snubbr.com

I'm the worlds worst digital photographer
I take photos at bodybuilding shows and badly I might add too. :o(.

The competitors are up on stage and the lighting is very strong. I use P Function and don't use flash as the existing lighting is sufficient. Problem is when I get home and view them on my notebook they're all out of focus due to camera shake and operator error..

What am I doing wrong and how do I fix it? Please help...

Comments (42)

Great idea! But how do I do that? This is the first time I've posted on this forum and I have no idea how to do anything other than posting text..

And help would be greatly appreciated. :o)..

Comment #1

It sounds to me like a tripod would be a good idea...and are you sure the light is good? How fast is the shutter speed?.

But also agree that you should post a sample...tinypic.com is free...simply upload to their site, embed the code given into your dp message.

Liamhttp://coolpix.shutterchance.com/archive.php..

Comment #2

The more you zoom in, the more you need higher shutter speeds to avoid blur. Make sure image stabilization is turned on. Use a tripod or monopod if possible. Increase your ISO so you can get higher shutter speeds. Get closer to the subject so you don't have to zoom in as much..

I'm also a beginner and others may have better advice, but it took me about 10 minutes of research on the web to find those answers for you, and I learned a lot in the process, so thanks for asking the question!.

Regards,Louis..

Comment #3

Liamb wrote:.

It sounds to me like a tripod would be a good idea...and are you surethe light is good? How fast is the shutter speed?.

But also agree that you should post a sample...tinypic.com isfree...simply upload to their site, embed the code given into your dpmessage.

Liamhttp://coolpix.shutterchance.com/archive.php.

Hi Liam,.

I don't have a tripod to use unfortunately. Ideally I would like to take these photos without using one or am I being unrealistic? As for using shutterspeed, I have no idea what shutterspeed I used as it was on the program function. I'm beyond an amatuer if there is such a thing. I'm sorry, I'm not much help am I. :o(.

And here's a pic so that you can see what I'm talking about hopefully:[IMG]http://i22.tinypic.com/3005dp4.jpg[/IMG]..

Comment #4

HypnoSnoopy wrote:.

The more you zoom in, the more you need higher shutter speeds toavoid blur. Make sure image stabilization is turned on. Use atripod or monopod if possible. Increase your ISO so you can gethigher shutter speeds. Get closer to the subject so you don't haveto zoom in as much..

I'm also a beginner and others may have better advice, but it took meabout 10 minutes of research on the web to find those answers foryou, and I learned a lot in the process, so thanks for asking thequestion!.

Regards,Louis.

Hi Louis,.

I found out today that my camera doesn't have image stabilization. :o( Unfortunately I don't have a tripod and realistically it isn't a practical tool to use in these sort of environments either. I'm beyond a beginner. You're doing better then I am at research. I really have no idea what I'm doing and feel like a silly fool..

Here's an example of a photo I took: [IMG]http://i22.tinypic.com/3005dp4.jpg[/IMG].

Kind Regards,Lia Halsall..

Comment #5

Oh also what kind of camera/lens do you have? Note there is a setting on how exactly the camera determines what needs to be focused on you can set it to center of image to be sure it's very accurate on your subject. So better focus to avoid shake is achieved by.

Increasing shutter speedSmaller focal lengths (more zoomed out / Get closer to your subject)Stablizing the camera with a tripod or monopodUsing Auto Image Stabilization.

Using flash to get higher shutter speeds while maintaining acceptably low ISO values..

Focal depth is also affected by aperture of course. If you are blasting your aperture wide open then I don't know but there may be some issue with part of your subject in focus and part not. A more advanced photog could give better advice if this would be a problem in this situation, but in general if you find this is the case, then you'll want to increase your aperture value (smaller opening)..

Regards,HypnoSnoopy..

Comment #6

HypnoSnoopy wrote:.

A monopod might help..

Now I'm really going to sound silly, what is a monopod? Is that like a tripod but with only one leg?..

Comment #7

HypnoSnoopy wrote:.

Oh also what kind of camera/lens do you have? Note there is asetting on how exactly the camera determines what needs to be focusedon you can set it to center of image to be sure it's very accurate onyour subject. So better focus to avoid shake is achieved by.

Increasing shutter speedSmaller focal lengths (more zoomed out / Get closer to your subject)Stablizing the camera with a tripod or monopodUsing Auto Image StabilizationUsing flash to get higher shutter speeds while maintaining acceptablylow ISO values..

Focal depth is also affected by aperture of course. If you areblasting your aperture wide open then I don't know but there may besome issue with part of your subject in focus and part not. A moreadvanced photog could give better advice if this would be a problemin this situation, but in general if you find this is the case, thenyou'll want to increase your aperture value (smaller opening)..

Regards,HypnoSnoopy.

Oh gosh, I only have a Canon PowerShot A700 compact camera with built in lens. I've used flash before but when I do is turns out darker, real darker compared to when I don't use the flash. If I'm not using automatic I use program and that's about as adventurous as I've gotton so far. Like I said I'm a real amatuer photographer..

All your information is great though, thank you. I'm copying and pasting it into my e-notes for future refernce. Do you think I should go manual or tv (shutter priority) and play around with it?..

Comment #8

Your camera allows you to adjust the ISO value (sensitivity of the detector). In low light this should be set to the highest value (800)..

Also, instead of using P mode, set the camera to aperture priority mode and select the smallest number you can. That sets the lens to be wide open so that the shutter speed will be as short as it can be for the light available..

If the pictures are still blurred you need a tripod / monopod..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #9

Ok I think I see what the issue is, and I don't think it's camera shake. Look at what IS in focus. The crease at the bottom of the banner. The curtains near the floor below that..

