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Old May 9, 2005, 3:05 PM   #1
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As a total newbie would appreciate some advice re getting clear sports action shots.The attached was my daughter in a high jump competition. I was approx 30 metres away from the action. Used program mode with the H multi shot setting. I seem to have got the focus on the shrubs/trees which were 100+ metres on the far side of the track - with my daughter slightly out of focus?! Would the best thing have been to use manual focus, get the "bar"/jump area in focus ( holding down the shutter release - then press fully when she comes into shot?? Or is there a better way to "lock" the focus at a particular distance in advance - then simply take shots when the action is on.? Soryy to sound so stupid- I've looked in the manual and also browsed forums - but am a little confused with all the aperture/shutter speed details - but very keen to learn from those more knowledgeable than myself! ( Not difficult!) Thanks all.
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Old May 9, 2005, 3:26 PM   #2
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You could focus on the big blue mat and while keeping the shutter halfway depressed move your compositon up to the bar area. If you can find something or someone the same distance from the jump area to you, you can manually focus at that distance and then shoot away when the time comes. Another thing to try might be to change your iso setting to 200 to get faster shutter speeds. On bright days, the noise isn't too bad and the faster shutter speeds will help you freeze the action better. Also, you might want to use aperture prioity mode, A, and set it to 2.8. This will give you the fastest shutter speeds possible for the conditions. Using the High speed continuous mode like you did is a good idea for this situation.

Anothertip to avoid over exposure is to set the exposure compensation to -1/3.

BTW - what camera are you using?



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Old May 9, 2005, 4:15 PM   #3
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You used spot focus and Iso 80 with F4, 1/320sec with an FZ20. Maybe try shutter priority 1/1000, auto ISO, either manual focus on the bar or use center area focus and half depress using the bar or mat as focus area. With spot focus it looks like you picked the pole or something else in the background as your focus point. 2cents.
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Old May 9, 2005, 4:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. We've got more competitions coming up - will try out these suggestions!!
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Old May 10, 2005, 10:16 AM   #5
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If the light will allow a smaller aperture, try those cause you will have a lot more of the image in focus. Try 5.6..then higher 6.0, 8.0, etc

seth
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Old May 10, 2005, 2:07 PM   #6
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Hey shirleyshite,

In order to freeze athletic action or movement with an FZ10/20 you will need to have a shutter speed of at least 1640 minimum. This will freeze any quick hand movements or leg kicks.

First I would make surecontinuous auto focus is off. Then ISO 80 or 100, shutter priority of 1/640, 1/800, or 1/1000 (1/640, slowestis better if it stops the action).Try spot focus on the high jump bar orstandard focus on the mat, making sure the bar is in focus also.Then 4 or 5 shot mode (H) and let it rip. The camera will automatically select the best aperture for the available light (4.0 seems to be best on FZ's).

Your best shot is going to come in full sun. This is really when the FZ's "shine". You may also want to set the exposure to -1/3 or -2/3in full sun. When you get the hang of this, try going to full manual mode and set the aperture and shutter for what you like.




For some reason this did not display properly. It shows good in the preview, try this........much better
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Old May 10, 2005, 2:17 PM   #7
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Are you saying 1/10 sec as shutter speed for sports. No way. Don't mislead her.
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Old May 10, 2005, 3:50 PM   #8
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Hi All

I was in a similar position not so long ago, me being a newb too. I was taking pictures of horse jumping, (as in horses jumping over things not people jumping over horses ;o) ). I was not a great fan of horses, however my girlfriend is, so to keep my sanity I take pictures of horses and get some valuable practice. I found that leaving it on Program mode I would sometimes get nice shots but many were slightly out of focus. Recently I tried playing with the shutter speed and found that those with a mid range F stop came out best.


F stop around 4 or higher. If the depth of field is too shallow things pass through focus quickly.

-1/3 EV. This seems to be a common setting for the FZ20. Was wandering if you increase the shutter speed to over 1/1000 surely you would not have to -1/3 EV?

Shutter speed at least 1/250. Even took some up to 1/1300 but need very good light.

And use high speed burst. Even here if things happen fast you can miss the apex of a jump. I have 100's of pictures of horses butts in the air. So start early too.

Also use spot focus and *blush* I leave CAF on (lazy, and got lots of spare batteries) and prefocus.
I found that even with spot focus I battled to sometimes focus on a bar, which is much thicker than a high jump bar. And sometimes focusing on objects with no hard edges confuses the AF. Of course practice practice practice.

Another note watch your background. They can sometimes really mess up a good shot.

Just some thoughts from another newb to photography. If you have any corrections or suggestions I would also be grateful for speeding up my learning curve.

Dassie
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Old May 10, 2005, 5:49 PM   #9
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Sounds like good advice. Don't be afraid to use the higher iso's in bright conditions for faster shutter speeds, especially when choosing smaller apertures for more depth of field. I have found that when shutter speeds are fast in bright conditions the noise is very acceptable and very easily corrected with software.

One other thing to consider is that depth of field with fixed lens digitals is much greater that film slr's used to be, so you should be able to get by with the larger aperture settings if necessary to get shutter speeds up to par. If you can stay away from wide open (F 2.8)the camera, as most, seems to take better quality shots, though.
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Old May 11, 2005, 12:12 PM   #10
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Hi all.
Been away for a couple of days - but been reading a "Guide to Digital Photography" which mentions things like depth of field and how to get good sports action shots. It's slowly beginning to make some kind of sense!! Thanks again for all those taking time/trouble to post. As I said earlier got more athletics coming up and got lots of things to try! ( Isnt that the beauty of digital ??? Can fire off loads of shots and no worries re "wasting film!!". Thanks again.
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