DSLR and lens for low light action

Started 1 month ago | Questions thread
techie takes pics Contributing Member • Posts: 799
Key is in the lens

The key to all of this is the lens, not the camera. No camera can magically 'see' light that the lens simply did not transmit.

Buying a Nikon-system or a different camera means: Spending less on the lens.

Whatever you do, get a wider aperture.

Manual focus is a real option. I had a camera that simply could not focus fast enough on a moving subject. My solution: pre-set the focus and wait for the sportsman/woman to get there. Either time the shot right or shoot in burst. One of the burstshots will be in focus.

You can get some really nice shots that way.  It depends on what you are trying to photograph. 
I try to make a good picture at training so I get many retries. I am not shooting the Olympics where the photographer gets only one chance.

85mm is pretty short. Can you adapt vintage lenses? If so, a 135 f/2.8 or 200mm is dirt cheap. If you think autofocus can not keep up, you might as well settle for manual!

Other tips while sticking with your camera:

Lower the shutterspeed as slow as you can go. Sports is cool at 1/1000 but I simply can not afford it on my light-budget. I go down to 1/200 and I consider 1/320 as 'fast'. While it is not perfect, that is over 2 stops of light which I can spend on ISO.

Don't be afraid of high-ISO. Find out how much noise-reduction can help you. If 6400 ISO is acceptable, you have more options than at 1600.

I also use off-camera flash which I can use during training, not in matches.
But I get some really nice shots. Before I got an expensive remote flash I used 2 off camera flashes on optical trigger, and one on-camera. All of a sudden a smaller aperture isn't a problem. Got very nice results.
In a pool I would pack the flash units in a plastic bag and they would work fine.
I would probably even set one flash on optical trigger, put in a plastic box and sink it. Just because I can.

Be creative. Buy little but when you spend money: get the best lens.

 techie takes pics's gear list:techie takes pics's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Olympus E-M1 II Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro +4 more
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