I think your camera is trying to autofocus on a lot of stuff, and that curtain close in the back is confusing things. You need to figure out in one of those function-menus how to insure the focus is based on the center of the image. Then you select the middle guy point at him and then press the shutter half way so you get the focus set on him. Then you compose your picture while maintaining the shutter half-way. Snap with happy focus centered on the middle guy. But I think you have to set the center-focus in the functional menus for that to work in this particular application..

I think you also have an issue with different distances between the nearest and furthest guys, so you need to make sure your aperture value is high enough (opening is small enough) so that you have a large "depth of focus" and all the guys are in focus..

Youtube has some fantastic videos that teach about aperture and depth of focus. Check out.

Http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=aperturehttp://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=depth+of+focus.

Be sure to come back and repost your better picture *in this thread* please! I'd appreciate it if you did so even if you want to create a new thread as well. That way I'll be able to find you again and see a great in focus picture!.

Regards,HypnoSnoopy..

Comment #10

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Now I'm really going to sound silly, what is a monopod? Is that likea tripod but with only one leg?.

Exactly. They are much more compact and easier to use at events like concert and competions..

Brian A...

Comment #11

Mike I'm not sure if that's totally accurate, and I am just a beginner, but....

Your camera allows you to adjust the ISO value (sensitivity of the detector).In low light this should be set to the highest value (800)..

Generally true, but with the caveat that you want to use the lowest ISO possible to avoid noise in your picture..

Also, instead of using P mode, set the camera to aperture priority mode and selectthe smallest number you can. That sets the lens to be wide open so that theshutter speed will be as short as it can be for the light available..

In this application, a wider aperture will allow you to lower the ISO to achieve better quality picture, but wide open will make the depth of focus too narrow here. I would suggest setting the Tv mode, using the *longest* time possible that still avoids shake, and then try to get your aperture value more narrow to insure all the men are in focus. If you can still keep them all in focus and bump the aperture a little wider, then you might be able to lower the ISO even more..

I hope someone with more experience can confirm this, but I think I'm on the right track here..

Regards,HypnoSnoopy..

Comment #12

Mike703 wrote:.

Your camera allows you to adjust the ISO value (sensitivity of thedetector). In low light this should be set to the highest value(800)..

Also, instead of using P mode, set the camera to aperture prioritymode and select the smallest number you can. That sets the lens tobe wide open so that the shutter speed will be as short as it can befor the light available..

If the pictures are still blurred you need a tripod / monopod..

Best wishesMike.

ISO 800 - will this effect the quality of my image?.

As for aperature priority, the smallest number my camera is capable of is f2.8, does that sound right? But in saying that I would've thought that I should try shutterspeed priority with the fastest speed there was. Or would that just do the same thing as the aperture priority only the other way around Mike?..

Comment #13

Hugowolf wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Now I'm really going to sound silly, what is a monopod? Is that likea tripod but with only one leg?.

Exactly. They are much more compact and easier to use at events likeconcert and competions..

Brian A..

Oh okay, thanks Brian. :o)..

Comment #14

HypnoSnoopy wrote:.

Ok I think I see what the issue is, and I don't think it's camerashake. Look at what IS in focus. The crease at the bottom of thebanner. The curtains near the floor below that..

I think your camera is trying to autofocus on a lot of stuff, andthat curtain close in the back is confusing things. You need tofigure out in one of those function-menus how to insure the focus isbased on the center of the image. Then you select the middle guypoint at him and then press the shutter half way so you get the focusset on him. Then you compose your picture while maintaining theshutter half-way. Snap with happy focus centered on the middle guy.But I think you have to set the center-focus in the functional menusfor that to work in this particular application..

I think you also have an issue with different distances between thenearest and furthest guys, so you need to make sure your aperturevalue is high enough (opening is small enough) so that you have alarge "depth of focus" and all the guys are in focus..

Youtube has some fantastic videos that teach about aperture and depthof focus. Check out.

Http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=aperturehttp://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=depth+of+focus.

Be sure to come back and repost your better picture *in this thread*please! I'd appreciate it if you did so even if you want to create anew thread as well. That way I'll be able to find you again and seea great in focus picture!.

Regards,HypnoSnoopy.

Okay now I'm understanding more HypnoSnoopy..

Q. Center Weighted Average vs Spot? Your thoughts and in layman terms please so that I don't get lost. LOL!!.

And thanks for the you tube links, I'm blown away by all the fee information I'm coming across tonight for photography. Thanks heaps. :o).

Oh by the way, how do we edit our profiles. I can't see to find it again. LOL!!..

Comment #15

Lia Halsall wrote:.

ISO 800 - will this effect the quality of my image?.

Yes, they would be horrible. You really can't go above ISO 400 with a camera like this, and even ISO 400 may be unacceptable to you..

As for aperature priority, the smallest number my camera is capableof is f2.8, does that sound right? But in saying that I would'vethought that I should try shutterspeed priority with the fastestspeed there was. Or would that just do the same thing as the aperturepriority only the other way around.

Setting the biggest aperture will give you the fastest shutter speed. It is easy to get the fastest shutter speed using Av rather than Tv..

However, the EXIF info from your image shows that this shot was taken at f/3.5 the maximum aperture for the particular focal length you were shooting. (Your lens is only capable of f/2.8 when zoom out.) You are basically over exceeding the capabilities of your camera. There isn't enough light for your shot with this camera..

A monopod would help, but like image stabilization, it only works for fairly static subjects. You are already shooting a 1/13 sec and the shot is about 2/3  1 stop underexposed. For a correct exposure you would have needed 1/8 s. Learning how to get well exposed flash shots with your camera would probably be the best thing to do..

You would need a dSLR or a Fuji to capture this low light image without flash..

Brian A...

Comment #16

Hugowolf wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

ISO 800 - will this effect the quality of my image?.

