D5000 settings for shooting in a gym

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dave_ciango, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. I have just purchased a Nikon D5000 to use for shooting the kids sporting events.
    I took some photos this week at a school wrestling meet, some came out ok and other a bit blurry and yellowish. I shot these in sports mode and have read that manual would be better.
    I am new to this and understand the only way is to practice and experiment with different settings and lens's. Next time out I will try shooting in manual, could someone suggest settings for me to try with my 2 lens's.
    No flash allowed in gym!
    Nikon DX AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:35-5.6G (came with camera)
    Nikon DX AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED
  2. Use the 55-200 and set the camera on Shutter priority (S) then set the shutter speed at 1/500. Camera is better to be on Auto ISO or at least you have to set ISO at 800... 1600.
    This can work only if you do your work on quite good light... If the light is not very good, you need a f2.8 prime / zoom in order to have good results.
    Don't be discouraged... D5000 is a wonderful camera and you can get great pictures with it.
  3. the problem is that you're going to need a reasonably high shutter speed to minimize motion blur and your lenses are fairly slow (ie. max aperture at long focal length). That leaves adjusting the ISO in order to save you.
    So, I think a good starting place would be: shoot RAW & JPEG (if camera allows (so you can pull more data from the shadows from RAW)), ISO 800-1200 (probably more), turn on high ISO NR, shutter speed as fast as you can get given maximum aperture. Also, wrestling isn't that much of an action/motion sport so that is working in your favor regarding shutter speed. With high ISO, it'll be noisy but that can be dealt with. Motion blur is a loser.
  4. Alas, those lenses are better suited to situations with more light (say, sunlight, or when you can use the flash). Because they have variable apertures, you'll be able to gather more light with them when you don't use them at their longest focal lengths (when they can only open up to f/5.6, which is a smaller opening than f/3.5 or f/4, which they can achieve at shorter focal lengths).

    So, shoot in Aperture Priority mode, and set the aperture number as low as it will go. The camera will respond by choosing the fastest shutter speed it can manage to achieve a good exposure. Then, make the camera more sensitive to light by raising the ISO setting to 800 or 1600. The higher that number goes, the "noisier" the images will be - but some grain/noise in the image is better than images that are blurred because of a too-slow shutter speed.

    As for the yellow-ish look, that's going to depend on the lighting. With some fluorescent and vapor type lights, the lights are basically flashing on and off very quickly, though your eye can't see it. Some of your shots can happen in between the peak brightness of those lights, and the results will be different apparent color temperatures and brighnesses. That's just what happens in gyms.

    As for speeding up your exposures, that's going to depend on a faster lens. Which faster lens depends on the working distance you're after. Something like the $200 35/1.8 will drag in a LOT more light than you're getting now, but it's a fairly wide lens for anything sports-ish, unless you're under the basket or along side a volleyball net. Alas, longer lenses that are also fast start getting quite a bit more expensive in a hurry.

