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D3 Settings for Night Baseball?

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by mongoose777, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. I shot a baseball game tonight (Mickey Mantle Tournament). I am not to happy with most of my shots.
    The shots are just not sharp at all. I shot from Av mode to Manual mode and from ISO 1600 to ISO 5000, I even tried setting the auto ISO.
    I shot with both my 400VR 2.8 & 200VR f/2.
    It appears that alot of my shots were blurred. Most of the shutter speed was from 250 to 500. I tried both 9 point & 21 point focus, but not happy with either one. Any suggestions on focus settings, should I try 51 point focus or even single focus. I hate to admit it, but my old MKIII w/ 200 1.8 did a much better job, hoping the problem is somewhere in my a custom settings. Can someone recommend the settings from a1 thru a7 for baseball so I can see what I may be doing wrong.


  2. Hi mongoose777,

    Im relatively new, but Ive shot greyhound racing about 150+ times in the last year and heres what Ive done with my D300 to combat the problem of low light, fast moving subjects, the need for fast shutter speed etc.

    Settings Ive found work best:

    1. Picture Contol sharpness set to "7" (use Capture NX)
    2. Manual shooting mode (have been told by pros to never shoot in A or S)
    3. Aperture set as tight as possible (greater DOF, greater margin for error)
    4. ISO set to 1250-2000
    5. Shutter speed set as high as possible while keeping exposure fairly even (maybe a slight biased to underexposed in order to keep shutter speed to 1/800+)
    6. Metering set to center weighted
    7. Focus "C"
    8. Focus tracking "short" or "off"
    9. RAW
    10.High NR "off"
    11.AF-Area mode "single point"
    12.Shutter setting (Ch with battery pack 8fps)
    13.White balance "auto"
    14.Active D Lighting "off"
    15.Shutter setting set to "release"

    Ive tried panning when subjects are moving left to right and zone focusing when subjects are more straight on. My %s have gotten better with zone focusing. I just pick a spot where I think the dogs will cross, focus on a piece of dirt on the track or the rail, press the shutter half way down to focus and then press and hold the AE-L/AF-L button. As soon as I know the greyhounds are about to enter the shooting zone I start firing and usually get a burst of about 8-12 frames. Usually, at least half are in good focus and thats not too bad considering Im so close and the dogs are flying by!

    Ive been told not to use VR due to the fact that it slows focusing down, but Ive actually had better luck using VR (go figure huh).

    Hope this helps. Im no pro, but I do have a passion for this and try to learn everyday!

    I have some of my greyhound photos posted on this forum in a separate thread.

    take care,

  3. It would help if you would post some examples of the problem.

    With that kind of length and your reported shutter speeds, it sounds like motion blur, camera shake or a combination of both.



  4. Well lets just say 1/250th - 1/500th is in no way fast enough to stop action. Also samples would be nice as we cannot tell if its motion blur or just OOF shots. I know there are a few Canon shooters on here so hopefully they will chime in and help you with the settings.
  5. kwf1


    Nov 15, 2007
    S. Florida

    My 2 cents,

    shoot manual mode

    Auto ISO up to 6400

    I always shoot at night jpeg and raw. the fluctuation of the lights are terrible, and when you do capture that really nice shot it is nice to grab the raw file to process it.

    2.8 or 3.2 or 3.5 I usually can not move from 2.8 unless it is a sportrait type shot as our HS baseball field lights suck.

    SS - I start the evening as high as possible, and the move down, I try not to shoot any slower than 800 but at times had to go to 640, Why they do not replace those burnt out bulbs, who knows. If it is sportrait (still) type a shot I quickly change the aperture or lower the shutter speed or both.

    AF-C set to release and focus, If the play was unexpected or caught me pointed in another direction I will quickly turn to the play and start clicking away, as the first shot usually is out of focus as the camera is acquiring it, but the rest are fine. If I am anticipating the play, I then pre focus where I want to shoot. Such as a base runner on third waiting to come home.

    I am constantly checking and adjusting as to where I am shooting from. If you move direction or shooting position, do not wait for the play to make adjustments. Shoot in between plays to make sure you have everything adjusted to your new position.

    Sorry for the ramble on, you probably already know most of this.

  6. Thanks guys for the responses.
    I feel the problem is more a focus issue, I understand the night games are gonna be tough regardless, but I still expect better. I did not try single point focus and I will turn off the high NR & Active-D lighting. Here is a link to the shots that I think are just upsetting. The last three are IMO ok considering the light, but I feel most of the shots should look like them.
  7. Id say if anything its the Active Dlighting and the High NR that is giving you problems. The first bunch of I normally shoot with the ADlighting off, and High ISO NR low. That has given me my best stuff. Id say if anything your losing a lot of detail with the High ISO NR setting on High.
  8. kwf1


    Nov 15, 2007
    S. Florida
    I agree with Geoff on th Dlightning and the High NR. I might also add that you need to bump up your SS. The slight motion blur is getting the best of you.

  9. I shoot again tonight and already made the changes.
    I will post what I hope will be improvements sometime late tonight.
    So, which auto focus setup would you use for baseball.
    Would you use 1-point, 9-point, 21-point or the 3D.
    I used the 9 & 21, but didn't try anything else.

  10. Ive tried all of the focus points shooting racing greyhounds and Id say my experience has shown that the best two for me are single point and 9 point.

    Looking forward to seeing your next set of photos!!!

    Good luck!!! :) 
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