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Old Jan 9, 2010, 4:06 PM   #1
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Default Help with action shots needed

I just received a Nikon P90, and I am trying to get some action shots and I am having some issues. I can stop action in my house but in the gym everything come out grainy. I have gotten lucky and gotten some good shots but can't get my settings right.


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Old Jan 9, 2010, 4:10 PM   #2
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I use M, is it better to have a darker picture because the ISO is high or get everything in balance and live with the blur of some of the objects.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 4:53 PM   #3
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Well... here's the problem.

You're going to need faster shutter speeds to freeze movement in typical gym lighting. That means using a bright lens (much brighter than the one on your P90), and higher ISO speeds (higher than your P90 has available).

I you try to use a shutter speed that's too fast for the lighting, the widest available aperture (which is how bright your lens is), and and ISO speed (which is how sensitive your sensor is to light), you're going to get underexposed (too dark) photos.

If you try to brighten them later, you'll have higher noise levels (that grain you see), just as if your camera had a higher available ISO speed setting, degrading image quality.

IOW, your camera really isn't suited for that type of shooting in typical gym lighting.

You'll usually want to use a dSLR model with a very bright lens for that purpose (not the typical kit lenses you see bundled with them, as they're not bright enough).

So, there's not good solution with your type of camera, other than timing your shots for pauses in movement so you can try to get some photos when your subjects are relatively still; unless you are allowed to use a flash (and depending on what you're shooting, use of flash may be frowned upon), and stay within the rated flash range (which usually means getting pretty close with that type of camera).
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 4:59 PM   #4
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Thank you for the input, that is what I am feeling. I did not want to purchase the 1200 to 2000 dollar camera for just this his senior year. It works fine for my stills, and band pictures but game day not very good. I think I am going to graduate to a DSLR camera in the future, but tried to use this one to get use to the settings.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 5:02 PM   #5
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Typical indoor sports shooting without a flash is very demanding on the equipment, as well as the skill level of the photographer. So, with a non-dSLR camera model, you're just not going to get a lot of keepers, unless you can time your shots for the least amount of subject movement and try to catch shots when the players are relatively motionless.

Even with a dSLR, you're going to need a relatively bright lens and practice using it to get a higher percentage of keepers.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 7:10 PM   #6
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JimC has it right: action in low light is at best difficult and/or expensive to capture. Beyond waiting for low action times, you could try panning with the action.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 7:25 PM   #7
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Bill makes a very good point. If you can pan the camera on a moving player so that they're in the same position within the frame, you reduce the amount of blur you'll see. For example, you may get be able to shots where the main part of a body looks OK, even though you may see blur from foot and arm movement.

You see that technique used often for capturing rapidly moving cars at slower shutter speeds, which also helps to enhance the feeling of motion, because the spinning wheels will be blurry, and the background is going to be blurry from panning the camera, (whereas if everything was frozen from a fast shutter speed, you wouldn't get the same feeling of movement).

As for timing your shots, if you read through some of posts you'll find in our Sports & Action Photos Forum, sometimes you'll see some of our better sports shooters like JohnG suggest tips like trying to time shots so that you're catching a player at the top of a jump (where they're going to be as still as possible, just before they change directions back down again) when shooting with a camera that is less than ideal for indoor sports.
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