Many years ago I was photographing the local ABA basketball team “The Las Vegas Rattlers”. They played on a portable court in a dimly lit arena, this was a challenging venue to photograph. With the fast pace of basketball and poor light I was constantly getting blurry images. With the new cameras that are available today this would have been much less of a problem, but back then I used a Nikon D100 which didn’t offer good low light compensation. To overcome the low light problem most photographers would add a flash, however this was not allowed as it was too distracting to the players. The flash was much too bright for such a poor light conditions and really effected the players. My solution was to purchase a 50mm f/1.4 lens and bump the ISO. This looked great on the camera back, but once reviewed on a computer screen the image noise was very pronounced. Back then we used a program called Noise Ninja to reduce the amount of noise. This did a good job and worked most of the time. The good news back then was these images were used in the news paper so noise was never really a problem.
With the new cameras available today this problem would almost be non existent. Back then the highest ISO I could shoot at was around 800, today I can shoot at 12,800 with very little noise on my Nikon D3s. With the great ISO range I am able to set a few parameters and use the auto ISO features of my D3s. I set a minimum shutter, maximum ISO and it’s off the the races. I don’t recommend this feature for most photography, but low light action photography without a tripod demands it.
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