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Old Apr 13, 2010, 2:40 PM   #1
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Default New D3000 - Not as fast as I hoped/expected?

Sorry yall - just realized I posted this in the point/shoot area instead of the slr area, and I don't know if I can move it.


I just bought a D3000 this past weekend, and got to work it out a little at my son's baseball game last night. Given, I have always been a "full-auto" guy, so I don't know what things I should be trying just yet - but the camera was not as fast as I had expected it to be, and the shots weren't as good as I thought they would be. Some of them were really good, but overall, I don't think they are any better than my my old Kodak point and shoot.
By fast, I mean in burst mode - see a play developing, get framed, hold shutter release down - not 3fps at all. Maybe 1fps. Is that because I was in full-auto? Does that slow it down?
Sunday afternoon was picture day for the team, and I got to play with the camera a little then, and I didn't notice the speed issues that I did on Monday night. - Bright sunny day at picture day, Bright sunny day turning in to night during the game Monday.

I have no problem learning how to get away from full auto, as a matter of fact, I'd like to. But I'm still within a window where I can return the camera and get something else, so for now, I'm trying to find out if the performance issues are really my fault or if I'm expecting too much from the camera.

I have tons of other questions too - but I'll start with this.

Last edited by rctoyguy; Apr 13, 2010 at 2:47 PM. Reason: note that posted in wrong place.
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Old Apr 13, 2010, 3:00 PM   #2
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You need to be using Continuous Drive mode to get 3fps. Otherwise, you'll need to press the shutter button again for each shot. I'd also set your focus mode to AF-C (Continuous Autofocus).

Note that you'll also want to make sure Active D-Lighting is set to off. Otherwise, that camera is going to slow *way* down after a handful of frames.

You may also want to try using the Sports Mode with it (selecting the icon that looks like a runner on the mode dial) and see how it behaves that way (it might set those types of options for you).

Quote:
Sunday afternoon was picture day for the team, and I got to play with the camera a little then, and I didn't notice the speed issues that I did on Monday night. - Bright sunny day at picture day, Bright sunny day turning in to night during the game Monday.
Note that if you're only seeing the problem in low light, it's probably just the Autofocus not reacting fast enough. If you're trying to use a typical kit lens (something like a Nikkor 55-200mm), it's not really bright enough for night sports (most lenses like that are down to a widest available aperture of f/5.6 if you zoom in much). You'll want a lens with f/2.8 available throughout the focal range for low light sports (f2.8 is exactly 4 times as bright as f/5.6). For example, a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM or Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM, and even then, you'll be limited as to how far you can expect accurate focus, so you probably won't be able to cover the entire field, even shooting from relatively close with a 200mm lens (and a longer focal length with 300mm at f/2.8 is going to increase costs significantly). Otherwise (using a typical consumer grade lens that only has a widest aperture of f/5.6 when you zoom in much), your shutter speeds will be too slow (resulting in motion blur from subject movement), and your Autofocus will suffer (because the camera can't "see" well enough to focus quickly). Even with an f/2.8 lens, you'll probably need to set your ISO speed to it's highest setting to get fast enough shutter speeds to reduce blur to a reasonable level at a night game. Low light sports (including night games under the lights) are very demanding on a camera and lens.
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Old Apr 14, 2010, 12:34 PM   #3
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I don't have the camera handy right now, but I played a little more at home last night. I don't think I can do AF-C in full auto mode, so that might have been part of the problem - along with the other things you mentioned about the lens. I was in continuous drive (or whatever the term is) with D-Lighting off.

Thanks to full-auto, I think I can't change ISO settings either, so I'm sure it's time to get away from full-auto.

Without the manual to look at as I type this, Isn't "P" mode similar to auto, only it lets you set ISO and focus mode? Maybe that's where I need to be.
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Old Apr 14, 2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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Yes, P (Program Auto) mode lets you change settings, and it remembers those settings from session to session, while AUTO mode doesn't (for the few settings that are changeable.) That's definately the best way to go. That is, until you're ready to go to A, S, or M Modes.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 2:35 PM   #5
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Got another game tonight, so I'll experiment a little more.

