Low light action shots?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by p nut, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. p nut

    p nut TPF Noob!

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    Ok, kind of a noob when it comes to low light photography.

    I was at a game a few nights ago. It was in an indoor arena. The lighting wasn't that great, and when I was taking the shots, most came out a bit blurry and unclear. The flash obviously won't help, since the subjects are too far away.

    What is the technique behind a good low-light picture?

    I have a Canon S3 IS, just for reference.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The physics of photography are against you here. In order to freeze a moving subject, you need a fast shutter speed. In a location with low levels of light, it's hard or impossible to get enough light if you shutter speed is fast enough to stop the action.

    There are two other variables; one is the aperture of the lens. In this case, your aperture was probably at it's maximum already, so that's no help. You can't change then lens on your camera either, other wise the solution might be to get a 'faster' lens.

    The next variable is the ISO setting. The higher the setting, the faster the shutter speed you can get. There is trade off though...the higher the ISO, the more digital noise you will get. It's up to you...but it's probably better to have a sharper shot that has noise than a blurry image.

    So next time, set your ISO pretty high...maybe 800 or higher if you can. Try to brace the camera on something (or use a tripod etc) and see if that helps to get less blur.
     
  3. p nut

    p nut TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Big Mike. Yeah, I was hoping for a magical solution of some kind, but like you were saying, there are too many laws of photography working against me here.

    My ISO was set at 800, but there was a LOT of noise.

    I'll have to get a tripod and see if that helps at all. Can't wait to graduate from this P&S to a DSLR.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A tripod will help with anything that is stationary...but won't do anything for moving subjects. Actually, it can still look pretty cool if the background is sharp and the players are moving.

    On the other hand, if there is a subject moving by you...you can pan with them. If you do it right, you can get a sharp subject with a blurred background...which is even cooler.

    Either way, it will all be easier with a proper camera like a DSLR.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nighttime sports photography is a very difficult endeavor especially if you do not have the proper equipment. There is a reason you see giant lenses on the sidelines of any sporting event. You need a fast lens to capture the action under very low-light conditions. Really all you can do with what you have is what you have done or try some other combinations and see what works best for you that is the beauty of digital after all you can immediately see if what you got worked.
     
  6. mintwin101

    mintwin101 TPF Noob!

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    Another noob question, but what does noise have to do with photography? This is probably really obvious but i just thought i would ask for future reference.
     
  7. Stretch Armstrong

    Stretch Armstrong TPF Noob!

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    The slightest noise can distract the photographer resulting in poor shots. I try to keep everyone quiet while I am shooting. :wink:

    http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/key=noise
     

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