Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Konica Minolta

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 29, 2003, 8:23 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 34
Default z1 question

Hi,
i'm hoping for a little quick help. i just got a new z1 and i'm trying to take some good pics at my daughter's basketball games. i'm using the sports action mode but am not getting real clear pics. i'm hoping to learn how to manually adjust things but in the meantime i want to take some good pics at the tournament they are playing in now! any suggestions would be great. it's indoors and i am taking most without the flash and the color and lighting looks fine just not real clear pics. is there something i could adjust or something i'm not doing.
any ideas appreciated.
darlene
darlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 30, 2003, 7:36 PM   #2
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 27
Default

Is the problem that the pictures are out of focus or that the subjects are moving too quickly? You can usually tell by looking at the picture, though it's hard to put into words how (focus - blurry all over; moving - blurry just where things are moving).

For either problem, I'd try some of the manual modes. For focus, assuming you're a ways away from the action, I'd try manual focus mode and set it to infinity. You could also try aperture-preferred exposure and try stopping down the F-stop (try 4.0, then 5.6, then 8.0).

If it's action, you still need manual mode, but you'll need shutter-speed-preferred. Set it for as high a shutter speed as you can get and still have a properly exposed picture. You could also set a higher ISO rating (at least 200, could even try 400, though I've heard it adds a lot of noise to the picture). Alternatively, go aperture-preferred and set to fully open (F2.8), and let it choose a high shutter speed.

Also, it could just be that you're zoomed all the way out and it's too long a zoom to hold the camera steady. In that case, a tripod or monopod would work best. But you can also try setting the camera on a solid object and holding it steady. You may even have luck with holding the camera with your arms close by your side, and holding your breath.

Try a few of these options and see what works.
Blues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2003, 3:47 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 34
Default Thank you!

Thanks for your response. I do know what you're asking about out-of-focus or action. They are pretty much out of focus. Yet sometimes I get a good picture. I've tried using shutter priority setting it at 1/160 because that number was on a decent picture. (When I put the pictures on the computer it shows all the setting used for the pic). So I've tried to look at all those numbers to see if there is a common factor. Of course there isn't. The best pic I've gotten is one where 4 or 5 girls were going up for a rebound. This pic was excellent (other than I chopped off the top of their arms and the ball haha). I had it set to shutter priority 1/160 with fill flash. the camera set the iso at 200 and the app at f3.2. I was no more than 10-12 feet away (as with many of the pics). the clarity of this pic was really good.
I will try some of your suggestions at our next game on tuesday. it could be that i'm moving the camera trying to follow the action? i really need to learn what each setting does. do you know of a website that is good to learn this?
thanks a bunch. one of my daughters is a senior this year and i'm putting a scrapbook together for her.
Darlene
darlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2003, 5:03 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 27
Default

If you're pretty sure it's a focus problem, then I'd try manual focus. You can either use 'P' (program) mode, which allows it to choose the exposure, or 'A' or 'S', whatever you prefer. Go to the menu and set manual focus. Then use your estimate of the distance to the action (10-12 ft), and set the focus there (using the up & down buttons).

(Note - if the distance varies a bit, you might want 'A' mode and stop it down a bit to give you more depth of field).

This actually makes some sense. I've only had my Z1 for a couple of weeks (and sent it back due to dead pixels, another issue). But I noticed that it's pretty bad about achieving auto-focus indoors. That could be your problem.

A bonus to this approach is that your shutter lag should decrease quite a bit (time from pressing the shutter button to taking the picture). That's because the biggest contributor to shutter lag is auto-focusing. So you should be able to catch the action better.

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
Blues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2003, 5:16 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 27
Default

As far as learning about this stuff, I'd recommend any beginner photography book to learn about the relationship of shutter speed, aperture, and film (ISO) speed. Forgive me if you already know this stuff. Also, take a look at this related topic in General Q&A - http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=18951 User ohenry does a good job of talking about how they relate to sports photography.