Yes, they would be horrible. You really can't go above ISO 400 with acamera like this, and even ISO 400 may be unacceptable to you..

As for aperature priority, the smallest number my camera is capableof is f2.8, does that sound right? But in saying that I would'vethought that I should try shutterspeed priority with the fastestspeed there was. Or would that just do the same thing as the aperturepriority only the other way around.

Setting the biggest aperture will give you the fastest shutter speed.It is easy to get the fastest shutter speed using Av rather than Tv..

However, the EXIF info from your image shows that this shot was takenat f/3.5 the maximum aperture for the particular focal length youwere shooting. (Your lens is only capable of f/2.8 when zoom out.)You are basically over exceeding the capabilities of your camera.There isn't enough light for your shot with this camera..

A monopod would help, but like image stabilization, it only works forfairly static subjects. You are already shooting a 1/13 sec and theshot is about 2/3  1 stop underexposed. For a correct exposure youwould have needed 1/8 s. Learning how to get well exposed flash shotswith your camera would probably be the best thing to do..

You would need a dSLR or a Fuji to capture this low light imagewithout flash..

Brian A..

Okay Brian, I kind of understand what you're saying to me as this is still all very new to me. Basically in a nut shell can I achieve a sharp photo using this camera without a triop or am I going to have to look at upgrading?..

Comment #17

You have a LOT to learn, as you know. Where to start? Hmmm....

Start by telling us what camera you are using!.

The picture you posted didn't have the EXIF data. Yes, I know you don't know what EXIF is...it's a part of a JPEG file that records EVERYTHING that happened when the picture was taken...the exposure time...the aperture...the sensitivity setting (ISO)...etc. JPEG is the most common file format Ithe picture you posted was a JPEG file (it had a ".jpg" file name extension). The only thing we know was that it had dimensions of 1600 x 1200. If we had all the EXIF data, it would tell us a LOT about your problem..

1600 x 1200 is 1.92 MP. If that is the actual size of the picture your camera takes, it's old, since the current trend is to have MANY more pixels than that. Probably your picture has been resized. I'm not familiar with the service you used to host your picture, but many of these outfits resize to save storage space and bandwidth ("tinypix" is probably a clue?). 1600 x 1200 is a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is the shape of pictures taken with what many call "point and shoot" cameras. More professional cameras have a different aspect ratio, 3:2..

The picture you posted seems to be in focus to me...at least as sharp as possible with a 1.92 MP image. The sign on the curtains behind the contestants and the foreground objects (on the table) are both reasonably sharp. The table objects are not as sharp as the sign, which means the camera was focusing on the curtain. I see no motion blur in the high-contrast printing on the sign. This implies that the exposure time was reasonably fast..

The fact that everything in the picture is sorta in focus tells me that this was a wide angle shot and probably that your camera has a tiny sensor, which requires a short focal length lens, and thus has a great "depth of focus"..

The lighting is terrible! Perhaps you DO need to use your flash?.

Tell us more! Starting with what model camera you are using....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #18

Lia Halsall wrote:.

I take photos at bodybuilding shows and badly I might add too. :o(.

The competitors are up on stage and the lighting is very strong. Iuse P Function and don't use flash as the existing lighting issufficient. Problem is when I get home and view them on my notebookthey're all out of focus due to camera shake and operator error..

What am I doing wrong and how do I fix it? Please help..

I'm not trying to be rude, but I get the sense that you want a magic wand that will instantly fix things so you can shoot in auto. Magic wands only exist in fairy tales. You need to learn the fundamentals about exposure, light, high ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to progress. It will take some time, and effort on your part, but you will come out with much better pictures..

One book that I've seen recomended is Understanding Exposure by Byran Peterson:.

Http://www.amazon.com/...37?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191069797&sr=8-1.

I haven't read it myself, since it disappeared in my book pile shortly after I got it (memo to self, go and find it!)..

In terms of your shots, some thoughts:.

Make sure your camera is focusing properly. If your camera has multiple focus points, it is usually better in shots like this to switch to using center focus only, and make sure the subject is fully in the box/cross. Half press the shutter to make sure the camera achieves a focus lock, and it is focused on what you want to shoot..

Spend some time learning your camera, and what it can do and what it can't. You need to do this before the event, and not at the event..

In hard lighting, you often times have to go to a higher ISO. However, at a higher ISO, noise becomes more obvious, and you have to deal with it in post processing. IMHO, most noise reduction in the camera itself softens the image too much, and makes a water color print. Sometimes you have to make the choice between getting a marginal picture and no picture at all..

Getting a whole group in focus is really hard, and it is harder if you use a DSLR because you have a smaller depth of field. Usually in hard lighting situations you need to shoot with the lens wide open (smaller f/ number), so you have to choose what gets in focus..

In terms of camera shake, the rule of thumb is you need a shutter speed that is faster than 1 over the 35mm equivalent focal length. For example, if your camera can shoot at the equivalent of 100mm on a film camera, you typically will need a shutter speed of at least 1/100. If you are shooting at telephoto and don't have an image stabalized camera, and can't use a tripod, here are some suggestions on how to cope:http://www.nicholsonprints.com/Articles/tripodsubstitution.htm.

You mentioned about using flash and getting a black background. This is a consequence of the light falloff from the flash (and closer objects will be overexposed). If you push the ISO up somewhat higher (and deal with the noise in post processing), it can allow you to use the background light for the back curtain, etc. but use the flash for the subject. In some circles this is known as dragging the shutter. It takes some amount of practice to get this down pat. There are other techniques for using flash in those circumstances, but they typically require more gear than you currently have...

Comment #19

HypnoSnoopy wrote:.

Mike I'm not sure if that's totally accurate, and I am just abeginner, but....

Your camera allows you to adjust the ISO value (sensitivity of the detector).In low light this should be set to the highest value (800)..

