Hi TMort The image looks very underexposed. I downloaded it and increased exposure +1ev in LightRoom3 and added a small amount of sharpening. I had to really compress the image and set Quality to "Low" to get it under the 150K size for the forum, so the higher res version of the JPG has a lot more detail and smoothness in shadow gradient. Considering how underexposed it was, it shows a lot of information throughout a wide dynamic range. The RAW files would look great. Stan St Petersburg Russia
What were your settings besides ISO 4000 and f/5.6? The shutter must has been high to get the action frozen. The only problem was metering must have showed the underexposure at those settings. Where you using Manual mode? Shutter priority would have caused the aperture to open fully, is that 5.6 at the FL you were using? I assume so, if that is the case, the only other element the camera could use to expose properly would have been ISO. If it was set to Auto ISO with a high max. it would have selected a higher ISO which would have been fine with that camera. I guess that you set the ISO to a fixed value of 4000. In this case I would have let the camera choose it based on the speed I wanted for freezing action, by setting the ISO to Auto. I never shoot Auto ISO but this would have been a good time for it, particularly if I was just getting used to the camera. Program mode would also have worked to lower the confusion with a new camera in a fast game. In Program mode, the correct ratio of shutter and aperture is maintained, Increasing one manually lowers the other variable elements to maintain exposure. One thing you can try until you get it all figured out, try using a Scene mode, sports of course here, and take a shot. If it looks nice(I am positive that it would), view the image data and note what the camera selected as a base point to set Shutter priority/Aperture, and ISO. Good luck....I am envious...
I had shutter at 1/500 and also had shutter priority on. I will def say that there will be a huge learning with this camera, there are a lot of features that I don't understand. Makes me wonder if I would have been better off with the 3100. I'm going to see if the local shop has a dslr class I can attend.
I'd have turned up the ISO even higher. Night high school football games are among the most technically challenging situations around. I've had some difficulty with that even given premium equipment (D3, 400/f2.8). In your case you opted for an ISO that's 2/3rds stop lower than I would have started with (6400) plus you're using a lens that's two stops slower (f/5.6). In practice I've usually nded up at ISO 12800.
As far as learning goes, if you don't have a completely solid understanding of exposure, I'd start with Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure. (There is a new edition out now, I forget the precise title, but it includes Understanding Exposure in the title.)
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!