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 Post subject: Night Soccer Practice
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:15 am 
Well, I finally waded into the imfamously demanding soccer (football to some) practice, at night no less... I've read all about how difficult it is to get good pictures at sports events, so when I noticed the kids practicing near by I thought I'd give it a try. I found a fence to support myself and shot hand held under the marginal lighting. As suspected, it stretched the limits of my camera and lens. I started shooting at ISO 400, f/8, but having to settle for 1/2 sec shutter releases, of course I got a lot of blurry streaks. I slowly found my way up to ISO 1600 (very noisy), and F/4.5 (widest I could get the 70-300mm), that let me shoot at around 1/10, but it still wasn't good enough to catch the action. I finally settled in around 1/40 to 1/60 which left me with very dark images, but something I could work with in pp. These pictures were tweaked in everyway I know how (sharpened, unsharpened, unspeckel, brightened, gama shift, contrast, you name it). I don't know if there is any way of improving my chances of good shots under these conditions short of a new lens or camera. I'm just posting them for fun, but any comments are welcome, of course. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:28 pm 
Nice pics Brian -
I think you did very well to capture the energy of the players and the fun they seemed to be having.
I would also straighten them if you have a tool like PS.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:38 pm 
Thanks roland. I'd been working so hard to overcome the noise in these images that I forgot about getting them straight. The fun they were having is what prompted me to edit and post them -- the night was bitter cold and they were having a great time anyway :? :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:31 pm 
Nice pics Brian
But do you have any EXIF data to go along with the pics ?
The pics all have 'motion' so I'm guessing you used Aperture Priority.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:57 pm 
Thanks David. I mostly shoot in Manual Mode -- I got in the habit a while back, besides I prefer to make my own mistakes rather than leaving it to the camera. Of course I get it wrong lots of times. I usually just make basic settings for the scene, and then adjust shutter speed for proper EV. It works pretty well.

The EXIF data is about the same for all these shots, except focal length -- ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/30-1/60, focal length: 1. 300mm, 2. 110mm, 3. 300mm, 4. 195mm. You're right, I should have posted it with the pictures :oops: Thanks again :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:43 pm 
At 1600ISO, these pics are still very usable - not very 'fine' in detail or pixel peeping but usable.
I had originally thought only pic 1 was on 1600 due to the high noise.
I think I just moved the 70-300mm VR higher on my wish list ! and things to get sooner rather than later :!:

oh. not sure whether its good practice or not, but I normally set EV to +1 or higher at night (if no flash) and -0.7 for day time on my camera.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:47 am 
Hi David. I think the 70-300 VR is a great lens. However, it was just too slow for this kind of work, with my D50. The D40 has the same sensor, but I don't know what noise factor you'd get on the D40x. I would expect your 55-200 VR to get similar results in low light. On closer inspection of these shots, I bumped around between f/4.5 and f/5.6, in case it made a difference (which it didn't), except that f/4.5 let in a little more light and let me increase my shutter speed slightly. I had to drop EV down to -2 and -3, however. I trashed about 40 shots at 1/20 and slower because they blurred out -- the best were at 1/40 to 1/60 but very dark. Here's a crop of the processing steps.
Image The noise is still very prominant -- not something you'd want to blow up. I may be getting a 50mm f/1.8 sooner than I expected -- it's just that I NEED VR. (come on Nikon, an 18-70mm f/2.8 with VRII under $500) Well David, I'm sorry I'm not a little more systematic in all this. Your questions keep pushing me to think a little more about what I'm doing -- for which I'm grateful.


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