Generally true, but with the caveat that you want to use the lowestISO possible to avoid noise in your picture..

Yes, but in this case reducing the ISO will result in a slower shutter speed, and camera shake / motion blur. It is better to have noise in the image (which can to some extent be removed using photoshop) than blur, which nothing can be done about..

Also, instead of using P mode, set the camera to aperture priority mode and selectthe smallest number you can. That sets the lens to be wide open so that theshutter speed will be as short as it can be for the light available..

In this application, a wider aperture will allow you to lower the ISOto achieve better quality picture, but wide open will make the depthof focus too narrow here. I would suggest setting the Tv mode, usingthe *longest* time possible that still avoids shake, and then try toget your aperture value more narrow to insure all the men are infocus. If you can still keep them all in focus and bump the aperturea little wider, then you might be able to lower the ISO even more..

What is the longest time possible that avoids shake? Depends on a lot of factors. You are right about depth of field, but (like noise) this comes a long way second to avoiding camera shake. In lighting like this, with a narrow aperture and low ISO the shutter speed is going to be hopelessly long, like 1/4 second.

I hope someone with more experience can confirm this, but I think I'mon the right track here..

Basically the situation is exceeding the capabilities of the camera. It is simply not possible in low light to use low ISO to avoid noise, AND use a narrow aperture to get a high depth of field, AND have a shutter speed fast enough to prevent camera shake, which is what you are suggesting (and would indeed be ideal if it were technically possible)..

Given that compromises have to made, the most important thing to get right in low light is the fastest shutter speed possible, and live with narrow d-o-f (which can be compensated for with careful focussing) and noise (which can be improved in to some extent with software). A blurred shot due to camera shake cannot be rescued..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #20

Chuxter wrote:.

You have a LOT to learn, as you know. Where to start? Hmmm....

Start by telling us what camera you are using!.

The picture you posted didn't have the EXIF data. Yes, I know youdon't know what EXIF is...it's a part of a JPEG file that recordsEVERYTHING that happened when the picture was taken...the exposuretime...the aperture...the sensitivity setting (ISO)...etc. JPEG isthe most common file format Ithe picture you posted was a JPEG file(it had a ".jpg" file name extension). The only thing we know wasthat it had dimensions of 1600 x 1200. If we had all the EXIF data,it would tell us a LOT about your problem..

1600 x 1200 is 1.92 MP. If that is the actual size of the pictureyour camera takes, it's old, since the current trend is to have MANYmore pixels than that. Probably your picture has been resized. I'mnot familiar with the service you used to host your picture, but manyof these outfits resize to save storage space and bandwidth("tinypix" is probably a clue?). 1600 x 1200 is a 4:3 aspect ratio,which is the shape of pictures taken with what many call "point andshoot" cameras. More professional cameras have a different aspectratio, 3:2..

The picture you posted seems to be in focus to me...at least as sharpas possible with a 1.92 MP image. The sign on the curtains behind thecontestants and the foreground objects (on the table) are bothreasonably sharp. The table objects are not as sharp as the sign,which means the camera was focusing on the curtain. I see no motionblur in the high-contrast printing on the sign. This implies that theexposure time was reasonably fast..

The fact that everything in the picture is sorta in focus tells methat this was a wide angle shot and probably that your camera has atiny sensor, which requires a short focal length lens, and thus has agreat "depth of focus"..

The lighting is terrible! Perhaps you DO need to use your flash?.

Tell us more! Starting with what model camera you are using....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

This post almost done my head in Charlie. LOL!! No offence, but yes I'm very much an amatuer..

My camera is a Canon PowerShot A700 AiAf.

I kind of figured out what EXIF Data by myeself but thankyou for the further breakdown. I know what it is now but I just don't know where I'm supposed to look for it as the photos are no longer on my memory card..

I've tried using flash but funnily enough they turn out much much darker. :o(..

Comment #21

Lia, I see that you told HS, above, that you have a Canon A700. It helps to know that..

It has a 5.95 MP sensor that is very small. In cameras like this, sensor size is described as 1/2.5", which is an OLD and inaccurate method. If you do the math, 1 divided by 2.5" equals 0.4", but in reality, nothing about a 1/2.5" sensor approaches being that big! in fact a 1/2.5" sensor is about 0.227" x 0.169". Even the diagonal (corner-to-corner) is only 0.283". Diagonal measurement is the way we commonly measure TV screens and computer monitors. So the manufacturers insistence on implying that your sensor is 0.4" is pure fantasy!.

Small sensors take "fuzzy" pictures. So part of your problem may simply be that an A700 is not intended to take really good pix?.

Read the information about Sensor Sizes here on dpr:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/...learn/?/Glossary/Camera_System/sensor_sizes_01.htm.

You might also benefit from reading this (it's a bit long):.

Http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/?page_id=11.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #22

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Okay Brian, I kind of understand what you're saying to me as this isstill all very new to me. Basically in a nut shell can I achieve asharp photo using this camera without a triop or am I going to haveto look at upgrading?.

Note a tripod will only help to the extent that the subject is not moving. One of the other posts said that the shutter speed was something like 1/15. If you shoot human subjects at 1/15, you will usually see some amount of movement. I've done shooting at stage shows at that speed, and you often have to use what I call spray and pray shooting which consists of taking a lot of shots to get a few keepers when you happened to be lucky that there was minmial subject movement. If at all possible, you need a faster shutter speed (1/60 or preferably 1/125) to freeze the action, though going to at least 1/30 will improve the shots...

Comment #23

Lia Halsall wrote:.

This post almost done my head in Charlie. LOL!! No offence, but yesI'm very much an amatuer..

My camera is a Canon PowerShot A700 AiAf.

