Taking sporting shots

johnmac 10 151
9 Oct 2010 9:28AM
I've watched a few tutorials about taking photos on sporting events on Youtube. One or two recommend you have your shutter on 1000 to freeze the action. I find when I have my shutter set on 1000 or above my display shows the subject is too dark. How do I get around this? Is it I have the wrong ISO setting, I normally have it at around 200 or 400. I use a Nikon D5000. I'm taking some shots of a friend running in a charity event this weekend. Any advice much appreciated
Coleslaw 15 13.4k 28 Wales
9 Oct 2010 9:36AM
I suppose you are using shutter priority mode then.
In that case, the camera will try to open up the aperture in order to get what the camera think is the right exposure.
When the aperture is as wide as it could be (due to the lens), and still not enough light to get the right exposure, the photo will be dark.
So, you need to adjust the ISO, in order to get the exposure right.

Depends on what sporting event though, sometimes you will find you might not need 1/1000 sec. Sometimes a bit of motion blur is good.
johnmac 10 151
9 Oct 2010 9:47AM
Thanks for the advive, I thought it was because I was using the wrong ISO. I use a 55-200 and had the setting on 1/60 & 1/90 and they come out alright, I just wanted to experiment using the shutter at 1000. I have another lens that I was given by a friend a 28-70 1:35-4.5 not ideal for sporting shots but I will see if I can take a shot with a shutter speed of 1000. The only downside it won't auto focus.

Thanks again
paperboy 11 208
9 Oct 2010 4:24PM
pretty big downside, ( no autofocus) don't use the 28-70 for any critical shots.
LensYews 11 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
9 Oct 2010 5:19PM
If you are getting the exposure you want at 200mm f5.6, 1/60 and ISO 200, then when you have 1/1000 dialled in (a four stop increase in speed over the 1/60) you would need to increase the ISO you are shooting on by four stops as well, so from ISO 200 to 3200 to get the same exposure. [If you had a fast lens say f2.8 if would be open the aperture up to f2.8 (2 stops) and increase ISO 2 stops to 800]

For runners you might need 1/1000 if you are shooting side on and want a sharp image, if you are shooting with them coming towards you, you can use a slower shutter speed. If you are using the lens at 200mm on the D5000, you would be looking for a shutter speed of greater than 1/350 for a sharp image (I would leave the VR switched off for these kind of images)

Don't let not having autofocus on the 28-70 put you off, why not manually prefocusing on a spot the runners will pass and then take a panning shot as they pass, and don't forget a few wide-angle shots to show the context of the event.

Good luck
johnmac 10 151
9 Oct 2010 8:24PM
Thanks both for your advice. Looks like I'll have to get there a bit earlier than expected to practice what you said before my friends run pass. Did a recce today and found a good spot, just after an hill. I'm hoping at this spot the climb will seperate the runners and space them out more when they come pass. really appreciate you help thanks
LensYews 11 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2010 9:35PM
How did you get on today?

I've just discovered how much sand beach motocross on a mildly windy day can generate. I think I've got all the grains off the camera, lens, bag, flash, extender and myself now!
johnmac 10 151
10 Oct 2010 10:19PM
The day went well, took some really good shots. I got some shots on a shutter speed at 750 but found I had to come down to 500 & 350. Took the VR off the 55-200 like you said a few were out of focus but the majority were in focus, I didnít have the bottle to switch to my 28-70 lens just in case I missed my friends running pass.

I'm finding out as a beginner thereís so much to learn and remember, what I am noticing now Iím starting to enjoy it more. I was really grateful of your advice as with all the advice I get on this site.

I know what you mean about sand, it gets everywhere and a real pain to get rid of

Thanks again
LensYews 11 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2010 11:22PM
Good to hear you got some of the shots you were after. I look forward to seeing some in the gallery
19 Nov 2010 1:56PM
I did some sports shots recently, I used a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens which worked really well, I had the luxury of a nice bright sunny day. I'd like to save up and buy a fast 400mm lens though if I was going to make it a regular thing.
Picola 10 15 United Kingdom
21 Nov 2010 3:53AM
You could always use the "P" programme as well. Sort of like auto but a bit better and helps with panning your subject and sets the ISO at auto too if you want.
It's a bit easier this way with a bit of practice at first. Try panning a gull, they are always easy to practise on so long as you throw some bread Smile
Just follow the runner or whatever action and just keep firing off shots remembering not to stop as you take a shot. Plus it's easier following a human than a bird LOL You could try panning passing traffic for practise too.
The camera decides the settings and it generally picks up you are panning and will set the camera at a higher speed for you it can blur the background as well.

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