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Old     (ord27)      Join Date: Oct 2005       09-16-2010, 9:06 AM Reply   
I bought my wife a D300 a couple of years ago. I am going to attempt to use it at my daughters volleyball game Friday night. In order to get some good shots that include the moving ball, what settings would yall recommend. She has the Tamron 70-200mm lense with the stabilization.

its in the gymnasium of couse. If you need more info on the lense, I can post that later.
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       09-16-2010, 10:44 AM Reply   
Not set in stone, but just a few tips to get you started.. Adjust as required to fit the lighting conditions and your personal preference.
  • F-Stop - Try shooting at f2.8 (or f4 depending on the lens)
  • Shutter - To freeze the action try 1/000 or faster, you can try 1/800, 1/640, 1/500 (slowing the shutter will result in blurring the action for serves, spikes, etc..) .. you might want this effect or not.. again personal pref and adjust accordingly.
  • ISO - The D300 is OK with the higher ISOs and as you get past 800 the image starts to get soft! Try to keep it under 800, however you might need 1600 depending on the lighting conditions and your shutter setting. I recommend leveraging the "ISO sensitivity auto control" feature on the Nikon as explained here: I use this on the D700 and it's awesome!
  • Image stabilization - I tend to steer away from this because it softens the image and you don't need it at the higher shutter speeds!

Example of a slow shutter speed - notice how the girls arm almost disappears..

Higher shutter really freezes the motion:

Last but not least... timing the shots! Some shots look better if you can capture them BEFORE contact with the ball, like the serve.. other shots will look better AFTER making contact with the ball. Take a look at the following pics to get some ideas of what looks best and try to replicate!

If the whole shutter, ISO, aperture settings are still confusing. Try to get to the gym early so you can practice shooting the other games BEFORE your daughter plays. That way you'll have your settings dialed for the most important game of the night! ;-)
Old     (ord27)      Join Date: Oct 2005       09-16-2010, 10:46 AM Reply   
thanks Kung Fu!
good advice on the early bird thing
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-19-2010, 9:52 PM Reply   
Um..... this is going to sound like I'm being rude but please hear me out. What separates "Snapshots" vs. "photographs" is the photographers ability to understand their equipment.

1. Tamron doesn't make a 70-200 with image stabilization. Are you referring to the 18-270? If that's the case, it has an aperture of f/6.3 on the long end. You will never gather enough light with f/6.3 in a gym (unless you have a Nikon D3X and using 12,500 ISO). Image stabilization is only useful for shooting with low shutter speeds and subjects that don't move.

2. Have you ever shot in a school gym? It's like a dungeon. The only exceptions are major college and pro arenas that are properly lit for TV. High school and lower, absolutely horrible and your images will be dark. You will be forced to use slow shutter speeds to compensate but because it's a quick sport, your images will be blurry. Not to mention the white balance. The sodium lights in most gyms cycle and will cast a horrible color that unless you shoot RAW and adjust every single image, your photos will have a weird color cast on them.

Honestly, unless you can work magic with your camera/lens combo, just go out there and have fun and shoot for memory keepsakes. I highly doubt you will get anything that would be portfolio/print worthy. Especially if you are shooting from the stands. If you wonder how the pros do it, they put strobes up in the rafters and trigger them with PocketWizards. But as you can imagine that takes a lot of work and requires permission from the school.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       09-19-2010, 10:59 PM Reply   
i agree; shooting in a gym is really hard, but if you take kung fu's advice, you can't help but get better acquainted w/ your camera and its capabilities making you a better photographer. here are some shots i took today. not the greatest, but whatever.
Attached Images
Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       09-22-2010, 2:23 PM Reply   
When I shoot in a gym my 1D M4 creeps up to ISO 12,800 quite often and I am NEVER below ISO 3200. That is at f2.8 using a 70-200. I'd probably use an 85 f1.8 prime (or the Nikon equivalent) in lieu of a 70-200 just to get below f2.8. If you can get close enough use a 50 f1.4. The 85 and 50 primes won't break the bank either.
Old     (ord27)      Join Date: Oct 2005       09-22-2010, 3:57 PM Reply   
I didn't take offense bigdad. I am ignorant as heck when it comes to that camera. you are correct, I was wrong, it is a Nikkor 18-200mm lens. I guess I need to take a class. thanks for all yalls input!
Old     (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       09-22-2010, 8:21 PM Reply   
I thought the ice was tough....but yea, a high school gym is a nightmare,,,,

Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-22-2010, 11:18 PM Reply   
I have that Nikkor lens. I love it ... only when I'm traveling outdoors in the bright sun as travel lens. I never use it for shooting indoors. It is way to slow. If you don't have a f/2.8 lens or faster then you honestly should lower your expectations. I used my 70-200 f/2.8 to shoot my nephews basketball game in a fairly well lit gym and pretty much all my images were crap because I couldn't push my ISO over 1600.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       09-22-2010, 11:27 PM Reply   
damn, easy on him guys. he's not trying to capture an award winning shot. he just wants to shoot his daughter's game.
Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       09-23-2010, 7:42 AM Reply   
Cliff- dump the zoom and go with a 85mm f1.4 or 1.8. That would be good for volleyball.
Old     (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       09-23-2010, 7:56 AM Reply   
Depending on where you are at, you could rent one of the lenses Rob suggests, or a 70-200 2.8 for a fairly reasonable price($20-35)....
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-23-2010, 11:33 AM Reply   
Joe, I think that is the point we were trying to get across. Shooting in gyms is extremely difficult. If you go there thinking you are planning to get print worthy shots because you spent $2K for a camera that you aren't familiar with then you will be extremely disappointed. It's his daughter's volleyball game and maybe you would be better off just being there and enjoying the moment and capture a couple of keepsakes as opposed to watching a game through a lens and being frustrated when you are chimping and can't understand why the shots are dark and blurry.
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       09-23-2010, 4:14 PM Reply   
All good points... I guess I'm just use to the lighting in the Home Depot Center.

Cliff - So how did the game go?

AP - How was the first photo you ever took, or your second, third... thousandth? It's a constant learning process... Cliff took the time to ask, so it sounds like he ready to learn or at least give it a try.

I was surprised to hear that Chase Jarvis quite medical school to become a photographer, he is self-taught, and now he is taking some OK pictures (no?) and making a living from it. I bet he screwed up a few photos in his day. Come to think of it.. all of us have. We take ****ty photos all the time, but it's what you do next that determines if your progressing.
Old     (ord27)      Join Date: Oct 2005       09-23-2010, 5:46 PM Reply   
thanks everyone
Kung Fu, our team won big time. They are really good this year

A couple of years ago, my wife said that she wanted a nice camera for Christmas. She has aspirations of getting good at photography. I, as always, went over board and bought a camera that is well beyond what we really needed. She is much better with it than I am. Every time that I look at some of yalls amazing pics, I get motivated to learn how to take a nice picture. We have a couple of the newer pocket sized cameras that take a decent picture. I use one of those when just want something for a memory or a Facebook post (or WakeWorld).

I think that at some point I will take a course. Arlington Camera has classes specifically for Nikon owners. They also rent lenses like E.J. suggested.

I can get the action to freeze in the picture, but like you guys are saying, it is kinda dark. I tried the auto ISO feature, but it didn't let me zoom in to much. Everything looked good in the view finder, but the camera wouldn't take the shot.

It's time to at least pull out the owners manual and make myself some cheat sheets (Cliff Notes) on how to adjust everything

thanks again
all comments are welcome and well received
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       09-23-2010, 7:43 PM Reply   
Cliff - Glad to hear the season is going well. As for the pics.. it definitely sounds like the lens is too slow to work in your lighting conditions. If you're not worried about noisy pictures (grain, etc..) then try bumping up the auto-iso setting to 3200 (or maybe even 6400) Ideally you want a lens that can shoot a f2.8 or in your case move closer to the action (your lens is slower when fully zoomed in f5.6??)

Renting is always an option. Check out Borrow Lenses. You can rent a 70-200 f2.8 for a few weeks for just a few hundred dollars.

D-Town ( "D-Town TV is a fresh approach to teaching camera tips and photographic techniques to today's digital photographers with Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski as its hosts. No matter what the skill level or interest, each episode covers a wide variety of topics. "

Creative Live
( is another great and free (assuming you watch it live) resource. Nothing on their calendar that's photography related, but keep an eye on it.

Kelby Training
( - You have to pay for this, but they have some excellent classes ranging from beginner to advanced levels.
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-23-2010, 7:54 PM Reply   
My photos still suck. But I am definitely getting better. I also spend a couple hours every day looking at other people's work on Fred Miranda. I have decent grasp of the technical side of photography, but my composition is lacking.

Cliff - Owner's manual will only take you so far. Buy this book and read it over and over.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       09-23-2010, 8:29 PM Reply   
Originally Posted by bigdad View Post
Cliff - Owner's manual will only take you so far. Buy this book and read it over and over.
and when you're done with that, go out and actually shoot and figure out what went right and what went wrong...then apply what you've learned the next time you shoot.
Old     (rlsv211)      Join Date: Oct 2009       09-27-2010, 5:32 PM Reply   
I shot about a thousand volleyball pictures with my D300 last year. I could not use a flash so everything was gym lighting. I found you have to shoot over 1/200 to stop the movement. I set my ISO auto control to 3200 and the speed to 1/200. I left the camera on P and set the release at 6fps. Any higher ISO and there was too much noise. Any slower and there was too much movement. I did not have a lens with VR.
Old     (kitewake)      Join Date: Jul 2007       10-07-2010, 6:29 PM Reply   
I have a D300...but have also shot with a friends D3. Under ISO 400...they shoot the same. At ISO 800..the D3 looks a lot better. By the time you are at ISO 1600...forget it. The D300 is a toy...and the D3 is still brilliant. That is what you pay the big $ for....
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       02-16-2011, 4:28 PM Reply   
It's been a while, but if you're still interested in shooting volleyball then this guide might be helpful:


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