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Old Jan 10, 2012, 10:58 PM   #1
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Default practicing "S" mode

I went out today looking for some action shots, I found them at a local remote control model car racing track. The owner of the 4 wheel drive truck said "shoot away!" I experimented with diff. shutter speeds and ISO's, and these are what I came up with.....J4c The first pic "man and machine" settings are: f/5.6 ~1/800 sec., ~ISO 200,~focal length-126mm... The next pic "oopsy daisy" f/8, ~exp. 1/4000, ~ISO-6400 ~ focal length-21mm......the last pic "splashdown" ~ f/5, ~ 1/4000 ~ ISO-6400 ~ focal length-21mm, ~ W.B. manual......I took 187 pics today of this truck.....lol
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 9:15 AM   #2
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The title of your thread says: practicing 'S' mode but you start off by saying you went out in search of action to shoot and then shot all that action with fast shutter speeds.

May I ask - which is your intent - to learn/practice the practical implications of shutter priority? Or to shoot action where you freeze the action? It's an important distinction.
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 10:20 AM   #3
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I have not understood the "S" mode until recently, and have not played with it at all. I understand it now. I found out that the faster the shutter the higher the ISO must be. Am I wrong thinking this way? By practice I mean trying something that I have not tried yet. Too hard to catch birds in flight and freeze the wing beats (hand held). Please explain to me where I went wrong in my thinking. I have only had my camera less than a year and I don't particularily like auto modes, but in a pinch when the moment is a fleeting moment I will use an auto program and deal with its failing points later. J4c
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by just4clix View Post
I have not understood the "S" mode until recently, and have not played with it at all. I understand it now. I found out that the faster the shutter the higher the ISO must be. Am I wrong thinking this way?
That's only part of the picture. There are 3 variables that determine exposure: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Higher shutter speeds can be achieved by raising ISO, opening up aperture (smaller f-number) or BOTH.

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By practice I mean trying something that I have not tried yet. Too hard to catch birds in flight and freeze the wing beats (hand held). Please explain to me where I went wrong in my thinking.
Here's what I was getting at:
shutter speed is only one aspect of motion photography. There's a lot more than shutter speed involved with getting a good action photo - whether it's a bird or an R/C vehicle. So, if you want to understand the role of shutter speed alone - that's one thing. To do that, you have to try different approaches. Slower shutter speeds show motion blur - that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Sometimes you WANT to convey motion. Take the R/C vehicle for example - when sports photographers photograph vehicles, it is often desirable to convey the sense of motion - you can't do that with fast shutter speeds. You use slower shutter speeds so the wheels are blurred. But you have to "pan" the camera with the moving vehicle so the vehicle appears sharp. In that manner you can learn about shutter speed's impact to a photo by trying differing amounts of shutter vs. pan to see what you like. You can also find out about "minimum" shutter speeds if you care about stop action. No need to use ISO 800 if ISO 200 gets you the shutter speed you need to stop action.

Now, if your goal is to shoot action - there is more to a good action photo then stop-action. For example, the subject in your photos here is entirely too small in the frame - you want the subject filling a larger portion of the frame so people see detail. And to do that well, you need to do it in-camera instead of just cropping. And, of course, there are other aspects - background, exposure, etc. etc that all go in to it.

So, if your goal was to practice the impact of different shutter speeds on an image I would say you didn't accomplish the goal - these are all stop action. If the goal was action photography - then we can discuss what needs to be done to improve the photos. The two topics are related, but not the same.
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 12:36 PM   #5
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Taking these pics here- I'm guessing you wanted to "freeze" the truck- in mid air,with splashes etc..? I would switch to aperture priority and shoot wide open(lowest "f" number),regardless of focal length- thus allowing as much light as possible in. Take a few test shots around the likely shooting area and see what kind of shutter speeds are available to you- something around 1/500th-1/640th sec should suffice- if these speeds are not available at low-ish iso's adjust the iso accordingly- but beware- anything above 800iso is going to seriously compromise image quality- with excessive noise reduction negating the effects of an otherwise sharp focused capture.
Another option is to use Manual mode,select your desired aperture,your desired shutter speed(fairly swift in this case) and adjust the iso accordingly- if you have an auto iso in full manual mode then life gets easier still...

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Old Jan 11, 2012, 1:21 PM   #6
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Hopefully I can help to put some images to what John saying.

Firstly you've got it right about if you change one setting then another will need to be changed (shutter/aperture/ISO).

The only time in sports photography that I will use shutter priority is when I want to slow the shutter down rather than have something frozen. If you are freezing the action then aperture priority is the best as you just set the widest aperture and you can't let in any more light after this. With shutter priority and trying to go high you can suddenly find yourself in an under exposed situation as there is simply no aperture left.

Moving on to shooting vehicles, pretty much all the time you will want some motion, if you go for stop action then it will look stopped, by brining in some blur you will convey that motion.

Shooting action is hard on any camera, but when using a non dSLR it gets even harder as the AF isn't generally good enough to keep up. This is where my first photo comes in, this was taken by pre-focusing on the spot I wanted to get the car. You will notice that the shutter is not overly high so I've got some movement in the wheels, but not so much that the background show signs of motion blur.

The 2nd photo is a much slower shutter speed (and bigger subject) but as you can see, the background is blurred as I pan, this conveys speed even more.

Lastly, another slow shutter, even though the boat is almost head on, it has helped show movement in the water that is thrown up.

Looking forward to seeing what you get next time out as I love anything RC
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 2:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips. I did pre-focus the big mud puddle before the truck got there. I wasn't trying to stop the truck, but the waterdrops and major splash. Guess I didn't convey this very well when I first posted. Let me see if I have some of the panned photos of that lil monster truck. Mostly when I panned and then clicked the button, there was no truck in the pic only surrounding terrain....lol I know the HS20 is terrible for that. I got the effect I was looking for at the time. Of course I guess I could just set up my tripod, have someone stand over a mud puddle and drop a big rock, so I can stop the splash in mi air......J4c BTW, the guy said his truck was 1/8th. scale and it was electric.
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 5:05 PM   #8
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1/8th scale looks about right for it. With panning on something like the HS20 still go for pre focused and then keep things very smooth (easier said than done) and keep the pan going even after the shutter is released, that will help you get the shot. It will keep you entertained for hours, or drive you crazy LOL.... however it's worth it.
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