Soccer at night outdoor under stadium lights

edited September 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
My daughters soccer pictures come out great when I shoot during the daylight, but as soon as the stadium lights turn on, every picture is blurry! I usually use sports mode or auto. Any ideas please!


  • edited September 2016
    First of all, check your auto focus mode. In Auto mode, it defaults to multi point focus, and may not hit the right subjects, and you have no control over anything. The effect is made worse if the aperture must close down. If possible, I'd suggest that you switch to Shutter priority mode and keep your shutter at 1/250 or better if you can. Use Auto ISO, but limit it (menu setting) so that it does not jump into HI mode, which is likely to be too noisy. Check the other higher modes for noise too, and set the upper limit accordingly. If you're tracking a player, use Continuous Servo with Dynamic Area focus or 3D focus, whichever works better for you. This will depend a little on how distinctive your player is, as 3D uses color and other information. It can work better in some circumstances, but loses its subject in others. If many players are close together, it might jump from one to another. Make sure that you know what the initial focus point is. You can move it off center with the back control, and re center it with the [OK] button. It's easy to move by accident. The center focus point is the fastest, so stick to that if you can, and try to pan on the player.

    Sports mode should work, but you must double check your AF mode. It defaults to A servo mode, which should be all right, but still allows a choice of area modes, so make sure it's not at Auto Area. If you use S mode, make sure you change the shutter mode control to multi-exposure (burst mode), which Sports does by default but the others do not.

    There is also a possibility that the stadium lights are flickering in a way that makes photography difficult. But if that is the case, they should be alternating light and dark, and at least a few should come out.
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