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Old Oct 13, 2009, 2:53 PM   #1
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Default Newb here

Hi Guys! Just joined this forum today. I got a Nikon D3000 for my birthday today. I mainly wanted a camera to take action shots at my son's football games.
I read the manual and took a few pics of my fish and corals and the camera seems great!

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what settings I should use to photograph football.... Most of his games are at night under stadium lights, but some are played during the day.

This camera does have a sports setting, but was told thats not the correct setting to use for good action shots.

Any help is appreciated since I'm new to this!
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Old Oct 13, 2009, 4:59 PM   #2
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The D3000 doesn't have an internal autofocus motor, so to autofocus, you'll need to stick to Nikon's AF-S, Sigma's HSM (and other lenses, though it's not clear which lenses have motors from any designation) and Tamron's BIM lenses.

For daylight sports, you could probably use the Tamron 70-300 Di LD. Sigma has a 70-300 with a motor, but it's more expensive and not as good. Nikon has a 70-300 AF-S VR lens, but it's stabilized and therefore expensive.

For night games, you'll need a lens with a larger aperture (in order to get the same shutter speeds), which will be a lot more expensive. Nikon, Sigma and Tamron all make a 70-200mm f/2.8 which will be fast enough, but because that's shorter, your shooting opportunities will be fewer.

Anyway, welcome to Steve's, and good luck.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 9:48 AM   #3
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Shooting night sports is a classic low light situation. As TCav noted, you will want a long lens.

The three things that control exposure are shutter speed ISO (sensitivity), and f/stop.

A slow shutter speed (anything much under 1/250th or so) will mean motion blur. That can be dealt with in part by panning while the shutter is open. Practice and look at the preview with magnification between shots. If possible, do this at the team practice so you are ready for the game. Even if they practice in the daylight, you can do your testing by setting the shutter speed slow.

ISO can be cranked up to compensate for low light. This will lead to more noise at the highest settings. How important that is will depend on what you are going to do with the photo: they will be just find for smallish web photos, but you won't want to make large prints from them. Try the high ISO settings and see how it works for you.

You will also want a lens that is as fast (lowest f/mumber) as possible which can get very expensive very quickly. In particular for long lenses.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 12:02 PM   #4
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Beth - I got your message. As others might be in a similar situation I'd like to deal with the issue in a public thread. To that end, I'll post the questions I asked you here instead:
  1. What specific lens or lenses do you have? There should be a focal length associated with it (for example the 18-200)?
  2. What level of football are we talking about - midget, HS, NCAA Div 1?
  3. Where are you photographing from?
  4. Always day games or are they night games?
  5. What experience do you have with photography? When I mention things like aperture priority or exposure or exposure compensation, do you know what I'm talking about or not really (note - it's OK if you dont - it just changes how I answer your question)?
  6. Related to above - do you have an understanding of how aperture, ISO and shutter speed work to determine exposure?
I see you've posted here that most games are at night, but I'll wait to see the answers to all the above questions before I give you some advice
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 1:02 PM   #5
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Not a problem--and thank you!
1. I have a AF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G Lens
2. Midget football
3. I can photograph from the sidelines (on-field)
4. Mostly night games under stadium lights with a few played during the day
5. Pretty much none. Only what I've researched online
6. Somewhat
Nikon D3000
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