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Old Feb 1, 2006, 1:48 PM   #1
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:?

New to this forum, but but fan of the web site.

I am having trouble shooting my sons baseball games at night under the lights with my Sony DSC F717.

I have tried setting the ASA to 800,400 very grainy.

I have tried shutter priority with point metering to dark. I would like suggestions on things to try so I can photograph sports at night.

Also the day shots look amazing.


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Old Feb 1, 2006, 2:19 PM   #2
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Its all about light, if you have enough time you dont need much of it (i.e. very long exposures at night) but if you need to capture quickly to avoid motion blur there has to be enough light... or your camera must be extra sensetive to light.

You've tried the latter by setting the iso to 400 and 800 and didnt like the results, the former requires a powerful flash... as long as your situation allows it.

There are programs to reduce the noise/grain you get at higher iso's, that might help you to get an acceptable picture. Noise ninja and neat image are two that I know of.

When you set shutter priority you probably used such a fast shutter that the camera was unable to adjust around it, hence the dark pictures. You could try setting it slower but by the time you get it slowed down enough to let in the light you need you probably wont be able to stop the action. Similarly if you use aperture priority at the largest (smalles number) setting the camera will pick the shutter speed needed, but again unless you set the iso to 400 or 800 you might still get blury pictures.

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Old Feb 1, 2006, 2:37 PM   #3
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Angel,

You really have two choices:

1. Use ASA 800 with the widest aperture your camera allows and clean up the noise with noise reduction software.

or

2. Use a lower ASA with slower shutter speeds and only take pictures of non-moving subjects (batter at plate, pitcher at height of wind up).

Flash is a difficult proposition because it needs to be pretty strong to deal with the distance involved.

In general, if you want action shots you need high shutter speeds. For normal motion, you want 1/500 to freeze the action. You'll get some keepers at 1/320 and a couple at 1/250. Below 1/250 you're looking at less than 10% keepers. So, set your camera at ISO 800 and it's widest aperture and snap some pics. What shutter speed did the camera use? If it's less than 250 then your left with option 2 above. Now, for baseball if you want to freeze the ball that probably isn't going to happen under the lights. You'll need around 1/1000 to freeze the ball. Around 1/500 you'll get an oblong shape - but hey that's better than nothing! Try the experment I mentioned and post your results (including picture and EXIF data - shutter speed, ISO, aperture etc).

I do a lot of high school football under the lights so I'm forced into option 1 (in my case ISO 3200) and I use noiseware to remove the noise. It's a very good piece of software. They and noise ninja I believe have some free or trial versions - I suggest trying one.
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Old Feb 1, 2006, 4:29 PM   #4
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yep, unfortunetely you are up against the laws of physics. To shoot low light sports shots you really need DSLR level equipment. The larger sensor allowing ISO up to 3200 with "acceptable" noise along with a lens capable of f4, 2.8 or better at the longer zoom ranges. The best you can do is as the otehr suggestions said, get your best appeture and highest acceptable ISO and use software to clean it up.
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Old Feb 1, 2006, 5:02 PM   #5
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Angel:

Your Sony is better than most non-DLSR models in lower light (because it's lens is twice as bright as most at it's wide angle position, with even more difference in favor of your Sony at longer focal lengths, since it doesn't lose as much light as most models when zooming in).

But, photographing Night Sports is tough (what looks bright to the human eye is not to a camera's lens).

Chances are, some of the problem you're seeing is motion blur from camera shake. So, you may want to try using a monopod or tripod when shooting to see how much it helps out.

You'll still get some motion blur from subject movement. So, take lots of photos to increase your percentage of keepers.

As for trying to deliberately underepose, that will increase noise, just as if you used higher ISO speeds, once you try to brighten up the images using software. So, you're probably better off just sticking to setting the ISO speed higher.

As already mentioned, there are some good tools for decreasing the appearance of noise (the grain you mentioned is referred to as noise with digital cameras). Here are some links to a couple of them:

Noiseware from Imagenomic (note that they have a free "community edition", too).

