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Old Dec 13, 2008, 3:18 PM   #1
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 9:31 AM   #2
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I've moved your post down to our Canon Forum, where you may get some tips from other users of your model.

Indoor sports are very demanding on a camera and lenses. Unless you can use a flash, you'll probably need a dSLR model capable of higher ISO speeds *and* a very bright lens to get shutter speeds fast enough to stop blur from subject movement.

With your model, your best bet would probably be to use a flash (making sure you're close enough to stay within the rated flash range)

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Old Dec 14, 2008, 12:29 PM   #3
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Should this be placed in the Sony Forum?
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 7:04 PM   #4
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Yes. Thank for the correction. ;-)

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Old Dec 15, 2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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Let's take a good look at your indoor sports shot situation.

We will begin with some of the photo limitations of the Sony H-5 camera. With your H-5 in the P for Program Mode and the ISO set to Auto ISO, and the flash selected to the force flash mode,theH-5, using the flash,can produce enough light to get a good photo at about 25 feet. It does that by automatically raising the H-5's ISO setting to ISO 125. So a flash photo in an indoor gym would be good out to 25 feet only. However, the shutter speed selected by your H-5 wouldhave been fixed at1/40th of a second. That shutter speed is too slow to stop any sports action. Even if the ISO is manually increased to a higher setting, when using flash, the H-5 retains a fixed 1/40th of a second shutter speed. Therefore,using flashwould not be useful for taking any photos when there is rapid or quick sports action taking plce in the photo scene. any action would be recorded as very blurred in the photo.

Theanother possible option with your H-5 camera would have been to use the High ISO Mode which is a choice on your H-5's Mode Selector.The High ISO Mode turns off the H-5's built-in flash, and attempts to get a successful photo by increasing the ISO setting up to a maximum of ISO 1000. However, the High ISO Mode does not increase the shutter speed at all. It maintains a constant 1/25th of a second shutter speed in an attempt to allow the H-5 to gather as much light as possible to get the photo. So this would not be a useful camera mode to use in your inside the gym, sports action photo situation.

The only possible solution you could have selected was to use S for Shutter Preference on the Mode Select. Then using the Command Dial which is located just below the H-5's shutter release, you could manually selectby rotatingthe Command Dial a shutter speed that would stop that sports action that you were attempting to photograph. I selected with the Command Dial a shutter speed of 1/160th, then I selected the forced flash (the single lightening bolt symbol display on the H-5's LCD screen) which commanded the flash to fire with every photo taken. Finally using the H-5's Menu I selected Auto ISO. Those settings would have allowed you to stop the sports action inside the gym by using the flash. The H-5 reads the distance that the camera focuses on and then adjusts the ISO to capture the photo. Set-up in this manner the H-5 can capture action out to a flash range of about 30 to 35 feet.

So you had a fairly complex photo environment that you were working in and attempting to get photos. Therefore, the proper solution was also complex. To answer your question properly, I went into the closet and dug out my own H-5 and after putting in fresh batteries and a Pro Duo Memorystick, I began taking photos.

Keep in mind, I had another advantage, as I am a digital camera instructor. So you should not feel badly that you did not instantly know the answer when you were taking the photos in the gym. The solution, as I said, was pretty complex. The H-5 is surely not the ideal camera for indoor sports shots, even when using flash. However, you can squeeze out some photos if you are very familiar with the H-5 camera.

I hope this helps.

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Old Dec 16, 2008, 10:33 AM   #6
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Sarah has given some very good camera specific advice. For certain, the H-5 according to Sarah's explanation behaves rather strangely. Sad that it does not have a full manual mode.

But I want to comment on one aspect - the use of flash for stop action photography. When using a flash to stop action, the shutter speed is not directly relevant. You can freeze action with slow shutter speeds. The key lies in the fact that there are 2 different metering calculations going on when you use flash: the first - how the camera meters the shot and the 2nd how the flash then meters to add additional light. The flash calculation uses the camera's base metering as input, it then says "how much more light do I need to provide so the camera captures a properly exposed shot at the metering it intends to use". Pretty simple so far.

The key to stop action flash photography is to set the camera's exposure to at least 2 stops, preferably 3 stops below ambient exposure. What the heck does that mean? Let's say you weren't using flash at all and you took a picture letting the camera decide all 3 variables for exposure (aperture, shutter speed and ISO). Let's say for the sake of argument the camera chose ISO 200, f5.6 and 1/15. Again, just for the sake of argument. The camera believes those 3 values will produce a properly exposed image. To use flash effectively to stop the action you want a 2 to 3 stop change in exposure. Each doubling of the shutter speed is a "stop". So, in this example if you doubled the shutter speed twice (1/15 -> 1/30 -> 1/60) you would have an exposure 2 stops below ambient. It would be kind of dark. 3 stops would be 1/125- very dark. Now, when you fire a flash it is really a very fast burst of light - like 1/4000 of a second. So even though the shutter is open for 1/125 - enough time to show motion blur - the flash is only going off for 1/4000. The rest of the 1/125 where the flash is firing is too dark for the image sensor to record a good image. So the image that is recorded is what the camera saw during that 1/4000 burst.

The closer your camera's exposure is to that 'ambient exposure' the more bluring you will see. It's actually referred to as "ghosting" when you use flash.

Here's an example of some ghosting:

Now here's a sample where the camera's exposure was 3 stops below ambient. A lot more action in this photo but no ghosting. It's not because a higher shutter speed was used -it's because the camera was 3 stops below ambient

Now, I've thrown out numbers in this example - DO NOT concentrate on the numbers. They are potentially misleading (i.e. do NOT assume ISO 200, 1/125 f5.6 is the values to use) - the idea is you have to understand the PRINCIPLE here.

Now, you may ask - why not just choose a very low exposure - say ISO 100, f8, 1/250. THe reason being the darker the exposure the more you need the flash to output power. Your flash doesn't have unlimited power. So it's a balancing act. You may find that using an exposure 3 stops below ambient the flash isn't powerful enough and you get a dark photo. You may very well encounter this problem. If you do, change the exposure until the flash CAN illuminate the image. You'll also find that using your flash in this manner will drain your battery very quickly - and it will take a good amount of time to re-charge.

In the end, you're asking your camera to do something very difficult - without flash the camera isn't capable of stopping the action - with flash it may still have trouble because you need an exposure 2-3 stops below ambient to freeze motion. So you may only be able to get to a point where you have some 'ghosting' like in my first image.

Good luck!
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