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Old Jul 15, 2004, 1:24 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

i'm going to golf tournament next week (GMO) and i'm planning to carry my A1. last year i used my friend sony dsc 3megapixel and got so so picture and ugly blurred golf swing.

i'm a novice but willing to learn. i've been reading some post regarding sport photography and yet i still a bit confused with the informations

i never tinker around with fast moving object since i've been strugling with taking a very good still picture or people picture.

i know few things that i need to do, please correct me if i'm wrong:

1. get a monopod (or lightweight tri pod)

2. learn to set shutter speed to fast (don't know how fast)

3. set iso to 100

4. possibly getting telephoto if affordable.

5. try to be still when capturing the picture

i saw couple posts that recommend manfrotto monopod, what head should i use for my dimage a1?

if not manfrotto, what's a worthy brand? (considering i couldn't get manfrotto locally)



i know my camera is not DSLR, but i'm open to suggestion to get the best outcome of it. do you think external flash will help me get better picture? (i'm planning to get one for indoor, but trying to spread out my spending :-))

Thanks in advance and looking forward hearing from yall soon,



Xo Martel
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Old Jul 15, 2004, 10:49 AM   #2
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XoMartel wrote:
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Going to Golf Tournament with Dimage A1
Quote:
Need Inputs on taking great shot
Well, I'd probably make sure your stance is correct, check your grip, make sure your clubhead is square to the ball, take a slow andsmooth backswing, using your left arm to .........

Sorry, I couldn't resist (you can't see the subject line text when viewing your post, but when viewing the list of forum threads, yousee "Going to Golf Tournament with Dimage A1", "Need Inputs on taking great shot"). :-)

I'm no expert, and I don't even own your camera. However, I think you may be approaching it the wrong way.

First of all, your A1 has anti-shake. This is designed to prevent motion blur from camera shake. Since you're after the fastest shutter speeds possible (to "freeze" the action), I just don't see where a tripod would help anything. It's not like you're trying to take long exposures.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to use shutter speeds that are 1/focal length or faster to prevent blur from camera shake. So, at full zoom withyour A1 (200mm equivalent), shutter speeds of 1/200 second or faster are desirable. This "rule of thumb" only applies to a camera without anti-shake technology. Your A1 should let you shoot atmuch slower shutter speeds (but you don't want to -- since you're trying to freeze action)

Your shutter speeds in daylight should be plenty fast to prevent blur from camera movement -- especially with anti-shake (unless you plan on jumping up and down with the camera).



Keep in mind that a tripod (or anti-shake) won't do anything to help freeze subject motion. Both are designed to eliminate blur from camera shake. I just don't see where you'd need it. If light was so low that you did need a tripod, then the shutter speeds would be too slow to capture the shots you're after anyway (because of blur from subject movement).

As far as ISO Speed, this controls the sensitivity of the CCD to light (basically, it's amplifying the signal more, as higher ISO Speeds are used).

ISO 200 allows shutter speeds twice as fast as ISO 100; ISO 400 allows shutter speeds four times as fast as ISO 100.

The downside of increasing ISO Speed, is that you also increase noise (similiar to film grain). The benefit, is that it can help get faster shutter speeds (in lower light, or to freeze action).

I'd probably shoot a few shots when you get there at ISO 100, paying attention to the shutter speeds used. Make sure to test a few shadow areas, too (as in taking a photo of someone trying to hit a ball out of a shady spot in the rough).

If theyare not around 1/500 second or faster, then I'd probably bump up the ISO speed to 200. Although, you'll need to experiment, to see how fast is really needed to freeze a golf swing. For freezing action, the higher the ISO speed the better (with an understanding thatas fasterISO speeds are used, you'll get more noise in your images). Hopefully, you won't need to go as high as ISO 400!

Heck, unless you're planning on printing very large prints,I'd probaby just go for ISO 200 personally (even though it will have more noise than ISO 100). This is more likely the best compromise between noise and trying to get fast shutter speeds.

Sometimes it's a lot better to have photos with a little higher nose, versus a lot of motion blur. Although, sometimes a little motion blur can be good (for effect) -- as in with a Golf Swing (provided the rest of the image is still sharp).

Noise also tends to be much worse in underexposed areas of a photo, and in lower light. In decent light (most daylight conditions), you won't notice the noise as much anyway. You can also get some very good tools to reduce it in post processing. One is Neat Image, and another is Noise Ninja. You can read more about them (and download trial versions) at http://www.neatimage.com and http://www.picturecode.com

BTW, the DiMAGE A1 tests as a bit more sensitive to light as ISO 100, versus some of it's competitors, too. So, even at ISO 100, you've got an advantage over some of the other cameras out there. Therefore, you may be able to get away with staying at ISO 100 for most of the day.

