Information overload! DX 40
I recently bought the Nikon DX 40 with the 18-135mm VR lens and added the 70-200mm VR lens because I've been primarily taking pictures of my son's high school soccer games. This is my first camera with interchangeable lenses and I've only had it two months and LOVE it, but I am overwhelmed with trying to learn. My first ten games my pics were awesome, but the last few have been just ok. I know I've had some issues with the sun since most games are around 4:30pm and spectators are usually facing into the sun-and this time of year the sun is starting to set. I have the ISO set for 400 and usually shoot in P or S. I have tried cloudy white balance and also sunny.

The subjects are basically the same so I must have changed my settings. Maybe I should have raised my ISO since the light wasn't as bright as the beginning of the season. I know there are no quick answers-but I would love some suggestions or recommendations...

Comments (5)

It'd help if you posted a pic or two as an example along with EXIF data. See if blur is due to cam shake or too slow shutter to capture action, etc. At least here in TX, at 4:30 in the afternoon, it's bright enough to use ISO 100 or 200. But I can understand bumping it up to help get a high enough shutter speed to stop the action..

Just trying to learn.


Comment #1

FIrst of all a a disclaimer-I don't know the nikon system. But I've shot a lot of soccer....

You have to understand the basics. If you let the cameras's sports mode do the work for you and it fails, whose fault is it? Here's what I do. Bear with me and don't change things till you understand the impact of the changes..

You need a fairly fast shutter speed to stop the action. Say 1/400 of a second shutter speed minimum (you might get aaway with 1/320). Now to accomplish that you need a proper exposure. You adjust the aperture and the ISO to leave you with 1/400..

First of all I shoot almost everything in AV mode. Nothing wrong with TV mode. What do they do? AV says to the camera "I'll sent the aperture, you adjust the shutter speed, and leave the ISO alone". TV says to the camera "I'll set the shutter speed, you adjust the aperture and leave the ISO alone". (I think Nikon might have am ode where the ISO is also set dynamically, buit I don't know)..

You are likely suffering from two problems. If you're shotting into the sun then the camera's meter can be confused. It averages the light and exposes for the bright sun and the subjects are dark. Or alternatively if it's relatively dark there just isn't enough light so the the camera lowers the shutter speed and the subjects are blurred..

Here's how I shoot. I put the camera into AV mode. I set the aperature as wide as possbiile and take a test shot (lower aperture numbers are wider). Do I like the exposure? If not then I'll use the exposure compensation to adjust. Next think about the shutter speed-is it the 1/400 or faster you need to stop the action? If not bump the ISO. Bump it ruthrlessly until you get the 1/400.

Better to noisy shots than blurry shots. Unerexpose a little if you have to (via exposure compensation), but get the shutter speed up. Now take a shot again. Does it look good? Great. if not you may be at the limit of what your camera can do-you may need a lens that lets more light in..

That's the basics. Take the adviice and practice. You don't really need a soccer game. A moving car in the same light will work. Or use other kids soccer games. Or runners at a track.

Personally for high school soccer I like to either shoot from the goal area my team is driving to so the players are coming towards me. I use a 100-400mm lens for that. But it isn't the fastest lens, so when it gets dark I have to change to something faster. And the 100-400 isn't great for capturing all the action that is present around the goal-something wider is needed there..

Soccer is hard!.


Comment #2

Last night after I posted I popped the Magic Lantern DVD in and probably should have done that the first week-but I was anxious to start taking pictures. I understand the controls of my camera much better since I watched the DVD..

Bruce-I have tried different angles and my favorite is slightly behind the goal or close to the corner (where the corner kicks are taken). Luckily my son's coach lets me sneak over the the bench side at home games too. Unfortunately my son plays defense so I am torn as to what shots I want. My goal this season is to make a DVD and photobook for the players/coach so I focused on getting pics of everyone. I definitely understand the limitations of the longer lens and until I get proficient with my two current lenses I am not buying another one. My next challenge will be shooting indoor soccer seasonlighting will be an issue..

RiceowlI need to search how to post pics then I will give some examples. I think I had accidently changed the focus mode..

Thanks for all the help!..

Comment #3

For soccer I follow the ball. If you kid is on defense and the ball is on offense, well that's life. In that case there's half time, celebrations etc... Sine you want the faces you'll do best with a long lens facing them, or a shorter lens from the sideline. I would shoot into their faces as much as possible, which means don't stand behind them. From the corner you'll get some shots of course. -Bruce..

Comment #4

I'll see if I can post pics from snapfish..

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This is the blur (not my kid).

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This was my first weekend with my camera (at an Invite).

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Comment #5

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