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I'm having a difficult time getting the appropriate setting on my Nikon D60.

Scenario is my son's basketball games (very fast moving) combined with horrible low-light setting in a gym.


HELP, pleaseeeee!?!?!

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There are a few things you can do. In photography there are always trade-offs.

1. you can boost your ISO up to the point you get a shutter speed of at least 1/200 if not faster. Nikon is fairly good in low light ISO settings. An ISO of 800-1200 should help. Also remember that you may need to have an open aperture (depending on your lens, 3.5-4.0). The only drawback is that you will have more grain in your photos, but getting the picture is always better than not. Black and White is always a great way to mask the grain and make it look more film-like.

2. Get a faster lens. I shoot with a fixed aperture f2.8 lens that is a medium zoom (50-135). It does great in darker settings, and a Gym is fairly well lit compared to a living room. This affords you to lower the ISO so that grain is less of an issue. I still need an ISO of 400 but that gives me some great looking shots still! (Just realize that the larger the aperture, the shallower your depth-of-field).

Best of luck. Please share some shots! Love to see your results.
Thanks so much, Brad.

I'll definitely follow through on your recommendations, and post some shots after the game this weekend.

Again, thank you.

I also forgot to tell you that you could set your ISO setting to Auto and use shutter priority mode (Tv) on the dial. Set your shutter speed to your desired setting and the camera should try and do the rest. 1/200 is the absolute minimum I would shoot at. 1/500 is ideal for fast action. but try it out and see what works best.

Once again, best wishes and happy shooting.


Brad gave you some solid advice. Allow me to add a few additional thoughts.

1. Shoot in RAW. This will give you additional latitude to recover underexposed shots.
2. Arrive early and try to get a seat/spot as near as possible to one end of the court. If there is no problem getting a good spot, you can move to the other side if necessary. But even if your son's team is shooting across the court, no worries, because at half-time, they'll switch.
3. If possible, do get a fast lens (in this context, a fast lens is any lens with a 2.8 aperture or better). When you're within ten feet or so of the basket, I find a lot of my good shots are in the 60 to 80mm range on my full frame camera. I can generally get several players in reasonably sharp focus at F 2.8 with maybe a few blurry players in the background.

A good lens that a lot of people have had luck with shooting high school basketball is the 50mm F 1.8. On your Nikon D60 with its DX frame, this will act like a 75mm lens, because of the 50% crop factor. You can get a lot of great shots of players driving for the basket with this lens. Plus, it's got that wide open aperture which will really help with exposure.

At F 1.8, the depth of field will be really narrow, so if possible, set it at around F 2.8, but that depends on the light. This is an inexpensive lens, you can often find used copies for under $100 or if you know anyone who shoots Nikon in your area, it's likely they may have one they could lend you to try.

4. Set your camera to aperture priority mode, set your aperture to whatever is the smallest, most wide open number. Then set your ISO to a relatively high number. Let's start at 1,600. With this setting, your Nikon D60 will then calculate and give you the fastest shutter speed you can get with that aperture and ISO.

If the shutter speed is 1/250 or greater, you're golden. If it's like 1/320, you might even consider lowering the ISO to 800 and see what shutter speed that gives you.

At 1/250, you can basically freeze the action on your ball players. Sure, we might like a faster shutter speed, but you'll be happy with the results.

5. If you're shooting at ISO 1,600 with a Nikon D60, you're going to have ugly noise. This can be dealt with in various ways post processing depending on what software you use.

6. If you're still not getting decent shots, when your son is driving down court, reach over with one finger and pop the built in flash. I seriously doubt anyone will complain if you take a few shots with flash.

Those are a few of my thoughts. Indoor high school gymnasiums are notoriously bad for light.

Good luck!
Wow, Mark...thank you!

Lots of useful information. I'm going to get to c&p all of this...will bring it to the gym with me this weekend.

Thank you...very much appreciated!

This is a shot I took last Friday. I wouldn't call it a great shot, but it'll give you a feel for what is needed to stop motion, what exposure will look like. The shot was at F 2.8, 1/320 with an ISO of 2200. I cleaned up the image and removed a lot of the noise.

You can see there is some motion blur in the front girl's hand and the ball even at 1/320. And you can get a feel at what the depth of field might look like for a 75mm lens (I use an 80-200 2.8 lens, but for basketball, most of my shots are at the short end, because I set up near the basket). I normally shoot wrestling (my son's winter sport), but I took my daughter to the girl's basketball game last Friday so she could see it.

In the end, these are just starting suggestions. You'll end up balancing and trading off different factors until you get the kind of shots you like. My first year of shooting wrestling for my son's team, I got very few decent shots. But I still had a lot of fun.

That's good stuff....thank you, again!!!

This is all great advice. I shoot a lot of High School sports and I would emphasize what others have already pointed out.
Sit close
Fast lenses (F1.4/F2.0 )
Shoot RAW
Use "continuous" or "servo" auto-focus
Shoot at high frames-per-second
Use high ISO and apply noise-reduction software in post production

The attached photo was shot with a Nikon 85mm F/1.4 lens at 1/750th of a second at F/2.0 using
an ISO of 2500. I used Imagenomic Noiseware to reduce the noise.

I have been working on perfecting action sports...especially indoor basketball... which is very hard...

I use a Nikon D90... I started with a 18-105 and then tried the 70-300....The results - very blurry pics...but now I think I have it down heres what I did...

I fixed the focus problem...I observed that I would often loose the moment as the camera would not focus in time.. so I changed the fous settings from fixed to continuous .... what this did was get the best focus point by preserving the flexibility to switch focus point. If you dont fix this Burst/ rapid exposures wont help much.

Next I realized that the lens was slow, so I got a new lens, a Nikon 50mm prime lens f/1.8... Now this lens is cheap $125(relatively), fast and sharp, especially in low light. Note - This lens might not support auto focus on your camera - check?

Then I set the Camera in Shutter Priority mode with the shutter speed of 1/500-640

Because of Indoor shooting I switched to ISO 1000... but that depends from Gym to Gym you might get away with less

shoot away tell me how it goes...

Thanks so much!

I'll let you know.

Thank you so much, Alan!



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