Low Light DSLR Sport's Shots

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by infiniteMPG, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    My son started getting back into soccer and his work started an indoor
    adult soccer team. I went to try to get pictures with my Sony A100
    and Tamron AF 18-250/3.5-6.3 DI II Macro Lens. This is an old
    warehouse that has been converted into a indoor soccer field. The
    only lightning in there was a couple overhead domed lights which
    barely light the field to a playable level. I couldn't use the built
    in flash for a couple reason, the main was this is a small layout with
    complete rope net and plexiglass sides all the way around. To take a
    picture unobsturcted I have to put the lens thru the netting. To use
    a flash in these close quarters would be blasting players in the face
    during play. Not a smart move with some of the intense players there.

    I played around with some settings but to get enough light to get any
    exposure the ISO was set so high everything was massive graininess and
    still slightly blurred. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions on
    how to take action pictures in low light conditions withOUT using a

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    infiniteMPG, Oct 2, 2008
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  2. With my Nikon D40 I get satisfactory results at ISO 1600. If I need a
    little less noise I use the noise-reduction feature in Paint Shop Pro.
    You would benefit from a much wider aperture lens to capture more light -
    f/2.0 or f/2.8 - but you would need to choose either a more restricted
    focal length range or a non-zoom lens. Perhaps you could pick up the
    non-zoom quite cheaply, though.

    David J Taylor, Oct 2, 2008
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  3. infiniteMPG

    Bigguy Guest

    You need faster lenses; look for a s/h Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 ED

    Bigguy, Oct 2, 2008
  4. Simple: get a faster lens. 3.5-6.3 is your typical kit lens and really
    nothing to write home about. Ok for outdoors on a sunny day, acceptable
    for cloudy days or for the occasional indoor family portrait with flash.

    But for that situation you need the fastest lens you can afford, at
    least a 2.0 or even better a 1.8 or 1.4. Yep, for 250mm this will cost
    you at least 2 arms and 3 legs, but for a standard 50mm it's actually
    dirt cheap.

    Jürgen Exner, Oct 2, 2008
  5. The free demo version of Neatimage is very good indeed at removing
    noise from high ISO images. Very much better than the standard Sony
    in-camera or supplied software. Try turning off all in-camera noise
    processing options and shooting in RAW plus JPG at high ISOs. The RAW
    file processed to JPG with Sony's own Image Converter should allow you
    to push underexposed images up possibly two stops, allowing you to
    underexpose. Then free demo Neatimage can remove the high ISO
    noise. If you're prepared to push it far in noise reduction, and then
    reduce resolution (image MP) by 50%, you can pull remarkably good
    clear images out of pretty horrific looking noise-corrupted high ISO

    I was amazed to discover I could get very good clean images at ISO
    3200 with my A350 using that combination of severe noise reduction
    plus reduction to half size to remove the detail smearing
    noise-reduction artefacts, even though the original images were so bad
    they looked a completely unrecoverable disaster, and the "street
    wisdom" on these Sony Alphas is that their high ISO images are so
    noisy as to be a useless bad joke. The "street wisdom" is sometimes
    just ignorant rumour.

    It would help to get more light. You could see how willing they'd be
    to allow you to mount a big workman's 1,000 watt tungsten halogen
    floodlight somewhere in the hall to boost the light.

    That'll still leave you with the problem of blur due to not being able
    to find focus fast enough or accurately enough in dim light with that
    lens. If that's a problem I suggest at some time when the pitch is
    free you get an assistant to stand at various key points on the pitch
    while you get a good careful focus on them from your stand by using a
    flashlight with a powerful long beam. Take notes of where the lens
    focusses. Then at play time use manual focus to put the lens there.

    That's the low cost version. Before spending as much as buying a big
    aperture lens you might like to try buying a second hand cheap but
    very powerful flash, such as a big Metz, and learning how to trigger
    it remotely in manual from a cheap Hong Kong radio trigger on your
    camera. Having one of those high and off to the side wouldn't flash in
    their faces and might give you not only enough light but action
    freezing light duration as well. If the place has a low light coloured
    ceiling you might even be able to bounce it off the ceiling. To my
    surprise I've done that successfully in a big church hall with a
    similar lens.

    If the team gets good photos out of your work they might well be
    willing to let you do that kind of high off-camera flashing.

    But there's quite a bit of experimental learning involved in that
    approach of working with powerful cheap manual remote radio triggered
    flashes -- if interested look up "strobist" stuff. If you're prepared
    to do the learning you can get very good results at a tiny fraction of
    the cost of using the camera maker's own new high power remote flash
    Chris Malcolm, Oct 2, 2008
  6. infiniteMPG

    tomm42 Guest

    Best thing to do is look for a constant f2.8 telephoto, your lens will
    be working at f6.3 which is 2.5 stops slower. Tamron 70-200 I believe
    is the least expensive, still isn't cheap. Somewhere around $700 I
    believe. The problem with jacking up the ISO to the max is often
    sensors don't give good color at the max ISO. But you can try max ISO
    and use Noise Ninja or a comparable program.

    tomm42, Oct 2, 2008
  7. infiniteMPG

    Guest Guest

    And how does he fit a Nikon lens to a Sony camera?
    Guest, Oct 2, 2008
  8. infiniteMPG

    Pboud Guest

    Both Canon and Nikon have a 50mm kit lens at the $150 range.. I'm sure
    you can get a 50mm kit (mine's F1.8) in just about any system for under $200

    Pboud, Oct 2, 2008
  9. infiniteMPG

    Bigguy Guest

    Blast - I missed that bit... ;-(

    Bigguy, Oct 2, 2008
  10. Pboud wrote:
    But that doesn't help the person who /needs/ the 250mm end of the zoom!

