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Old Jan 9, 2010, 12:03 PM   #1
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Default Never ending questions - I have questions

I just got my xsi with the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-200 lens. I new to photography and am learning to use the camera. I know I will have a lot of questions so I would create one thread and just ask my questions here instead of clogging the board with new threads with all my questions.

First question.
When i shoot in sports mode inside my images are blurry but when I'm outside (sunny day) they seem fine. I assume this has something to do with the aperture. Is that right? I'm not sure what the shutter speed is in sports mode but I assume it's fast since t needs to stop action.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 12:13 PM   #2
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disclaimer- i never use the scene modes, and have never set my camera to sports mode, ever.

my guess is sports mode sets the aperture as open as possible in order to get the fastest shutter speeds it can. however, the kit lens does not offer a fast (open) max aperture, so the mode is constrained by this, therefore it is not able to get fast enough shutter speeds to prevent camera shake despite its best attempts.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 1:12 PM   #3
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The imagine is blur, you will need to pan your shot with your object as it is moving. That way only the background is blur and the object still in focus. If you want to freeze the shoot. I would use Tv and set it to say 1/200 and it will freeze everything. I do not use the scene modes either.

check out the youtube workshop on action shots at www.dslrtips.com It can be helpful
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 4:23 PM   #4
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Thanks, That was, I'm sure, the first of many questions. I know I will have more as I read and shoot more.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 6:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
The imagine is blur, you will need to pan your shot with your object as it is moving. That way only the background is blur and the object still in focus. If you want to freeze the shoot. I would use Tv and set it to say 1/200 and it will freeze everything. I do not use the scene modes either.

check out the youtube workshop on action shots at www.dslrtips.com It can be helpful
For shooting sports Tv is not the way to go if you are trying to freeze action, it is only really used if you want a slower then maximum shutter speed, such as when panning to get blur. This is an example when shooting in Tv, I was set to 1/60s I believe.



So why is Tv no good for trying to get a maximum shutter speed? When using Tv you can easily get under exposed photos as you can select a setting too high for the available light so no matter what the camera tries it will still be dark. With a normal lens 1/200s will most likely be very under exposed.

For indoor sports you want to use Av or preferably Manual and set everything correctly so the camera doesn't get confused by dark or light objects in the background or by dark or light player kits. Using either Av or M you will want to have the aperture as wide as possible (small f number) and get the ISO right up to make the sensor as sensitive as possible.

Back to the original question, the reason that indoor shots with sports mode are blurring are that the ISO is probably not high enough and you are limited by the lenses you have. For shooting indoor sports you want to have lenses that are f2.8 or brighter. In poor gyms I will use an f1.8 lens.

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Old Jan 9, 2010, 7:11 PM   #6
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Opp's I missed the indoor part of the question. Though you were blurring outdoors. Sorry about that.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 9:09 AM   #7
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Thanks. I was just shooting my kids jumping up and down to see how the camera would do. When I actually do start shooting sports it will be outside at the ballpark. Does the above still hold true for outside?
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 9:11 AM   #8
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Any situation where you want to maximise shutter speed no matter the location you want to use Av or M and have the aperture as wide as possible (small f number). If shutter speed is too slow then increase the ISO, if you find you are getting a lot over 1/1000s which is a good place to be then you can bring the ISO down to reduce image noise.
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 10:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gman1987 View Post
First question.
When i shoot in sports mode inside my images are blurry but when I'm outside (sunny day) they seem fine. I assume this has something to do with the aperture. Is that right?...
Welcome gman1987 and even though your just getting into this photography thing, I hope you enjoy every moment of it. You'll get a lot of great advice here so ask away.....

I would like to add my two cents to your question as well. I too never use the scene modes and assume they would be too confusingly auto for me. When you accept "auto" as a function, you think whatever the camera decides will be the best This is not always true. When you learn your camera and a couple basic photography principles and put yourself in the 'driver's seat', your photos will be exactly as you want them or close anyway. With some minor photoshoping and tweeking here and there is all you'll need to complete the image.

There are many principles in shooting photography but you only need to know a couple to get a good grip on starting. First principle is using the available light that's there. "Shutter speed" isn't just aperture. It's only one element of it. Your inside shot was blurry as apposed to outside because of the extra light all around not just because of your aperture setting.

As Mark mentioned above wide open aperture AND ISO's work together in obtaining the shutter speed your after. One thing however with a wide open aperture (small #) is that your area of focus or what is sharp is hampered by the "Depth of Field" (DOF). If you can only shoot an aperture with your lenses starting wide open at 3 or 3.5 zoomed all the way out, you may not want this look and find yourself zooming in somewhat which will change your aperture closer to 5.6. Your shutter will slow down here so you will then boost your ISO's to compensate.

You will also need to have a good eye on your focus point when you take your shot. Because everything in front and behind your focus point will be blurry due to DOF so if your capturing your kids jumping around your focus point should be their faces and more precisely, their eyes for the ideal shot.

One more point about wide open apertures is that images shot at this farthest range will turn out 'soft' so when I shoot sports with my 2.8 lenses, I will adjust to 3.2 or 3.5 instead so I can have a sharper image. Also because of 'noise' issues with the higher ISO's, I use Noiseware Pro to clean all that up.

One more point to make because your just getting into photography, it is my opinion that the image straight out of the camera was never meant to be the complete image. Because your now dealing with pixels (buckets of information) the image is just a capture of "information", a basis from which to work from in photoshop or other to complete the image.

Sorry for the writing of this book but do hope this helped somewhat.

Kevin
www.poetryofmotion.com
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 11:34 AM   #10
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So,

Trying to tie things up nicely here - why were the shots of your kids jumping too blury? 2 reasons - the aperture your lens had available and the ISO your xsi uses in sports mode (400) were not capable of giving you fast enough shutter speeds to stop the action. So it was both a lens problem AND and ISO problem. The ISO problem was caused by how sports mode works with the xsi. It sets the ISO to 400 (if I'm not mistaken) and doesn't allow it to change. Even at ISO 1600 you probably woulnd't be able to freeze the motion without using a flash. Mark & Kevin gave you some great advice but I wanted to circle back around to your question again.

If you want to mimick sports mode but get past the ISO 400 issue, then do the following:
  1. Set camera to aperture priority. Set aperture value to widest value (lowest f-stop) your lens is capable of.
  2. Set focus mode to AI-Servo
  3. Set frame rate to burst
  4. Adjust ISO to get necessary shutter speeds - 400 is a good start outdoors, but indoors you'll likely need 1600.
  5. Additionally I suggest you select center focus point only rather than allowing the camera to use all points. Using all points can have the unintended consequence of the camera switching focus to some other object in the photo. Using center point means you the photographer have to be more careful to keep that point on your subject BUT at least you take away the notion of the camera switching the focus.
In the end there is a lot more to shooting action. But the above 5 steps are simple enough to get you started - IF there is enough light for what you wan to shoot. That may not be the case. In my living room at night there's no way ISO 1600 and f5.6 is going to be able to capture my son jumping. Just not going to have fast enough shutter speeds. Then I need to use a flash to freeze the motion.
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