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Old Dec 1, 2008, 4:24 PM   #1
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I need to know what settings to use to take pictures of a wrestling match in a gym where I am not allowed to use a flash. I turned off the flash and used auto and all my pictures were blurry. Help!
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Old Dec 2, 2008, 7:05 AM   #2
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I've moved your thread down to our Nikon dSLR forum, where you may get some tips.

The reason your photos were blurry is because your shutter speeds were too slow. The camera has to keep the shutter open longer to properly expose the image in lower light levels (and indoor lighting is much dimmer to a camera than it appears to your eyes).

What lens do you have? You'll probably want to use something like a 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8 lens in a darker gym; although you may be able to get away with an f/2.8 zoom if lighting is brighter.

Set your ISO speed higher for starters (for example, ISO 1600). Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture.

I'd shoot in Aperture Priority Mode and set your aperture to the lowest available f/stop value. Note that smaller f/stop values represent a wider opening for light (hence, allowing faster shutter speeds). If you're trying to use a kit lens like the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 that only has f/5.6 available when you zoom in much, your shutter speeds are going to be too slow. You'll want a lens that has f/2.8 or brighter (lower f/stop values) available throughout the zoom range. For example, a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, Sigma 24-70 or 28-70mm f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 if you're relatively close, or a Nikkor or Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 if shooting from further away. You can find the shorter f/2.8 lenses (from around 24 to 70mm) at for around $400, or longer 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses for around $800 and up.

If you can get close enough to use a 50mm f/1.8 AF lens (which is a fixed focal length versus zoom), you can pick one up for around $100. That's a brighter lens compared to the f/2.8 zooms I've mentioned (so you'd be able to get faster shutter speeds with it for a higher percentage of photos without blur from subject movement). The longer prime lenses like the 85mm f/1.8 will cost you more.

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Old Dec 2, 2008, 11:40 AM   #3
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Thanks alot! You answered my question!
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Old Dec 2, 2008, 9:01 PM   #4
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Let me add on to some of the things Jim said. Wrestling is in some ways easier and others more difficult than other gym sports.

It's easier because there are a lot of shot opportunities where there isn't a whole lot of movement going on. So it's possible to get good shots with slower shutter speeds. And it's not as taxing on the AF system.

It's more difficult when they're on the mat. Most wrestling mats don't reflect well - they're usually dark and absorb light. Often wrestler's faces are downturned which means the face is in shadow. This makes exposure tricky. The most important part to expose correctly is the face. With the shadows on the mat you'll have trickier exposures. You may find you use zero EC when they're upright but you may need up to a full stop brighter when they're on the mat because of the shadows on the faces.

It's a shame flash is not allowed. Wrestling is the one sport I always use flash for. Without it make sure you pay attention to the exposures - if anything let the upright exposures be a bit bright - you can tone them down in PP without loss to IQ. But deep shadows are very, very tough to recover when using high ISOs.

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