Keep in mind that light will be MUCH lower at dusk and dawn, sokeep an eye on shutter speeds as the light changes (due to weather or time of day). You may need to make adjustments, versus keeping the camera set the same way all the time.

As far as your experience with the 3MP Sony. Chances are, it's lens was not as bright as your A1's when usingzoom. A typical consumer camera's lens is rated at around F/2.8 - F/4.9. This means thatMUCH more light reaches the sensor through the lens at full wide angle versus zoom.

Your A1's lens is rated at F/2.8 - F/3.5. This indicates thewidest aperture available at both wide angle, and at full zoom. Basically, your A1maintains pretty good brightness throughout it's zoom range. Many other models don't.

To get the fastest shutter speeds, you must use a larger aperture (smaller f/stop number). This allows more light through to the sensor, allowing the camera to use faster shutter speeds to reduce motion blur.

The aperture scale (in one stop increments) goes F/1.4, F/2.0, F/2.8, F/4.0, F/5.6, F/8.0, F/11, F/16, F/22... With each one stop move to a smaller aperture, you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure.

So, many users shooting sports prefer to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode -- setting thecamera to use thewidest aperture (smallest F/Stop Number). This way, you're letting the camera's exposure algorithms pick thefastest shutter speed it can, while still insuring proper exposure of the image.

This is often preferrable to shooting in Shutter Priority Mode. This is becauseif you pick too fast of a shutter speed for the lighting conditions, then the camera may underexpose the images. So, it's easier to control exposure with Aperture Priority.

There is a downside to a larger aperture (smaller F/Stop number)-- less depth of field.In other words,the amount of the image that is stillin focus, as you get closer to, or furtheraway fromthe area you are focused on. Depending on your subject, less depth of field is often desirable, too (since it can help your subject stand out from distracting backgrounds).

I seriously doubt that too shallow of a depth of field is going to be a problem, at the distances you'll likely be shooting at. Depth of Field is dependent on Focus Distance, Aperture, and Focal Length.

You'll get less Depth of Field as more zoom is used, as you get closer to the subject, and as a larger aperture is used. However, since the actual focal length of the lens at maximum zoom on your model is only 50.8mm (to get a 35mm equivalent focal range of 200mm), it's still going to be dramatically better with the A1, versus trying to shoot with a 35mm camera.

In fact, you see a lot more complaints about having too much depth of field (more of the image in focus), versus complaints about too little depth of field (to blur backgrounds). Blurring backgrounds is much more difficult with a non-SLR model like the A1 (because of the short, actual focal length length of the lens, compared to a 35mm SLR).

BTW, if I'm not mistaken, the A1 has a program shift function -- check your manual. This allows you to stay using the camera's autoexposure mode, while varying the shutter speeds/aperture combinations used for a given shot (without needing to resort to aperture priority, shutter priority or full manual).

Basically, it works like this (in most models - - I don't own the A1):

For a given lighting condition, a number of aperture/shutter speed combinations can be used, with all of them giving identical exposure. Let's take an example: for an EV (Exposure Value) of 12 (this is how much light you have); at ISO 100, you'd get the exact same exposure if you used any of these combinations (shutter speeds rounded to popular settings in most models):

1/60 second at F/8

1/125 second at F/5.6

1/250 second at F/4

1/500 second at F/2.8

Now, in full autoexposure, your camera may be selecting something "in the middle" -- for example: the 1/125 second at F5.6. Each camera's behavior will vary in this respect. Keep in mind, that your camera has no way of knowing what you're trying to do. It does not know if you'd prefersmaller apertures (higher F/Stop Numbers) formore depth of field, or larger apertures for less depth of field and faster shutter speeds to help "freeze action".

Therefore, the program shift mode allows you to select from all of the aperture/shutter speed combinations, for the shot you are taking -- simply by spinning a wheel, to toggle between the available combinations for proper exposure of the image.

This lets YOU (versus the camera's autoexposure) decide what is the best combination for a given shot.

This method can give you far more control over each shot, versus just shooting in Aperture Priority Mode using the Largest Aperture (smallest F/Stop number) available for the fastest shutter speeds. So, you'll have more control over Depth of Field, if you don't need to shoot "wide open" to get fast enough shutter speeds for the shot.

