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Old Feb 21, 2012, 11:00 PM   #1
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Default Basketball Shot at ISO 128,000

Thought you all might like to see what the K-5 can do for sports shooting at ISO128,000. No flash. Shot in manual with Shutter at 1/400, +5.0 exposure. Lens is Sigma 18-250mm. Amazing what great shots you'd get with a 70-200mm f/2.8 on this bad boy of a camera.

The gym is painted in Florescent yellow.... with some of the worst lighting of any gym I have ever been. At least they get a new high school and state of the art gym and lighting next year. So it was very tough to shoot in. So I made the best of high ISO. The paper has used about 16 of my photos shot at ISO6400 and 128,000 from this gym so far this season. would have used my hot shoe flash but I wanted to shoot in burst mode most of the night so I decided to get fast shutter to shutter not to use the flash as I would have to wait for it to recycle in order to keep shooting.

From tonight's Virginia Regional State Boys Basketball Tournament. Shot for the local newspaper where I work as a staff photographer. Fluvanna County vs Warren County VA. The player in white is Fluco (Fluvanna County High Schools Nickname) Ya Ya Anderson who will be going to Radford Univ on a basketball scholarship. He is one of the top players in the central VA area in basketball.

Took almost 2,000 photos tonight of the entire game (pre-game till the court cleared at end) and saved about 1,200 of them.

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Old Feb 21, 2012, 11:15 PM   #2
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I get the lighting problem. Been there. Nice capture for that ISO. I played with in Elements.
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Old Feb 22, 2012, 1:26 AM   #3
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Hi Dave,

Nice work!!! I'm not surprised though -- I've been shooting quite a bit at ISO 10,000 and 12800 since getting my K-5 since I can get away with it. With the K-5, my preference for more casual shooting is to leave the fast glass at home and just bring consumer grade zooms and high ISO to handle a lot of situations.

Shooting jpegs I assume. Have you tried turning the Sharpness in your Custom Image Settings down? I shoot jpegs mostly, and find that noise is a lot easier to handle at very high ISO when the camera isn't adding to the luminous noise level by sharpening it. In PP, I downsize a bit first, then do NR with Topaz Denoise, then sharpen with Topaz InFocus and get surprisingly good results.

Probably too time consuming for the volume you're shooting, and with time restrictions that you might have for submission, but it works well.

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Old Feb 22, 2012, 6:50 AM   #4
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I'll be honest - you really need to change your approach. 2,000 shots for a basketball game? 400 is pretty high. You need to switch to quality over quantity. Use the flash and get some quality shots. 40 quality shots is better than 1200 poor shots. There's too much noise and too much motion blur and not much IQ. If you're just a parent shooting for your facebook page it doesn't matter. But shooting for paid work?

You really should have used flash. It's not ideal but it would have been a lot better than these. Sounds harsh. But you're not just a parent shooting for facebook you're supposed to be a staff photographer. Especially if you already have an external flash, not using it so you can spray-and-pray your way to 2000 shots in one game is a bad photography decision.
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Old Feb 22, 2012, 7:02 AM   #5
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What aperture were you using? I'd have been wide-open in low light but I can still read the writing on the back wall in these shots which suggests you were stopped down quite a bit which will have forced your ISO higher than it really needed to be.
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Old Feb 22, 2012, 7:09 AM   #6
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In addition to comments from John and Martin, these images could use some leveling (counter clockwise rotation) and be cropped better (main subject's feet are cut off). A wider aperture would also have isolated the main subject from the background which seems a bit distracting. Based on the IQ (noise/grain, lack of sharpness), these images do not show off the best in the K5

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Old Feb 22, 2012, 8:17 AM   #7
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Wow tough crowd, but the advice is interesting, I shoot the g-kids games and like all the comments. I have never brought an external flash to the indoor games but seems like a great idea.


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Old Feb 22, 2012, 9:33 AM   #8
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I think you mean ISO 12,800 versus 128,000. You've got an extra zero. ;-)

ISO 12,800 is about right for a typical gym if you wanted to have 1/400 second shutter speed and had to shoot at f/5.6 when zoomed in any with a dim lens like that Tamron; since you'd normally need to use around ISO 3200 with an f/2.8 lens to use around 1/400 second; and if you used the same shutter speed at f/5.6, you'd need to bump up the ISO speed two stops to ISO 12,800 to keep the same exposure.

