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Old Nov 13, 2010, 8:16 PM   #1
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Default Grrrrrr .... I hate gym/swimming pool pictures...

Last year, I did the corporate challenge (sports/fun events) and my assignment was the swimming competition. That assignment made me crazy since I was basically unable to take proper action pictures (meaning "frozen" action pictures).

Today, I did a school mini-handball tournament (my wife is an elementary teacher) and I got the same problems. Using the "sports" mode did help a bit but not that much .... it was too slow! Using 1/500 of a seconds was "freezing" the action all right .... but without any light in the shots (so dark) ... even at ISO 400+

I mainly used my 12-60mm and a bit my 70-300mm (with worst results). Any comments / suggestions / advices ???

Notes: I am using an E-520. Also, I cannot post any pictures with the kids on it (school policy).
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 8:36 PM   #2
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In the E-520 Menu_1 under "Graduation" change to "High Key" to lighten the image. That will lighten the image depending on the conditions.

Also, your post processing will also allow you to lighten your images. I just spend a couple of seconds running your photo thru a quick pass of PP.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 8:43 PM   #3
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Hum ... I'll try that ...

However, PP?

And (in the swimming pool case), the light was more than bad (blueinsh I can say ) ... so I cranked the ISO to 1600 ... but, like in a gym with kids running back and forth, about 80% of my shots were blurry
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 8:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by folob View Post
).
I mainly used my 12-60mm and a bit my 70-300mm (with worst results). Any comments / suggestions / advices ???

Notes: I am using an E-520. Also, I cannot post any pictures with the kids on it (school policy).

Hi,
Unfortunately, you've just experienced, first hand, why the 12-60mm and the 70-300mm just are not good choices for this type of low light application. As much as I love my 12-60mm SWD and I do own the 70-300mm(and very much like it). They both require a good deal of light to focus well.

Having said that, you might have been more successful with the 70-300mm if you increased the ISO to at least 1600. (having not been there, thus not seeing it first hand, it's hard to tell how dark it actually is). This higher ISO(even to 2500) would have given you the ability to shoot action sequences without blur. More importantly, the results you achieved would had have been noticeably less noisy.

My experience with taking in door action shots of the grandkids swimming, playing basketball in an indoor arena is that the lighting stinks. Moreover, you can exacerbate the problem by using a low ISO-thinking that high ISO =more noise, therefore, keep the ISO low as possible. ultimately, the image ends up being too dark(underexposed) which compounds the noise to in the frame.
And, you really can't clean that up in Camera RAW.

By upping the ISO, you'e allowing more light into the camera with the result being lower luminance distortion and nose.

At the next swim meet, you may try taking some images with the 70-300mm using a significantly higher ISO while watching the shutter speed, 1/500 should be okay, so that you don't have any motion blur. You should have close to a properly exposed image. From there use Adobe's CAMERA RAW to clean up what noise is present.

You'll be surprised at the results.

Of course, the other, more costly solution, is to buy a 35-100mm or at the very least a 50-200SWD lens.. The 35-100mm with the flat aperture of f2.0v throughout the focal range, would provide you with greater latitude and also being 2stops faster, allow for the use of lower ISO settings.

I love spending other peoples money

Zig
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Hum ... I'll try that ...

However, PP?

............................................

That's just quick slang for any post processing software.
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 7:52 AM   #6
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I love spending other peoples money

Zig
But the fact of the matter is that whereas a good photographer can take good pictures with any camera, taking pictures of moving objects in low light really does require equipment with speed - fast lenses and fast sensors. When the legendary stock car builder Banjo Mathews was asked how much a race car costs, he replied, "Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?"

The same is true of photography. The poor lighting in high school gyms is what the E-5 was made for.

Ted
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 9:59 AM   #7
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Ted has it right. Low light sports shooting requires the proper tools for the job. The lighting in natatoriums varies greatly from place to place. But you can expect to need f2.8 and ISO 2000 or above.
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 9:24 AM   #8
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Everyone is right that you need better equipment if you want to get better results in low light. If budget is tight, the cheapest bet would be to get the 50-200 zuiko mark I. Used, it can be had for a bit over $600. Mark I is cheaper than Mark II, but my understanding is that the main difference, which is focusing speed, is not really noticeable on the e520.

If budget is not an issue, then a newer body and the 50-200 mark II would give you faster focus and the opportunity to use ISOs higher than 1600.
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