I have a Nikon D40. Here is the problem. My sports photos are blurry. Why?

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Questions thread
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Re: I have a Nikon D40. Here is the problem. My sports photos are blurry. Why?
In reply to DigitalPhilosopher, Feb 25, 2013

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

david_h5 wrote:

I don't think you'll ever get a sharp shot at H1 ISO. I love my old D40, but anything above ISO 800 is going to look a little blurry.

ISO handling has nothing to do with blurriness. A multiple of issues are at play - technique is by far the most important. Here's a shot taken with a D40 at ISO 1600 and a manual focus 50mm f/2

It's tack sharp, just focused on the wrong spot...

Even the D40 can take great shots with a good lens.

To OP:

Read info on the web and books and practice as much as you can. A faster lens (e.g. the AF-S 50mm f/1.8) and a shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/500 will do wonders. You just need to learn your camera. Using the "sports mode" takes away control from you. You must learn to use your camera with ​you​ on the controls!

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Well, to disagree slightly, faster lens, better technique, and manual shooting help, but I don't think you're going to really get much more from a D40 for indoor sports. I shoot varsity sports regularly with a D3s. I can push ISO 6400 comfortably, and I'm at f2.8 and between 1/400 and 1/500. Even 1/250 is too slow. My former D200 and D300 were pushed to the limit.

To the OP... sports photography is one of those areas that equipment DOES make a difference. That's not to say you can't get by with reasonable equipment, but the high sensitive sensors and big glass (constant aperture) help tremendously. A more robust camera also gives you much faster frames per second - sports move fast enough that things change within fractions of a second.

The other consideration is that for sports or action photography, you generally want to isolate the subject as much as possible: many times, sports are shot too wide and while you get the context, the drama of the photo is diluted. Sometimes wide is good, but often, as per your son's wrestling, tight shots, especially of the face, are key.

If you have the money, I'd suggest upgrading your camera and lens. If not, focus on technique, and possibly rent or borrow lens for sporting events.

UWindsor Lancers Josh Collins going for the hoop. Shot with a Nikon D3s, 70-200 mm f2.8, at ISO 5000, 1/500.

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