I kind of figured out what EXIF Data by myeself but thankyou for thefurther breakdown. I know what it is now but I just don't know whereI'm supposed to look for it as the photos are no longer on my memorycard..

The EXIF data is stored as part of the picture file. If you have a copy of the original file that came out of the camera, the EXIF data is in there!.

There is software that can access and show you the EXIF data. Some of them are free. you might try downloading Faststone Image Viewer...it's my favorite of the genre...but there are others and they will be touted by their fans. if you download Faststone, here is how to use it:.

1. Go to the folder on your computer where the pix are stored.2. Double-click on one of the thumbnails..

3. When the full screen image appears, move your mouse cursor to the right (fully) and a box with EXIF data will jump out of the right margin.4. Other things happen when you move the cursor to the top, bottom, and left....

I've tried using flash but funnily enough they turn out much muchdarker. :o(.

Something is wrong! You might try starting a thread on the Canon Talk Forum. People who are familiar with your A700 will be there. Tell them what camera you have and describe the problem...might even post examples of w/ and w/o flash. They can help more than we can....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #24

Michael Meissner wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

I take photos at bodybuilding shows and badly I might add too. :o(.

The competitors are up on stage and the lighting is very strong. Iuse P Function and don't use flash as the existing lighting issufficient. Problem is when I get home and view them on my notebookthey're all out of focus due to camera shake and operator error..

What am I doing wrong and how do I fix it? Please help..

I'm not trying to be rude, but I get the sense that you want a magicwand that will instantly fix things so you can shoot in auto. Magicwands only exist in fairy tales. You need to learn the fundamentalsabout exposure, light, high ISO, aperture, and shutter speed toprogress. It will take some time, and effort on your part, but youwill come out with much better pictures..

One book that I've seen recomended is Understanding Exposure by ByranPeterson:.

Http://www.amazon.com/...37?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191069797&sr=8-1.

I haven't read it myself, since it disappeared in my book pileshortly after I got it (memo to self, go and find it!)..

In terms of your shots, some thoughts:Make sure your camera is focusing properly. If your camera hasmultiple focus points, it is usually better in shots like this toswitch to using center focus only, and make sure the subject is fullyin the box/cross. Half press the shutter to make sure the cameraachieves a focus lock, and it is focused on what you want to shoot..

Spend some time learning your camera, and what it can do and what itcan't. You need to do this before the event, and not at the event..

In hard lighting, you often times have to go to a higher ISO.However, at a higher ISO, noise becomes more obvious, and you have todeal with it in post processing. IMHO, most noise reduction in thecamera itself softens the image too much, and makes a water colorprint. Sometimes you have to make the choice between getting amarginal picture and no picture at all..

Getting a whole group in focus is really hard, and it is harder ifyou use a DSLR because you have a smaller depth of field. Usually inhard lighting situations you need to shoot with the lens wide open(smaller f/ number), so you have to choose what gets in focus..

In terms of camera shake, the rule of thumb is you need a shutterspeed that is faster than 1 over the 35mm equivalent focal length.For example, if your camera can shoot at the equivalent of 100mm on afilm camera, you typically will need a shutter speed of at least1/100. If you are shooting at telephoto and don't have an imagestabalized camera, and can't use a tripod, here are some suggestionson how to cope:http://www.nicholsonprints.com/Articles/tripodsubstitution.htm.

You mentioned about using flash and getting a black background. Thisis a consequence of the light falloff from the flash (and closerobjects will be overexposed). If you push the ISO up somewhat higher(and deal with the noise in post processing), it can allow you to usethe background light for the back curtain, etc. but use the flash forthe subject. In some circles this is known as dragging the shutter.It takes some amount of practice to get this down pat. There areother techniques for using flash in those circumstances, but theytypically require more gear than you currently have..

A magic wand to fix things would be great but that's not what I'm wanting. I'd like to determine whether or not I can achieve these types of pictures or not with this camera (Canon PowerShot A700 AiAF) and if not then I'll have to simply upgrade and learn all about a new camera..

As for your information and links, thank you. I'm not as advanced as you so a lot of it really goes over my head at this stage but like you suggested I need to learn the fundamentals and that's what I'm going to do..

Unfortunately I don't know how I can duplicate that situation to practice shooting prior to the next competition we go to. Unfortunately we'll be competing at the next one so don't want to screw those ones up obviously..

Trial and error I guess...

Comment #25

Michael Meissner wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Okay Brian, I kind of understand what you're saying to me as this isstill all very new to me. Basically in a nut shell can I achieve asharp photo using this camera without a triop or am I going to haveto look at upgrading?.

Note a tripod will only help to the extent that the subject is notmoving. One of the other posts said that the shutter speed wassomething like 1/15. If you shoot human subjects at 1/15, you willusually see some amount of movement. I've done shooting at stageshows at that speed, and you often have to use what I call spray andpray shooting which consists of taking a lot of shots to get a fewkeepers when you happened to be lucky that there was minmial subjectmovement. If at all possible, you need a faster shutter speed (1/60or preferably 1/125) to freeze the action, though going to at least1/30 will improve the shots..

It makes it difficult because they're still, then they move into anothe position then they're still again. Gosh I'm getting more and more confused now. So much information to intake but I guess the only way I'll find out is by experimenting at the next comp with flash and shutter speed...

Comment #26

Chuxter wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

This post almost done my head in Charlie. LOL!! No offence, but yesI'm very much an amatuer..

My camera is a Canon PowerShot A700 AiAf.

I kind of figured out what EXIF Data by myeself but thankyou for thefurther breakdown. I know what it is now but I just don't know whereI'm supposed to look for it as the photos are no longer on my memorycard..

The EXIF data is stored as part of the picture file. If you have acopy of the original file that came out of the camera, the EXIF datais in there!.

