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obrien040362 Mar 5, 2005 10:59 PM

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I have a Canon S1 IS and am having trouble with blurrry action shots. I typically use sports mode. Attached is an example.

Mr_Saginaw Mar 6, 2005 6:50 AM

This is very typical of an Point & Shoot trying to take indoor sports pictures... sorry... :cry:

The problem is most indoor facilities have very dim lighting... and the problem with your camera is while it has a descent lens (f2.8 ~ 3.1) it's max ISO is only 400.. Not sure of your level of knowledge here... but ISO 400 won't even work for indoor sports in a well light gym... In most of the average gym i shoot in I have to use ISO3200 to get good action shots... sorry to say i don't think your going to get the action shots you want out of your camera...

JimC Mar 6, 2005 7:42 AM

I can't tell if it's in a Gym or not (it looks to be outside to me). In any event, the light is just too low (what's bright the human eye, is not to a camera's lens).

In any event, the camera used an aperture of f/3.1 (probably the largest available aperture for the amount of zoom you were using), with a shutter speed of 1/30 second.

The camera must keep the shutter open long enough for proper exposure of the image, and it's already using the largest available aperture. So, light (or ISO speed) are the only things you can change to get faster shutter speeds (if you want properly exposed images).

Well, it's hard to change the light shooting sports. ;-) So, ISO speed is your only other option. I can't tell what the ISO speed was from the EXIF. But, chances are, Auto ISO is not going to be using ISO 400 (because it's relatively noisy in a small sensored camera).

So, you could get faster shutter speeds by manually setting the ISO speed to a higher value (ISO 400 is the maximum your model supports).

This will increase noise levels (similar to film grain). So, you may not like the results. But, noise is often preferrable to motion blur.

If you want to try this (ISO 400), there are some good tools to help reduce noise..

Neat Image and Noiseware are popular choices. Noiseware has a free community edition that can work as a standalone (versus plugin) that I've been impressed with.

This would probably get you shutter speeds around twice as fast (chances are, your Auto ISO is not going above ISO 200) in the same light. So, setting your camera to ISO 400would bring you up to around 1/60 second in the same conditions.

But, that's still not fast enough to stop motion. So, you can expect to take a lot of photos to get some keepers. I'd make sure to try panning with the action as much as possible, too (which may help increase yourkeepers since panning will help to cancel out some of the blur from subject movement).

obrien040362 Mar 6, 2005 12:49 PM

Thanks I will try next week with ISO400. This was indoor and I was overriding the flash. I also shoot out door soccer and my main problem there is tracking the subject. In this case I feel I need an optical view finder or more MP so I can use less zoom and crop later.

I guess I need a SLR?

p.s. will i get better results with single or continuous auto focus

p.s.s Is one point auto focus also part of the problem

JimC Mar 6, 2005 1:37 PM

obrien040362 wrote:

Thanks I will try next week with ISO400.
Another thing you can try is setting Exposure Compensation to a -EV Value. IOW, deliberately underexpose the photo by a stop or so.

Since the camera will already be using the largest available aperture in low light, using a -EV setting will cause it to increase the shutter speed.

This will also increase noise (just as if you used a higher ISO speed, because noise is worse in underexposed areas).

Then, you'd need to brighten it up later using software. But, don't overdo it... I wouldn't go more than a stop underexposed (or -0.9 EV if your model is using 1/3 stop increments) unless you really have to.

You should be able to see what kind of shutter speeds you're getting and use that as a guideline. Many models tell you when you half press the shutter button. If not, you could check a photo using playback mode to see.


This was indoor and I was overriding the flash. I also shoot out door soccer and my main problem there is tracking the subject. In this case I feel I need an optical view finder or more MP so I can use less zoom and crop later.

I guess I need a SLR?

ADSLR is definitely your best bet for indoor sports. These can shoot at ISO 1600 or better. Make sureto get a bright lens. If it's a zoom lens, go witha lens that has an f/2.8aperture throughout the zoom range.

If you're on a budget, and can use your feet for zoom, you can get a 50mm f/1.8 for under $100.00 for any of the entry level DSLR Models (Canon EOS-300D, Pentax*istDS, Nikon D70, etc.).

A bright prime (and longer primes are available) can get you evenfaster shutter speeds (these are available in larger apertures -- f/2.0, f/1.8, f/1.4,etc.compared to zoom lenses). But, you don't have the flexibility of a zoom lens with a prime.

A popular lens for sports use is the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX HSM lens. It's around $800 discounted. It's HSM (Hypersonic Motor) helps it to focus faster, and workssimilar to Nikon'sAF-S (Silent Wave Motor)or Canon'sUSM (Ultrasonic Motor) lenses.

Because the sensoris smaller than 35mm film in most DSLR models, you have a crop factor (i.e., focal length multiplier). This factor is 1.5x in the Nikon and Pentax models, and 1.6x in most Canon models. So, take this into consideration when lens shopping.

For example, a 70-200mm lens used on aNikon D70would have a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximately 105-300mm (70mm x 1.5 = 105mm, 200mm x 1.5 = 300mm).

Steve K Mar 6, 2005 1:47 PM

A couple of thoughts:

The "action blur" can be a feature, not a bug. :G
I have some shots of a golden gloves boxing match taken with a 1 MP digital, no flash. The only significant light was straight down from above the ring. The ring ropes are pretty much in focus, but the boxers are "action blurred" to various extents - high for a flurry of punches, low for a corner shot with their coach. I kind of like the effect, adds a feel for the action.

You might try "panning" the camera with a moving player. I've seen shots, e.g. of racing horses done like this. the background is very blurred but the horse is fairly frozen. I intend to try this, maybe with a tripod to allow motion only from side to side ... 8)

Meryl Arbing Mar 8, 2005 8:50 AM

I agree with Steve K...the example is a moving player passing a stationary camera. If you move the camera along with the player, he will be 'stationary' relative to the camera. The background will be blurred but that just shows movement.

Also, if you are using zoom and handholding the camera, there could be a certain amount of camera shake effecting the shot as well. A tripod is too unwieldy for this sort of situation but you can sometimes get by with a monopod and gain a stop or two in steadiness while still having lateral camera movement for panning.

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