    Try that higher ISO setting and AP mode for now, and see how that treats you!
  5. With the D5000, he should be able to go up to ISO 3200, right?
  6. With the Hi-setting, he can even go till 6400 if he's okay with a little noise in return for a sharper picture.
  7. Right. It all comes down to trading off noise/image-quality for motion-freezing shutter speed. It's a balancing act, and a matter of taste.
  8. To get rid of the motion blur, (for no in body AF motor D5000) I would get a 50/1.4 AF-S or the new Tamron 60/2 macro. Park it at ISO 1600 and f2. Use M Mode (meter before hand). Shoot (or learn to use) RAW since with a lot of budget school gym light both intensity and color can change. To correct color, Wouldn't hurt if you bring a grey card one day for your school gym and have a set of color correction files pre-made. If you must use JPEG, carry a grey card and use custom color balance.
    If budget is an issue, the $200 35/1.8 AF-S suggested above is good too.
  9. For the bluryness you are going to need a prime lense. Shooting with the schools d300 (same sensor), i found the 50mm 1.8 to be amazing for wrestling, and I also liked it for basketball (i was behind the net , all the way to the left).
    With the 50mm you can bring your aperture down to 1.8, which gives you 4 times more light than the 18-55mm at 3.5, and over 8 times the amount of light at 5.6.
    So you will be able to have a really high shutter speed. The lense is also fairly cheap (under 150), and is amazingly sharp. The 1.4 is sharper, focuses faster, and gives you even more light, but it's much more expensive.
    Also for the yellowishness, what i recommend, is downloading googles picasa, and using auto colour. There are better, and more expensive tools out there, (i use lightroom, and photoshop myself most of the time.), but Picasa's gets rid of the yellow great. You will also get 1gb of online storage to share your images. You can post them in full quality.
    What i would recomend is that you start shooting at iso 800, and keep going up, with noise reduction off. Than with low, medium, and high. Compare the images, and realize what you feel comfortable with. I'll attach a few images taken with the d300, and the 50mm lense at a wrestling meet.
    edit: I put a link to a couple images bellow.. They are compressed to less than 1 megapixel, unless you hit download. also, once on a image you can see all the settings used by hitting the "more info" button on the right.
    Also, heres 2 examples of the auto colour tool in picasa:
    (these pictures where not taken with the 50mm, they where taken with the 18-135mm)
    before: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Bfb3CY5pqmgQSS9hSKvbhg?authkey=Gv1sRgCOrpzMTq0P6rywE&feat=directlink
    after: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/E6gbVFs-UxQh7RpniTKONg?authkey=Gv1sRgCJfzsIG6387zVQ&feat=directlink
    before: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/obLa_vD85hwrnjldjDzj-A?authkey=Gv1sRgCOrpzMTq0P6rywE&feat=directlink
    after: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/VCUO9J5XvHSm2EB5VM_PxA?authkey=Gv1sRgCJfzsIG6387zVQ&feat=directlink
  10. In the wrestling link above, i changed my settings as the round went by, so keep an eye on it.
  11. These are a few of the pics I shot my first time with the new camera, they just seem yellow to me.
  12. Dave: unfortunately you didn't keep the EXIF data intact when you posted those, so we can't tell from here how you had your white balance set. How did you have it set?
  13. Here, i used picasa, took less than 10 seconds to do all 3. It's a bit better . (you could make it even better in lightroom, but for a one click thing, it's not bad at all.)
  14. a couple of minutes w/ an HSL curve ( I used the Camera Raw HSL editor) and it cleans right up.
  15. Thanks for your time Matt
    Pic 2
    File Info 1
    File: DSC_0207.JPG
    Date Created: 12/17/2009 8:22:48 PM
    Date Modified: 12/17/2009 8:22:48 PM
    File Size: 2.93 MB
    Image Size: L (4288 x 2848)
    File Info 2
    Date Shot: 12/17/2009 20:22:47.50
    World Time: UTC-6, DST:OFF
    Image Quality: Jpeg Normal (8-bit)
    Image Comment:
    Camera Info
    Device: Nikon D5000
    Lens: 55-200mm F/4-5.6G
    Focal Length: 200mm
    Focus Mode: AF-A
    AF-Area Mode: Dynamic
    AF Fine Tune:
    Aperture: F/5.6
    Shutter Speed: 1/100s
    Scene Mode: Sports
    Exposure Comp.: 0EV
    Exposure Tuning:
    Metering: Matrix
    ISO Sensitivity: ISO 2000
    Image Settings
    White Balance: Auto, 0, 0
    Color Space: sRGB
    High ISO NR: ON (Normal)
    Long Exposure NR: OFF
    Active D-Lighting: Auto
    Image Authentication:
    Vignette Control:
    Auto Distortion Control: OFF
  16. Right, so "Auto" white balance is the problem, here. You have to either use one of the presets that's close, or just do a quick custom WB while you're shooting (which is very simple). OR... shoot in RAW, and adjust WB later, as you render the images into JPGs. You can do that with Nikon's free ViewNX software.
  17. Dave,
    Nice work.
    Okay, there are several ways to get the color right in the camera. One inexpensive way is to go to a camera store and buy a gray card. They only cost a few bucks. Next time you do a shoot, use the gray card to create a custom white balance (see the manual, mainly you shoot the card once in the gym). The camera will adjust to the light.
  18. Your eyesight can correct the color in the gym, but the camera records the light as it is: the ceiling lights have a yellow cast, that along with your choice of lens, makes a decent exposure hard to get.
    As noted above, if you get the AF 1.8D 50mm Nikkor lens, you can try metering off your hand to get a ball park exposure, then try adding 1/2 stop more light. [With a Nikon D700, ISO 6400 allows basketball shots at 1/320th second at f5 in our local high school gym.] It is hard to give you better advice without knowing the lighting in your school's gym.
  19. Just remember: the D5000 doesn't have a built-in AF motor, so it can't make the 50/1.8 autofocus. That means shooting sports while manually focusing while you happen to be using the lens wide open (which means with a very narrow depth of field). That lens is a no-brainer in many cases, but it's more complicated than that when the camera body wants AF-S lenses. Nikon's 50/1.4 G or Sigma's 50/1.4 HSM would be good contenders, but they're pretty expensive, compared to the camera body (but then, good lenses always are, and that's where the action really is).