We went to the zoo last week with my son's kindergarten class, and most of the pictures I took were really bad - I was trying different things and obviously I wasn't trying the right things.

In my situation, and with my experience level (which should be apparent is very low), would the D5000 be a better camera for me? I really argued with myself between the 3000 and the 5000 when I bought this one, and I still have about 6 days that I could return/exchange it. This wouldn't change the lens, just the body - but from what I've been able to read, the D5000 might be a little better in low light conditions, and it is faster as well. It's also about $200 more, so that hurts.

If I can get a chance at home tonight, I'll post some of the pictures and settings in hopes that someone can let me know what I need to be changing.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 2:53 PM   #6
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Well,

you already got some good information on what went wrong with baseball. No camera on the market is going to take good sports shots in full auto mode. So you're going to have to invest some time to learn how to shoot sports if you want decent results. Even then, sports shooting is very equipment intensive -moreso than most other types of photography. With a kit lens you're going to have to be full daylight. Dusk or under lights and you can forget getting good shots.

As for the zoo, it's difficult to say what could have gone wrong with the shots. If you could post a couple of the zoo shots where the only editing done is re-sizing them for posting here that would help members determine what might be going wrong.
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Old Apr 19, 2010, 3:14 PM   #7
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Not to dismiss advice I've been given - I really do appreciate it and certainly need it -Here is what I'm gathering so far:

* Don't to expect too much with the lens I have
* Don't shoot in full auto (start with P as a beginner, or sports for well, sports)
* Don't use active-d lighting if you want fast shot to shot time
* Set focus to AF-C for sports

Am I following correctly?

I will post the pictures tonight after our game (won't have a chance before) - but even with some of the pictures from the team photo day, which was bright sunlight, the black team pants didn't have much if any detail - like high contrast pictures weren't handled well.

I'm trying to read about other cameras as well to see if I'd be better suited with a different model or brand. Only picked Nikon because the salesman was big on it, then only chose the D3000 to try and save $200 over the D5000. I know most if not all of the issues I'm having right now are operator problems, and not the camera - I'm still wondering if I made a good choice.

Thanks alot to everyone that is trying to help me. I know you don't have to, and I am very thankful.
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 1:15 AM   #8
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Here are a few from the zoo trip. Hope these aren't too big. I didn't know what is generally accepted as a good size for posting to ask for help.

grainy dark areas - contrast doesn't look right to me


notice how grainy the girl is, and generally how dark, especially compared to the background




The best I can tell, these next 2 were taken with no changes to the camera settings, but notice the difference in the detail in the dark areas, and how much brighter overall the second one is




Thanks for taking the time to look at these and let me know where I'm going wrong.

I took a bunch more at our game tonight, and was generally happier with them. I'll post some of them after I get a chance to really look them over and see if I can find a pattern in what I'm doing wrong. The biggest changes I made tonight was trying different ISO settings, along with different focus and metering modes.
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 7:42 AM   #9
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You're using spot metering, so whatever the spot is on will be properly exposed. If the spot is on something relatively bright, the rest of the image will be underexposed, and if the spot is on something dark, the rest of the image will be overexpsoed. I think that switching to center-weighted metering will make a big difference in the results you get.
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Old Apr 20, 2010, 7:51 AM   #10
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You also have the aperture stopped way down and you're shooting at very high ISO speeds (which is one reason why you're seeing more grain). Higher ISO speeds can be useful for low light shooting. But, for outdoor photos, you shouldn't need ISO speeds that high. I also wouldn't stop down the aperture that much unless you really need more depth of field. For example, that first photo was taken at f/14, ISO 1600 and 1/800 second.

Chances are, you were spinning the control dial on the rear of the camera causing it to use a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number). That gives you more depth of field. But, if you do that, you end up needing higher ISO speeds (which degrades image quality) for a given shutter speed.
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