    David J Taylor, Oct 2, 2008
  11. "David J Taylor"
    That is exactly the question. The OP didn't tell us, which end of the
    zoom range he was using. We simply don't now if he was shooting 250mm or

    Jürgen Exner, Oct 3, 2008
  12. infiniteMPG

    J. Clarke Guest

    He's shooting his kid playing soccer. Which would you be using?
    J. Clarke, Oct 3, 2008
  13. infiniteMPG

    frank Guest

    I shoot film at EI 400 with either a 80-200 2.8 zoom, a 50 1.4, 135
    2.8 or a 180 2.8. 200 f 2 are way too expensive, ditto 200 2.8. Then
    you get it on a CD when developed. You can pick up a Nikon 75 or 80
    quite inexpensively. Digital doesnt' always work in low light unless
    you spend more than this kit is going to cost you on a very high end
    body. You'll need fast glass anyway which you only get with true SLRs,
    not the majority of point and shoot digital. Interchangeable lenses.
    frank, Oct 3, 2008
  14. infiniteMPG

    Peter Wicks Guest

    Machine gun it?

    What a load of horse shit. You must be one of those pretend
    photographers who needs the camera to do everything for him. If you
    can't track the action, anticipate and then take the shot then you might
    be a lot of things but a photographer ain't one of them. Do you
    seriously think that no one ever got a good action shot before the
    advent of motor drives?

    BTW, all hawk and eagles DON'T crap before taking off, that's more horse
    shit. They'll only do it if they need to, just like the rest of us.
    Where I live I see Eagles fly everyday and hawks on occasion and they
    sure don't crap each time they fly, usually only after eating a kill.
    Peter Wicks, Oct 3, 2008
  15. infiniteMPG

    Roger Moss Guest

    The trolls are alive and well, then...

    Roger Moss, Oct 3, 2008
  16. infiniteMPG

    Charlie Groh Guest

    ....yes. My 50 mm 1.4 Nikkor came in at $280 or so...dynamite lens. I
    shoot alot of outdoor sports, under the lights and some are pretty
    bad...also in gyms...own the 80-200 2.8 ED and it's a great performer,
    but the D300 is *really* good at high ISO, allowing an easy 2000 or
    even 2400 before noise becomes an issue...

    Charlie Groh, Oct 3, 2008
  17. infiniteMPG

    frank Guest

    No you didn't get as good a shot as you did before motor drives, you
    had to set the camera up and wait for it to land in the blind. Look at
    the old books. I have I also do a lot of bird photography.

    You need at least a 400mm to do decent bird shots. Period.

    Maybe you can be lucky and get close and use a shorter lens, but since
    most birds are small you need the reach.

    Single shot ain't gonna do it.

    Fast lenes, fast frames / second, and really good autofocus are the
    way to go. Then you just keep the bird in the finder. They do move you

    Ask any bird photography with a decent portfolio how many shots they
    tossed to show the good ones. Like anything else, shoot a lot.

    Some bird books would be helpful, not to mention guides on what is in
    your area when. Sibley's is recommended.

    For a troll, you're a barely functional moron.
    frank, Oct 4, 2008
  18. infiniteMPG

    Charlie Groh Guest

    ....or just crap before he flies. ;O)

    Charlie Groh, Oct 5, 2008
  19. infiniteMPG

    Eric Stevens Guest

    You can say that again!

    I've been trying to photograph the large New Zealand wood pigeons
    feeding on berries in the tree outside my office at a range of 15m.
    I'm using a 200mm lens. The pigeons seem to be in permanent movement.
    They don't stay in focus. They don't even stay in sight! Good shots
    are rare even when machine gunning.

    Eric Stevens
    Eric Stevens, Oct 5, 2008
  20. Convenience lens (aka 'soup zoom'[1]). Nice for travelling or when
    every gramm counts, bad for high image quality (if it's good enough
    for you, more power to you), bad for low light situations,
    bad for sports (too dark, usually not so fast AF), bad for
    isolating objects, ...

    For sports, you want *fast* lenses. Either a f/2.8 zoom (and
    that may be on the slow side!) or a fast fixed focal length lens.
    (Of course, Sigma's 300-800 f/2.8 zoom would be cool, but you'd
    have to hire a porter to lug it around and it's absolutely
    tripod only.)
    Ok .... so how bright or dark is it? (You have taken shots,
    you have exposure, aperture and ISO equivalent ...)
    With a fast lens, depending on the thickness of the net's
    strings, you can probably shoot through the net and have it
    near invisible; that's one advantage of a thin DOF.
    Agreed. How high is the ceiling, and what colour is it?
    My first solution would be to try a *really* *big* flash (or a
    couple of them, even) bouncing off the ceiling. You could
    mask the flashes so no direct light reaches the players.
    Given these constraints, you want
    - the best low light camera (which would mean buying a specialized
    sensor and building a camera around it; at 16cm*16cm and nice,
    big pixels it'll only cost a medium sized house ... in an
    expensive location). Or you could look towards the 5D Mark II,
    for example, which --- though not getting close, is at least
    in a payable range.
    - the fastest glass you can get. For the 16cm*16cm solution,
    well, it's probably build your own, for, say, the 5D Mk II
    it might be the 200mm f/2 ...

    It'd be easier to use flash responsibly or to have the area
    lit properly (e.g. with a couple flood lights).

    For reference, the old 20D can produce stunning shots on paper
    (20x30 cm) at ISO 1600 + 2 -- 3.6 stops push (in RAW, and yes,
    you'll want good noise supression and colour calibration).
    But then I have a tiny bit of experience with my tools and
    techniques, and yes, if you look, you'll see noise, and yes,
    it's easier with more light, e.g. a flash.


    [1] So called because these "super" zooms tend to produce a
    pixel soup ...
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Oct 6, 2008
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