just cant nail it !(sports photos on D90)

hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
lets cut too the chase.....I know its not the 70-200 vr or the D90.......I know its me.....What the heck am i doing wrong to not be capable of getting non blurry shots....this is where I would lead you to flickr if I knew how...page 10 of photo of the day....little sparrows


  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    What shutter speed are you using? You need atleast 1/500th to freeze action.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I'm looking at your Basketball shots - correct?
    s: 1/250
    f: 2.8
    Exposure: Manual
    ISO: 2500
    Metering: multi-segment
    no flash
    What part of the shot are you concerned about being in blur?

    One thing I can see for sure is that you are in full manual exposure and it looks ISO as well.
    For sports I use Shutter priority, auto iso, spot metering and single point AF. I'll move the shutter speed until I can freeze the action. That generally is 1/250-1/640.

    single point AF: It kind of looks like your AF is grabbing everything rather than just one subject. That could be a bit of the issue, in trying to compensate for all, none is in focus. Shoot Single Point AF.

    Just a note, I have rarely seen anyone shoot sports in full manual until after they know the shots are coming out sharp. I know many enjoy telling people "shoot in manual" but with sports or fast moving subjects, the camera thinks faster than we do.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    I think it is your D90. From the Exif data I see your shutter speed is too slow. You are shooting at 1/250th of a second and you need to shoot at 1/400th or 1/500th to freeze fast action and you will not be able to do that with your D90. With your lens wide open and a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second you would have to use an ISO 5000 instead of of ISO 2500 you are currently using. On a D90 ISO 5000 will be unacceptable due to too much noise. You need at least one stop better Image Quality at high ISO than the D90 can give you. I tried using a D90 on HS basketball and it only worked when the motion was very slow. Last year I shot boys HS basketball with a D7000 which give you one stop over a D90 and it worked ok: boarderline but ok. This year I am using a D800 which gives me 2+ stops over a D90 and it is working ok. Try shooting when action is moving the least and you will have less blur. But the short answer is that your camera simply cannot do what you are asking it to do. There is just not enough light in those HS gyms. They are really D3s or D4 territory but parents cannot afford those bodies.
  • blandbland Posts: 812Member
    Actually, for a school gym that's a pretty good shot. There's just not enough light in those gyms to shoot and get good shots.

    The pros that shoot NBA and College games shoot at 1/800 and that's with good light and top camera equipment.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Lennox Orioles

    This is to illustrate what has been discussed 1/400, f/4.5, 105mm focal length, but.....ISO 9000 on a D4. You might try a 50mm f/1.4, at f/1.4-2, 1/500th ISO 1600 on your D90. Get in closer, but be careful and able to move.
    Msmoto, mod
  • hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
    Thanks for the advice guys,

    What I'm wanting more than anything is no noise with the ball being clean(no blur) I had a feeling that it was the body but was hoping that I could do something to compensate for the lower iso limits.I'm wondering if the last pic where my daughter's serving the ball could have been sharper( mainly her face and the ball) I find that if I want less noise, I loose out on the freezing of the action and vice versa.
    "For sports I use Shutter priority, auto iso, spot metering and single point AF. I'll move the shutter speed until I can freeze the action. That generally is 1/250-1/640."
    Time to learn more about spot metering.....other than that, I have done this in the past with pretty good success but I just thought that manual mode would allow a bit better result...(must confess that I feel as if I'm selling myself short when not in manual...I keep reading and hearing that manual ultimatly gives the best pics possible)
    I've also tried it in Aperture priority.I find that I can wrap my head around it easier than the S priority.Here is one in A priority(wanted her hand and shoes less blurry - I don't find the picture to be very clear-as if the lens was dirty or fogged over?....otherwise,I would have been fairly satisfied)

    If I were to upgrade to a D700 , how much improvement % wise would I gain? I'm just about ready to buy the 24-70 f2.8 but would put it on the back burner if the results were substantial.

    I see a huge improvement in lighting when using my 1.8 fixed but I find the action to be too far away.If I used a D700 with the 1.8,would the cropped images be at least eqivalent or better in noise compared to the D90? I pretty much no nothing about full frames and worry that cameras might be like audio equipment.....big dollars for each little step forward......(secretly hoping you will tell me there is a huge difference)
    Bottom line,
    Have I stretched the D90 to its limits or is it time to upgrade bodies......I know I will loose reach of DX but if the clarity is a huge difference the reach would'nt be a deal breaker for me
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    You see an improvement using the 50mm f1.8 but the action is too far away. You could try using the 85mm f1.8 on your DX D90 which would effectively be like msmoto shooting a 105 on her FX D4. I think an 85mm f1.8 lens is the best you are going to be able to do with a D90. It will cost you about $500 for a new G version and about $350 for a used D version. I wouldn't look for salvation in any f2.8 lens attached to your D90 because you still won't have enough light to get you to a high enough shutter speed at an ISO that is not too full of noise. If you are going the "upgrade" path look at DxOmark scores and focus on the line for Sports. The D700 is rated as producing a clean image up to an ISO of 2303. The D600 is rated as producing a clean image up to an ISO of 2980. Thus, the D600 will allow you to use a higher ISO than the D700 and would be better able to solve your problem. The D7000 is rated as producing a clean image at ISO 1167. The D90 is rated as producing a clean image at 977. The D4 is rated as producing a clean image at an ISO of 2965. Basically, you would see a minor improvement going to a D7000, a greater improvement going to a D700 but you would see a much greater improvement going to a D600. Pros use the D4 or the D3s but us mere mortals cannot afford those cameras.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I would agree that these are pretty good shots for a high school gym (which are notorious lighting nightmares). Certainly no worse than I get using the same combination. The D90, while a great camera, is simply not designed to deliver the kinds of results we'd like to see over ISO 1600 (and even that's a stretch).