If I were you, I'd take the camera down to a local golf course, and practice with different settings - shooting in aperture prioritymode, with the largest aperture/smallest F-Stop Number. Then, look at the shutter speeds the camera is using for the shots, and increase ISO speed as needed to get fast enough shutter speeds to "freeze the action". Experiment at different times of day, so that you'll know what to expect (you may need to increase ISO speed, depending on how much light you have, which can vary dramatically -- especially towards dusk or dawn).

Also, check your manual for how to use the program shift feature. This lets you easily control the aperture/shutter speed combination used, on a shot by shot basis (versus shooting "wide open" all the time at F/2.8-F/3.5). This will give you more control over Depth of Field -- allowing more creative shots, depending on how close you can get "to the action".Note thatif you're too far away, you'll be stuck with greater Depth of Field (more difficult to blur backgrounds to help your subject "stand out").

As far as flash, I think it'll be useless. Even if it weren't, it would be distracting to the players. Ditto for shutter sounds. If your A1 has a way to disable any shutter sounds, I would turn them off. Players can sometimes get very angry at photographers, because the shutter sounds ruin their concentration.

If all of the above is a bit much to swallow... Do it the easy way... Aperture Priority, F/2.8, ISO 200. This should be "good enough" for most conditions. Try it out at a local golf courseand see (try ISO 100, too -- it's a little "cleaner" than ISO 200; and also try ISO 400, so you'll know what to expect, if it's needed for dusk/dawn shots).

BTW, some cameras have a "sports mode", designed to help "freeze the action". All these modes do, is tell the camera's autoexposure to use the widest aperture/smallest f-stop number. You can accomplish the identical thing by setting the aperture to it's widest value yourself.

Edit/Update:

To give you a better idea of how available light (measured as EV) and aperture impacts the shutter speeds a camera can use for proper exposure, take a look at the Exposure Values, F-Stops and Shutter Speeds table on this page. It's based on ISO 100, so each time you double the ISO Speed (i.e., from ISO 100 to ISO 200, etc.), you will also let the camera shoot at shutter speeds that are twice as fast. Once you are comfortable with how this works, you'll be able to better use your camera's features, to get the desired effect:

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleed.../tables.htm#ev


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Old Jul 16, 2004, 5:51 PM   #3
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I know i didn't ask the question, but thanks for a very informative answer !

Stevekin, Dimage A2 owner of one week (Very much still learning !)
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 10:26 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot JimC,

eventhough, i'm still confused :P

i will try to comprehend

i try to manually set the fstop as low as the dial allow. but the best i get is 3.5

what bothers me is the fstop always reset at f9 or f10.

is there a way to set them permantly?

this picture shows that i caught it at good setting. http://www.pbase.com/image/31557445

while this picture isn't - http://www.pbase.com/image/31557457

this one come out not right, the picture seem too bright or something - http://www.pbase.com/image/31557412

i don't know what's wrong with this picture, it seem the color isn't correct - http://www.pbase.com/image/31557410

anyone with experience could enlight my photo deficiency?



Thanks in advance,

Xo Martel
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 11:14 PM   #5
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i try to manually set the fstop as low as the dial allow. but the best i get is 3.5

The aperture you can set will depend on the focal length. At full wide angle, the maximum aperture is F/2.8. However, at full zoom, the maximum aperture is only F/3.5

Some camera models allow you to select the maximum aperture at wide angle, then automatically stop down to a smaller aperture as more zoom is used. I don't know how your A1 handles this (I don't own one).

what bothers me is the fstop always reset at f9 or f10.

is there a way to set them permantly?

I don't know. Perhaps someone with this camera will respond.

this picture shows that i caught it at good setting. http://www.pbase.com/image/31557445

Wow, I am very surprised that the camera could use a shutter speed that fast in normal lighting conditions -- especially since the aperture was not wide open.

while this picture isn't - http://www.pbase.com/image/31557457

Motion blur from too slow of a shutter speed (1/80 second), caused by the aperture being stopped down to F/9

this one come out not right, the picture seem too bright or something - http://www.pbase.com/image/31557412

Yes, it does seem a tad overexposed. You may want to learn how to use your camera's histogram feature. It will help with more accurate exposures.

i don't know what's wrong with this picture, it seem the color isn't correct - http://www.pbase.com/image/31557410

It looks pretty close to me.BTW,your camera will allow you to set a custom white balance using a white card, in the lighting conditions you'll be using it in. Although, presets should work fine for most conditions.

