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Old Aug 28, 2005, 9:34 AM   #1
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Can anyone recommend the best settings, either manual or automatic, for taking sports action shots under stadium lighting or low-lighting conditions? I'd like to take pictures during high school football and soccer games that take place in the late afternoon or early evening but haven't had much luck determining the best combination of settings to avoid motion blur.


Thanks for the ideas. I have had good luck with the FZ20 shooting action shots during the day but my experience so far with evening pictures has not been very good. I'll certainly try out all your suggestions this week. Thanks again.

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Old Aug 28, 2005, 11:02 AM   #2
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Shutter Priority with at the very least 1/125th shutter speed at 200 iso for something useable. If you can't get the shot at these settings then you will not get very good results. I have tried numerous combinations and other will suggest using Aperture Priority at 2.8 and let it decide the speed.

This camera does not do well however in the conditions you have described. I have taken numerous attempts with the FZ1v2, FZ10 and FZ20. Only the FZ1v2 has done anything decent perhaps because of the lower noise due to lower MP.

Using the Sports Mode setting in those conditions will not give you the results you are after. You will get motion blur even at 1/125th especially with soccer.

Try to pre-focus the area you intend to shoot. Anticipate the action and even when using burst mode if the first shot is out of focus the rest will pretty much be the same. Burst mode may give you a few more shots that you can be pleased with though.

If possible go to a game somewhere and give this a try before going to that big game. Hopefully the lighting at the stadium will be similar. Stadium lighting does vary and can make a difference. Indoors the only shots I saw that were decent was from an NBA game. The lighting did make a difference versus a high school game.

Hope something here helps.
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Old Aug 28, 2005, 6:27 PM   #3
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I'm with vIZnquest here in that I think Shutter priority with as high a shutter speed as the conditions can handle is what you want. I take a lot of tennis pictures, mostly during the bright daylight but some under the lights and I find a shutter speed of at 1/800 works best for really grabbing the action. If it is really sunny I'll go higher but I try to start there. If you are under the lights you might try raising the ISO too to shoot at faster shutter speeds then use some type of noise reduction software (e.g.NeatImage)if the noise is too visible.
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Old Aug 28, 2005, 7:36 PM   #4
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Even though the unlimited burst mode works well, there are a few problems that make sports shooting with this camera difficult. This has led me to get a dSLR (Canon 1D) for sports while I keep my FZ20 for walkaround uses or stadiums that prohibit dSLR cameras. (I can't seem to change my signature--those cameras are long gone)

EVF: temporarily freezes making following the action difficult. This can be helped by Red Dot aiming devices mounted to the hotshoe.

Noise at higher ISO settings: "jamming" 5MP on the small sensor makes 200 and 400 shots too noisy in my opinion. But higher ISO's are often necessary to get faster shutter speeds to freeze action (I try for 1/250 or faster).

Slow AF: even with continuous AF, it will be difficult to follow players moving toward/away from you. This is made even more of a problem because usually you'll try f2.8 which has a very shallow depth of field.

Anyway, I generally use ISO 20 or lower, and try shutter priority with minimum of 1/125 sec. Try to pre-focus on where you anticipate action occurring.

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Old Aug 29, 2005, 7:50 AM   #5
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You have some good advice already, I would just like to make a point for aperture Priority.

If (using shutter priority) you set the shutter speed to something fast enough to freeze action you can end up with the camera wishing it had a F1.4 aperture which it does not and will result in an underexposed photo which is one of the main contributers to noise.

Whereas If you use aperture priority and set it at 2.8 the camera can choose a shutter speed to expose the photo correctly.Now that speed may be too slow to freeze action or even to slow to handhold,but it gives the best chance to get a properly exposed photo. And if you cover that part then the results at ISO400 will be much better.

That system works better for me but maybe not for you ,but you should give it a try.

I am not at all afraid to use ISO400 but I am not selling photos just trying to get something for a scrap book.
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