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Straylightrun00 Mar 11, 2006 12:54 PM

I'm going to be shooting some MMA and muay thai, and would like to know how to take clear action pictures. So far if I take a picture of a moving subject, it will be blurry.Thanks~!

bernabeu Mar 11, 2006 3:06 PM

you will need a very fast shutter speed

this will result in the need for:

large aperture and/or high iso

(set the camera for 'S' priority @ 1/1000sec)

granthagen Mar 11, 2006 3:24 PM

For sharp action pix there's no substitute for a fast shutter speed. The only ways to be able to use a fast shutter speed are to increase the light available to the camera through either adding light (flash) or opening up the lens aperture, or to increase the sensor's sensitivity by shooting at a high ISO setting. (That doesn't increase the amount of light, it just turns up the camera's ability to use the light already present.)

I doubt that flash will help very much unless you are pretty close to the action with a powerful flash that can overwhelm the ambient light.

Whatever equipment you are using, try shooting in aperture priority mode with the lens wide open and at the highest ISO you've got. This will let you use the highest shutter speed that you can. If the result is satisfactory as far as image sharpness goes, turn the ISO down one increment and shoot again. If the result is still acceptable, turn the ISO down again and repeat.
You're trying, here, to get a handle on the lowest ISO setting you can use and still get a good result. Lower ISO's are good because they introduce less noise into the picture.

Try to get close to the action so that you can use a lower zoom setting if you're using a non-SLR camera. Long zoom settings magnify camera movement and can limit the availability of the camera's lowest aperture settings. With a DSLR camera, same advice accept that you can choose a "fast" (larger available aperture, like f/2 or smaller) shorter focal length lens.

Sometimes you can pan the camera in the same direction of motion as the object you are trying to photograph as you snap the shutter, giving sharper results, but this might have limited applicability for some thing like muay thai, which is a martial art, isn't it? You would still have motion blur in a swinging limb, but that can add drama to a shot that just stopping everything dead wouldn't provide.

If you have a non-SLR and do all of this and still get unacceptably burred shots, there probably isn't much you can do except get a different camera with expanded capabilities.


barkerlass Mar 21, 2006 3:46 PM

This explanation has also helped me greatly in my action shooting, i take animal pictures, mainly dogs working, jumping etc and have had trouble getting the subject in focus , what i would like to ask is, you say use aperture priority, i use shutter priority (TV) mode,( i use the 20D, mainly with 70-200L f2.8 IS USM), would this be adviseable for me to use this mode too? If im shooting a dog coming towards me over a fallen tree trunk, i often or not get the top of the tree trunk in focus and the subject blurred. Anymore advise here would be greatly appreciated. regards.

granthagen Mar 21, 2006 5:41 PM

barkerlass, in your example of the dog jumping the treetrunk, if the part of the dog that is even with the trunk is blurred when the trunk itself is in focus, then it must be the motion of the dog that is blurring it. I would guess then that you need to use an even higher shutter speed than you have been using. From what I have heard, the 20D has very good image quality even at higher ISO's, so you might want to try jacking up your ISO setting so that you can use a higher shutter speed. You can, of course, open up your lens aperture to get away with a higher shutter speed, but it seems to me that for this kind of shooting you will want to use the smallest aperture that you can in order to maximize depth of field, so opening up your lens might make your focus problems worse.

Now, if the part of the dog that is even with the in-focus trunk is itself in focus, but the parts of the dog that are either in front of or behind the trunk are not in focus, then you have a depth of field problem rather than a shutter speed problem. In this case, you have to play with the ISO and/or shutter speed settings to allow you to shoot at a smaller aperature (larger f/number) to try to increase the in-focus range of the pictures.

If you are hand-holding your shots, there is a rule of thumb that says that your minimum shutter speed should be the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens you are using just to overcome motion blur caused by camera shake! That means that if you are shooting at 200mm with your zoom, you "generally" should be using a minimum shutter speed of 1/200 second just to overcome camera shake, or at 1/100 second at 100mm, etc. Keep that in mind as you play with your shutter speed settings. Also keep in mind that you get less DOF at longer zoom settings than at shorter ones, so you might need to get a bit closer to the action if you just can't make it work by playing with the ISO, aperture and shutter settings. A powerful flash might help, too, if you do any shooting in auditoriums or other indoor venues.

And, if you aren't using it already, the 20D has a pretty good burst mode. This is a great feature for anyone shooting action.

Hope there's something in here that you can use!

barkerlass Mar 22, 2006 3:29 AM

Many many thanks for your advice, there is alot in what you have said that i am going to put to practice, and i am sure will help. I have posted some images that i took yesterday (in critique forum) and these were the only ones albeit a couple of others i have'nt posted, out of 30 odd shots that were satisfactory, but i only used shutter priority mode and i will now try what you have suggested. Once again thanks and il let you know how it goes. regards.

barkerlass Mar 22, 2006 1:41 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Wow, been out today and put what you suggested into practice and had great results, i hope this is ok but i have attached some shots taken today, (its a great feeling when you get something right) they still probably are'nt perfect but sooo much better than what i was getting. Many thanks for all your help. regards.

barkerlass Mar 22, 2006 1:46 PM

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2nd image

barkerlass Mar 22, 2006 1:47 PM

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3rd shot.

barkerlass Mar 22, 2006 1:48 PM

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4th image

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