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-   -   Will slave flash help with graininess and blurriness? (

ken212 Jul 16, 2005 2:40 PM

I have a number of problems when it comes to indoor shots with my camera. I cannot always get close to the subjects with my camera and I need to use the 10x zoom.

When my daughter was on stage I tried taking pictures of her in different modes with the camera as well as with different modes of flash. But I had two major problems. the children came out blurry with bad coloring. Also instead of red eye their eyes were otally white.

Next when my gaughter was playing in a basketball game I had a number of problems. The gym was well lit just like you were outside. I tried using the camera with the in built flash and without te flash. I also triued using differnt mosed including auto and sports. When I took the pictures without the flash the coloring seemed to come out ok, but they were blurry like they were in motion, even using the sports mode. When I tried withut the flash the were a little clearer although some were grainy. But than the pictures came out to dark.

Wouls a slave flash along with the built in flash help at all in these situations? If so should I shootit staight on or at an angle? Like I said I was a bit of a distance from them, but this was unavoidable since I could not get very close and that is why I neede to use the 10x zoom

gregg Aug 30, 2005 9:39 PM

I hate to break it to you...but a 10x zoom without image stabilization getting a clear shot can be a bit tricky but not impossible

I don't know the f stop setting....but I'm betting at full 10xzoom it defaualts to 2.8 or even 4.8 and that may notallow enough light for a zoom indoors

also, an internalflash at considerable distance may be useless

if it was me I would do try any of the following...

higher ISO...can your camera be set to 200 or 400 and does it look too grainy? The higher setting makesthe sensor more light sensitve...try to use a tripod or monopod at all costs!!! If you can get the camera to to be still the 10x zoom will give you more photos that are in focus. The slightest movement at 10x will result in a blurry photo...that could be you breathing or even an AC unit indoors blowing air and causing subtle movement...

the image stabilization is now available in longer zooms from panasonic, canon, minolta, sony

I have never used a slave...I can't tell you if the work with all internal flashes...but if it does that is an option

another strange possibility....don't go all the way to ten in darker situations that may open up the lens a bit and then you could crop the final photo

and avoid using the digital zoom, use optical only...that may degrade the picture far too much


gregg Aug 30, 2005 9:43 PM

I noticed something else...taking photos at a sporting event means you are probably moving a lot...and maybe not setting yourself before you snap the shot...taking sports photography indoors without an image stabilized lens and a tripod at full telephoto is extremely difficult


Vlad the Impaler Sep 1, 2005 3:31 AM

A high end flash will extend your range to around 40 feet, which would only be sufficient if you were in the front rows of seating. I'm assuming you're interested in a slave because your camera lacks a hotshoe? If your camera has a hotshoe then using a normal flash is the way to go.

You could put a slave flashcloser to the action than you are, right on the edge of the court or stage. The only problem with this is that everybody else's camera will trigger it as well. That'll both mess them up (their cameras won't be expecting such illumination) and it will cause the flash to perhaps not be ready when you wish to take a shot.

If you're serious about getting good pictures, see if you can get someone with authority over the event to let you stand by the court to take pictures. It may help if you offer to submit the photos to the school yearbook etc. If theatre, maybe take the shots during a dress rehearsal where you are free to roam. During the last week or so of rehearsals, full costumes, lights, and effects are usually used. The pictures won't be distinguishable from ones taken at the real show.

In any case, distance is your enemy. Great pictures don't usually come from the stands, so get closer or at least find a way to get the light closer.

gregg Sep 1, 2005 1:52 PM

I thoughtabout what you saidalready Vlad, but I'm not sure how receptive a school would be to a big flash from the crowd

just a thought


Tom Overton Sep 1, 2005 5:56 PM

A few thoughts... Gregg and Vlad are right on the money here.

Though it seems that a gymnasium is brightly lit, it is much darker than you think. Your camera will have difficulty getting a proper exposure at acceptable shutter speeds. Using zoom will only exacerbate this problem. You would be better off shooting wide and cropping to emphasize your subject. You will have slightly lower resolution, but the pictures will be sharper.

With a zoom digicam, use your highest acceptable ISO and lowest f-stop. If you are at all adept with Photoshop or other editors, you can fix a slightly under-exposed image. You can trade off some exposure in favour of a slightly faster shutter speed.

Flashes will generally make you unpopular at many sporting events. Large venues often have strobes up high that are triggered by transponders which are given to sanctioned photographers. Oh, yeah, they also have very expensive cameras and lenses.

Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

gregg Sep 1, 2005 9:32 PM


I only got totake a quick look....what kind of camera do you use?


speaklightly Sep 8, 2005 8:29 PM


Vlad is correct. You need to get closer. A rather powerful slave flash can increase your flash range out to about 25 to 28 feet, but that will require higher ISO and throttling back the zoom. Watch your shutter speed and stay away from 10X. Try to use only 50% of your available zoom. The more you zoom the less aperture you will have available to use.

High ISO will also increase noise/grain.

Sarah Joyce

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