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Old Sep 8, 2012, 1:59 AM   #1
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Default HELP-sports photography

Hi, i take high school football pictures. The stadium is well lit. i use manual and i have my settings on 1/125 and f 4.2. the ISO is 3200. i use a Nikon d5000, 55-200mm nikkor lens i stand on the sidelines and take pictures. it looks good on my camera, but when i come home and check it out on the computer they are all blurry and horrible, and i end up with no photos. please help me thanks.
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Old Sep 8, 2012, 5:20 AM   #2
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Your shutter speed is way to slow to capture most any fast action in football.
Shutter speed should be at least 1/1000sec. and most often higher.

There is too much information to try and provide you in one post.

Here is a link to a rather complete article on the subject of sports photography.
Note: this is a multi page article. you can go from page to page by using the next button on the top of the toolbar. It should give you some good advice on the subject.

http://www.astropix.com/SPORTSPIX/NSC/TIPS02.HTM

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Old Sep 8, 2012, 7:35 AM   #3
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Your Nikkor 55-200 has a variable aperture. As you increase the focal length, the f-number goes up, decreasing the amount of light that gets to the sensor.

As Zig says, 1/125 second exposure time is way too slow for any kind of sports/action photography. You really need to shoot with a faster shutter speed, but you also need a larger aperture. If you can compose your shots ok with the 55-200, you should probably go with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens instead.

What you want to do is the toughest thing there is in photography. The gear you're using isn't up to the task.
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Old Sep 8, 2012, 10:43 AM   #4
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1/1000 is a bit unrealistic for varisty football. 1/400 is a realistic target. That usually requires f2.8 and iso 3200-6400. Sometimes what YOU think is well lit your camera doesn't agree with. As TCAV mentioned, you can't get fast enough shutter speeds with that lens. Additionally, lenses like that don't let enough light in for the camera to focus quick enough. I find that, in addition to a 2.8 lens, using an external flash, mounted on the monopod, really makes for better quality images because the faces get lit up better. The built in flash in your camera (or any camera) is useless for this. Of course the new 1dx and d4 cameras may change that.
shot without flash when there is still some ambient light:


shot with flash in full dark under lights using external flash on monopod:
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Old Sep 8, 2012, 4:36 PM   #5
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G'day Yaro

I notice that this is your first posting onto Steve's - so "Welcome mate to Steve's" where lots of people here will do out best to "confuse" you in order to make you a better photographer

While not disagreeing with much of the responses above - based upon your equipment & the Q you are asking, I am presuming that you are a 'weekend / amateur' photographer and not attempting to be / become a paid-up member of the sports photographer set.

There is little doubt that the 70-200 f2,8 is a magical lens and it is capable of doing wonderful things, but it is expensive and a purchace not to be taken lightly. I come back to your current equipment and the basic question that you are asking ... "how can I do better with what I've got?"

* Your camera is capable of shooting at high ISOs > so set it to ISO 3200 / 6400
* Metering for a brightly lit subject surrounded by darker areas will cause the meter to over-expose slightly > so I suggest that you shoot at -1/2EV or -1EV to attempt to balance the metering
* Your camera has 2 modes for shooting hi-speed movement ... "Shutter Priority" and "Scenes - action/movement'. I suggest that you experiment with 'Scenes - action' [ie- the little figure running fast as shown on the main mode dial] to see what sort of images that gives you

Should it not be sufficient, then I suggest you go to "Aperture" mode and set to maximum Aperture, knowing that the camera must respond with the fastest shutter speed for the ambient light you have before you

Shooting at maximum aperture [whether it be the f2,8 or f5,6 lens for example] your depth-of-field will not be huge - so your focussing will need to be right on-the-button at all times > but the camera is well capable of rapid focussing on moving subjects so there's hope there

Also - please don't forget that most of the images in the papers are a) shot with equipment costing many times what you are using, and b) are only 1 or 2 images from maybe 1000 images taken of the event

Hope this helps in some way > pl come back with more Qs as they arise
Regards, Phil
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Old Sep 9, 2012, 10:26 AM   #6
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Phil - shooting in aperture or shutter priority cannot change the laws of physics. I've shot in about 8 different stadiums. once the sun goes down you need ISO 3200-6400 AND f2.8 to get 1/400 shutter speeds. Whether you shoot manual, aperture priority or shutter priority won't change that.
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Old Sep 9, 2012, 3:04 PM   #7
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Thankyou John

My thoughts re Aperture mode shooting is ...
a) by using high to max ISO, the user gets "in the right exposure area" and
b) by setting the Aperture to max, the metering system will be forced to select the matching shutter speed so that...
c) the user will receive the max shutter speed possible for that lighting environment

ie- trying to guess shutter speeds is not working, so let the camera do the metering & setting the max s/speed for the lighting conditions available

Regards, Phil
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Old Sep 9, 2012, 6:09 PM   #8
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If you use flash, the shutter speed is irrelevant.

What I generally do (without flash) is use Aperture Priority, choose a large aperture, and use Auto ISO, setting a minimum shutter speed at which point the ISO will increase to a maximum I've selected, at which point the shutter speed may get slower.

But that doesn't work very well for some sports. Under the same lighting conditions, a player wearing a light colored uniform will benefit from a faster shutter speed than a player wearing a dark colored uniform. That's why it's often better to set the exposure manually for faces.
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Old Sep 9, 2012, 7:10 PM   #9
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Phil - look at the numbers I posted - F2.8 1/400 and ISO 3200-6400. SO, given the OP has an f5.6 lens if they shoot at 6400 and have great lighting they're looking at 1/200 shutter speeds. The problem isn't that the OP is guessing wrong. The problem is there just isn't enough light for an f5.6 lens to work.
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Old Sep 10, 2012, 1:28 AM   #10
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Default Working on it

Alright, so on my top dial on my camera, should it be on M,A,S,P? and i will try everyone ideas at the next game. I am also buying a mono pod and some filters does that help? For now i am an amateur but i want photography to be my part time job.Is there a special sd card i should use? Because the one i have right now has a slow reaction. Also how do i practice your ideas before a game?
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