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Old Sep 7, 2006, 4:02 AM   #1
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The Australian Open is in 4 months (a bit premature, I know) and I wanted some tips from you experts on how I can take some high quality shots. The zoom is more than adequate for me, so it's not hard to get close shots.

My contention is that the central autofocus doesn't seem to do its job. I'll take a photo in that mode, wait for the focus to lock in, but then the whole photo returns in focus. I like the central effect for tennis photos, so I need to know how I can improve this.

Secondly, the racquets and ball move so fast they don't get the clarity of a pro shot. What modes and settings would help me for this?

The courts are a vibrant green, and I like the saturated look in photos so can I increase the contrast and saturation in camera (recommend modes), or must I do all of this in photoshop?

Any help is appreciated!
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Old Sep 7, 2006, 9:18 AM   #2
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The short focal length of the lenses on digital cameras makes it difficult to achieve the focus effect you are looking for. I would suggest using aperture preferred automatic, ISO 400, and see if that helps you achieve the effect you are looking for. That will enable you to use the higher shutter speeds, wider apertures, and hopefully this will help you get better images of the racket and the balls. To help with the saturated colors, I suggest you try exposure compensation of -1/3 EV. I find that helps to saturate the colors a little without having to set the saturation to anything other than normal in the camera.

The reason it is difficult to get the clarity of a pro shot is that the camera model you have is not a professional level camera. It is a good camera for a lot of different situations. But to have the level of control you are looking for you really need a digital SLR and some high-quality lenses. Otherwise, although you will probably get some nice photographs, they won't have the professional edge you want.
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Old Sep 8, 2006, 4:41 AM   #3
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Thankyou jphess. I will definitely try out your tips.

And yes, I know the S5600 is not a DSLR or anything of the sort, but I have seen much better photos produced by this model than I can take.
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Old Sep 8, 2006, 9:58 AM   #4
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Well, I have seen much better photos taken with a 9000/9500 than I have taken. Back in my film days I saw a lot of photographs that were much better than any I could take. I have come to the conclusion that I just don't know how to take professional photos. So the only thing I can do is just keep shooting and hope I learn a few new skills along the way.
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Old Sep 10, 2006, 7:13 PM   #5
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Well, the main thing you want to freeze action with a fast shutter.

Also, if the fast shutter requires a wider aperture, that won't hurt, since you seem to want a narrower depth of field anyway. So there's no real tradeoff there. So I might try shutter priority forcing a very fast shutter, like 1/800 or better if possible--really whatever the fastest shutter condidtions allow. Even that likely won't "freeze" the ball in many cases, but will give sharp shots of moving players.

You might even be able to get away with ISO 800 in some shots, if that's what's needed to get that fast a shutter. It will get noisier, but the high ISO noise in good light with a fast shutter won't be as bad as it is in lower light with a longer exposure.

You can also search pbase for a few tennis galleries to get an idea of what settings other people use for different shots (though most will obviously be DSLRs, and will be capable of a bit more, the general idea is the same):

http://www.pbase.com/hemlepp/college_tennis
http://www.pbase.com/sgidude/200509nytennisopen
http://www.pbase.com/shawnsmith/tennis

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