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Apart from investing A LOT more money in to a new lens, how can I improve my indoor, low light sports photography, particularly roller derby. I currently use a Sony a6000 with an E-mount 50mm f1.8 lens.

Due to the lack of a zoom I often have to crop photos to frame them correctly and most, if not all, require a lot of post processing on the white balance and exposure, meaning I'm left with a lack of clarity and a lot of noise.

You can see my results here: https://www.facebook.com/RyanDavidsonDesigns/

  • Tempted to say "LA-EA4 might be for YOU, since there would be a far greater amount of suitable lens bargains in A mount". Does this kind of sport tolerate the use of medium-strength flash? – rackandboneman Oct 11 at 11:47
  • I have seen flashes being used previously however that's usually been followed up by a lot of grumbling from players so something I'd like to avoid if possible – hyperlink Oct 11 at 12:02
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    The shots on the facebook page suggest a problematic quality of light, rather than a lack of it... that's why I wanted to suggest a powerful, off camera, bounced fill flash... – rackandboneman Oct 11 at 12:13
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    Also, sports and reportage lenses is exactly where E mount tends to make you pay through the nose compared to DSLR systems.... – rackandboneman Oct 11 at 14:15
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Just a few seemingly unrelated observations from looking through your most recent album posted to facebook:

  • Select a shooting position that does not place an open door to the much brighter outdoors in the background. Instead, keep that light behind or about 90° to the side so that instead of fighting that light, you are using it to illuminate your subjects.
  • Shoot raw. Adjusting white balance and exposure/contrast after the fact is not destructive with raw files the way it is with JPEG images. For a good example of how well done raw processing can transform a less than ideal action shot, please see this answer to Lots of noise in my hockey pictures. What am I doing wrong?
  • Don't try to make the inside of a cave look like the middle of a park at midday sun. The camera doesn't know that everything in the image is not supposed to be medium brightness. Use exposure compensation or manual exposure to set exposure to more accurately reflect the actual conditions under which you are shooting. Let dark corners be dark.
  • Don't be afraid to kick the ISO up a little. Your images aren't excessively noisy for use on social media and other web viewing. Noise that is noticeable at 100% pixel peeing magnification on your monitor is much less noticeable when someone is viewing a downsized version on facebook.
  • Combining the previous two points will allow you to shorten your exposure times, which will help to reduce the amount of motion blur in many of your images.
  • Don't expect every frame to be a masterpiece. Shooting sports/action in low light is challenging! Every frame will not be a "keeper". Learn to let go of the ones that don't work and only post the ones that do.

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