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Sports Photography | The Importance of High ISO and High Speed

© 2010 Wazari Wazir | Thomas Cup 2010 Kuala Lumpur  | ISO 5000 | 1/1250 | f2.8 | 300mm Lens

Before this I have wrote a little bit about “How to choose a DSLR” depending on your needs and requirement. Now I’m going to write about the importance of having a camera with High ISO capability, I mean a camera that can shoot at a higher ISO more than just ISO 3200 that most entry level camera have. Most importantly is to have a camera that is capable of producing “clean” image with less visible noise at higher ISO.

Sports event doesn’t happen all the time in the outdoors, in fine weather but some of them happen inside indoor stadium with not so bright available light and using Flash is not an option, in fact it was prohibited during the event, nevertheless, we still can use flash during prize giving ceremony but not when the “action” is taking place.

So why we need to use High ISO, why don’t we use Low ISO and get clean image, if you are professional, you will not ask this question but for someone new in photography, let me explain, It’s all comes down to exposure triangle, ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. All this will determine the right exposure that will produce a decent image, not too dark and not too bright.

If I were to use Low ISO like ISO 100 to captured this fast moving badminton event, then, even using 300mm lens at wide open aperture f2.8, I will get a shutter speed less than 1/100 in this tricky lighting situation. So, what’s wrong with using 1/100, the problem is, the shutter is not fast enough to freeze the actions, if I were to use that speed, my picture will be blurred and it is almost impossible to captured those flying shuttlecock in the air with that slow shutter speed.

The solution is to use High ISO like what I’m using above, I use ISO 5000 and fast shutter speed at 1/1250 to freeze this moment. I’m not using that high ISO just for fun but I have to use it in order to get this shot, in order for me to use fast shutter speed to freeze the actions. That’s why professionals use high end camera, the right camera for each assignment. Just keep in mind, we can’t use flash here or we will be thrown out of the stadium.

Another things is that we need a camera that can shoot at high speed continues, a camera that can shoot up to eight or ten frames per second is good, is great. This is not a landscape photography where your subject doesn’t move like shooting a mountain. Each millisecond will make a big different, unlike landscape photography, a different between one second of exposure after another is not so much noticeable.

For professional, it is very important to have the right tools, the right tools will make or break our assignment, the right tools will help us to produce much more better images, giving us more opportunity, giving us more rooms to be creative.

Related Post : How To Choose a DSLR Camera | Camera is Just a Tool

mohd pait - indeed.kalau guna ISO yang tinggi boleh jadi penghasilan noise yang agak tinggi.ada cara nak kurangkan noise tak ? contohnya reduce noise + resize ?

Wazari Wazir - @ Mohd Pait, memang ada software untuk mengurangkan Noise seperti “Noise Ninja” tapi bagi kebanyakan PRESS yang mengejar masa, mereka tidak punya banyak masa untuk melakukan editing, paling tidak pun letak caption sahaja. Itu sebabnya bagi mereka yang terlibat secara langsung dalam bidang sukan ni amat memerlukan kamera yang berkeupayaan tinggi yang boleh shoot pada ISO yang tinggi tanpa Noise yang banyak. They really don’t have much time for editing.

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