There is software that can access and show you the EXIF data. Some ofthem are free. you might try downloading Faststone ImageViewer...it's my favorite of the genre...but there are others andthey will be touted by their fans. if you download Faststone, here ishow to use it:.

1. Go to the folder on your computer where the pix are stored.2. Double-click on one of the thumbnails.3. When the full screen image appears, move your mouse cursor to theright (fully) and a box with EXIF data will jump out of the rightmargin.4. Other things happen when you move the cursor to the top, bottom,and left....

I've tried using flash but funnily enough they turn out much muchdarker. :o(.

Something is wrong! You might try starting a thread on the Canon TalkForum. People who are familiar with your A700 will be there. Tellthem what camera you have and describe the problem...might even postexamples of w/ and w/o flash. They can help more than we can....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

Nope that didn't work. When I double click on my photos they open up in windows picture and fax viewer. See I told you I'm challenged at all things photography..

As for posting in another folder, probably a good idea. :o)..

Comment #27

Chuxter wrote:.

Lia, I see that you told HS, above, that you have a Canon A700. Ithelps to know that..

It has a 5.95 MP sensor that is very small. In cameras like this,sensor size is described as 1/2.5", which is an OLD and inaccuratemethod. If you do the math, 1 divided by 2.5" equals 0.4", but inreality, nothing about a 1/2.5" sensor approaches being that big! infact a 1/2.5" sensor is about 0.227" x 0.169". Even the diagonal(corner-to-corner) is only 0.283". Diagonal measurement is the way wecommonly measure TV screens and computer monitors. So themanufacturers insistence on implying that your sensor is 0.4" is purefantasy!.

Small sensors take "fuzzy" pictures. So part of your problem maysimply be that an A700 is not intended to take really good pix?.

Read the information about Sensor Sizes here on dpr:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/...learn/?/Glossary/Camera_System/sensor_sizes_01.htm.

You might also benefit from reading this (it's a bit long):.

Http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/?page_id=11.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

It's almost midnight here so I'm heading to bed now. I'll come back in the morning and check out those links, thanks for all of your help. I'm starting to think that my expectations of my camera are some what unrealistic and maybe it's time to upgrade to a dslr...

Comment #28

Oops. I forgot to give you the Faststone URL:.

Http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #29

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Okay now I'm understanding more HypnoSnoopy..

Q. Center Weighted Average vs Spot? Your thoughts and in layman termsplease so that I don't get lost. LOL!!.

This is the light metering not focus. You should have something like AiAF, Center and Flexizone. I use Center because all "inteligent" AF modes focus very unpredicatable and 95% of the time far away from my subject..

Canon has Evaluative, Centerweighted and Spot metering. The one I like most is centerweighted metering and from experience I modify the exposure compensation..

VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/..

Comment #30

Chuxter wrote:.

Oops. I forgot to give you the Faststone URL:.

Http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

I'm sure I'll find out what fastone is once I click on the link. :o)..

Comment #31

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Nope that didn't work. When I double click on my photos they open upin windows picture and fax viewer. See I told you I'm challenged atall things photography..

That is what would happen if you double clicked on a thumbnail in Windows Explorer. My instructions were not complete enough. .

First, you have to "launch" Faststone Image Viewer...then double click on one of the thumbnails in Faststone..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #32

The EXIF data is all there, except for the ISO. nHere it is:.

Make = CanonModel = Canon PowerShot A700Orientation = top/leftDate Time = 2007-09-27 19:47:00.

[Camera]Exposure Time = 1/13"F Number = F3.5Exif Version = Version 2.2Date Time Original = 2007-09-27 19:47:00Date Time Digitized = 2007-09-27 19:47:00Shutter Speed Value = 3.69 TVAperture Value = 3.63 AVExposure Bias Value = 0EVMax Aperture Value = F3.51Metering Mode = CenterWeightedAverageFlash = Flash did not fire, compulsory flash modeFocal Length = 11.55mm.

Charlie, you can download and instal an EXIF reader, such as XPanda. They plug in to your browser, so that right-clicking on an image allows you to view the EXIF. THere is no real reason to post the EXIF separately..

Brian A...

Comment #33

Lia Halsall wrote:.

A magic wand to fix things would be great but that's not what I'mwanting..

And it would prevent you from learning about cameras and photography..

I'd like to determine whether or not I can achieve thesetypes of pictures or not with this camera (Canon PowerShot A700 AiAF)and if not then I'll have to simply upgrade and learn all about a newcamera..

Yes, that's the path you are starting down. However, that upgraded camera will be much more complicated (at first) and at this juncture, you don't know enough to use those advanced capabilities. Others will say that this is wrong....

As for your information and links, thank you. I'm not as advanced asyou so a lot of it really goes over my head at this stage but likeyou suggested I need to learn the fundamentals and that's what I'mgoing to do..

I suggest you stick with the little "P&S" a bit longer. When you know more, you will be abal to get BETTER pix with it. Only then can you decide if it's good enough. That voyage will also prepare you for a more advanced camera..

Unfortunately I don't know how I can duplicate that situation topractice shooting prior to the next competition we go to..

I'm assuming that each of your competitions is at a different venue? Each will have different lighting...at each you will be located differently relative to your subjects. Do professionals or advanced amateurs photograph these events? If so, watch them and try to understand what they are doing and why. Understand that a camera with a big sensor is a quite different beast than your tiny one. You can get almost everything in focus, but are limited to low sensitivity settings (ISO). An expensive dSLR will have issues with DOF, so it must be focused carefully. But it has very good high sensitivity settings (ISO), which allows fast exposure times (minimizes motion blur)..

A professional may also setup slave strobe lights, allowing control of the light to a much greater degree than you will ever know..

Go get some sleep. Dream about it....

Trial and error I guess..

