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Photography Question 
Kathy Blough
 

Inside Action Shots


 
  Basketball streaks
Basketball streaks
Good lighting, Manual setting, get streaks from movement
© Kathy Blough
 
  Basketball too dark
Basketball too dark
No movement, too dark, setting on Auto
© Kathy Blough
 
 
I'm having problems getting good actions shots inside (at a basketball game with flourscent lights). When I set my camera on Auto, there is no movement but the shots are very dark. When I use other modes - P, A or M - and set my camera on flourscent light, the lighting is great, but the shots are all streaked from the movement of the players. Any suggestions?


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1/19/2002 6:25:20 PM

 
Doug Smith   Have you tried using a flash or a higher ASA film? Your problem is too slow a shutter speed and a lens that is not fast enough. You have to at least use a 125 shutter speed and preferably 250 when shooting basketball


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1/28/2002 11:38:53 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The first photo is properly exposed, but the shutter speed is too slow for hand-holding (camera shake) and too slow to stop the action. To get a faster shutter speed, you need faster film (or a lens with a much larger maximum aperture = $$$). If you used ISO 100 film, then ISO 400 will give you 4x faster shutter speed. If you used ISO 400, then ISO 800 will give you 2x the shutter speed.

The 2nd picture, taken in "Auto," looks like the camera chose to use the built-in flash and a handholdable shutter speed of about 1/60-1/90. Since the players are out of flash range, only the back of heads of the near spectators is properly exposed.


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1/29/2002 2:42:13 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Re: "or a lens with a much larger maximum aperture = $$$", I forgot about the trusty old 50mm f/1.8 lens. Much better for low light than the typical f/3.5-5.6 zoom, and it can be bought new for $100 or less.

Instead of using a 28-80 zoom set to 80mm with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 and a shutter speed of maybe 1/15, you can use the 50mm at f/2 and a shutter speed of 1/120 without going to a grainier higher speed film.


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1/29/2002 2:54:28 PM

 
Amanda    I've taken night time shots at night in stadium with ISO 800 film and the results are fine. If you are on tight budget, high speed film can help you the most.

And just to comment on the lighting - I don't think the sports hall featured in your photos are fluorescent-lit. The lights in the hall look white and fluorescent lights will give a greyish-green cast to your photos which is obviously not the case here. I am sure there are many photographers out there who can clarify this matter.


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1/30/2002 3:53:16 AM

 
Jeff Grove   One thing you can do is "push" the film when you shoot. This means that if you're using say ISO 400 film, you set your camera for ISO 800. All the pictures you set your exposure for will be exposed as if you have a one stop faster film in the camera. When you take the film in for processing you must tell them to "push" it one stop. This will allow you to shoot as if the film you were using was one stop faster allowing you to use faster shutter speeds which, as has been mentioned, is part of your problem. I probably didn't explain this as well as I could have but you can check with the place you normally take you film to for processing to see if they'll do it. It may cost a little more if they do.


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1/31/2002 3:12:23 PM

 
John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Kathy,
Prior postings have nailed the problem. Professional and semi-pro photographers use very fast (and very expensive) lenses, at least f/2.8, to cover indoor sports. You can use ISO 800 film, but don't expect to make large prints from ISO 800 beyond 4x6 or 5x7 without them falling apart from the grain.

Jeff mentions "pushing" film. You can do this also, but must do it for the entire roll. You cannot switch film speeds in mid-roll. Processing pushed film requires changing the time of various developing steps and a good professional lab will have run tests to calibrate their machinery for pushed film. I don't know of any "consumer" labs that will "push process" film, especially the one-hour mini-labs. They likely won't even know what you're talking about. Worse yet, some will simply nod at you as if you don't know what you're talking about, take your film and process it normally. (IMO consumer labs have a difficult time properly processing normally exposed film as it is.) Full-service professional labs will push process. You need to identify the film as pushed and tell them by how much (in stops). You *will* pay an additional charge for this. No other film can be processed in their machine when a pushed roll goes through, and there's the setup time for your film roll plus resetting the machine for normal processing afterward.

The alternative not mentioned, *if* it is allowed, is using a powerful flash with a GN of at least 120 to 130 (these are expensive also). The problem with flash is the long distances involved. I have a personal aversion to using flash with sports as it can be distracting to the players, but in some locales, especially for high school sports, it seems to be acceptable. Other locales absolutely forbid it.

-- John


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2/1/2002 6:25:21 AM

 
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