Blurred Photos Under Stadium Lights

edited October 2012 Posted in » Canon 60D Forum
Help! I am a volunteer band mom who tries to take photos of a high school band under stadium lights! Our next ball game is Friday night and I am stressed out! I cannot seem to get the right ISO and focus settings. I have more blurred photos than clear ones, especially when they are moving! I have a 70-300mm zoom lens (f/5.4) and I wish I could afford the 200mm f/2.8! Is there a rule of thumb for settings (ISO, AV vs TV and Program)? The Sport setting doesn't work when it gets dark and there is no way to use flash or a tripod! Am I fighting a losing battle, because it sure seems so!


  • Be sure to set your focus mode to AI Servo because your subjects are continuously moving. When you're in either Av or Tv mode, set your ISO to Auto so that your ISO increases automatically to compensate for the low light. Please don't stress out because we volunteers do it for fun.
  • edited October 2012
    Thanks! I will try again tonight! It is just for fun and I want to get good pictures for the kids. We post them on our website and they can see themselves performing.
  • edited October 2012
    Rule of thumb for a zoom lens is to make sure your shutter speed is at least where your focal distance (zoom) is set. For example, if you are zoomed in at 300mm, your shutter speed should be at least at 1/300. If you're zoomed in at 250mm, then shutter speed should be at least at 1/250. For moving subjects, the faster the shutter, the less chance of blur. With the current f/5.4 lens you are using and the lack of light you have at the stadium, you will have to use a fairly high ISO, probably 800+, to achieve a shutter speed equal to your focal distance.

    Lamson is right. AI Servo is the focus mode of choice and with your camera set to Tv (shutter priority - this is so you can set your shutter speed to at least match your focal distance) and auto ISO (ISO will adjust according to what you set your shutter speed to), you should receive the results you are looking for.
  • edited October 2012
    Just so I'm clear on this, when you say your shutter speed should be at least at 1/300 do you mean it could be 1/400 or higher, or 1/200 or lower?
    Would really appreciate your confirmation?
  • edited October 2012
    @MisterD - Your shutter speed should be at 1/300 or higher. These setting will stop motion. Generaly settings under that will allow some or a lot of blur.
  • edited October 2012
    Thanks Auston. All of the advice here saves a lot of time experimenting and allows more time for actual photography!
  • We need to keep moving when shooting. You should not only set the focus mode to AI Servo. If you can rent a photo light if you can, a continuous light source can keep people and objects at a constant and even brightness. Then you can photograph your son. The concert will be awesome
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