focus sharpness indoor sports

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jimmye r, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. Im shooting D300 w/ 70-200 2.8 VR at the Giant Center in Hershey Pa. Plenty of light, just not getting the sharpness I desire. My settings are 2.8f/stop 1/400,1250iso...Is there anything else I can do. I dont totally understand the focus point system. Its a little overwhelming, and also what metering setting should I use. I typically use 3D matrix, any suggestions? Thanx
  2. Are you having focus issues, or motion blur issues?

    You might try cranking the camera up to ISO 1600, 2000, and even 3200... and thus buy yourself some higher shutter speeds. Likewise, those higher ISOs will let you stop the lens down just a bit, for a little more depth of field. But I'm guessing you're up against motion blur, and need a shorter exposure. Can you chop out 100% zoomed-in section of one of your images - say, 600 pixels by 600 - and post it, for a look-see?
  3. James,
    Forgive my ignorance as what indoor sports are played at the Giant Centre (I'm from Australia) but may I suggest that your shutter speed might be the limiting factor here. I'd be expecting good clean frozen action stills from the speed you quote 1/400th as a base but looking more to 1/1000th to get clean stills.
    My other question is are you using VR 'on' at those shutter speeds. My experience with the 70-200mm is that VR is only of assistance in much slower shutter speed circumstances like in the region of below 1/125th. VR will not assist with freezing of subject matter, in fact I find it can retard the image crispness at high shutter speeds on occasion.
    I guess all my theorizing means a lens with a wider aperture or cranking the ISO even higher.........
  4. James, 1/400 sec is really not very fast for quick action sports shots. As Matt mentioned, try pushing up the iso to see if you can shoot at or above 1/800 sec. I'd keep your camera on matrix metering. You might want to try single point AF and try hard to keep your AF point on your subject of interest. Multiple AF points with 3-D tracking works very well when you are looking at a single subject with good contrast between the subject and the background. But, when you have a situation with a bunch of players moving rapidly together, I've found that you are better off with a single point kept on the player you want in focus. You will need to experiment a lot, and then it will start to make sense.
  5. James, as for the VR, it will help you with camera shake at all shutter speeds. It's benefit will be more apparent at lower speeds. But, VR will do nothing to help with subject motion. Your fast shutter speed is the only assurance that you'll be able to get crisp shots of a moving subject.
  6. Assuming your lens give you sharp pictures normallly...
    I agree with Richard in using single point AF and suggest using only the focus points from the center 3 columns which have cross sensors and will be the most accurate. You may also want to experiment with the 9pt and 21pt dynamic focusing options to see if they work for you.
    I also suggest you use a tripod if possible or at least a monopod. I regularaly shoot a low light indoor sporting event and even at ISOs in the 2500-4000 range can sometimes barely get 1/400 shutter speed with the 70-200mm and get excellent results using a monopod.
  7. "just not getting the sharpness I desire"
    Are you shooting jpegs? It might be a matter of tweaking the in-camera sharpening or adding it in post-processing.
    If you post a photo of what you mean, it will make it easier to help. A full-frame overview with a 1:1 crop would probably be ideal.
  8. Am I totally off here, but f:2.8 with a 70-200 must not help either with its very shallow DOF?

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