Disappointed with my first D7K Outing

Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
57
Location
USA
Just got my new D7K last week and put it through its paces yesterday. A group called the Harlem Ambassadors came to a local high school gym for a basketball exhibition, so I thought it would be a good time to capture some action images.

When all the dust settled, I must say that I was a bit disappointed in the photos. I used a 70-300mm VRII and the 18-105mm VR. My stationary/static shots were OK, but I did not think the action shots were crisp at all. I used the 6400 ISO setting, jumped to a few shutter priority shots, did a "Scene" (sports) shot or two, but never liked the output. I used the SB600 flash on many of the shots.

I know that these aren't the greatest lenses in the world, but they're not bad. It seemed as if they both strugled to auto focus quickly in the gymnasium lighting. I also know that basketball is a challenging environment., especially in a moderate light situation.

I would live to hear from those of you that shoot the D7K what camera settings you use and some tips for successful indoor sports images. I'm a little bummed right now that my results weren't better.

Thanks in advance everybody.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
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2,967
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Sydney Australia
I cant really comment on settings for indoor sport but I do know that it took me a few weeks and quite a few shots to start to get the quality shots I do now. I hope you find your groove. what were you using before this?
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
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Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
I think you are expecting too much. The 70-300 VR is f/5.6 at the long end, and so is the 18-105 VR. f/5.6 is the design limit for Nikon's AF sensor, and it will take longer to focus at such a slow aperture - no matter what camera body you use!

I've had difficulty getting sharp focus with slow lenses on the D300s, too.

Try to use a faster lens - for indoor action I'd use at least f/2.8.

Cheers

Mike
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Messages
34
Location
Stow, Massachusetts
What was the focus mode"

The D7000 has different defaults that other Nikon consumer cameras. Can you let us know what your focus mode was (AF-S/AF-C/AF-A), how many focus point you were using, What your AF-C and AF-S priority selections were (menu a1 and a2).

You can make the camera focus faster if you limit yourself to 9 focus points.

If you use AF-C or AF-A and have your priority selections to Release you can't just jam the shutter down and hope to get a focused image. It is your responsibility to ensure that the camera has found focus before you press the shutter all the way down.

How about posting some images and EXIF information?

Anker
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
57
Location
USA
The D7000 has different defaults that other Nikon consumer cameras. Can you let us know what your focus mode was (AF-S/AF-C/AF-A), how many focus point you were using, What your AF-C and AF-S priority selections were (menu a1 and a2).

You can make the camera focus faster if you limit yourself to 9 focus points.

If you use AF-C or AF-A and have your priority selections to Release you can't just jam the shutter down and hope to get a focused image. It is your responsibility to ensure that the camera has found focus before you press the shutter all the way down.

How about posting some images and EXIF information?

Anker

I knew someone was going to call me on the carpet for some more info. I will review my shooting data and post some pix. I am new member here and need to set up my Picassa web hosting. As soon as I do, I will be happy to.

I shot a D50 for years and feel like I have gone from a Buick Roadmaster to a McLaren F1.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2008
Messages
1,211
Location
HHI
Just got my new D7K last week and put it through its paces yesterday. A group called the Harlem Ambassadors came to a local high school gym for a basketball exhibition, so I thought it would be a good time to capture some action images.

When all the dust settled, I must say that I was a bit disappointed in the photos. I used a 70-300mm VRII and the 18-105mm VR. My stationary/static shots were OK, but I did not think the action shots were crisp at all. I used the 6400 ISO setting, jumped to a few shutter priority shots, did a "Scene" (sports) shot or two, but never liked the output. I used the SB600 flash on many of the shots.

I know that these aren't the greatest lenses in the world, but they're not bad. It seemed as if they both strugled to auto focus quickly in the gymnasium lighting. I also know that basketball is a challenging environment., especially in a moderate light situation.

I would live to hear from those of you that shoot the D7K what camera settings you use and some tips for successful indoor sports images. I'm a little bummed right now that my results weren't better.

Thanks in advance everybody.

What body did you replace and were you getting better results before?? You don't have to admit it here but have you tried any of the action/sports modes? Try it to see what the processor wants to do and see if you can improve on it. GH
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Messages
2,256
Location
Chicago, IL
Well, at 6400 snd f/5.6 in a gym I would probably suggest that your shutter speed was very slow...maybe in the 1/250th range or lower? So even with VR on at the long end for your 70-300 you are probably shooting right on the edge of the VR (1/250th or slower on an effective fl of 450mm). Then, I do not own either of those two lenses but would suggest that they need to be stopped down 1 or 2 to get good images - and that wide open they will be a little soft. So, adding all that together - I am not surprised at your disappointment.