Being in the military, you should probably call it OJT?.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #34

Lia,.

Your image suffers from a few problems and there aren't many of these that you could have done anything about. The focus is a little off, and you could have probably fixed that. but a lot of the softness is due to the lens being used at it's widest aperture, which unfortunately was necessary to get a reasonable shutter speed..

For this type of shot, the available lighting is too low for your camera to produce a good shot unless you use the flash. Even then you may be too far from the subjects for the flash to have much effect. External, shoe mount flashes have more power, but your camera isn't designed to take an external flash..

Even though people may appear to be still, but shooting them is not like shooting a vase, there is always some motion. Tripods, monopods, and image stabilization (IS) mostly help for static subjects. Using one of these three you can shoot people standing very still at shutter speeds down to about 1/8 s, perhaps even 1/4 s. Tripods are too cumbersome at events like these, so a monopod or IS works best..

The best solution would be a camera that produces good images at higher ISO settings, because higher ISO settings allow faster shutter speeds and less motion blur. Compact cameras, such as the Canon A700 have very small sensors, and most small sensors do not have the ability to capture images at high ISOs. If you want to shoot events like this on a regular basis, then upgrading cameras would probably be a good idea..

Some of the Fuji compact/P&S type cameras produce good images with higher ISO settings. The Fuji F31fd produces good images at ISO 800 and acceptable images at ISO 1600. This camera is no longer available, but it's successor may be as good..

An entry level dSLR may be too much for you to handle, but set in auto, one may work for you. You could look at the Nikon D40 and Canon 400D; these are reasonably priced and would give you excellent image quality at ISO 800. The scene that you posted could have been taken at about 1/100 s at ISO 800, and at that speed neither camera shake nor subject motion would have been much of a problem..

Brian A...

Comment #35

Hugowolf wrote:.

The EXIF data is all there, except for the ISO. nHere it is:.

Thanks, Brian....

I had used PSE 5 to look for EXIF data. It shows nothing! I also have XnView and tried it. Voila! It shows a complete set of EXIF data:.

Camera Manufacturer : CanonCamera Model : Canon PowerShot A700Orientation : top-left (1)X Resolution : 180Y Resolution : 180Resolution unit : InchDate modified : 2007:09:27 19:47:00YCbCr Positioning : centered (1)Exposure time [s] : 1/13F-Number : 3.5EXIF version : 02.20Date taken : 2007:09:27 19:47:00Date digitized : 2007:09:27 19:47:00Components configuration : YCbCrCompressed bits per pixel : 5Shutter speed [s] : 1/13Aperture : F3.5Exposure bias value : 0Max aperture : F3.5Metering mode : Center weight (2)Flash : No flashFocal length [mm] : 11.546FlashPix Version : 01.00Colour space : sRGBEXIF image width : 2816EXIF image length : 2112Interoperability offset : 2824Focal plane X-Resolution : 112640/9Focal plane Y-Resolution : 2112000/169Focal plane res. unit : Inch (2)Sensing method : One-chip color area sensor (2)File source : DSCCustom rendered : Normal process (0)Exposure mode : Auto (0)White balance : Manual (1)Digital zoom : 1/1Scene capture type : Standard (0)Macro : NormalSelftimer : OffCompression setting : Super fineFlash mode : Not firedDrive mode : Single or timerFocus Mode : SingleImage size : LargeEasy shooting : ManualContrast : NormalSaturation : NormalSharpness : NormalISO value : 100Metering mode : Center-weightedFocus type : AutoAF point : UnknownExposure mode : ProgramLens Type : 65535Focal length [mm] : 34800Focal length short / mm : 5800Focal units / mm : 1000White balance : FluorescentSequence number : 0Image number : 100-588Owner name :Compression : 6X Resolution : 180Y Resolution : 180Resolution unit : InchThumbnail offset : 5108Thumbnail length : 5668.

I don't understand why PSE had difficulty? Or why ExPanda didn't show the ISO? Sometimes EXIF data is difficult to decode or some programmers are incompetent? .

I also don't know why PSE, Faststone, and XnView all said the pic was 1600 x 1200, but the EXIF data said 2816 x 2112, which is the full rez out of the camera. My guess is that the free photo host resized the pic and didn't bother to change the EXIF data? Perhaps they screwed the file and PSE detected it and refused to show the EXIF? Adobe can at times do silly things like this....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #36

Baloo_buc wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

Okay now I'm understanding more HypnoSnoopy..

Q. Center Weighted Average vs Spot? Your thoughts and in layman termsplease so that I don't get lost. LOL!!.

This is the light metering not focus. You should have something likeAiAF, Center and Flexizone. I use Center because all "inteligent" AFmodes focus very unpredicatable and 95% of the time far away from mysubject.Canon has Evaluative, Centerweighted and Spot metering. The one Ilike most is centerweighted metering and from experience I modify theexposure compensation..

VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/.

Thanks for the tip, I've now change my function setting to centerweighted...

Comment #37

Chuxter wrote:.

Lia Halsall wrote:.

A magic wand to fix things would be great but that's not what I'mwanting..

And it would prevent you from learning about cameras and photography..

I'd like to determine whether or not I can achieve thesetypes of pictures or not with this camera (Canon PowerShot A700 AiAF)and if not then I'll have to simply upgrade and learn all about a newcamera..

Yes, that's the path you are starting down. However, that upgradedcamera will be much more complicated (at first) and at this juncture,you don't know enough to use those advanced capabilities. Others willsay that this is wrong....

As for your information and links, thank you. I'm not as advanced asyou so a lot of it really goes over my head at this stage but likeyou suggested I need to learn the fundamentals and that's what I'mgoing to do..

I suggest you stick with the little "P&S" a bit longer. When you knowmore, you will be abal to get BETTER pix with it. Only then can youdecide if it's good enough. That voyage will also prepare you for amore advanced camera..

