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What settings on digital slr camera to take indoor sports basketball photos

Posted Apr 22 2013 6:37am

What settings on digital slr camera to take indoor sports basketball photos

First, buy or borrow the book Understanding Exposure. This will help you understand what the camera is trying to do when you put it in any mode but automatic.

Next, you're going to want a shutter speed at 1/500th of a second or faster. 1/400th at the very least to capture a fast sport. If you're taking pictures during a slow time, say, getting ready for a free-throw, you can get slower, but what out for camera shake! This is when the image is blurry because YOU moved the camera. Here, what you want to make sure is that you remember the inverse focal length rule: You want the shutter speed to be at least as fast as the inverse of the focal length in mm. So, if you have a 200mm lens, you want at least 1/200th of a second. (Note, crop-factor of a camera doesn't matter for this.)

So, put the camera in Manual mode and set the shutter speed for 1/500th of a second. Next, open up the aperture (smaller numbers) until the exposure meter in your camera gets closer to the center. Note that depending on your lens, you may not be able to get to a proper exposure. Professionals use expensive fast (larger aperture) lenses. A 200mm f/1.8 lens costs $3000. This is a lens that the pros use at NBA games! You'll probably want a 135mm f/2 lens ($750) or 85mm f/1.8 lens ($300), which are more reasonable.

After you've set your camera, take some sample shots and check the histogram. You want a "mountain" centered in the middle or to the right. If there is lots of dead space to the right, you are underexposing. Try knocking the shutter speed down to 1/400th.

Another method is to put your dSLR into "sports" mode, which attempts to do what I said above by guessing. This is not a fool-proof solution.

If you still can't get it, set the camera to 1/250th, f/3.5 or faster (lower) and turn on the flash. If your flash has high-speed sync, turn it on. The camera will have the flash put out enough power to properly expose the shot.

Keep trying! One nice thing is that you aren't spending $$$ on film trying to figure it out.

Indoor sports pose a dilemma for photographers, as you have found. There isn't a huge amount of light, and bodies and balls are moving fast.

So one option is to increase the amount of light out there, with a flash. There are flashes that could illuminate the far end of a basketball court, but you might not like the results. Closer objects would be brighter, maybe washed out. And everything would appear flat, because the light source is so close to your lens, so you don't see any shadows. (Bounce flash is not an option in a gym, probably.)

Another option is to increase the amount of light coming into the camera. a lens that has lower f-stop. Fast telephoto lens get real pricey, though. Those big white lens you see on the sidelines of pro football games are multi-thousand dollar fast telephotos (by Canon, actually.) If Amazon carries one, I will include it as an example.

There are a few other tricks. One is to deliberately underexpose the shot, and correct it in the computer. You will need some software to do that, and you probably want to save the photos in RAW format. That means big files, which means big memory cards. It also means software that can work with RAW, and all that also gets pricey.

Another trick is to shoot the shot wide, then crop it on the computer. With an SLR, you can crop considerably jordan shoes for sale without losing too much resolution. That way the lens can gather more light (unless you have a constant f-stop lens, pricey.) And you can use a shorter, cheaper, faster lens. You can get 50 to 135 mm F2.8 lens for not too much money.

Another idea is to use prime lens, not zoom, because prime lens can be made faster for less money. But you might have to do some ebaying to find them.

It might help to get a tripod, because some of the blur might be your own motion, rather than the sports action. Blurred action can add a nice effect, if it isn't overdone, by the way.

Another trick, which you are probably already doing, is to take bursts of five shots or so at a time, so you have more chances of getting a sharp shot, and one that captures the right moment. But again, big memory card.

The last thing is that Fujifilm has a unique CCD with a tremendous dynamic range, which means you can take pictures in low light without losing resolution. Their F30 (now the F31) is a little unremarkable point and shoot, except it can take sharp pictures indoors without a flash. In this it is a total hands down winner. You could use it to pull detail out of darkness, but you have to deliberately underexpose, shoot in RAW, etc. Anyway, their cameras have the potential to do great things, even if they don't take advantage of it. They just announced a new SLR. So if we rule out flash as an option that leaves us with the camera settings and the lens that you are using.

First, I would try shooting on shutter priority mode (if you have a cannon camera it would be the Tv setting). The shutter priority mode will allow you to set the shutter speed and then the camera will select the aperture to ensure you get enough light to the sensor. I'd set the shutter to 500 and then see if you get pictures without any blur.

If that doesn't work I would check the lens you are using. Each lens has a different aperture range, which in conjuction with the shutter, controls the amount of light that hits the sensor. In this situation you want a lens with a very low aperture value which will allow the lens to open up wider and allow more light to the sensor. This will allow you to take pictures with a faster shutter speed while still getting the correct exposure. However, keep in mind that when you use a lower aperture value your depth of field decreases which means that objects in front of and behind your subject will appear out of focus.

Hope this helps and good luck with the photo taking!

1) . using a higher ISO setting, like 1600 or higher. If someone was standing still the shot was okay. If they were moving, the shot was blurred. It was the same story with outdoor nighttime football action too.

I bought a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 XR Di lens for my 20D. Unfortunately basketball season is over so I can't test it right now on indoor action shots. I can tell you that I have taken a ton of indoor shots at home and other places with it. The difference is night and day between the photos with it and my Kit Lens.

I also bought an external flash, the Canon Speedlite 580EX. I plan to use it along with my Tamron f/2.8 lens at night football games and indoor basketball games next year.

At some of the games that I mentioned above, there are sometimes a professional photographer or two and a newspaper photographer. I alway go ask them for advice when I can. They are always using an f/2.8 lens and an External Flash.

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