Girl's Basketball--New Shooter here...Help and Comments please!

Started Dec 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
rolette
Regular MemberPosts: 257
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Re: Girl's Basketball--New Shooter here...Help and Comments please!
In reply to luvmybec, Jan 14, 2013

luvmybec wrote:

Hello everyone,

I am continuing to shoot basketball shots. I have tried to incorporate the recommendations of those who so graciously provided help and comments. I have tried the aperture priority from 2.2 to 2.5, adjusting the exposure compensation to +3.0, even bumped the shutter speed up to 640 and 800, and Iso from 1600 to 6400. I have also shot manual with settings around the same area (but there is no exposure compensation setting in manual).

Why do you need EC in manual for an indoor gym?  Unless the gym you are shooting in has half the lights out on one end of the court, it really shouldn't be necessary for basketball.

The settings you describe are all over the place.  Here's my suggestion:

1) Put your camera in Manual.

2) If the gym has fluorescent lighting, set your WB to match.  Otherwise you might as well stick to AWB and deal with it in post because chances are the color of the lights is going to cycle.

3) If you are shooting with an f/2.8 lens, then shoot wide-open.  If it is a faster lens, then drop down to f/2.0.  DoF starts getting really thin below that and is going to make it tough to get shots that are in focus.

4) Figure out what shutter speed you can live with.  What's required to freeze motion depends a lot on the sport and age group.  For HS girls, 1/640 usually works great.  You can get away with slower, but it depends on your tolerance for motion blur on arms/legs and on your ability to capture peak action where lower shutter speeds work.

5) Take a test shot during warm-ups and check your histogram.  Adjust your ISO until you've got the exposure right (for faces).  Do NOT underexpose your shots!  Noise is significantly worse if you underexpose and then try to push the exposure later.

Most of the trade-offs in this process are between SS and ISO.  Faster SS means you'll freeze the action better, but higher ISO means more noise.  It's a balancing act, but keep in mind that you can deal with noise in post-processing but you can't fix motion blur.

I have found that any ISO above 3200 is too noisy and 3200 is even marginal.

Post a couple of examples at ISO 3200 and 6400.  Chances are you need to adjust your expectations if you aren't used to shooting indoor sports.  To give you an idea, fairly typical settings for HS gyms would be something like f/2.8, 1/800, ISO 8000.  There is a lot of variance and it can get MUCH worse than that.

Everyone has a different tolerance level for noise, but it's kinda how life is for this sort of thing unless you want to go to strobes.

Keep in mind that I don't have any photo processing software other an iPhoto for my Mac. Trying to adjust the noise with iPhoto is not giving me the results I want.

<snip>

So I guess my question is...where do I go from here? I am not opposed to buying a new lens, but just can't figure out which one (and don't want to spend $2000)...Sigma 85mm? (I've read that the depth of field can be a real issue when shooting sports on that). I've looked everywhere for the older Sigma 50-150 2.8 but cannot find one. But I'm not sure that I can shoot these pics at 2.8. I haven't been able to bump my aperture to 2.8 on the shots I'm taking now without it being too dark. Or should I start with getting some photo editing software? If so, what would be recommended for a Mac? Should I buy photo processing or noise reduction software first? And how high of an ISO is realistic and can be processed away?

So should I start by buying a different lens with faster autofocus? Or photo software, and if so which one and high high can I go on ISO? My daughter has been pulled up to varsity team as a sophomore, so I am even more anxious to get great shots! Thanks so much!

First step would be to get something like Lightroom or Aperture.  LR is better, IMO, but you need something that has good NR capabilities.  Most of the really good indoor sports shots you see around here have had post-processing done on them.  Not all, but most.

That's a whole lot cheaper than a new body or lens...

Once you have something like LR or Aperture, I'd recommend shooting in RAW.  It gives you more leeway during post-processing.

Next, post some examples of properly exposed ISO 3200 and 6400 shots from your camera.  The folks here can give you a good idea of whether the noise is unreasonable or not.  None of that matters ultimately if you aren't happy with it, but it's something to help you get a baseline.

Regards,

Jay

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