Neat Image (note that they have a free/demo version that doesn't expiire).


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Old Feb 2, 2006, 11:20 AM   #6
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Thanks guys,

I tried a few suggestions last night, here are some pics for constructive critisism.

#1 appeture priority F2.2, iso800, shu80, 0.3ev (too much motion)

#7 manual F2.2, iso800, shu500, no oev (to dark)

#24 appeture priority f2.4, iso800, shu200, -1oev (very nice )

#26 same as #24 can see motion blur on explosion to the plate

#43 and 85 manual mode f2.1, iso800, shu500, no oev. (great shots but dark will software polish them?)

I read on my manual to have the histogram displayed on the screen and keep the spike in the center for best results, I achieve this by adjusting OEV. On manual mode I do not have this option.

What is OEV?

Suggestions greatly appreciated, I use these pictures for my stubbern teenager who thinks he is always right.
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Old Feb 2, 2006, 11:31 AM   #7
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What you're changing is exposure compensation.

If you use a - EV setting, then the camera will expose the image darker than it normally would. This can give you faster shutter speeds if you're using wide open apertures in low light, but will increase noise if you try to brighten the image later, just as if you used higher ISO speeds.

If you use a + EV setting, then the camera will expose the image brighter than it normally would. In low light with wide open apertures, it does this by using slower shutter speeds (hence, more motion blur).


A - 1.0 EV setting means you're underexposing by 1 stop. A + 1.0 EV setting means you're overexposing by 1 stop.


Yes, using a -EV setting can give you faster shutter speeds (basically, you're deliberately underexposing). But, again, noise will be just as bad (or worse) than using higher ISO speeds and exposing properly, if you need to brighten the images using software.

If a -1.0 EV setting works for you (and gives you proper exposure versus being too dark) at ISO 800 and f/2.2 using Aperture Priority with larger apertures (smaller f/stop numbers), that's your best bet. But, typically, a -1.0 EV setting would give you underexposed images (too dark), unless lighting is tricky and fooling the camera's metering.

P. S.

When using Manual Exposure, there is no Exposure Compensation (because you're selecting both the Aperture and the Shutter speed, versus trying to influence the camera's autoexposure algorithms).

Then, the EV scale is showing you if your selected settings will result in an overexposed or underexposed image, based on what the camera's metering thinks is needed for proper exposure. With the scale at 0 EV, your settings are dead on what the camera thinks is needed using manual exposure.


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Old Feb 2, 2006, 11:36 AM   #8
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I am guessing the OEV is exposure compensation. Exposure is made up of 3 components - Shutter speed, aperture and ISO. So, when you dial in EC, the camera must change one of those 3 values to achieve the result. In manual mode, the camera has no ability to adjust those variables - the user sets all 3. For low light shooting you typically have to use the widest aperture and highest ISO. So, with that in mind you should either use Av mode or Manual mode. You should ONLY use EC if you have some shutter speed to give up. So, if you had your camera in manual mode at ISO 800, f2.1 (or whatever your widest value is) and the camera says the best shutter speed I can give you is 1/125 I would NOT use EC at all.

Manual mode will take practice because lighting will NOT be consistant across the field. There may be several stops different in the light at home platevs. 2nd base say. That is why I suggest using AV mode. You've locked in your best aperture, your best ISO so the camera will choose a pretty good bet for best speed. You probably aren't going to have any shutter speed to give so I would NOT use EC if I were you. You can do some lightening of the photo in post processing but not a lot. At high ISO, lightening the photo will really increase noise.

It would be helpful if you can include the pictures to go along with the information you provided. Given the pictures, we can give some more specific advice.
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Old Feb 2, 2006, 12:10 PM   #9
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Here are some pictures I hade to shrink them, becouse I am using 5 MP.

this picture is on manual mode. #7

F2.2, iso800, shutter 500, no oev
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Old Feb 2, 2006, 12:13 PM   #10
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This picture #24

apeture priority, F2.4, iso800, shutter 500 -1oev

Very nice, but not yet in full motion.
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