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besler3035
Jan 30, 2006, 12:05 AM
I own a Canon PowerShot A620, and I can't seem to get the right settings for taking sports pictures (basketball to be specific, inside a gym). The light is very dark in the gym, and usually my photos turn out somewhat grainy.

I've tried turning up the ISO level to 400, which seems to help, but I don't want that grainy look. When I use flash (which I'm sort of opposed to doing), things turn out alright, but sometimes are blurry in the background. When I don't, and I use Shutter-Priority mode, things get grainy and the colors are a bit off.

Can someone out there please tell me what settings I should be using? The more specific is obviously going to help me out the most! I'm taking these pictures right on the court, so it's NOT a matter of whether I can get up close or not. Thanks!



arogge
Jan 30, 2006, 12:59 AM
The little sensor is noisy on point-and-shoot units with Electronic Viewfinders. You can use noise-removal during post-processing, but there's still a loss of detail at ISO 400 that noise removal won't fix.
You can correct the colour of the ugly lighting by using a custom white balance.
For shooting basketball without a flash, you need ISO 1600 or ISO 3200 and apertures of f/2.8 or faster. With a flash, you should use high-speed sync on the flash and ISO 800 or ISO 1600 with apertures of f/4 or faster.
With your A620, you can do some things for snapshots, but trying action shots indoors with that unit is like using a G3 processor to run DOOM 3. When you're in the gym, open the camera menu for the white balance. Select the Custom setting and focus on a white or grey object so that the colour fills the partial metering area. You can use a grey card, the wall of the gym, a jersey, or a floor marking that is grey or white; then press the Set button. This is how the Canon S70 is configured. Check your camera's instruction manual for more information. The corrected white balance removes the bad colour cast.
Use Manual mode on the camera. Set the ISO to 400 and the aperture to f/2.8. Don't zoom out farther than you can keep the f/2.8 aperture, and adjust your settings for the correct exposure after trying some snapshots at various positions on the basketball court.

Abstract
Jan 30, 2006, 06:25 AM
Yeah, try adjusting the white balance as stated above. Just go to the WB setting and tell your camera that you want to set your own white balance. Bring a white sheet of paper, or a white card along and when you're in the gym, point your camera at the white card and press the shutter button to set.

Oh, and I know it'll be easier to zoom in if you're taking photos, but it's better if you zoom out as far as you can, walk a bit closer, and take photos with the zoom all the way out. Everything will look smaller than you'd like it, but I guess you can also crop the photo so that the players are larger. Then you might also be able to use the flash, since you'll be close enough that it'll work, and your camera will think it only needs a fast shutter speed to capture enough light since you're using a flash.

Other than that, I hope you can use a program to increase the exposure in the photo and make it brighter.

Or just find a way to make the lights in the gym brighter, probably by turning on ALL the lights.

besler3035
Jan 30, 2006, 09:49 AM
Or just find a way to make the lights in the gym brighter, probably by turning on ALL the lights.

Actually, all the lights are turned on! Our gym is old, and it's on the slate to be rebuilt in the next few years. But by that time, I'll be long out of there. Thanks for both of your guys' advice. Have any suggestions for free noise removal software as well? I've tried finding a bunch, but all I can find are demos and trials.

arogge
Jan 30, 2006, 10:40 AM
http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Reducing_CCD_Noise/


Check out the demo version of Neat Image:

http://neatimage.com/mac/files/NeatImage.pkg.zip
http://neatimage.com/mac/noise-profiles/digital-cameras/Canon/download.html#Canon-PowerShot-A620

-hh
Jan 30, 2006, 12:06 PM
Oh, and I know it'll be easier to zoom in if you're taking photos, but it's better if you zoom out as far as you can, walk a bit closer, and take photos with the zoom all the way out.

Agreed - - not only will this hopefully help by giving you a faster f/stop, but there's bound to be shutter lag, so by capturing the whole image and cropping in later, you'll hopefully have fewer missed shots.


-hh