera going from say 1600 or 3200 where I think the grain/noise is OK to something that's not acceptable.

    Depending on the gym, there may simply not be enough light. If you search on he has a section on lighting a high school gym with just a couple of speedlights and getting great results. David Hobby (who runs Strobist) is a former newspaper photographer who did this for a living and he knows what he's talking about. Obviously you would have to work with the school to get permission -- maybe try it at a practice session or two both to perfect your technique and show them that it doesn't necessarily have to interfere with the game. Not sure of current practice, but Sports Illustrated used to routinely rig college and professional gyms for flash, so flash as basketball games has been around for decades. Back in the 70s I used to shoot high school basketball for the local paper with a Mamiya C330 and a big Honeywell Strobonar flash and nobody gave it any thought.
  6. Thank you Andy and Craig. I have received several great tips from the PN members.
    It makes me all the more anxious to try them out. I do note that when I first look at the shots in my view finder they look great, but when zooming in is when I notice the graininess.
    I am not sure why I was thinking 3200 would be far too grainy. I also thought that 2.8 would be far better due to low lighting as opposed to the 3.2 that Chet suggests.
    I can see there certainly isn"t one set standard. Although, a friend of mine (who's brother is a photographer) set her Canon at a basic programmed setting for her so she would be already set up for the games.
    Thank you!
  7. Lana, currently in the gym I'm shooting at, I am using 1/800th at f2.8 and auto ISO is between 3200 and 12,800, and most shots are 8000-12800. So it is very dark. So you have just got to pump up your ISO.
  8. Thank you Robin. I may be slowly getting there. I can't find a 12,800 ISO. I am not sure what the settings are with the numbers above it. As I stated I am a complete novice. I did find that in a gym with more light I was able to increase shutter and decrease ISO. I had one decent shot using 1/500 with ISO of 6400 which was pretty good but not as clear as I would like.
  9. It would read as "800" on your top dial (when in shutter speed priority (Tv or S mode)). Your camera may not go up to 12800 ISO, so 6400 may be the tops for you. Your shot looks OK. The quality is never going to rival a shot taken in normal daylight, but there is not going to be anything you can do about it, apart from getting a camera that is better in low light (better sensor).
  10. i really wouldnt go above ISO 6400 with an APS-C camera like the D7000 if you don't want unwanted noise. also, i wouldnt shoot in Shutter-priority; full Manual mode is the way to go. the main reason to stop down to f/3.2 or 3.5 is to widen your depth of field so you have a little more wiggle room in terms of focus accuracy. but if your pics are too dark, there may be no choice but to shoot wide open. also, you should be shooting in AF-C for moving subjects. regarding the stabilizer, there's no point in using it at a high shutter speed like 1/500 and up, since you're unlikely to get any camera shake. the rule of thumb i most often use is 1/focal length. on a DX body like the D7000 that translates to 1/300 at 300mm (equivalent). if your shutter speed is faster than that, you can turn the stabilizer off, unless you are shooting from a moving platform or something. optical stabilization is most useful at lower shutter speeds and completely extraneous at faster shutter speeds. it's nice to have on a telephoto lens, but generally unnecessary when shooting sports, since you need a fast shutter to freeze motion.
  11. If you are shooting near and under the basket put on a basic 50mm lens. You can shoot at f/1.4 - f/1.8 and keep the shutter speed high enough while using lower ISO settings.
  12. You must to buy professional camera, because basketball is hard sport to recording a film.
  13. With that combo:
    • Shoot shutter-priority set to 1/500
    • Set Auto ISO max at 3200
    • In a typical high school gym, the above setting will result in an aperture setting of f2.8
    • Shoot AF-C, Single area focus
    • Use the AF-ON button to acquire focus
    • Shoot NEF so you can fix the lighting in post
    As someone already stated, a fast prime will also be a good option, especially if f2.8 at 1/500 is insufficient.
  14. Lana,
    If you read this old thread.
    Some gyms have plenty of light, whereas others are dark caverns.
    When shooting in a dark/dim gym, you are fighting a lack of light.
    So . . . anything goes to get your shot.
    - ISO, raise it to whatever you need to get the image. Better to have an image with noise, than no image because you did not raise the ISO high enough.
    - Lens. Use FAST glass, if you can. A 50/1.4 is 2 stops faster than your 2.8 zoom. And in a dark/dim gym, that makes a difference. In high school I used a 3.5 zoom and I was at a big disadvantage to those shooting a simple 50/1.4 lens. While a 2.8 is a fast zoom, it is 2 stops slower than a 1.4 prime.

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