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Old Oct 27, 2010, 9:28 PM   #1
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Default Bad action shots

Hello this is my first post and I hoping to get some help. I have a sony alpha 300, I have a 15-70mm 3.5-5.6f/stop and a 75-300 4.5-5.6 lenses and when every I try to take any picture without the flash they all come out blurry if theres any action shots. if I use the flash its usually to dark no matter how much light is in the room. if someone can tell me how to fix this problem that would be great. I would so love to enjoy this camera but right now its a royal pain.


Please help
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 9:50 PM   #2
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Can you check that 15-70mm lens? Is that correct? or is it the 18-70 kit lens?

Let's separate non-flash and flash pictures. First you say if you don't use flash, anything moving is blurry. Yep. That's the way it is. So you need flash.

Now you say it's too dark. If you're using the built-in flash, realize it's not very powerful. If you take pictures of folk 5 or 6 feet away, does it turn out ok?
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 9:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-in-toronto View Post
Can you check that 15-70mm lens? Is that correct? or is it the 18-70 kit lens?

Let's separate non-flash and flash pictures. First you say if you don't use flash, anything moving is blurry. Yep. That's the way it is. So you need flash.

Now you say it's too dark. If you're using the built-in flash, realize it's not very powerful. If you take pictures of folk 5 or 6 feet away, does it turn out ok?


my mistake its 18-70 and with the flash it turns out ok if your 5-6 feet away, as long as theres no other light but it seems to take forever for the flash to shoot. if you are about 15 ft away when a flash the pictures come out dark. and if you try to use software to brighten the picture it usually and a lot of noise to the picture.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 10:18 PM   #4
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It's probably trying to focus. Once it's focused, you can take a picture only so far away from the camera. See the attached screen shot which I just got from
http://cameradojo.com/files/Guide_Number_Chart.xls

(all distances are in feet)

The built-in flash has very limited capabilities. If you set the ISO to 800 you'll get more distance at the expense of more noise. It's a balance. You will need a stronger flash if this is what you want to do. There are auxiliary flashes that are pretty cheap that can be triggered by your flash. They'll help although they are far from 100% reliable. I got one for $12 (Zeikos ze-ds12). I'm not recommending that solution but if you can find them cheap at an electronics surplus shop, it's worth a try. I recommend a good flash. I got the sony f42am. not simply because i'm made of money, but because i wanted total compatibility in my system.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 10:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-in-toronto View Post
It's probably trying to focus. Once it's focused, you can take a picture only so far away from the camera. See the attached screen shot which I just got from
http://cameradojo.com/files/Guide_Number_Chart.xls

(all distances are in feet)

The built-in flash has very limited capabilities. If you set the ISO to 800 you'll get more distance at the expense of more noise. It's a balance. You will need a stronger flash if this is what you want to do. There are auxiliary flashes that are pretty cheap that can be triggered by your flash. They'll help although they are far from 100% reliable. I got one for $12 (Zeikos ze-ds12). I'm not recommending that solution but if you can find them cheap at an electronics surplus shop, it's worth a try. I recommend a good flash. I got the sony f42am. not simply because i'm made of money, but because i wanted total compatibility in my system.


Thanks Frank
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 9:46 AM   #6
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The option besides flash (especially since many places do not allow flash during games) is to get a faster lens. However, with most sports it has to be telephoto, and fast telephotos are $$. The cheapest decent one is probably the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, which runs at a bit less than $800. Of course, if it's something like judo where you can get pretty close, than all you need is a minolta 50mm f1.7, which you can get for $80 on eBay. However that is probably too short for most sports (go to 50mm on your 18-70mm to see how far it goes)

So if you are allowed to use flash, then that is probably the way to go.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 9:49 AM   #7
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By the way, indoor action sports are about the hardest thing to get into, so don't feel like you are the first with this problem.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 9:57 AM   #8
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As has been stated there are 2 different approaches to bringing more light into the camera for the picture:
1) a lens with a wider aperture (f2.8 or lower f-number).
2) use external flash - first step is a shoe mounted flash - I wouldn't go right to slave flashes yet.

Which method is appropriate depends on the details of your scenario. Sometimes flash is the right solution:


sometimes wider aperture:


- and sometimes both
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 10:50 AM   #9
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I'm laughing right now. When I read the OPs first post and there was a mention of "indoor action", I couldn't imagine what that meant but who am i to judge? Now I see, perhaps indoor and room could refer to gym stuff. whew! Naturally, in that situation a slave flash (unless you could place it where a regular joe probably couldn't) won't be any use.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 11:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-in-toronto View Post
It's probably trying to focus. Once it's focused, you can take a picture only so far away from the camera. See the attached screen shot which I just got from
http://cameradojo.com/files/Guide_Number_Chart.xls

(all distances are in feet)
The GN of the A300 built in flash is 12 Meters (not feet). If you look at Sony's specs, the GN is 39 feet at ISO 100. ;-)

To calculate flash range, divide the GN by the Aperture. So, if you're zooming in much with one of your lenses (where the aperture is down to f/5.6), then your max flash range would be approximately 6.96 Feet at ISO 100 (GN of 39 feet divided by an aperture of f/5.6).

Then, each time you double the ISO speed, flash range increases by 1.44x.

An easy way to figure it is to remember that each time you quadruple the ISO speed (for example, from ISO 100 to ISO 400), your flash range will be approximately double (for example, if you go from ISO 100 to ISO 400, your flash range would be closer to about 14 feet instead of the around 7 feet that you'd get at ISO 100 and f/5.6).

I'm using f/5.6 because that's the widest available aperture when you zoom in much with those lenses. If you stay on the wider end of the lens, you'll have more flash range. Again, just divide the GN by the f/stop to determine range at ISO 100. Then, flash range increases by 1.44x each time you double your ISO speed.

Also note that if you're using a full power flash (you're at the max range for your ISO speed and f/stop), recycle times will be longer (because the flash capacitor will be fully discharged).

Quote:
There are auxiliary flashes that are pretty cheap that can be triggered by your flash. They'll help although they are far from 100% reliable. I got one for $12 (Zeikos ze-ds12).
Be careful with a slave flash, as most will not work properly with digital cameras. That's because a modern digital camera uses a metering pre-flash to measure reflected light from your subject before firing the longer flash burst to take the actual photo. Because the shutter is still closed when the preflash occurs, and because most optical slaves will fire with the pre-flash, then the slave will not contribute anything to the exposure. It looks like that particular Zeikos is "digital aware" and can ignore the metering preflash. But, many optical slave flashes are not digital aware.

I'd suggest a more powerful dedicated flash instead if flash range with the built in flash is a problem at the distances you're shooting at (and keep in mind that you can increase ISO speed to get more range from it).

But, I'd ask about any flash you consider, as many dedicated flash units designed for Minolta film cameras will not work properly with digital.
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