Baseball pictures

edited April 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
I have been seriously taking pictures of my boys playing baseball the past two years. I have been using the sports icon on the camera dial and using a 50-200mm1:4-5.6G ed Nikon DX lens. I have in the past few weeks been using the shutter speed on the dial and playing with the shutter speed and the aperture, not being very successful. The LED screen keeps telling me that the subject is too dark, yet when I take the picture it doesn't appear to be and looks in focus. Once I take the pictures and put them on the computer they are dark and out of focus. Also, I find that when I am adjusting the settings that sometimes when I push the button to take the photo nothing happens. It is almost like the camera has not caught up with my new settings. Most of the time I am taking photos at around 3-9 p.m. Here's what I want to know. Can you suggest the settings for ISO, shutter speed and aperture while shooting between lets say 2 p.m. to dusk? Then suggestions for after dusk under the stadium lights? I am looking into buying a 70-300mm lens or 55-300mm lens, what do you suggest? Don't get me wrong, I do have some good photos but I have missed some really great shots because I wasn't in focus, and they were washed out.


  • edited April 2015
    It's hard to suggest ISO and other settings remotely, but in general your shutter speed should be in the 1/250 range or so to stop motion. One suggestion might be to take a successful picture using sports mode, and then look at the EXIF information for that. It will tell you what shutter speed, aperture and ISO it set, and this might make a good starting point. What ISO you choose and what aperture may depend a little on how much noise you can tolerate, and how much depth of field you need. That latter will depend a little on whether you're trying to focus on a single subject or a group that's spread out.

    One possibility might be to choose shutter priority and auto ISO. In this case, you will set shutter speed, and the camera's meter will set aperture. When the lens runs out of apertures, the meter will raise the ISO as needed. You can put your starting ISO at 100, and it will pretty much take care of itself. This is more or less what the sports setting does, except that it also defaults to multi-exposure mode.

    You should also try to open the menu setting and get the histogram to display when you preview a shot, and this will give you exposure information as well.

    If you're having trouble focusing, chances are your focus setting is not ideal. If it refuses to shoot at all, it has not locked into any focus. If you get a shot but it's blurred, it's probably focused on the wrong thing. I would try setting the focus to C (continuous) and either dynamic area of 3D, whichever works best. The initial focus point will be a single point, wherever you have chosen (the center being the default). If the subject moves, the focus will then track it at least to some extent. Make sure that the focus point is the one you want. Push the OK button to recenter it as needed. Avoid multi point AF, because although it will usually find something to focus on, it may choose the wrong player, often the closest.
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