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Old Aug 30, 2009, 12:51 PM   #1
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Default Help with D5000 settings

I'm a new dSLR owner. I just bought the Nikon D5000 so I could get some decent personal use shots of my son's high school football games. All games are at night so the light dimineshes throughout the game.

I shot pictures all of Friday night for the first time. As it got darker, my action shot pictures got more and more blurry. I was shooting in the sports mode with ISO at 400. As for all other settings...well again I am a newbie to the max and I have no idea where anything else was at.

I'm hoping somebody can lend a few tips to improve the quality of these types of shots in these conditions.

Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX VR Zoom 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED

Please suggest some practial settings to help improve my shots.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 1:16 PM   #2
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I'm a new dSLR owner. I just bought the Nikon D5000 so I could get some decent personal use shots of my son's high school football games. All games are at night so the light dimineshes throughout the game.

I shot pictures all of Friday night for the first time. As it got darker, my action shot pictures got more and more blurry. I was shooting in the sports mode with ISO at 400. As for all other settings...well again I am a newbie to the max and I have no idea where anything else was at.

I'm hoping somebody can lend a few tips to improve the quality of these types of shots in these conditions.

Lens: Nikkor AF-S DX VR Zoom 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED

Please suggest some practial settings to help improve my shots.
When shooting football, the lack of good lighting is a problem. You'll probably need to be at least at 1600 iso, probably higher as it gets darker. You'll need shutter speeds of at least 1/500 to freeze motion. The 55-200 lens is to dim, as you're at f5.6 at the long end (which is where I assume you're at most of the time). You really need a constant aperture f2.8 lens to get the job done well. Unfortunately, these are expensive. You could go with a Sigma or Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and save a few bucks, although they are in the $600-800 range. Shooting sports at night is a tough job for consumer grade kit lenses.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 2:38 PM   #3
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Yeah, the lens upgrade just isn't in the cards. For this year I am stuck with what I have as I broke the budget on my upfront purchase.

I think I can get aperture down to f4.0 with ISO settings up to 3200 if I do it manually. These are max settings for the current set up I believe.

What settings would you suggest to make the best with what I have?
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 3:24 PM   #4
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Yeah, the lens upgrade just isn't in the cards. For this year I am stuck with what I have as I broke the budget on my upfront purchase.

I think I can get aperture down to f4.0 with ISO settings up to 3200 if I do it manually. These are max settings for the current set up I believe.

What settings would you suggest to make the best with what I have?
You can't get the aperture down to f4.0 at full tele (200mm which is where you will be most of the time shooting football, even on the sidelines)...the max aperture is f5.6. You're best bet is to shoot in "A", open the aperture up to as wide as it will go, and keep raising the ISO until you have shutter speeds of around 1/500. You may be able to get away with slightly slower if you take you're shots at the height of action...someone at the top of a leap for a ball for example. You could also add a flash, like the SB600, but that would cost money too and would only be good at close range. Beyond that, there isn't much else you can do
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 4:34 PM   #5
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Default D5000 settings

While I don't own the D5000, when you are shooting at night with a relatively slow lens (the 55-200) is somewhat slow when it in full telephoto mode, you want to increase the ISO speed. Obviously ISO 400 isn't fast enough for the photos you want. I'd probably increase it to ISO 800 and see how that turns out. If not, you can always push it to 1600, although you risk some digital noise at that speed. I'm sure others will suggest various other camera tweaks, that's the first thing that comes to mind. I shoot my daughter's tennis matches at night. When I'm not using a fast (f2.8) lens, I will push my D90 out to at least 800.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 4:56 PM   #6
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You are in a very tough shooting environment so you will need to make sacrifices. The main is going to be noise, get that ISO up to 3200 (I'm not sure how the noise looks if you go higher), but even so under most conditions I've shot with flood lights I would only expect you to get about 1/80-1/160s or so with a proper exposure (this is key to high ISO shooting, if you under expose then when you bring it back the noise is even worse).

The limitation is the speed of the lens. If you had f2.8 then you are allowing 4 times more light in which is huge and would give you 1/320-1/640s in the same conditions as above, however as you say this is not an option due to cost currently.

Practise panning, keeping your subject in the same part of the frame as you shoot, this will help freezing the important parts but you are still going to get blur in the ball, arms, legs etc.

I'm sorry to say that it isn't better news but this along with indoor sports are some of the most kit intensive environments.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 7:25 PM   #7
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PopPhoto review ( I think ) said the D5000 grain is low up to 1600, at 3200 noise becomes apparent.

2nd option until you acquire a fast lens, shoot flash/buy a dedicated flash unit. Try shooting at top camera flash sync, probably 200th of a second, on shutter priority.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 8:03 PM   #8
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2nd option until you acquire a fast lens, shoot flash/buy a dedicated flash unit. Try shooting at top camera flash sync, probably 200th of a second, on shutter priority.
Nothing is really going to help without an external flash so would still only be an option if spending the cash on a SB-600 or larger. Also you want to be in manual when shooting with flash in these environments rather than Av or Tv.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 8:28 PM   #9
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Is flash allowed? That might be your only "save" in this situation that you describe.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 8:30 PM   #10
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Generally at all football games flash is allowed but it doesn't help with the price issue as on board flash isn't going to do the business.
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