  20. Hi Dave,
    We’ve all been in your place, as a school gym is one of THE hardest places to shoot: Dim light, bad light (fluorescent school lighting is evil), subject movement, subject distance, and flash lighting banned. Fortunately, you have a good camera to work with. The following are my suggestions for you to consider. Some of them were already mentioned above.
    1. Buy a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens (cost approx. $120) and sit as close to the action as possible.
    2. Set image quality to NEF/RAW (you had it on JPEG normal).
    3. With your 55-200mm, zoom to 55-60mm (f/4) instead of 200mm (f/5.6).
    4. Don’t use Sports scene mode. Try Aperture Priority and a low setting (your lens won’t go below f/4 at 55mm or f/5.6 at 200mm). And use a tripod/monopod. If you’re shooting hand held, to avoid camera blur, the minimum camera speed for a 200mm lens should be 1/250 sec (you used 1/100 sec).
    5. Instead of matrix metering, try spot or center weighted and focus on the average skin tone of your subject.
    6. Turn ISO auto off and set it to ISO 3200 (you had it at ISO 2000). (If possible, ISO 1600 is better.)
    7. White balancing requires some experimentation. Fluorescent gym lighting is terrible and correcting for it (without using flash) is a challenge. Try using a gray card and or setting camera’s white balance to fluorescent light. Adjust the resulting image’s color balance with software and be prepared for less than optimal results.
    8. While shooting, try to anticipate the action and think about where the overhead light will fall on your subject before pressing the shutter release.
    The attached illustration shows some changes I made (b) to one of your photos (a) in Photoshop. In RGB mode I adjusted levels, decreased the vibrance, lightened the shadows, and adjusted the skin tones to achieve mid-tone CMYK ratios of around C=10, M=30-35, and Y=40. I also included a ‘threshold’ level view so you could get a better sense of where the light was falling on your subjects.
    Good luck,
  21. I have read one of the first replys where one suggested that you set the camera to Shutter 1/500 and ISO 1600. There is no way in hell that you can get a shutter speed of 1/500 @ ISO 1600 with a maximum aperture of F5.6!!! Since you are shooting indoors you need either a faster lens or higher ISO or both. I have shot a lot of indoor Volleyball photos @ ISO 1600 and the fastest shutter speed I get at F2 is 1/400 which is adequate. With a 5.6 lens that would be 1/50s which is way too slow so by increasing the ISO to 6400 you would at least get 2 more stops of light and 1/200 sec shutter.
  22. Wow thank you all for you help and suggestions, glad I found this forum.
    I am making myself a notebook of all the suggestions given here and keeping it in my bag so I can have them all with me next time I shoot.
    Phil, with the the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens that you suggest I need to be very close to the action correct, like under the basket or sideline?
    Also if I am going to start adding lens's to my bag will my Nikon DX AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED be ok to shoot my baseball and softball games. Or will I need to purchase another lens in the spring?
    Thanks all for your help, I will let you know how my next set of pics turn out with your tips.
  23. @Kevin,
    It seems that you did not read carefully the first reply... my first advice was to have Auto ISO which mean that camera can pick even the 6400 value, if you don't limit it... Then I said that at least to set the ISO at 800... 1600 followed by this line:
    "This can work only if you do your work on quite good light... If the light is not very good, you need a f2.8 prime / zoom in order to have good results." So, what's wrong in what I said?
    I still believe that the most correct strategy of shooting sport is using Shutter priority. Of course, depending on the light situation the OP can play up and down with values, but I'll prefer to force camera to have a convenient shutter speed, because automatically it will pick the widest available aperture and the lowest ISO that can be used. If I pick an unrealistic value for the shutter speed and the histogram shows clearly that the picture in underexposed, I can raise gradually the time of exposure untill I get the correct result. Just with few tests I can see the boundaries I have and this way I know that my camera will use for sure the widest aperture, the lowest shutter speed and the lowest ISO.
    Anyhow it is better to get some underexposed images rather than others better exposed but blurred because of movement. At some extent you can improve in PP an underexposed image but one blurred goes to trash.
    It was already said that 50/1.8 will not have AF on D5000 and there is no reason to put your money in it. You have to buy either a Nikon or Sigma 50mm/1.4 AF-S or the cheaper 35mm /1.8 DX from Nikon.
    When going to start add lenses to your bag... it is better to puchase best quality fast lenses... It's much wise to buy a single lens that is very fast ad very good rather than several that will work only in certain settings. Unfortunately your two lenses have little performance for shooting indoor without flash so if you plan to do more sport you really need faster lenses.
    Good luck and remember that your camera is very good! Just give it a better lens for indoor action.
  24. Dave, check the charts on Fred Parker's Ultimate Exposure Computer and you'll get an idea of the possible exposure ranges you'll encounter, based on available light, selected ISO, shutter speed and maximum available aperture on your lens. Typically, you'll find any lens slower than f/3.5 very difficult to use for any indoor or nighttime sports or other school events. Available light in most gyms and night stadiums ranges from EV 6-8, closer to EV 6 at best in some school gyms with some darker areas of only EV 4-5. Not much light so you'll need either a faster lens or to crank up the ISO to freeze action.
  25. this is the routine I use when photographing sports:
    First of all: if the lenses you are using are not VR, you need a monopod to reduce shakes. I use a monopod for all sports.
    I recomend manfroto.