There is a reason why sports shooters buy that expensive glass. As for the sports mode - all that will do (I believe) is put you in auto mode with the aperture wide open... which is where you tend to want to shoot sports from.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
57
Location
USA
Well, at 6400 snd f/5.6 in a gym I would probably suggest that your shutter speed was very slow...maybe in the 1/250th range or lower? So even with VR on at the long end for your 70-300 you are probably shooting right on the edge of the VR (1/250th or slower on an effective fl of 450mm). Then, I do not own either of those two lenses but would suggest that they need to be stopped down 1 or 2 to get good images - and that wide open they will be a little soft. So, adding all that together - I am not surprised at your disappointment.

There is a reason why sports shooters buy that expensive glass. As for the sports mode - all that will do (I believe) is put you in auto mode with the aperture wide open... which is where you tend to want to shoot sports from.

You're right, I was at 1/250 on my ss, so I guess I should not expect Pulitzer Prize shots. Now that basketball season is almost over, maybe my baseball shots will be more pleasing. This really does demonstrate the reason pros use prime lenses.
 
Joined
May 12, 2006
Messages
1,133
Location
Norwalk, CT
Without your shooting data it's hard to say, but I would guess like others that your lenses were to slow. It's tough getting crisp shots of moving subjects, especially at a distance, with a slow shutter speed.

I used my D7000 for the first time a concert this weekend and I was amazed at the quality.

You can see some samples and my settings here:
https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=298743

Here's one shot from the show and even at 1/400 MC Hammer's hand is still blurred.

Hammer Time!
132976046.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
1,299
Location
Melbourne, FL
This really does demonstrate the reason pros use prime lenses.

Through some deal in school, I went to see the Nicks play at MSG. I'm pretty sure it was better lit than most HS gyms.

Photographers sat either end of the court behind the basket. They all worked with 2 bodies: one had a 28-70 and the other 70-200. When the action was at the end of the court they were at, 28-70. Far end of the court 70-200. It was fun to watch them all move in unison switching cameras.

They only use primes out of necessity. 2.8 primes in the 300mm and up range are big and heavy enough without making them zooms.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Messages
527
Location
Sweden
Without your shooting data it's hard to say, but I would guess like others that your lenses were to slow. It's tough getting crisp shots of moving subjects, especially at a distance, with a slow shutter speed.

I used my D7000 for the first time a concert this weekend and I was amazed at the quality.

You can see some samples and my settings here:
https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=298743

Here's one shot from the show and even at 1/400 MC Hammer's hand is still blurred.

Hammer Time!
http://www.pbase.com/miguelcinct/image/132976046.jpg

Yes, for actions shots it´s often required to use 1/250 s - 1/1000 s.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
3,129
Location
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
Yes, that's a good point. Either don't use flash and set the shutter to 1/1000 - or use flash and make sure the ambient lighting is not contributing to the exposure so that the flash can freeze the motion (this may be hard to achieve though in a well-lit gym).

Cheers

Mike
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Messages
2,256
Location
Chicago, IL
Yes, that's a good point. Either don't use flash and set the shutter to 1/1000 - or use flash and make sure the ambient lighting is not contributing to the exposure so that the flash can freeze the motion (this may be hard to achieve though in a well-lit gym).

Cheers

Mike

LOL - well lit gym... isn't that a contradiction in terms??? Well, unless that gym happens to be MSG in New York....
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2009
Messages
4,380
Location
Toronto
The point about flash is very good!

You were likely too far away for the flash to make much difference and that would have limited you to a maximum shutter speed of 1/250th.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
57
Location
USA
If you are using the flash then you are limited to 1/250. You need a faster shutter speed for crisp action shots.

I miss the 1/500 flash sync speed of my old D50. It was a great feature that has not been incorporated into later model, more expensive bodies. Everyone is most certainly correct that the flash which limited my shutter speed contributed to the very average photos.

It also makes me realize how good the pro shooters are that cover basketball. It is such a fast game and framing the action is so difficult. I thik I'm pretty good with baseball and soccer photos, but basketball is very demanding.

In retrospect, I should have bailed on the flash and shot at a higher shutter speed. Live and learn, I suppose.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
3,129
Location
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
LOL - well lit gym... isn't that a contradiction in terms??? Well, unless that gym happens to be MSG in New York....

Yep, bit of a contradiction there :wink:

My point was: in order to remove the ambient lighting from the combined exposure you'd need to stop down the aperture and/or lower the ISO, but then the flash range is also shortened - so you need to get really close to the action, which is probably impossible...

Better to not use flash, get a faster lens, and crank up the ISO so you can shoot at fast shutter speeds.

Cheers

Mike
 

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