Unfortunately I don't know how I can duplicate that situation topractice shooting prior to the next competition we go to..

I'm assuming that each of your competitions is at a different venue?Each will have different lighting...at each you will be locateddifferently relative to your subjects. Do professionals or advancedamateurs photograph these events? If so, watch them and try tounderstand what they are doing and why. Understand that a camera witha big sensor is a quite different beast than your tiny one. You canget almost everything in focus, but are limited to low sensitivitysettings (ISO). An expensive dSLR will have issues with DOF, so itmust be focused carefully. But it has very good high sensitivitysettings (ISO), which allows fast exposure times (minimizes motionblur)..

A professional may also setup slave strobe lights, allowing controlof the light to a much greater degree than you will ever know..

Go get some sleep. Dream about it....

Trial and error I guess..

Being in the military, you should probably call it OJT?.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/.

Thanks for your time and response and I would have agree with you here. Best I take baby steps first before biting of more than I can chew with a bigger camera. LOL!! And yes, we call it ojt. :o)..

Comment #38

Hugowolf wrote:.

Lia,.

Your image suffers from a few problems and there aren't many of thesethat you could have done anything about. The focus is a little off,and you could have probably fixed that. but a lot of the softness isdue to the lens being used at it's widest aperture, whichunfortunately was necessary to get a reasonable shutter speed..

For this type of shot, the available lighting is too low for yourcamera to produce a good shot unless you use the flash. Even then youmay be too far from the subjects for the flash to have much effect.External, shoe mount flashes have more power, but your camera isn'tdesigned to take an external flash..

Even though people may appear to be still, but shooting them is notlike shooting a vase, there is always some motion. Tripods, monopods,and image stabilization (IS) mostly help for static subjects. Usingone of these three you can shoot people standing very still atshutter speeds down to about 1/8 s, perhaps even 1/4 s. Tripods aretoo cumbersome at events like these, so a monopod or IS works best..

The best solution would be a camera that produces good images athigher ISO settings, because higher ISO settings allow faster shutterspeeds and less motion blur. Compact cameras, such as the Canon A700have very small sensors, and most small sensors do not have theability to capture images at high ISOs. If you want to shoot eventslike this on a regular basis, then upgrading cameras would probablybe a good idea..

Some of the Fuji compact/P&S type cameras produce good images withhigher ISO settings. The Fuji F31fd produces good images at ISO 800and acceptable images at ISO 1600. This camera is no longeravailable, but it's successor may be as good..

An entry level dSLR may be too much for you to handle, but set inauto, one may work for you. You could look at the Nikon D40 and Canon400D; these are reasonably priced and would give you excellent imagequality at ISO 800. The scene that you posted could have been takenat about 1/100 s at ISO 800, and at that speed neither camera shakenor subject motion would have been much of a problem..

Brian A..

I think what I need to do is figure out the basic photography fundamentals with my compact camera and once I have a better understanding move onto bigger and better things..

I have nine months unit I watch the next competition so plenty of time to practice, make mistakes and learn from them. In actual fact a lot of responses have really overwhelmed me and done my head in at the same time with the information overload. I really need to get back to basics before outlaying a lot of money for something that will no doubt be smarter them me. LOL!!..

Comment #39

Hmmm, sorry about the tone. I've just dealt with too many otherwise smart people who refuse to take the basic steps to learn how to use their camera, computer, whatever and bask in their ignorance. It doesn't sound like it is in this case..

Lia Halsall wrote:.

A magic wand to fix things would be great but that's not what I'mwanting. I'd like to determine whether or not I can achieve thesetypes of pictures or not with this camera (Canon PowerShot A700 AiAF)and if not then I'll have to simply upgrade and learn all about a newcamera..

As for your information and links, thank you. I'm not as advanced asyou so a lot of it really goes over my head at this stage but likeyou suggested I need to learn the fundamentals and that's what I'mgoing to do..

Take it a step at a time. Take some time to learn how to do indoor shots in a similar lighting situations around the house. Unlike film, it doesn't cost anything to try it out. I should mention that indoor, non-flash lighting is difficult for all gear. High end DSLRs with expensive lenses, can make it somewhat easier, but they have their own pitfalls (cost, weight, learning curve). I don't understand why the light level is so low in a lot of these places.



Unfortunately I don't know how I can duplicate that situation topractice shooting prior to the next competition we go to.Unfortunately we'll be competing at the next one so don't want toscrew those ones up obviously..

As I said, get comfortable with indoor shooting of all stripes..

Trial and error I guess...

Comment #40

Lia Halsall wrote:.

It makes it difficult because they're still, then they move intoanothe position then they're still again. Gosh I'm getting more andmore confused now. So much information to intake but I guess the onlyway I'll find out is by experimenting at the next comp with flash andshutter speed..

This is one thing that being familar with the sport/area can help. After awhile, you pick up on the flow to be able to anticipate shots. For example, I like to shoot renaissance faires, and I get a lot better shots on groups whose show I've seen several times, than something I'm seeing for the first time..

Of course, another pitfall of event photograph is you can get so wrapped up in getting the shot, you forget to just enjoy the experience (assuming you are not hired to photograph the event). I generally have to remember to force myself to put the camera down at times, and just watch the show normally, and not through the viewfinder..

Good luck...

Comment #41

Exposure time [s] : 1/13Aperture : F3.5ISO value : 100Digital zoom : 1/1Focus Mode : Single.

This ISO is pretty low. I swear I think the curtain is in focus right below the middle of the sign, and extending all the way down. You have a lot of room to kick the ISO up, giving you an opportunity to bump up the aperture so you have a wider depth of focus. Hopefully you can bump up the exposure time as well and/or use a monopod...

Comment #42

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