I'd suggest using a custom white balance the next time you go if you don't use a flash (and a flash would probably be a better bet with a lens that dim), placing a target under the lights on the floor before the games starts in between some of the lights for a more balanced reading. If you don't have a gray card for setting it, almost anything white can work in a pinch. For example, I'll sometimes bring a sheet of matte white premium photo paper with me to use as a target for setting a custom white balance. With a flash, just use the flash or sunny WB setting instead.


See page 208 of this K-5 manual (page 210 of the actual .pdf file) discussing "Adjusting the White Balance Manually", and it explains how to set a custom white balance using a white target. Your camera can store up to 3 custom settings (making it easy to store settings for more than one venue, once you've taken a measurement for it; and/or storing different settings for different lenses in a given lighting, since some lenses can have different color transmission characteristics compared to others).


Although the manual doesn't mention it, I'd leave your ISO speed set low using a slower shutter speed when setting a custom White Balance (as that will help to balance it better when lights are cycling, since a faster shutter speed can easily cause incorrect readings in gym environments).

It's easier to get WB right to begin with versus trying to fix it in post processing, since the camera would have already applied rgb multipliers to the image when taking the photos (unless you're shooting raw), meaning you're be more likely to have problems with blown channels, extra noise, etc., trying to fix an incorrect white balance later. But, even if you are shooting raw, setting a custom white balance makes it easier later, since most raw conversion software can use the "as shot" white balance as a starting point.

Also note that we can't see the EXIF in those images to look at things like Autofocus Mode, shutter speed, ISO speed, aperture, etc..

That's because those photos exceeded the maximum sizes allowed here. So, the forums software recompressed the images and stripped out the EXIF.

When you use the Manage Attachments feature (paperclip icon) to insert images, you'll see the maximum allowed sizes on the page you use to browse and upload images.

The longest side should be no longer than 1024 pixels, and the file size should be no larger than 253.9KB.

Most of the time, if you downsize images so that they're within the allowed dimensions (longest side of 1024 pixels or shorter), and use a JPEG compression (Quality) setting of around 80 percent (or around 8 on a 1 to 10 scale), you'll be within the allowed file size, too.

If you exceed the maximum allowed size (for either dimensions or file size), the forums software will still try to let you attach them. But, it will resize and recompress the images (and the algorithms leave something to be desired).

So, it's a good idea to make sure images are no larger than 1024 pixels on their longest side, with a file size no larger than 253KB to prevent them from being resized and recompressed with the EXIF stripped out (as happened with those images).

Here's a screen showing the maximum sizes I was talking about that you'll see when attaching images here. It's best to stick within those sizes (file size no larger than 253.9KB, longest dimension of 1024 pixels or shorter) to prevent the forums software from modifying your images.

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Old Feb 22, 2012, 9:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by hnikesch View Post
Wow tough crowd, but the advice is interesting, I shoot the g-kids games and like all the comments. I have never brought an external flash to the indoor games but seems like a great idea.
Hans - Using a flash has benefits and drawbacks. I use flash for some sports, but not basketball. The ideal method is to use strobes or multiple off-shoe flashes if you need extra light. That isn't practical for shooting your grandkids. And you may not even be allowed to use stands or clamped flashes or strobes as a family member.

With a single flash, some shooters will bounce it off the wall behind the baseline or try the ceiling while a lot of newspaper shooters will simply shoot strait-on flash.

My personal opinion is very few people do a good job of flash with basketball. It's really tough because of the shadows. But the results are still better than the posted photos.

As far as "tough crowd" is concerned - critiquing you shooting your grandkids is quite different than critiquing a staff photographer shooting a paid assignment. Just like critique would be different for someone taking snapshots at their brother's wedding vs. someone being paid as the official, paid photographer. When you think of it in that context the critique isn't tough.
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Old Feb 22, 2012, 10:11 AM   #10
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Hans - here are some links to other threads. Here's a shooter, like the OP, working for a small paper and using shoe-mounted flash:

I think that's a very decent job. IMO, much more useable shots.
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