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Old Feb 4, 2006, 3:59 PM   #1
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Hi. I've been searching the web and came across your forum. So far it's been very informative but I havent stumbled across the problem I am having with my camera. Forgive me if it has been addressed before, I may have missed it.

I have only had this camera for 1 week. My previous camera was a Kodak Easyshare which has (after only 3 years) turned out to be my worst investment ever. I am not a photographer or even an aspiring one. I am a mom of 4 kids who uses the camera to photograph kids events. The problem that I had with any other digital camera that I've used (the less fancy ones because I'm an amateur) is that when I go to a school concert or basketball game (indoor) the pictures come out very dark. Almost to the point where you can't make out what you've taken the picture of. I spent the money and bought the Fuji after reading that they've managed to fix this problem. Well, earlier in the week I took it to my daughters basketball game (well lit gym, daytime, etc) and the pictures were bright butall grainy. I discovered that while playing with it I accidentally had it on ISO 1600 and changed it - now that's fixed. However, today I took the camera to another game (same conditions) and taking pictures on auto with flash, they were coming out dark like all of the other cameras that I've used. I played with it and used different settings and managed to get SOME good pictures but not many. Most were blurry or "jumpy" for lack of a better word but bright. The best ones were using the anti shake mode but a lot of them were blurry. Can someone tell me what to set my camera on, what mode to use, etc for settings such as these? In a school concert, I'm going to have dim lighting but pretty still subjects. In a ball game, it's going to be pretty well lit but objects in motion. Thanks for your help!
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Old Feb 4, 2006, 5:03 PM   #2
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Buffy: Have you tried the Natural setting(N). This will boost up the iso. Movement in dark places such as school concerts is going to show up blury. Shutter speed is what is going to stop motion. But if there is not enough light getting into the camera,the picture is going to be dark. I know you have found this out so far. You can try S mode read the manual page on this subject and play with the camera to pratice before that big day.

One thing really nice about digital cameras you can praticesand not cost you any money like film cameras. So turn the lights on in your home have the children doing their daily thing and find out what works best for you with this camera. This camera is great but it takes some time getting use to.

I hope this helps you,

Kevin
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Old Feb 4, 2006, 5:13 PM   #3
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You need to realize that your pop-up flash has a realistic range of about 10 feet, if you are trying to photo something 30 feet away like @ a basketball game you are wasting battery. If want to stop the action and have properly exposed photos inside a gym u need to purchase a large shoe-mount flash that has a lot of power.
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Old Feb 4, 2006, 5:38 PM   #4
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Very relevant points from both KEV61 and newdiamond, also remember that for action shots you need a fast shutter speed, turn you dial to (S) start off by trying 1/250 sec. On your display the F value will change, if there is sufficient light this F value text will be displayed in blue, if the F value text turns red it means that there is possibly going to be insufficient light, therefore you need to up the ISO or slow down the shutter speed, remember though if you select a shutter speed of less than 1/50 sec you will run the risk of camera shake which will produce blurred unfocussed images. Practice, practice practice!!!!!! :?sorry if this has confused you even more!!!!!!!!

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Old Feb 4, 2006, 7:22 PM   #5
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What newdiamond says about flash is absolutely true. Ever seen one of those football games broadcast on TV and during half time there is some celebrity out there in the middle of the field? Stobe flashes going off all over in the stadiums, and they are totally useless! I had a Vivitar flash one time that had it's own battery pack and an extreme guide number. I could effectively illuminate something nearly 80 feet away, but everyone shure knew when that flash went off!!:-) They are a bit pricey but for stopping action in lesser light it might be the way to go.

If you get an external flash that has a thristor circuity (it has a little electronic eye that reads the reflected light and shuts off the stobe so as to not overexpose), then you would use the setting close to f4.5 if available. Since you will use zoom on the S9000 it won't open up to 2.8, and may be limited to 4.5 thereabout.. could be off on that one. Set the shutter at 1/250th. That alone should stop action for you. Try it.. move up to then next faster shutter speed if that doesn't work.

Also I'd shoot minimum ISO 400 and preferrably at ISO 800. I shot a house the other day outside in B&W at ISO 1600. I was doing it for effect. Worked out very well, except when I printed it my printer sort of smoothed things out a bit and a lot of the grain (noise) had blended in and was not there. Sometimes what shows up o the screen is not what you get in the final print. I was surprised at how well the image did look at ISO 1600. On an old old house, (log house) it really gave a look of an old photographs, and I would NOT hesisitate to use 1600 given I either got a picture or nothing. Grain can be somewhat corrected and minimized in a program called "Neat Image" that is designed specific to elimiate noise in digital images.