    second: use manual exposure: set the f-stop to the lowest number possible when you are zoomed all the way in. Adjust
    shutter speed no lower than 1/250. adjust iso.

    third: to make sure your exposure is right, take a picture of the gray card. check the histogram. the line should bein the

    forth: use a gray card to white balance.

    You are ready to shoot.
  26. In reply to: "with the the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens that you suggest I need to be very close to the action correct, like under the basket or sideline?"
    Dave, the 50mm f/1.8 lens is the least expensive option for shooting in a low-light setting (you can probably get a used lens from www.keh.com). Yes, it would require you to sit close to the scene or zoom and crop your photo after shooting WHEN you're shooting indoors, under low-level fluorescent lights, without flash, and have subjects that are moving, but they'll be MUCH better pictures. You can still use your zoom lens outdoors for your son's baseball games. Most* of the advice above is sound, they're just different ways of dealing with the constraints of your setting. *Note: The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens will work fine with your camera. Nikon's literature says that only AF-S and AF-I lenses can be used, but the current Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens, although labeled as "AF-D" is an AF-S lens. (Don't blame be, I didn't come up with their nomenclature system.)
    Good luck,
  27. I am going to shoot a game tonight and use the suggestions above as a guide, one thing I am a bit confused with is setting my image quality on the D5000.
    As mentioned above I should shoot in NEF/RAW, I am not sure what setting to use.

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