/ Any tips for indoor climbing snapping to reduce noise?
Have you tried shooting in manual mode and choosing your speed, fstop and ISO. Also shoot in RAW and clean up noise in something like Lightroom.
The noise is from your ISO (as you no doubt know), take control of that first and keep it as los as you can. Shutter speed does need to be reasonably high which means getting lots of light in. This is one area where good kit comes in handy - f2.8 is slow.
In the mean time, while you save up for the f2 telephoto, steady your camera with a monopod and choose your shots for when you subject is still.
There's no escaping the need for more light though.
Might be worth getting a speedlight and using it as a slave with a radio trigger.
So you'll be shooting with the flash off camera, with you hooting from wherever you need to be, but with the speedlight on a stand closer to the subject. This will have multiple benefits such as freezing the action, creating interesting lighting & crucially allowing you to reduce your ISO. Ultimately, your photos should be punchier & with less noise.
Won't do you much good if you're stood away from the action though.
This was a quick snap from a recent comp at City Bloc:
No flash and it's pretty dark in there.
Sounds like you are doing all you can camera end (bar auto ISO).
It's now down to your Post Processing.
If you've got access to the latest Camera RAW processing plugin in Photoshop, then it will be the same noise reduction approach as in Lightroom. [buy Lightroom anyway its much easier overall compared with Photoshop]
There are tricks (more of an art/taste than strict approach) in Lightroom - its a combination of general processing tools, sharpening tools (with masking) and noise reduction tools, you can also add Grain back in. Often good to go to B&W sometimes.
There's a 50mm f1.8 Canon lens (just had a VERY quick skim) that can be picked up on Amazon for £79
Here's a review of it specifically with low light sample pics:
So if your old films 50mm didn't do the trick and you can spare the £80 (which is a bargain, the only complaints seem to be it feels a bit cheap but looks ace) then it'll probably do the trick.
It's whether or not you can get close enough though without being able to zoom.
More suitable for bouldering, where you can get nearer the subject, but for under £100, you could pick up a non-branded (or old) flash and a couple of remote triggers. I did that and am happy with the results.
Far enough Richie.
I'd echo the suggestions of a fast 50mm then. I use the one linked to above, daily. It's not the sharpest lens in the world but it's cheap and fast(ish) and despite owning a couple of good L lenses, I find myself turning to it more and more.
Best of luck!
The only other advice I could offer would be to really choose your shots so you can drop shutter-speed a bit (and thus ISO) - when climbers are resting/setting up for a move.
Boosting under-exposed shots in post-production usually brings in more noise.
The other oprion as someone else mentioned is shooting in B&W where noise isn't quite so noticeable.
Just threw the thing in a corner so it bounced nicely off the walls and didn't blast anyone's eyeballs out, and had no complains.
Otherwise ask for a bit more light? Bring some halogens of your own...
Where you say "zoomed out" I assume you mean "zoomed in".
Normally I would say "get closer to the action so you can use the wider end of the lens where it has a faster aperture" but it sounds like you can't (?) so it may be worth considering a longer prime lens like a 135mm f/2.8 if you have an old one lying around (it sounds as if you have various "old" kit around).
I don't do much shooting in indoor walls especially at long focal length, but I've shot a lot of concerts on a 135mm f/2.8 with acceptable results.
Just an alternative suggestion anyway
Yep, less noise if you up the ISO and expose 'normally' rather than deliberately under-exposing at a lower ISO and then pulling the image back 'up' in post processing.
It was a huge realisation for me last winter when I did some tests which the pixel peepers in various fora then confirmed.
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