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Action Sports Shots

edited January 2013 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
I am a ball mom. I have been shooting pictures with a Canon Powershot for a couple years and have been getting great photos. For Christmas my parents gave me a Nikon D3100 with the standard 18-55mm and a 55-200mm lens. Will either of these lenses capture the great action shots (ball meeting bat or football mid air) that I've been able to get with the powershot or will I need to buy another type of lens? Any advise on settings would be greatly appreciated! I am a single mom so I don't have a huge budget, but I would look into putting money into one good lens that will capture these memories for me!


  • edited January 2013
    Hi Dot3. It's all about shutter speed and lens focus speed. You should have +250 shutter speed to freeze motion. Also you can use continuous AF-mode when the subject is moving. Try the camera's sport mode to get a basic idea. Also, you might have to raise the ISO to get maximum shutter speed. Might have to go 400-800 even outside.

    About the lenses, I'm not sure. From how far are you taking the photos? A 50mm f/1.8g would be ideal if you can get close. Personally I use a Tamron 70-300mm vc and just love it. Yes I hear pros say not to use zooms for action, but I'm getting results that satisfy me. I'm thinking of getting a fast prime lens though.

    I think you should learn with your kit lenses which focal lengths you use most and then get a fast lens that will suit your needs best.

    Here are some cheaper lenses for action:

    Nikon DX 50mm f/1.8g (around 200 euro, used 120-150)
    Tamron 70-300mm vc (300-350 euro I bought mine used 200e)
    Nikkor 70-300mm vr

  • edited January 2013
    Hi Dot3! I am a ball mom like yourself for my two boys. I own both of the lenses you mentioned. The 55-200mm has done a wonderful job capturing the types of pictures you mentioned in baseball and football as long as there is good lighting. I have had wonderful results taking pictures during daylight hours, but once it starts getting dark the images were blurry. The 55-200mm needs plenty of light for sharp pictures. As long as the games are during the day I would recommend sticking with what you have. I just use sports mode. You will be amazed at some of the action shots you will capture. Our teams started a shutterfly account so we could share pictures and I was thanked often by all the parents for the action shots of their children. Have fun with your new camera!

  • edited January 2013
    I should probably add that when I say good lighting, mid day with overcast is not a problem. It doesn't have to be bright and sunny, just daylight. I tried using the 55-200mm at an evening football game and most of the images had motion blur. I also used it for an indoor basketball game and got a lot of motion blur. But like I said, outdoors during the day is perfect.
  • edited January 2013
    Yes, I agree that lens is good for outdoors. For indoor photos I recommend 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm primes lenses with f/1.4-2.8 aperture speed. Indoor sports are really tricky as light changes all the time. When shooting outdoors just check that your shutter speed is high enough (which will be in sunny conditions as mbiggers04 mentioned).
  • edited January 2013
    Thanks so much! Most games are played during daylight hours so maybe I will be ok! I made the kids get outside and throw the ball a little and got some good shots. Not great, but I think once I learn to operate the camera I will be fine!
  • This is a reply I gave in an earlier topic.
    It might come in handy for you too.

    "A few weeks ago I tried my first sports shooting during my son's soccer game.
    I also use the 55-200mm with my D3100, and here are the settings that I used:

    Mode: Manual
    Aperture: the lowest number possible
    Shutter speed: 1/2000 (I'm going to try slower next time to drop the ISO)
    ISO: Auto with a max of 1600 (In sports there's no time to set the ISO manually)
    Focus mode: AF-C
    AF area mode: Dynamic

    When shooting, I aimed one of the focus dots on the chest of the players and shot in continuous mode.

    You can see some of the results on my Flickr:

  • edited January 2013
    Im going to test this with my Tamron; it focuses a lot faster than the 55-200mm. Thanks for the tips! I mostly shoot in those kind of sunny conditions. Winter time is different though and snow can be a problem.
  • @Gikon, thanks! Those are greats shots! I have hope! :)
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