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.
  13. This is old, but I though I need to explain my single point center AF.
    In basketball and volleyball, there are a lot of players on the court, in close proximity to MY subject. And the odds are some of them are going to be closer to me than my subject, and may cross in front of my subject. And that is the problem. In many cameras, the zone/area AF uses "closest subject" logic to determine what to focus on. So the camera will focus on the closer player(s), rather than MY subject/player. Single point center lets ME chose who to focus on. But it also puts all the task of subject tracking on ME, not the camera, so I miss shots because I do not put the AF point on the subject.
  14. I just started shooting high school basketball and it took me 1/2 game to get the camera dialed in. I shoot at 3200 iso and anywhere from 1/500 to 1/1000 using a 70-200 2.8 at the goals. Allows for tight shots at my end and good shots at the opposite. I also use jpg as it is easier to edit if properly exposed to begin with. Any noise can be dealt with in ACR using noise reduction. Great learning experience and having fun!
  15. 70-200 ???? Are you way up in the bleachers?
    I'm on the court floor or the first row, and I use a 35/1.8 on a DX camera. I switched to the 35 prime for the sole reason of lens speed, in the dim gym.
    I'm shooting at ISO 3200, 1/500 sec, f/2.

    I would prefer a DX 18-50/2.8 or FX 24-70/2.8, for the flexibility when the players come close, and the better reach to the far end. But then with the f/2.8 aperture, I would have to bump the ISO up to 6400, or drop the shutter speed to 1/250 :( The 24-120/4 would be nicer, but that is yet another stop slower than the f/2.8 lenses :(
  16. Nope. Right under the basket or at the corner. I tried a 17-50 2.8, but couldn't get what I wanted. and yes, I do miss the shots 3 ft in front of me. DSC_9556.jpg DSC_9967.jpg
    jimradja likes this.

Share This Page