I recently purchased a Nikon D70. I'm having a tough time getting good night sports action (football under the lights). I can't seem to get the right balance of shutter speed and ISO to get stop action shots. I'm using a 70-300 Nikon lens in both sports mode, P mode and shutter priority mode. In sports mode I can't seem to get a fast enogh shutter speed. In P mode, even by changing the shutter and aperature automatically in tandum and increasing the ISO I can't get a shot. They are almost black. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do when shooting a high school football game at night. There seems like there should be plenty of light. Is there a starting point that I could go from?
Under those conditions, you're going to need an ISO of 1600 and a shutter speed of 1/500 in order to stop the action. That will determine your aperture. An ISO of 3200 would probably give you more flexibility, but the shots will be pretty grainy. Get as close as you can, sidelines if possible, and use a monopod. If you have to shoot from the stands, well, good luck!
The easiest way is to call the local newspaper and ask the photographers what they are setting their cameras on, ISO, f-stop and shutter speed. Then try to use those same settings, given that your lens may be too slow. They are probably using 2.8 lenses. At least that'll give you a starting point.
That's what I used to do when I was a sports photographer in the 1970s and I had to shoot in a venue I was unfamiliar with. Back then, besides the camera settings, I needed to know whether it was daylight or tungsten film to shoot for accurate color.
When I shot high school football for the local paper several years back, I used ISO 1600 film and an f2.8 lens wide open. The lighting could vary from the center of the field to the end zones as much as a full stop. I shot in aperature priority and let the shutter speed change. I used a monopod and tried to pan the movement. I usually got a 250 shutter speed and a think that a little panning blur actually enhanced the images.
I am not using a D-SLR, I use the Fuji S-5100 (4mp) and have done a number of high school football games from sidelines. Here's what I find works. I will always shoot in appature mode keeping the f/stop as low as possible will vary as I zoom in closer. I shoot on ISO 200 and 400 depending on how much light I have and the trick for me is to ALWAYS use the flash to stop the motion. In a typical game I will shoot 500 photos and end up with about 35 wow shots... keepers. Also shoot as much as you possibly can and delete bad ones later, for you might just miss the winning shot in the process.
Hope this helps
In a typical game I will shoot 500 photos and end up with about 35 wow shots... keepers. Also shoot as much as you possibly can and delete bad ones later, for you might just miss the winning shot in the process.
I work for the local paper (as a computer geek, not a photographer) and I have heard this same story from a whole lot of newspaper photo pros. It's amazing how well it works. Just take a LOT of pictures; the law of averages says that some of them will be great. Plus the simple act of taking a lot of shots means that you get practice at the craft of making images and, as with any kind of practice, more is better.
And I simply don't delete the "bad" pictures anymore. Too often I've noticed that some of those shots contain things which I missed on the first look. Sometimes I even discover an effect which happened by accident is better than what I'd intended in the first place. It's all a matter of perspective.
I think that this thread has gone off point and might be misleading for photographers interested in "learning" how to shoot sports.
It's not about shooting 500 shots to get a few keepers. It should be about understanding and anticipating the sport so getting the keepers isn't about luck at all. Sports photography can be one of the most difficult types of photography and requires skill from practicing with specialized equipment. I think that with advances in technology (read that as auto focus), too many photographers depend on the equipment to capture the image and not their skills. I don't see images taken today with the most advanced equipment, being any better than those taken 30 years ago before there was anything called auto focus. Photographers who specialized in sports back then learned how to use their equipment to capture the images they needed.
I too see how this post has gotten off topic. Sports is very hard to shoot and I was just trying to offer my advice on how to get the best keepers...... Yes if you hsve shoot 500 to get 36 great pictures your in the wrong business I guess. I normally shot fires and CSI stuff not sports but in the past year I have t=had the chance to shoot 6 football games. It is a lot harder than it looks.