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Old Apr 9, 2006, 10:23 PM   #1
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Yesterday afternoon I finally took out the P850 and tried using it to shoot my stepdaughter's water polo tournament at the University of New Mexico. That's where the existing light limitations of this otherwise very nice camera became glaringly evident. Actually, I shouldn't have expected that I could get decent action shots at an indoor pool from a $400 camera that goes grainy when set beyond ISO 200. Back in the "good old days" I could load my 35mm SLR with high speed film and shoot an indoor competition like this with existing light at a setting like 1/1000 sec/ISO 1600 and get excellent results. I think I need to keep the P850 around as I like the camera, but use my tax refund to buy a Nikon D70.
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Old Apr 10, 2006, 10:08 AM   #2
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Greetings,

Low light shooting is always a tough experience. Actually, the camera will only record what it sees. You might try some handling techniques so you can reduce the shutter speed and help the exposure in that regard. If you shoot at that speed in auto, it means the aperture is going to be at its maximum before you get to 1/1000 of a second.

The camera has IS so the camera will be a bit more stead at long zoom. When you do that, however, you are changing the aperture which again will reduce exposure. Lets say you set the camera for 1/250th second but at an ISO of 400. I suspect the exposures would be better. Did you experiment at all with those kinds of changes? If not give them a try the next time you go to one of her events. You might simply go the pool where the event took place and try some shots so you can see the effects of such changes. Other options might be using a monopod to steady the camera more so you can reduce the shutter even more.

If you are trying to capture fast action and you need a fast shutter, keep in mind the limits of the camera. The aperture has a maximum of 2.8 so when you get to the point using a particular shutter speed, and you cannot change the apreture any more, you only have the option of a slower shutter, or raising the ISO. Since you do not want noise, and working at an ISO of 1600 is not acceptable, you only have the option of a slower shutter. 1/250th second is usually pretty good in many cases.

Try experimenting. Do they allow flash in the pool area? Not likely, but if they do, try using one. It will extend the flash range and allow you to get the pictures you want. Check the ranges and see if you can test flashes in the store before buying. The flash Kodak offers is bidirectional so the flash can talk to the camera.

Good Luck, Facia, talk to you soon.

Ron Baird
Eastman Kodak Company
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Old Apr 10, 2006, 10:08 AM   #3
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Greetings,

Low light shooting is always a tough experience. Actually, the camera will only record what it sees. You might try some handling techniques so you can reduce the shutter speed and help the exposure in that regard. If you shoot at that speed in auto, it means the aperture is going to be at its maximum before you get to 1/1000 of a second.

The camera has IS so the camera will be a bit more stead at long zoom. When you do that, however, you are changing the aperture which again will reduce exposure. Lets say you set the camera for 1/250th second but at an ISO of 400. I suspect the exposures would be better. Did you experiment at all with those kinds of changes? If not give them a try the next time you go to one of her events. You might simply go the pool where the event took place and try some shots so you can see the effects of such changes. Other options might be using a monopod to steady the camera more so you can reduce the shutter even more.

If you are trying to capture fast action and you need a fast shutter, keep in mind the limits of the camera. The aperture has a maximum of 2.8 so when you get to the point using a particular shutter speed, and you cannot change the apreture any more, you only have the option of a slower shutter, or raising the ISO. Since you do not want noise, and working at an ISO of 1600 is not acceptable, you only have the option of a slower shutter. 1/250th second is usually pretty good in many cases.

Try experimenting. Do they allow flash in the pool area? Not likely, but if they do, try using one. It will extend the flash range and allow you to get the pictures you want. Check the ranges and see if you can test flashes in the store before buying. The flash Kodak offers is bidirectional so the flash can talk to the camera.

Good Luck, Facia, talk to you soon.

Ron Baird
Eastman Kodak Company
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Old Apr 10, 2006, 2:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I shot for years with a 35mm SLR... indoor track and martial arts events.... It's the camera, not me. It simply is beyond the design scope of this camera to shoot indoor sporting events without a flash. I still like the camera... but I purchased it as a way to ease into digital photography (I lost all my 35mm equipment in a divorce several years ago). I should have just laid out the cash from the start for a good DSLR kit.
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Old Apr 12, 2006, 7:26 PM   #5
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I hope you find a good one and will drop by and post a few after you get it! Sometimes the camera is just not up to the job. As much as I love my DX6490 I also realize it has blind spots or certain things it just doesn't excell at. Knowing those limitations and being able to get around them is sometimes just not possible. Again good luck. I really mean that!! LOL



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