    Donald, did I read your post correct that the D600 is "rated" as producing a clean image at a higher ISO than the D4? Can that be right?
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    Welcome to the sports photography conundrum :)

    I was actually shooting sports (football, swimming, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, etc.) with a D7000 in full manual and the biggest issue I experienced was the AF not keeping up at 5fps when subjects were moving toward me, otherwise: panning, using a monopod, turning off VR on your lens, and as most others have stated, in order to stop action the shutter speed should be at least 1/400th (I have always used that as a guideline and not had an issue.)

    Based on the basketball photo above, I would note a couple things - at 95mm and f/2.8 I can safely assume your focal point is the basketball (which also happens to be the closest object inframe) and shooting this close to the player at f/2.8 your DOF probably won't keep the entire player in focus when moving. 1/320th looks ~2 stops slow on the shutter speed. If you are shooting jpegs, I would go ISO3200 @ f/2.8 when shooting indoor sports at the very least. If you are shooting RAW, go with ISO800 or ISO1600 and adjust in LR or whatever software you use for PP as the software probably does a better job of handling the exposure adjustment than the camera does - I can't recall the term at this moment but there is basically a max ISO for the sensor before the camera begins to digitally handle it - and I would guess on the D90 it is between 800 and 1200, I think the D7000 is ~1000 where the CPU kicks in and starts to manage the increased ISO.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • blandbland Posts: 812Member

    Have I stretched the D90 to its limits
    I would say yes but you can offset that with denoise software. I suggest Topaz's Denoise5 software.
    Then you can shoot at ISO 3200 @ 1/800.

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    Proudgeek: Yes it is correct. Check DxOMark for yourself. But it is only part of the story. Above ISO 3200, and especially above ISO 6400 the D4 holds on to IQ while the D600 IQ drops significantly. High ISO noise on both the D600 and the D800 is remarkably good up to ISO 64000 contrary to what most people think.

    Here are some examples.

    This was shot across the full length of the court with a D7000 at ISO 3200, 70mm f2.8 and 1/400th of a second and cropped significantly. You will have to click on these photos to enter my flicker account and then view the larger versions of the image to properly evaluate the grain.
    imageDON_8168a" />

    This was blocked shot was shot from the sideline with a D800 at ISO 6400, f4, 1/500th sec, 86mm, -1/3 ev and cropped a bit.
    imageDON_1718" />

    I am searching for one taken with a D600 and will post when I find one.
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member

    Have I stretched the D90 to its limits
    I would say yes but you can offset that with denoise software. I suggest Topaz's Denoise5 software.
    Then you can shoot at ISO 3200 @ 1/800.
    Nik software Dfine2.0 works great as well.

    Here's a shot I took of my niece with my D7000, handheld, at an indoor swim meet (possibly one of the toughest to shoot IMHO)
    and even after this, I recently sold my D7000 because I too realized my demands were more than the camera could provide.

    I don't often use flickr but you should be able to see some of my other sports photos in my photostream there. Don't be afraid to shoot Manual, just learn to mind your lightmeter, bump your EV if necessary, and shoot RAW if possible so you can change your WB later down the road if you like.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    Here is a D600 example shot at ISO- 6400, f4, 70mm, +1/3 ev and most surprisingly at only 1/200th of a second using the new Nikon 70-200mm f4 lens.
  • blandbland Posts: 812Member
    I shot this with my D800 @ 1/800 (F 3.5 ISO/4000)

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    I see my flicker links to the first two photos I posted (the D7000 example and the D800 example) don't work so here are the links to see those images in larger size for better evaluation:



    These three photos from three different Nikon bodies all shooting HS basketball in dimly lit gyms should serve to illustrate the differences between the three sensors.

    One other comment. I have observed, but not photographed, girls HS basketball. They do move much slower than the boys so I think one can get sharp images of the girls at a slower shutter speed than you can with boys.

