Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Newbie Help

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 18, 2006, 7:12 PM   #1
Senior Member
Log's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 394

I am really interested in taking photos of my brother who plays basketball in gymnasiums, you know the kind with 2 gyms and crappy lighting. Well my old camera doesnt cut :roll:it so i am in for a new dslr. but many have ISO settings that only go up to 1600. Is ISO 1600 high enough to get the right amount of sensitivity to produce quality pictures in a low lit area, or should i keep searching for a more expensive camera with ISO 3200? All input is greatly appreciated:!:

Log is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Mar 19, 2006, 6:11 AM   #2
Nagasaki's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 897

Each doubling of the ISO doubles the shutter speed for the same aperture.

So if your current camera has an ISO of 100 and that gives you a shutter speed of 1/2 second

200 = 1/4

400 = 1/8

800 = 1/16

16 = 1/30

3200 = 1/60

With all cameras you will find that the picture quality is worse the higher the ISO you get more noise particulary in shadow areas.
Nagasaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 19, 2006, 9:47 AM   #3
Senior Member
mtngal's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,004

Remember also that the shutter speed on a dSLR depends on the lens and the f stop. I'm not knowledgeable enough to give you a nice chart that can compare aperture to shutter speed, but a lens that can go to f 1.7 will use a much faster shutter speed than one that is only capable of 4.0 in the same lighting conditions (though your depth of field will be smaller so focusing becomes more important).

I have a camera that is capable of ISO 3200 and thought the noise was pretty bad. Luckily I rarely shoot in low light where I need a fast shutter speed, like your gym. I'd be looking for a camera where I could get really fast lenses.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 19, 2006, 10:21 AM   #4
Senior Member
BillDrew's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hay River Township, WI
Posts: 2,512

With any camera, the highest ISO available will have noise - sometimes to the point that the image is unusable without serious post processing and/or downsizing.

As mtngal noted, a faster lens will also get you faster shutter speeds. In addition, you might be able to use a powerful external flash.
BillDrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 20, 2006, 9:13 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 117

I've been shooting a lot of basketball lately, around 20,000 shots in the past several months. Most of it in middle or high school gyms. I'm using a Canon 20D (IMHO one of the best high ISO camera's around), also a 1D Mark II N.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I would typically keep my 70-200 f/2.8L on the 20D and a 24-70 f/2.8 L on the Mark II. My routine would have me establish shutter speed at f stop of 2.8 using a 18% grey before the days shooting along with a custom white balance. I'd keep the camera on manual for the day once these settings were set. In most of these gyms this would tend to be something like shutter 250 at f 2.8. This would stop most action with a little motion blur at the edges of the hands/ball. I didn't mind this. Oh, btw this would be at ISO 3200. Like I said, the middle and high school gyms typically lit rather poorly.

I recently shot a tournament at a gym where the lighting was so bad I had to purchase a faster lens. I got the 85mm f/1.8 (Canon) a bargain lens for the price. Since then, I shoot mainly with this lens on the Mark II (for basketball). It has allowed me to to use an ISO of 1600 or jump up the shutter speed.

A few notes:

1. with the 85mm I find sitting behind the basket around 30 degrees to the left or
right allows for some nice shots.

2. What's been said about noise is true! I've found that overexposing helps quite
a bit in this regard. If you underexpose at all, the noise get real bad, real fast at
3200. Especially on my Mark II N. I rely on Noise Ninja a great deal to help with

3. Change the shutter release to only fire the shutter, and use AE lock to focus.
I also use just the center focus point, AI servo and fastest drive speed on
either camera.

Hope this help. If you are interested, you can see some examples at www.lacascio.com.

jlacasci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 21, 2006, 9:32 AM   #6
Senior Member
tmoreau's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 477

Nevermind the noise for a moment, consider the cost of the lenses that you will need. Very pricey, very nice glass. f/2.8 or better is probably the minimum, and that's not cheap.

I've gotten iso3200 shots from my maxxum 5D that are really clean, and iso1600 is usually quite good. Sometimes, I'm not happy with iso800 even... so it depends on conditions. I havent shot any indoor sports, so no examples there. The 3200 shot has been through noise ninja, I don't remember on the iso1600 one. At any rate, when I need it its totally usable as long as I dont have to "push" the exposure in photoshop.
tmoreau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 21, 2006, 12:08 PM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,528


There are a couple very good points made here that I'd like to reinforce.

jlcarsi is right on regarding the general needs for indoor shooting. In those poor lit gyms, you can sometimes get away with ISO 3200 and 2.8. That means, best case, to get the same exposure and have a camera with ISO 1600 you need a 2.0 lens (1 stop faster than 2.8). That's best case. Worst case, the gym requires 2.0 and ISO 3200. In that case you need a lens like 1.4 or MIGHT get away with 1.8. When you're shooting 1.8 you have razor thin DOF so you loose a lot of shots to focus issues.

tmoreau also brought up an important point. When you're shooting high ISO, if you get the exposure right in-camera, you can clean up the images with noise reduction and they are quite usable (for most DSLRs). But, when the image is underexposed and you change the exposure in RAW conversion or just levels adjustments in post processing, you bring out a lot of noise (to an already noisy image) - that combined with the need to do SOME cropping on almost all sports images results in some pretty bad looking images - by that time, facial details are pretty well messed up and with the noise removed, things look way too 'plasticy'. So, you always want to get high ISO images (especially sports images where focus might not be razor sharp and you probably have some cropping) exposed right in camera.

What does all this mean? If you are serious about doing indoor sports photography and it is a big reason for the camera you're purchasing, you want to invest in fast glass and a very good high-ISO DSLR with a good burst rate. So, for indoor results, your best results will come with a 20D and either an 85mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.8 lens (assuming basketball). The ISO 3200 and the better burst rate of the 20d will improve your keepers. If you can't swing the money, your only option is a camera with ISO 1600 ability - (you're not going to beat the $70 price tag on the 50mm 1.8). The other benefit to the 20d is the price has come down since the announcement of the 30D. The 30d may be a great option - but no real reviews on it yet, and it's several hundred $$ more than the 20d.

But, only you can answer how much of your photography will be indoor sports in those low light instances.

No matter what camera you end up with, you are going to need noise reduction software. Noiseware, noise ninja and neatimage are 3 that come to mind. Get one of them and learn to use it until you can get the correct balance of noise removal without destroying detail (i.e. making people look like plastic).
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 21, 2006, 12:42 PM   #8
Senior Member
StevenC's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 218

Its also worth pointing out that shooting in RAW on maximum quality setting will also enable you to "sort" the pictures afterwards.
StevenC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 21, 2006, 1:24 PM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,370

I use ISO 3200. I'd rather have a touch of grain, than no shot at all. It comes in very handy if you're out in restaurants in low light (and I love taking snapshots when we're out). This was on a river boat "dinner cruise" and I took lots of snaps of the crowd.

Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, ISO 3200, 1/25 second with a Minolta 28mm f/2 at f/2.5

Shot in raw and converted with ACR defaults using the as shot white balance with no other post processing except for downsizing with irfanview for posting here.

Attached Images
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 21, 2006, 1:50 PM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,370

Here's one at 1/15 second, ISO 3200 at f/2.5 with a Minolta 28mm f/2. Of course, the slower your shutter speeds, the more motion blur you're likely to have.

I've got anti-shake to help out with the camera shake part. But, it won't help with blur from subject movement.

Attached Images
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:04 PM.