Sport Shots in Low Light - General Help and Assistance on using CHDK stable releases - CHDK Forum

Sport Shots in Low Light

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Sport Shots in Low Light
« on: 03 / March / 2008, 11:07:55 »
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Any suggestions on how I can get CHDK on my 720IS to take better sport shots?  I am often in dimmly lit gyms that require higher ISO settings (creating noise) and fast shutter speed settings.  I know the camera has limitations in this type of situation, but what would be the "optimum" settings for this and similar cameras under these circumstances? I have played around with Aperature/Shutter Over-ride and Noise Filter settings, which made for some interesting shots, but I have not gotten the type of results I was hoping for....  Any Ideas???

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Offline dzsemx

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Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #1 on: 03 / March / 2008, 17:39:54 »
if you want to take good quality sport photos you need a dslr with iso 3200... or a cheaper one with external flash(=speedlight) support, some(2-3) strong flashes and something to link them together (cable, ir transmitter, rf transmitter)

Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #2 on: 04 / March / 2008, 06:29:24 »
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« Last Edit: 22 / April / 2008, 13:44:06 by Barney Fife »
[acseven/admin commented out: please refrain from more direct offensive language to any user. FW complaints to me] I felt it imperative to withdraw my TOTAL participation. Nobody has my permission, nor the right, to reinstate MY posts. Make-do with my quoted text in others' replies only. Bye

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Offline carlos

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Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #3 on: 04 / March / 2008, 12:09:32 »
teachnet,

Go to Jerry Lodriguss, master sports photographer (and astrophotographer!). Click HERE

All round interesting site with great tips!

carlos



Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #4 on: 04 / March / 2008, 14:35:55 »
Any suggestions on how I can get CHDK on my 720IS to take better sport shots?  I am often in dimmly lit gyms that require higher ISO settings (creating noise) and fast shutter speed settings.  I know the camera has limitations in this type of situation, but what would be the "optimum" settings for this and similar cameras under these circumstances? I have played around with Aperature/Shutter Over-ride and Noise Filter settings, which made for some interesting shots, but I have not gotten the type of results I was hoping for....  Any Ideas???

Teachnet,

Being completely new to photography when I bought my S2IS a few years back I figured it would be the right tool for the job. I have daughters that play volleyball and that was one of the primary reasons that I bought that particular camera having a limited ammount of money to spend at the time. In hindsight I wish I'd known then what I know now--that the camera just has certain limitations. If I'd known lower light situations (and yeah the gyms are to my camera also a very low light situation) would require so much post processing just to get an image that was closer to useable but still crappy, I'd have talked the Mrs. into plunking down a few bucks more to get at least an entry level DSLR. I'm still working on her for that.

Your problem here is probablly identical to mine. Your camera just doesn't have the horsepower in low light. You get focus errors--because you lack the contrast needed in brighter situations. Irritating isn't it? You end up with noisy (grainy) looking shots because of the higher ISO settings. You can try these things and see how it works out. First, forget about automatic or semi-automatic mode if you want to take pics of action in low light. These cameras are designed to do a lot of things automatically but all they're trying to do is get to a proper exposure with the light available. If that means leaving the shutter open longer--that's what its gonna do. Problem is--if you're trying to get shots of people moving quickly, as in volleyball or basketball--its just gonna look like all blurry. If you're in a mode like "sports" make sure your ISO is set as high as it will go. This will help your camera get a higher shutter speed, which you'll need to capture action. However your cam will still try to compensate for a better exposure regardless of the action--and use a shutter speed slower than is acceptable to capture the action. If the shutter speed seems to capture the action OK, you can set your EV higher max it out to say +2. That'll help brighten things up.

Better yet, if you can, go into a manual mode try these settings, set the shutter speed at about 1/160 (still way slow), the aperture as wide as it will go, preferrably 2.7 (however the ammount you zoom WILL affect this, making it smaller no matter what), set ISO as high as it'll go and jack up the EV as high as it'll go. Either way try to get as close to the action as you possiby can. Sit in the front row or stake out a good position in a corner or end line if the refs will permit it. More closer, more better. That factor alone will help probably more than anything else.

Blurry images can be caused by several things. One is camera blur--its caused by the ammount you might physically move during the time your camera's shutter might be open. Motion blur--the ammount your subject might move during that time. And digital noise--caused by using higher ISOs in lower end cameras.

The first two problems can be solved by using as high a shutter speed as you can get and still have a close to properly exposed shot--(expect a way underexposed shot). That and try to hold the camera as steady as you can. Hard to do with one of those LCD screen point and shoots you hold out in front of you. While it might not seem like you moved much, even a little twitch will be exaggerated at a relatively slow shutter speed ruining your image. The last problem--noise--is a bit trickier. Its a product if the ISO setting but can be corrected to some extent with software. Higher end cameras will go to around ISO 1600 or 3200 and produce little or no noise at all. Mine only goes to ISO400 and is noisy as all hell. I use photoshop and another program called Noise Ninja that cleans the shots up well but not perfectly. The result actually looks a bit flat. The cost of removing noise is the loss of detail--not that its much as the noise pretty much already did that to begin with.

The short of it is while our cams might be great out in the light of day or in a small area where the flash is useful, in a darker area without flash they're just out of their element. I long for the day that I have a better camera and I don't have to fiddle so much with every shot I take in a gym that I like. I'm so envious when I go to a tournament and see the shots the pros take and are selling at the door. I get the same shots they do (as I've had so much practice over the years) but their images are so much crisper than mine. Oh well. One day.

