Cleaning up noise is dimly lit gymasiums

Discussion in 'Sports' started by craig_morton, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Hi all,

    Been a while since I posted on I like the new web interface.

    I was shooting basketball with a Nikon D500 last week and was unimpressed with removing noise with Lightroom 6. Many years ago I used a plug-in called Noise Ninja which had a cumbersome workflow but at the time the results were a huge improvement over what I was getting with the earlyversions of Lightroom.

    Jumping to the present, I was wondering what is popular these days to remove noise that is inevitable from shooting in dimly lit high school gymnasiums?

  2. Slight tangent, what lens are you using?
    I switched from my 18-140 f/3.5-5.6 lens to a 35mm f/1.8, simply for lens speed.
    I was able to drop from ISO 12800 down to 3200, and still shoot at a faster shutter speed (1/1000 sec at f/2)
    I was shooting high school basketball, from the court floor.
    craig_morton likes this.
  3. I used a 50mm 1.8G. At best, I had to use 1/500 wide open at 1.8 and the AutoISO was ranging between 2000-3200 (I set it at 3200 max). I shot JPG Fine. I think most of the images were maybe a half-stop underexposed, which I know exacerbates the noise issue.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
  4. For basketball and volleyball, I go MANUAL exposure.
    If the electronic scoreboard or lighted sign on the scorekeepers desk is in the frame, it confuses the light meter into under exposing the players.

    I could not use the 50, for the way I shoot, which is much less tight than you. In fact, I found the 35 to sometimes be tight. There were many times when I wish I had a wider lens. But that is what happens when you are on the court floor and the players get close. The 35 was a good compromise, for me.

    I have the advantage that my pix are going into the yearbook. So the images are not large, in fact they are fairly small. So sensor noise will be invisible.
    craig_morton likes this.
  5. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Wouldn’t you be better off doing your post processing in a nicely lit studio?
  6. That's an excellent photo. I shoot raw. For processing photographs shot in low light, I still sometimes use the Noise Ninja plug-in, which should be transferable from wherever you had it. I'm sure others will make other suggestions, but the way I've found to get the best results with low-light shots is to process with DXO's OpticsPro 11. It does use a lot of processing power.
    craig_morton likes this.
  7. Thanks for the reply. I'l check out OpticsPro but I'll probably need to upgrade my laptop first.. :)
  8. Good advice. I'll have to spend a little more time trying to get the RAW images where I like them. I went back to shooting JPG, mainly for the convenience of getting high contrast, saturated pictures right off the card. The RAW files look flat, with no contrast or saturation until you tart them up with Lightroom. Part of the inconvenience (for me) also has to do with my aging there that to consider too. Again, thanks for the advice on variable light in gyms..I'll commit to a Manual setting next time and see how it goes.
  9. You should be able to shoot 250/2.8 at ISO 1600 in most gyms and that image, a very good one by the way, looks like it was done with good lighting. I often shot Tri-X at 1600 easily and developed in Accufine so I would think the D500 would give even better results and I'm not seeing objectionable noise in this image. 1/250 is enough to stop most action in basketball as well as football.

    Rick H.
  10. craig
    I shoot the high school sports in JPG. Because I shoot way too many photos to deal with in RAW. I just don't have the time for that RAW to JPG edit and conversion.
    I selectively shoot in RAW, only where it makes sense. Like the softball team pix and in the funky/difficult lighting of the theater.

    The other reason for shooting manual is the background. A dark background will cause the camera to overexpose the players. This is a problem when you shoot from the gym floor, where the background is the bleachers and walls. It is less so if you are shooting from the bleachers, where the background would be the gym floor, because of the downward angle.

    You have to do a survey of the gym (lighting, evenness of lighting, your shooting position, background, etc) and based on that make the call.
    I shoot a few test exposures during warm up (in P,S or A) just to determine the exposure, then I switch to manual and do a few more and adjust as needed.
  11. Thanks! BTW, what do you use for AF settings? I have been using Back Button Focus with AF-C Dynamic with 25d and AF15 (instead of 55). I also set Focus tracking with lock-on with Block shot AF response on 2 and Subject motion Neutral. I got way too many back focusing issues last time out. Any suggestions? (P.S. its not the lens. Focusing on still objects is perfectly fine)
  12. AF-C, D9. I tried D21 for lacrosse but I can generally hold the subject, so D9 is enough.
    Center focus. And I concentrate like heck to put and keep the center focus point on the subject.
    For most sports I put the AF point on the chest, as it is a bigger target than the face, so easier to track.​
    Focus tracking with lock-on = 4
    I have not bothered with back button AF. I might try that later.

Share This Page