Hope this helps.
Blues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2003, 8:39 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 34
Default Thanks, again

No, I am a dummy when it comes to this. A book is a great idea and that explanation you referred me to was great. The distance will vary with each shot so the "A" mode (isn't that Apperture priority?) might be the way to go. But isn't that still auto-focus which you say the camera seems to have a prob with? It seems like it would be hard to get shots manually focusing when you don't know where they will be unless you wait for them to get to a certain spot? I know I prob am making NO sense. Anyway I will try to get a little more knowledgable about these settings and what they mean. Thanks for your help! Don't mean to be such a dummy ops:
darlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2004, 2:25 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 27
Default

Yes, in 'A' mode (or S or P), you will get auto-focus unless you go into the menu and set it up for manual focus. Since your distance to each shot will vary, you have 3 choices:
1) Live with auto-focus. Have you been watching the view finder to see if auto-focus is correctly locking for each shot? If the camera thinks it has focused correctly, it will show a red square surrounding what it focused on. And if it fails to achieve focus, it will show a little red dot at the bottom. Did your blurry pictures get that red dot when you shot them?
2) Set up manual focus, and refocus for each shot. This is a bit of a pain on the Z1, and I'm not sure if I'd want to do it. You can manually focus using the up & down buttons. The view finder will enlarge the center of the picture to help you focus. While this is helpful for focusing (you wouldn't be able to see if the picture's blurry without it), it's also somewhat disconcerting, as you're now seeing only part of what you're going to shoot.
3) Use 'A' mode, set manual focus in the menu, and set an aperture small enough to give you enough sufficient depth of field for your entire field of action. Unfortunately, I don't know what F-stop you'll need, but I suspect it might then need to set too slow a shutter speed.

In my old SLR days, many of the lenses you'd put onto your camera showed you what your depth of field was for each F-stop setting. E.g., at F/8 if you focused for 10 ft you'd get a sharp picture from 7 ft to 15 ft, etc (just an example, I made up the numbers). But I haven't seen any digital camera with this information, so we'll all need to figure it out for ourselves.
Blues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2004, 3:08 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 27
Default

Well, cancel my comment about the information not being out there, and you can probably forget option #3.

I just saw a good discussion on DOF in the General Q&A section, here http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=19031 Out of curiosity, I tried the recommended DOF calculator found here http://dfleming.ameranet.com/dofjs.html This calculator doesn't include the Z1, but the exact camera type isn't too important, so I used the A1 as a proxy, but plugged in the actual focal lengths for the lens on the Z1.

If you zoom the Z1 all the way out to 10x (58 mm focal length), focus on a subject 10 ft away, and set the aperture to f/8, you only get things in focus from 9.4 to 10.6 ft! This makes sense, as it's a basic tenet of photography that long zooms have very short depths of field. But it means that, in order to use that long zoom, getting the correct focus is critical!

I guess you already found that out the hard way.

(At f/3.5, which you'd be tempted to use to get a fast shutter speed, the DOF for a subject 10 ft away is 3 inches! Even if you focus on the right person, not all of her will be in focus!)
Blues is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2004, 6:01 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 34
Default Oh my gosh!

I thought I might be starting to understand a little and then you dropped DOF on me! :shock: :lol:
I think I smell smoke!!
Well if I'm only 10 feet from my subject I won't have the full 10x zoom on so does that make it better??? I still don't see how I can manually focus on moving subjects? I'm not nearly that fast! As for the auto-focus lock - to be honest - sometimes I've noticed that the square does turn red and sometimes I don't think to pay attention that quick. I know one thing I learned was that the square is larger on the sports mode and I had to be careful of that when some people were much closer than what I was trying to focus on and they were the ones that the camera focused on (foreground). I really feel so dense right now. How long have you been doing this?
Thanks,
Darlene
P.S. If I can figure out how to do it - I would like to have you look at some of my pics.
darlene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2004, 6:14 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 27
Default

Yes, DOF is strongly related to focal length (how far you're zoomed); so if you're not zoomed to the full 10x, it will be much better. In general, how far out do you think you're zoomed? (3x, 5x?) At 5x zoom, you probably have from about 9 ft to 11 ft in focus, at 3x you'll have from about 7.5 ft to 15 ft in focus (if focused at 10 ft).

I know it's hard to do in sports photography, but if you have time to set up the shot, depress the shutter button 1/2 way to see what it focuses on (and whether it achieves focus at all). If it's a sudden shot and you don't have time, well you'll just have to hit the button and hope for the best.
Blues is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:07 AM.