Zoom Lens and shake and avoiding it

Discussion in 'Sports' started by pbjef, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. So, as I understand it, the general rule of thumb is the shutter speed should be no less than the focal length of the lens you are shooting with. So if I'm shooting with a 70-200mm lens my minimal preferred shutter speed should be 200mm to keep camera shake from happening.
    Trouble is that light is low on that. So the solution is to bump up the ISO until I find a magic spot.
    I'm not happy with the graininess of the photos I get however. Besides, you want to stop motion with a high shutter speed. But at 1/250th let's say, it's too dark.
    How do I get around this? Is this the same thing as what used to be called "pushing" film. I never understood that, but any attributes (ISO, shutter, aperture, etc.) I can play with would be a big help.
  2. The rule of thumb is just that, a rule of thumb (and it doesn't really apply at all if you have vibration reduction). But even if you use it religiously, it only applies to the focal length you are actually using, not the maximum focal length of your zoom lens.
    If you want or need a higher shutter speed and you run out of aperture because there isn't enough light, find something you can brace your camera on. If you need to stop motion and you can't use a high enough shutter speed, you need a good flash unit. Or you need a faster, constant aperture zoom lens such as pro sports photographers use - both the faster zoom and a powerful flash unit. When all is said and done, there are some kinds of photography which do in fact require the right (usually meaning very expensive) equipment.
    Pushing film means pretending it's a higher ISO film than what the box says. When you do that, you effectively end up underexposing it... and you make up for it by developing it longer. When you do this, you already know and accept that the resulting pictures will be more contrasty and probably grainier. With digital, the closest equivalent to that is shooting raw and then boosting up shadows afterwards. As with pushing film, the price you pay is that you get more noise in those shadows... and it often looks odd or downright ugly.
    There are no magic solutions even if the camera is digital. It's still up to the photographer to decide on what trade-offs to make for the intended result.
  3. I'm using a monopod maxed out on aperture. So ISO is the only thing left. I'm just curious how the guys on the sidelines actually do it and get such clear images?
  4. The guys on the sidelines are using cameras than can handle ISO 3200 or even 6400 as necessary. You'll also see lenses like the 200/2, to drag in that extra bit of light. But these days, it's mostly high-end bodies that can tolerate the high gain needed. Don't forget that your high ISO noise will be a lot less noticeable if you don't underexpose.
  5. Push the ISO up to give good exposure and fast enough shutter speed for the action ur shooting. I just shot inside a barn - horse show- today with lousy lighting. Shot at 1/250 f2.8 and 1 stop higher into the 'high' range, on the ISO.
    The 1/200 rule as applied to the 70-200 kind a goes away when action is involved and obviously need faster shutter spd. That rule is to give you a sharp image, for average person, to prevent blur caused by the shooter! Meaning You!
    so, it's important to get decent exposure. A dark exposure-and then brightened- will show more grain than using higher ISO to get a better looking exposure.
  6. 1) High ISO bodies. If you don't have a body that allows this shoot RAW and do some testing with different ISO levels and use a noise reduction software and see what you can achieve. I used to never use anything above ISO 800 on my 30D until I started shooting RAW and using LR3 and now I can shoot ISO 3200 with acceptable results (not amazing but for my application they work)
    2) Low aperture lenses.
    3) Good venues to shoot in! I mainly shoot high school sports and had the chance to shoot a D1 College Basketball game the lighting was amazing compared the high school gyms I've shot in.
    4) Some use lighting. Some shoot with on camera flashes such as the Canon Speedlights and the higher end shooters may use strobes in the rafters of indoor venues.
  7. Pushing film meant shooting, say Tri-X, which was rated at ISO 400 by Kodak, it a higher ISO - say 1600 to be able to shoot it in much lower light conditions. When you pushed film - you would often get more grain as a result - since you were basically under exposing and then over developing the film.
    Same principle applies with Digital - except here you're not developing - you change the light processing via the ISO setting - then the camera makes the necessary adjustments in the image processing and sensor.
    With a newer DSLR and proper noise reduction software - you can get very usable prints at ISO's in excess of 1600 + I've shot a D200 at 3200 iso, D300 at 6400 and D700 at 25600 and gotten very good results - good enough for parents at sporting events to buy them.
    The key is to know your exposure and use the proper noise reduction software in post. Oh, yeah - Set the shutter speed high enough to stop the action too.
  8. Thank you very much. I have a lot to try in my daughter's gym at her school. This is all very encouraging.
  9. shooting sports, it's simple, if you don't set the shutter fast enough, there is no picture to talk about. shoot high iso, get your fast shutter, and fix, almost like magic, the grain in post processing with noise ninja or similar.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I have a lot to try in my daughter's gym at her school. This is all very encouraging.
    It seems to me that the best phrased question: might not be being asked?
    If you want to get crisp photos of your Daughter at her Gymnastics in a School Gym, then you are contending with a few elements which stretch beyond what many “sideline shooters” will experience.
    The first is: that School Gyms (and similar) are notoriously dark.
    The second is: often for Gymnastics, the physical spread of the apparatus goes beyond the main lighting area (e.g. beyond the central area where the BBall Court is located) and those areas are even darker.
    The third element is the Tv (Shutter Speed) required to address the Subject Movement; for School Gymnastics a good “rule of thumb” to begin to use would be Floor Exercises shoot at 1/320s or faster: for Bars, Horse and Vault 1/500s or faster.
    Now the details which are missing (but implied), is the gear you are using.
    And I suspect that you are more likely running out of Aperture, before you are running out of ISO. By that I mean you might do better to look at what lenses you are using rather than the ISO limitations of the Camera.
    Specific details of the camera and lenses you have, and where you sit relative to the action and what movement you have, would result in more comprehensive suggestions.

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