Good luck!

Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #5 on: 04 / March / 2008, 16:03:04 »
I appreciate all the input, and I will definately try your suggestions. My solution to date has been to take videos with my 720IS.  They turn out great with no lighting problems, but the resolution is not high enough to pull off decent stills. The sport I shoot most is volleyball as well, it is particularly challenging because it is hard to anticipate where the ball will be.  There is a lot of jumping and fast arm movement, and the net is often an obstacle to the photographer.

Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #6 on: 04 / March / 2008, 18:37:11 »
A good position in volleyball depends on a couple of factors. Firstly make sure the refs know you're gonna be taking pics before the match starts and ask them if there's anywhere they do NOT want you to stand. That is if you're gonna be close to the court (and you should be if you want better pictures). That way they won't have to stop the game to tell you to move. Mildly embarrassing but easy to avoid. Chances are using flash will be right out. The refs I've spoken with tell me its a distraction for them more than the players and would rather I not use it. So I don't. Just as well as I can't get a second shot as fast due to the flash having to recharge.

Next, figure on what hand the players use most. If they're mostly right handed you want to be standing on their left side. Why? Because if you're on their right even if you time your shot right chances are you'll get a great shot of someone's arm making a great hit on the ball. The arm has of course, totally obscured the player's face. (got a ton of great arm pics before I figured this out! hehe) So stand on their left--the side of their free arm. Or vice versa for lefties.

I try to be near the 10 foot line on the sideline or as close to it as they'll allow to get shots of the back row players. I try to be on the opposite back row near the corner opposite the handedness to get shots of the front row players from their front. Problem here is focus point. If you're off a little the faces won't be in focus or the net will be in focus. The net seems to confuse the autofocus a lot. If you can lock focus on your camera try zooming in on the front row player's legs just below the net before a play starts and lock at that point. Now when your players go up for a kill or block their faces are in better focus.

You'll get a better handle on it once you start taking more pics. In volleyball you'll find it easier to anticipate the play from the endline rather than the sideline as the path of the ball is almost straight from that perspective. All the sports are a little different. They all have better or worse places to stand and all have different timing. You just have to remember why you're standing where you're standing and concentrate on getting the shots best suited to that spot. Then move to another spot to break it up and get some different ones.  I'm gearing up for soccer and baseball seasons now. (get nice clear pics of those sports--out in the light of day)
« Last Edit: 04 / March / 2008, 18:42:12 by AHDrano »

Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #7 on: 04 / March / 2008, 19:16:05 »
Oh btw Barney I got a kick out of your post. I've tried and tried every setting I could to get a clearer pic of action in dim light with my S2IS. Can't say its a lazy thing with me at least as I've jumped thru every hoop I could find to jump thru in a constant quest to clean up my images. Read books. Talked to actual photographers. Anything I could think of to get better. Seems no matter what I do this camera just runs out of gas when the sun goes down or I'm indoors. I'm talking hand-held with no flash. This cam just ain't gonna do it if the subject or the photographer moves a millimeter. Put it on a tripod and take pics of inanimate objects and its just fine, of course. You have an S3, right? Yours is only marginally better than mine going to ISO800. But the pics I've seen taken with that camera at 800 look noisier still than the ISO400 ones. So where you might gain a bit in shutter speed you give back in additional noise.(have you figured that I just hate all the noise hehe) In some gyms (usually college level gyms) that have better lighting, I can get to ISO200 with the same shutter speed and aperture settings I'd use in a darker gym and have much better results. I'm still underexposed but with the lower ISO, I get less noise and therefore a better quality image. Still not the crisp image I'd like--but far better than any of the ISO400 ones.

If I try going with a lower ISO in the darker gyms the resulting image is just waaay underexposed and bringing it back with PS in levels seems to me to produce almost as much noise as if the camera had done it. I knock it back using Noise Ninja but I think the problem, at least in this case, in this particular application, is just a matter of the camera being asked to produce something well beyond its limits. Heck, if that weren't true they couldn't sell a DSLR!

Having not had the experience with film photography I can't speak intelligently about the differences between that and digital. Maybe it did work better with film. Maybe you could purposefully underexpose a shot in film and correct that during development without a noise-like penalty like you get in digital. I really don't know. I can't say I've tried shooting RAW yet as now the season's over and I'll have to "wait til next year". Maybe that'll work. If you'd like to share some secret formula or workflow to straighten this problem out I'm sure a lot of folks would really appreciate it--myself included. :)


Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #8 on: 05 / March / 2008, 07:33:46 »
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« Last Edit: 22 / April / 2008, 13:44:47 by Barney Fife »
[acseven/admin commented out: please refrain from more direct offensive language to any user. FW complaints to me] I felt it imperative to withdraw my TOTAL participation. Nobody has my permission, nor the right, to reinstate MY posts. Make-do with my quoted text in others' replies only. Bye

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Offline PhyrePhoX

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Re: Sport Shots in Low Light
« Reply #9 on: 05 / March / 2008, 07:45:41 »
barney, you're being too hard on him. there is a reason for dslrs to exist. bridge cameras have obvious flaws, and among them the tiny sensor. bigger sensor - better light - more potential for better pics.

 

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