In recap, if you don't have a very stong flash capable of 80+ feet, then don't use the built in flash as it is only good for near objects. Zoom will compound your problem, so try to get closer to the action. Shoot manual and set the shutter at 1/250 or faster, and adjust the Aperature accordingly. Or, shoot at Aperature Priority and set the aperature at maximum setting and then set the ISO at 800 or 1600. NO FLASH.

That should give you pictures. Might also try the "chrome" setting as that really gives extra saturation!

Vern


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Old Feb 4, 2006, 7:37 PM   #6
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Buffy,

You got alot of good advice in this thread.

If I may put my 2 cents on the table:

For the price point you paid you have a very good camera, the S9000.

I have had mine since October 2005.

I shot a Christmas Show from the very rear of a school auditorium using my monopod to eliminate most of my own movement. Used ISO 800, wide open aperature priority.

For a basketball game, the best way to shoot IMHO:

1) Sit on the side of the court near the basket which will be your son's basket.

2) During practice shoot someone practicing near the same basket. Check the focus, ( I like to first bring any menu up on the EVF (not the LCD) and turn the eyesight adjustment until you can see the menu clearly). Prior to the shot decide on the amount of zoom you want. Remember you have 9MP images, allow alot of room on each side of the subject so you can get him no matter where in your frame he is. The 9mp will let you get closer by cropping.

3) Once you set your focus in #2. switch your camera to manual focus. Do not turn the Zoom ring nor Focus ring. Once you get a lull in the action, put your AF on again and re-shoot as in step #2, to ensure you did not upset the focus and zoom settings. Do this every few shots returning to manual focus.

4) Set ISO 800, and wide open in aperture priority.

4) Now the fun: Sit and wait for your son to approach the basket, as you see him jump, take the picture. You will have almost no shutter lag and will get the shot. Soon you will be able to measure his movement to shoot it at its peak stretch which is momentarily no movement at all in terms of your fast shutter.

5) I use Neat Image noise reduction software after years of using Noise Ninja. I prefer Neat Image. Search the web for Neat Image and downlod a free trial.

Please post your next games images for us to see.

Hope this helps some.

Regards, Nicholas

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Old Feb 5, 2006, 9:45 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the advice. My head is spinning like crazy at all of this. haha But with the camera in front of me (and the manual) I'm starting to figure out a little bit of what you said. My husband is on his way to Circuit city for another reason so he's going to pick me up an external flash - hopefully that will solve the problem with the school concerts

Now for my daughter's basketball games. This is where I need some clarification. I turned the dial to "S" and even (somehow) figured out how to change it to 250 (I'm assuming the 250 is what you meant my 1/250 as it only says 250) I'm not in the school gym so I can't get the exact setting but honestly it is really well lit so I dont see getting the exact setting being a problem. Anyway, the f value is appearing in red at 2.8. No matter what I set the s on (250, 500, 20) I get an f value of the same?If you could clear the f value and all of that up for me it would be helpful. I really would love to learn everything about this camera (and have learned quite a bit here already thanks ) and I know it won't happen before Wednesday (my daughters basketball playoff game) but I know it will happen.



As for sitting by her basket and setting the focus for that, it's a good idea but my problem is that my daughter isn't really the shooter. She plays forward and is there to block and rebound. Unfortunately, this happens at both baskets. What I tried to do at the first game that I went to was to sit right in the middle (center court line) so I was of equal distance to both baskets. I'm also not just taking pictures of my daughter but of the whole team (my daughter likes to scrapbook and wants pictures of her whole team) which makes my life just THAT much more difficult.

Again, thank you all for your help. I will post some of the pictures that I have already taken so that perhaps that will help you in figuring out what my problem is (other than just inexperience:-))
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Old Feb 5, 2006, 9:47 AM   #8
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This is a picture that I took the very first time I brought the camera to a game. I had this on auto with a flash and was sitting at center court line. These were the pictures that were taken with ISO 1600. The blonde in the blueuniformblocking the shotis my daughter and the object of the shot that I took - she is what I centered on.




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Old Feb 5, 2006, 9:57 AM   #9
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This was the first picture that I took at my other daughter's game yesterday. This was on auto with flash in the same gym but ISO of 800. I had a few of these before I started playing with the buttons.




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Old Feb 5, 2006, 10:02 AM   #10
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and finally this is what I got when I used the anti shock mode instead of auto. Still had a flash and still had ISO of 800. Many of them came of "decent" but if I tried to zoom in to the other side of the court (I was at the end) then they got dark.




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