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Old Dec 31, 2005, 11:12 PM   #1
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I need to take pictures of the entire team moving around at once in a gym. So the flash is out. What I do have is a tripod. What I need is the settings, step by step, for the best possible shot in low light (gym with florecent lights) of moving people. I usually have to zoom in a bit too from time to time on an indivigual so if there are seperate settings for that cool. But keep in mind they are typically on the other side of the gym so the flash is still out.

Help me oh wizards of the Steve's forums.
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Old Jan 1, 2006, 9:03 PM   #2
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I think all the tips I'd know to give are at

http://www.airshowfan.com/guide-to-d...3.htm#lowlight

For example:

- Fluorescent lights? Leaving the White Balance on Auto should be good enough. If not, try a few different settings until one of them shows "normal" colors (similar to what you see with your eye). Unless you have a high-end camera you will not be able to tweak the White Balance to get precisely what you need for the type of lighting, but "Auto" almost always does it good enough for me on all my cameras.

- If people are moving, you'll need fairly fast shutter speeds (like in the 1/100 to 1/400 range) in order to keep excessive motion blur out of your shots. If you need sharp pictures of people who are running around, you pretty much need tohave your shutter speed ataround 1/400 of a second. Your tripod will help remove camera-shake-induced blur, but not subject-motion blur (this is true of Image Stabilization as well).

- To get those fast shutter speeds, you'll need a camera that does well at high ISOs, or a very fast lens (especially if you use the zoom: The aperture almost always gets narrower when you zoom in, requiring slower shutter speeds and/or higher ISOs).

- The link above has tons of tips on how to hold the camera, and on how to set the settings (step by step) to make sure blur is minimized. I don't really like tripods, and by holding the camera the way that site describes it, I have shot pictures at close to 1/10 my focal length! (1/80 of a second at 600mm equivalent).

What camera do you have? What are the focal lengths and apertures the lens can do? Do you have image stabilization? How high does the ISO go? How do the images look at high ISOs? These are all things that would allow us to suggest settings for your camera. The link above says things like "set the aperture to thewide open end, keep the shutter speed around your focal length, and raise the ISO until the picture looks bright enough. If you get no noticeablemotion blur, try lowering the ISO one or two settings and slowing down the shutter speed". If we knew what your lens could do and how your camera behaves at high ISOs, we could get specific numbers.

And remember, take pictures that look a little dark, and make them lighter later on your computer. If the pictures you take at the gym look a tad too dark, this means you kept your shutter fast and your ISO down, which will be good for sharpness, and you can fix this slight under-exposure on your computer later.
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Old Jan 1, 2006, 9:10 PM   #3
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Oh. I just noticed the title says you have a Kidak P850. Sorry.

You have a 36-432mm equivalent, f2.8-3.7 lens, with IS. Not too shabby. ISO 100 shots from the P850look perfectly fine but ISO400 shots look pretty bad when enlarged / looked at closely. So a higher ISO means you can use faster shutter speeds (so less motion blur), but pictures look grainy and fuzzy. This is not a problem if your pictures will be printed/displayed pretty small (like 4x6 inches), but becomes a problem for larger prints. So that's something else to keep in mind. For larger prints, a lower ISO and some motion blur might be better, and getting rid of that motion blur with higher ISOs might be desireable for smaller prints.
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