  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    hodge1969 - from my experience with d90, it's usable up to iso 1600, above that You start to see a lot of grain, some of it can be cleaned in PP with noise reduction software (try Noise Ninja). as for msmoto shot, it was iso 9000 = almost one and a half of light more than on Your shot. You may try the 85/1.8 as this will give You 128mm on d90, should be enough for this kind of shots You shooting. You will also gain 1 stop of light.
    there's also a trick You can do to get more from Your body. play with exposure compensation to get faster speed. this can be easily corrected in PP, and You will gain at lest one more stop (2 stops on FX, 1 stop on DX cams)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,452Moderator
    Nice advice by adamz.
    Always learning.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    Yes, the exposure compensation "trick" is a good idea to try also.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited January 2013
    @ hodge1969

    For gosh sakes....you have great images.....IMO if you are shooting with a D90, having some blurring from motion is part of the action. The only inexpensive way to get sharp images is with flash which may not be allowed. As to the limitations of a short lens...on DX, anything from 50-135mm may be useful. An f/stop about 1.4-2.0 would be nice. And, the idea you can catch all the action...well, you can. Two D4's, 24-70mm f/2.8 on one, 70-200mm f/2.8VRII on the other. See, for only about $16,000 you can do it. No one is doing this stuff magically.

    Now, most of this is easy for me to say. I used to shoot stuff with ISO 800, almost a sand storm of grain, and with no motor drive on my Nikon F body. And we accepted that some would be a bit soft. Oh, focus was manual as well.

    My suggestion, if you are not shooting at 4 FPS, I think the D90 is either 3 or 4, please do so. You may find you shoot 20-30 images for each one you find acceptable. But this is how it is done. You are probably getting better results from your D90 than i can get from mine. :)
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    I would consider upgrading to a D700 which you could probably buy fairly cheaply second hand now and which performs very well at high ISOs. I am sure that the D4 is even better but at a huge price. I have recently sold my D700 and bought a D800 but had no trouble shooting in terrible lighting for stage shows and theatre at high ISOs on the D700.

    Like Msmoto above, having come from manual focus, huge grain on pushed film, all this is very much easier these days! The D700 is a truly excellent camera (don't get too seduced by all those megapixels, it really does not matter too much) in all respects and this may be a cheaper and equally viable route, compared with buying f2.8 teles or tele zooms to compensate for the relatively poor low light performance of the D90.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,403Member
    Another good idea from msmoto. Try shooting bursts and you may find you get a few that are "just right." As you follow a player down court you are introducing camera movement also.
  • hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
    Ok,first off,
    Bland.....WOW WOW WOW! That's what I'm looking for-amazing!-Feel like trading cameras? What lens did you use and would this have been taken in a gym where lighting is above par?
    D800 looks like a very good option minus the fps but I 've gotten by with the D90 so it wouldn't be a bad option....just worried that my 70-200 vr1 would cause problems (or so I've read) which is why I had thought of the D700.....also the high megapixels scare the heck out of me.....I don't think I need them
    Although fixed 85mm sounds great,I am more interested in buying the 3 dream lenses and a fx and keeping the fixed 50 1.8 and that would be the end of spending (or the end of me.....which one would you pick)
    For some reason that I can't think of right now,(might have read it somewhere) I tought that tricking the camera with the exposure compensation slowed the fps down.......maybe I'll try that again
    Anyways,it sounds like upgrading the body would be better right now. The elusive 24-70 will have to wait......besides, the 50 1.8f is good enough for me.....I just wished it wouldn't make me have to move around....I like taking sport pictures-not playing them....more of a chicken wing kind of guy.
    you just made my day.Thank you
    I've been shooting with the 4fps all along....300 pics this weekend gave me maybe 15 action shots that I liked enough....if it wasn't for the privacy of other players, I would post them.I believe that I now dislike dark orange walls in gymnasiums
    Thanks to everyone for the help.....
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    yes, dear, the problem of the background is a definite one. And, in post processing it is possible to desaturate the background slightly so as to make the players "pop".
    Msmoto, mod
  • hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
    I can barely keep up with this site....just not enough time to learn photo programs.....by the way,where can i read about "accept reject" comments and how the rest of the site operates....
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    @hodge1969 - you might check the thread I started a yesterday about compromise between D3s, D600, etc. I would say that we are both feeling the same pain - including that I also own the 70-200 f/2.8 VRI. And, FWIW, to agree with Msmoto, during one of my son's football games I could easily shoot 800 photos and come out with ~50 fantastic shots. Some of that is slow AF on the camera, but some of that is just a part of shooting live action.

    @bland - Your shot of the girl passing/catching the ball - that almost convinces me that a D800 may not be such a bad option after all. I had avoided that as an option for several reasons, but I digress, I am beginning to threadjack here.

    Bottom line, I am certain, as most of us in here are, @hodge1969, that your photos are pretty darned good and with a few minor adjustments to your shooting style and PP you can get results closer to what you are looking for - even with your D90. Remember, single point C-AF, if you can disable the re-focus delay definitely do so as well (i forget what the menu name is for that)

    @Msmoto - you hit the nail on the head. Sports photogs have more money in their bags than probably any other type of photographer. Also, I agree, sports are very difficult to shoot in part because of the background you *have* to deal with, you don't get a choice so you have to learn ways help it in PP.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
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