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Old Jan 10, 2007, 4:42 AM   #1
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Last evening I used my 30D with the Sigma 120-300mm in a relatively small gymnasium. I relied on auto settings. Flash was my 580EX.

On approximately 100 shots all photos show the following info:
Tv 1/40, Av 2.8, ISO 400
Tv 1/50, Av 2.8, ISO 400
Tv 1/60, Av 4.0, ISO 400
I also took about a half dozen using the "Sport" mode.

What I found is several were blurry yet that, I believe, is me getting used to the weight/size of the lens/camera. Some I used my mono-pod though most I shot freehand.

The auto focus remained active to all focus spots though I probably should have tried using the center only for awhile. I thought I remembered reading that using all of them would allow for quicker focal adjustment . . .

Are the above readings what I should expect?


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Old Jan 10, 2007, 5:36 AM   #2
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This is a typical result with flash at slow sutter speed - i.e. you're doing a fill !!!
(see the bright spectators feet in the background? A flash would not be able to illuminate back there because of the fall-off)
-> The residual ambient gym light 'create' the blurring effect (and also the color cast) from the slow shutter. Increase the aperture until all the light ratio is coming mostly from the flash (i.e. no more a fill) then the flash burst alone will freeze the subject even at slower shutter speed, but the background will be darker. The best way to achieve this is with the camera on Manual (don't worry the flash will still be on automatic)

You can also increase the shutter speed to the maximum of 1/250s where the flash will still be effective to lower the ambient light. Any shutter speed above this will put your flash in High-Speed Sync where it is no longer effective because its range will be severely cut back! Most people in this case will shoot at higher ISO to get rid of this motion blur with higher shutter speed (without flash)
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 6:13 AM   #3
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NHL . . . thank you. That is what I needed.

I provided a photo that falls within the middle of my results, being one that showed most of the problems I encountered. After reading what you wrote, I checked some of the better photos and they were mid court w/o the background seen in the one I posted. Though the specs were about the same, the results were much better so to me, that substantiates what you wrote.

Couple more days and I'll try again.

Thanks again.
Steve
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 6:23 PM   #4
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NHL,
In increasing the aperture, is it correct using the "Aperture-Priority" mode on the creative zone? As far as I can see, that allows the camera to set the shutter speed which is not exactly what I understood from what you wrote. If on the other hand, I use manual (which is what you said) I can manually control both aperture and shutter. Though I am not certain, I believe you intended that I do the latter.
Thanks,
Steve
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 9:53 PM   #5
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Use Manual - It's the only way to control both the shutter and aperture with flash

-> you can judge how much ambient light is contributing to the overall scene by the EV scale on the bottom of the viewfinder: -2..-1..v..+1..+2
The more the pointer is to the left of the center, the darker the background will be! The subject however will be metered correctly by the automatic flash through TTL

In any of the automatic mode (including aperture priority) the camera will keep the EV scale centered hence the effect of ambient light on the slower shutter speeds. By moving the EV scale pointer to the left with the aperture(and/or shutter) you are reducing the ratio of the ambient light to flash...

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Old Jan 12, 2007, 2:32 PM   #6
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you can set your camera to use the 1/200 flash sync no matter what in the custom features

that means whenever the flash is on your shutter will be 1/200.

then when I shoot in conditions like that I shoot in apperture priority . these ensures that my shutter is always at 1/200 and I change the apperture and ISO accordingly.

Flash and 1/200 shutter lets you freeze the action enough. ISO and apperture setting lets you dial in how much ambient light will be registered on the sensor.

that's what I do and it gets me acceptable results
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 9:38 PM   #7
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shooting action like a ball game requires high enough shutter speeds to freeze action, the flash i think was pointed out , in this case is acting as fill. hence you get an odd blur to the photo`s. even at flash sync there may still be some blur related to flash. if theres enough light and a sufficiantly large apature youd be better off shooting sans flash. panning with the action at focal length shutter speeds and above, you may still get some blur but it may be the more pleasing kind that shows off the athletic motion in a game. get down on the sidelines for action freezing flash shots at or near syn speeds. this might darken the background but imo would be better than the ghosting your getting shooting from too far away.

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Old Jan 13, 2007, 1:48 PM   #8
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You could also set the camera in shutter speed priority, rather than manual, so that you lock in the shutterat the speed that you desire(being that the shutter is causing the problem). I actually like the slight blur effect, it shows that the people are in motion, otherwise it is like a ball is locked in mid-air, like those sci fi movies where the person stops time (which is definitely cool). But I am into reality, so I like a little motion blur, it shows what the person is doing. Of course, at 1/40 sec, there was too much motion in your shot. Also, you are indoors, and you have a great camera with low noise, why not shoot at 1600? Or at least 800, there is practically no noise, unless you are planning on blowing these shots up. This is just my two cents. Good luck!
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 4:37 PM   #9
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Nancy Gabby wrote:
Quote:
You could also set the camera in shutter speed priority, rather than manual, so that you lock in the shutterat the speed that you desire (being that the shutter is causing the problem). I actually like the slight blur effect, it shows that the people are in motion, otherwise it is like a ball is locked in mid-air, like those sci fi movies where the person stops time (which is definitely cool). But I am into reality, so I like a little motion blur, it shows what the person is doing. Of course, at 1/40 sec, there was too much motion in your shot. Also, you are indoors, and you have a great camera with low noise, why not shoot at 1600? Or at least 800, there is practically no noise, unless you are planning on blowing these shots up. This is just my two cents. Good luck!
Hi Nancy. Thanks for the advice. I like having more than option to solve a problem. Like you, I also am not opposed to some action blur on some shots. I have a long way to go learning this camera and the lenses I'm using. Lots of fun!

Though it has been quite awhile, thank-you again for e-mailing me the photo of your yellow flower (for my Dad). I printed it for him and it went to-and-from the hospitals right up until he passed away. It was with him, as was I, when he passed. I carried it home for the last time that morning. Small things often mean more than the giver realizes . . .
Best wishes,
Steve
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 9:11 PM   #10
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Nancy Gabby wrote:
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You could also set the camera in shutter speed priority, rather than manual, so that you lock in the shutterat the speed that you desire (being that the shutter is causing the problem).
I tend to recommend against using shutter priority for low light sports. Here's the problem - the camera will let you set the ISO to 100, and shutter to 1/1000 and will let you take a shot - it will be completely black, but the camera won't stop you. One of the keys to getting good high ISO shots is getting a proper exposure in camera. Shooting manual or AV mode provides a better chance of proper exposure than shutter priority does. And, most gyms have fairly constant lighting (maybe vary by 1/3-2/3 stops from center court to the backboards) - so manual works very well.

But the proper exposure aspect is also why manual mode works the best - here's the real life example - when shooting a game a couple weeks ago in a new gym, I put the camera in AV, set aperture to 2.0 and ISO to 1600. When I took a shot of the home team (in white) the camera gave a shutter speed of 1/1000. When I took a shot of the visiting player (in dark uniform) the camera provided a shutter speed of 1/400 - that's a huge swing. But guess what stays the same on both players? Skin tone. So, I selected the shutter speed that exposed the skin the best (which happened to be 1/400 by coincidence). But my point is: if using either aperture priority or shutter priority the camera would have underexposed every single shot of the home team - and at ISO 1600 that can pretty much ruin your shots.

Even if using a flash - you don't want the exposure swinging all over the place because of uniforms.
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