April 2, 2007 HelpLine
Q) I'm new to digital SLRs and want to photograph my son's indoor basketball games. Working in shutter- and aperture-priority modes, I can get sharp photos or bright photos inside, but haven't been able to get sharp, properly exposed photos without a lot of noise. My white balance and ISO are both set on auto. What am I doing wrong?
Via the Internet
A) My guess is that you're doing nothing wrong. When you say you can get sharp photos or bright photos-but not sharp and bright photos-that tells me there isn't enough light in the basketball arena. This is a problem common to most indoor sports venues. Even at the professional level, when arenas are lit for television broadcasts, the pros supplement the existing arena lighting so they can use a high enough shutter speed in order to stop the action. The pros use a system of remote-controlled strobes mounted above the arena floor. For high-profile tournaments, there's even a schedule of "strobe time" for each media outlet.
In your case, your best bet is to set your camera for shutter priority and pick a speed high enough to stop action. Then start raising your ISO setting in order to get a decent exposure. You'll have to live with the noise associated with the higher ISO setting.