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Shooting Football Action Shots under Stadium Lights

edited September 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
I'm having trouble shooting at night under stadium lights. I have the D3100 double zoom lens kit. Should I shoot with the 18-55mm or the 55-200mm? What setting should I be on? I notice I get blur and delayed shooting when I use the 200mm and I zoom in. My daytime pictures are turning out great. The kids love those. Now I know they will expect some good ones come football season time. Thanks for the help!

Comments

  • edited July 2015
    The slow lenses are going to be a bit hard to auto focus, and may be delayed. I'd still try the longer lens if possible, but first of all make sure that you have it starting on a single point (not auto area), and try to aim it at a bright spot with some features, on which the focus works best (a person or a uniform). The long lens can hunt for focus, and because the camera has focus priority, it will not fire at all until it finds focus. Often if you set the zoom to a wider angle for focusing, it will lock in, and you can then zoom tighter. If you have an inkling where your next picture will be, prefocus on that area ahead of time, and the lens will not hunt so much.

    Also make sure that the focus point is not accidentally moved off center. Use the OK button to recenter it.

    It takes a good bit of practice, and you will make many mistakes at first, but one other way to do this would be to switch to back button focus. When you use this, the camera auto focuses only when you push the AE/AF lock button. When you let go of the button, focusing stops, and it will fire on release priority whether or not it is still in focus. While it is thus possible to take many out of focus pictures, it is also possible to prefocus on an area and then shoot at will without any delay.

    This is a menu setting (setup menu > "buttons" > "Assign AEL/AFL button," > "AF ON"). I would not recommend trying this in the heat of battle, but when you have time to play around, give it a try and see if it works for you. You'll forget to focus many times at first, but after a while it becomes more routine.
  • My D3100 will not fire using back button focus if nothing is in focus. It does not seem to differ from pressing the shutter halfway. Is there some other setting I'm missing?
  • Back button focus is just the same as regular focus while you're holding down the back button. It simply transfers the usual focusing function from the shutter button to the back button. The trick is that when you let go of the back button, it will stop focusing and revert to release priority.
  • edited November 2016
    I have lost my file and tablet with the purchased cheat sheets (D3100 55-200mm). Can you resend or should I just repurchase? I enjoyed them a lot.
  • Hi @Rjbrown! I looked up your order and sent you another set of cheat cards. With regards to low light blur, this is going to be a problem unless you have the right equipment. It's a situation that requires the right lens. Preferrably the 70-200mm f/2.8. The key here is the f/2.8 aperture, which lets more light into the camera, resulting in faster shutter speeds at lower ISO's compared to the 55-200mm f/4-5.6. Most people can't afford that lens, so the next best option is to rent a couple times a year to remember the season by. Lensrentals.com and Borrowlenses.com are both great places to rent from. All the best!
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