You can also shoot in RAW, then adjust white balance later. RAW gives you much more latitude on exposure and white balance, since it's taking unprocessed data from the CCD. Of course, this also increases memory space requirements.

BTW, the light looks to be much brighter than I would have expected. So, ISO 100 appears to have been a good choice for the "cleanest" photos.


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Old Jul 20, 2004, 3:14 AM   #6
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i just tinkered around with my camera manual setting and i think i get the idea.

i don't have a moving object for me to shoot now, but i'll try it tommorow.

i'll let you know the outcome.

thanks again JimC.
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Old Jul 20, 2004, 11:04 PM   #7
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hi again jimC,

i just did today's trip, if you want to check them out http://www.pbase.com/xomartel/gmo_day_2



i tried apature mode and auto. the apature mode let me reduce the f/stop to minimal and get mostly 1/2000 shutter.

the result are good and bad. the good thing is doesn't take long to focus. the bad thing is some shots come out bad.

here some examples:

http://www.pbase.com/image/31605724

http://www.pbase.com/image/31605758

http://www.pbase.com/image/31605775

http://www.pbase.com/image/31605776

http://www.pbase.com/image/31605777



This first picture is good - http://www.pbase.com/image/31606593

half a second later, i get this. why? - http://www.pbase.com/image/31606594



overall, i'm pleased. so much thank you for you JimC

do you think i should get monopod to help reduce those blurness? btw anti shake is on the whole time.



XM
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 12:00 AM   #8
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At shutter speeds that fast, you don't need a monopod. In fact, you don't even really need antishake. :-) Youwon't have any motion blur with shutter speeds that fast!

So, you've got some focus issues. I'd make sure you have the latest firmware version installed on your camera. I have seen somemixed reports of improved focus accuracy with it.

Also, I've read that it's best to turn off continous focus; then use flex point focus, with tracking focus turned off.






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Old Jul 21, 2004, 12:36 AM   #9
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i never used continous focus for my actual shots.

i played around at first when i got the camera, but never impressed me to use it. it require my palm touching both metal rod at palm holder.

do you think focus is my issue?

oh ya, i wanted to ask: what's the downside of always keeping the f at minimum?

also, know any software that let you to automaticly compressed a lot of files with customability of multiple rename feature?

thx
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 11:45 AM   #10
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You will have a shallower depth of field (less of the image in focus, as you go further away from, or closer to the camera from your focus point with a larger aperture (smaller F/Stop Number). Use of alarger aperture does increase shutter speeds (because more light can reach the sensor through thelarger iris opening), but your focus becomes more critical.

However, at the ranges to subject you're at, and based on what I can see from the photos, DOF is not the issue. I even saw one photo that appeared to be focused behind the subject (indicating a focus accuracy problem for some photos).

I'd make sure you are using the current firmware version (I think it's 1.1) for your camera, also. If not, you can download it from Konica-Minolta at no charge. There have been some scattered reports of the new firmware improving focus accuracy.

Again, I don't own an A1, so I cannot comment from personal experience -- only what I've seen reported by others in the forums.

Quote:
also, know any software that let you to automaticly compressed a lot of files with customability of multiple rename feature?

Irfanview (downloadable from http://www.irfanview.com ) hasthe ability to run in batch mode, processing multiple files for downsizing. Make sure to download the plugins, too. It's a free product.

I know you can downsize multiple files at once using the batch features, but I'mnot sure aboutthe rename part. Personally, I just use the DOS rename command with wildcards, torename a lot of photos at once.

For example: RENAME pict????.* pict????small.*

You can probably do this same thing from the windows environment (versus using a command line program Rename), by highlighting multiple files at once (for example, using "Select All"), then right clicking on rename, and using the same type of wildcards for the target naming convention (pict????small.*)

However, make sure you don't downsize or rename your originals! I'd work with copies of them only.

Added:

Here are some instructions for using Irfanview to downsize multiple images at once, given by forum member Slipe in another thread (scroll down in the thread, and you'll see his post):

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=29487&forum_id=2

Quote:
You can batch resize with Irfanview. Start with File>Thumbnails and it will make thumbnails of the whole folder. In the thumbnail view select the images you want to resize by holding the Ctrl key while you select them. Or just go Options>Select all. Right click on any highlighted thumbnail and "Start batch dialog with selected thumbs". You can resize the whole folder and store it in a different place so you don't destroy your originals. I have some pretty sophisticated graphics software but prefer Irfanview for that sort of thing.



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