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Best metering for indoor sports?

7 posts in this topic

I know Ken,Dan and Steve have done considerable indoor sports shooting,any tips on the best metering mode to use?

I tried partial in AV mode,but the camera would overexpose in too many instances. To salvage the night I just went in TV mode set to 500. It seemed to work pretty good then,although some shots were under,some over. The gym had very poor lighting. My camera would catch a dark object once in a while and that's when it would over expose. Most turned out very good at ISO 3200. Any tips?

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Dan will have a lot more info than I do, but a couple of things. Depending on what kind of lights you're shooting under the cycling of the lights will effect from one shot to the next. Even on a high burst one shot will expose well and the next will underexpose. At ISO 3200 start at the fastest your lens will allow and take lots of shots. I'll shoot up to 600 a game to get 80 to 100 usable shots. I'm starting to use strobes inside and that makes a real difference.

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You discovered why camera's are not as smart as the operator. You were getting inconsistent results because your meter saw different backgrounds, uniform colors, etc. You end up with exactly what you describes some over-exposed some under-exposed.

I usually put the camera in Av and take a few meter readings around the court, end-lines, center court, you get the point. I look at those settings and look where I will be shooting. If it is basketball much of the shooting will be top of the key on in.

I set the camera in manual using those Av metered settings and take a few test shots with players warming up. Look at the histogram and make adjustments to your shutter speed. You are already at ISO 3200 and wide-open on your aperture so it is simple! Generally most courts will be from 1/2 to 1 stop difference from area to area. You can easily deal with that by slightly overexposing. Remember slight over-exposure is preferable from a noise stand point than under-exposure.

I also use a Custom White Balance. Use a white wall, tee-shirt, piece of white paper just make sure you fill the frame with all white. I usually have the shot out of focus, it seems to average out the white better. I also use 1/30s or slower to allow for a complete cycle of the lights. This doesn't always work in badly lighted gyms then I switch to AWB. That at times will give you better results.

I always keep a word document that I save as a file in the folder of the photos I have shot for that game. This has information such as CWB, shutter speeds, ISO, any facility notes basically anything that will allow me to set the camera and go!

Speaking of that my camera is ALWAYS set prior to going out the door. I may make some changes when I get there but this helps alleviate problems like forgetting to change ISO, mode you are shooting, you get my point.

Hope that helps, any more questions fire away.

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This is one of the shots after I switched to TV 500.


I may take it down later,as I don't have permission from anyone to use it. This was my 1st attempt at indoor sports and most turned out like this one. Flash is not allowed at these games.

Any C&C appreciated. This was @iso 3200 with a light NN applied.

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thanks Dan. I knew you'd flesh it out better than I could!

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MM it looks pretty good. Couple of suggestions if I may. First this is a public venue you are within your rights to post a photo taken in that public venue.

1. I find that I shoot basketball almost 99% in the portrait or vertical mode. As you can see in your shot you end up with a lot of cut-off limbs in landscape mode. This shot in portrait would have eliminated the player to the left and you would have a full body shot.

2. Watch those horizons! One of the first rules in sports shooting that is good to follow. I use vertical items to help with keeping the camera vertical. Horizontal things like the bottom of the bleachers usually don't work well. If you don't get it perfect in the camera just apply a bit of rotation in PP again with something vertical in the photo.

3. Your white balance is off a bit here. The warm wood from the gym floor as well as the sodium lights gave you a warm cast. You can fix that in PP as well with a white dropper on the uniform. Looks like a white wall surrounding the gym, might work for a CWB shot. You will probably shoot other games here, take a few shots in RAW and open them in your favorite converter. Adjust your white balance and take note what the K temp is. You can now use that next time you shoot there, easy and simple and shoud work well. Saves you from a CWB.

4. Shot is about 1/2 stop underexposed. I've found with the 30D that one zone on your histogram corresponds to roughly 1/2 stop of exposure. So adjust your shutter speed in manual mode to get the shot exposed to the right.

The noise level looks great! You did a decent job on the exposure to get clean results like this. This should be typical of the ISO using an xxD series camera. Slight tweak here and there and you will have great shots!

Oh and I forgot to add if you shot at 1/500s I would die for lighting that good! Most of the places I shoot 1/320s is tops at 3200 ISO. That is one reason I went to a 50D. Hope to get to 1/500s with that camera.

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Thanks for the tips!

The fact is,that at 1600 the SS would bounce around from 125-640 and at 3200 it would bottom at about 400 but would hit 1000 depending where they were on the floor and if I hit one of the other teams white uniforms. That's when I figured that a constant 500TV would produce more keepers than having the SS all over the lot. I will admit,you are right as I backed down 1/3 EC to cheat a little more speed out of the old girl. grin I shot these in jpeg as I figured going thru all the raws would eat up too much time. I knew my white balance was too warm,but I figured if I got any winners that the girl might like herself looking slightly tan as opposed to white on Your from Soda,you know how female skin tones get this time of year. smile

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