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I am clearly a novice with my new Canon 40D and frustrated. I haven't wanted to ask questions because I feel like an idiot but at this point I'll have to get over feeling stupid!!!! Again, I have the Canon 40D. The lens that came with my camera (I'll read right off the lens) is a zoom lens EF 28-135mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS 72mm. What does this mean exactly and is that why I have the worst volleyball pics EVER???? I love this camera BUT I need help. I would appreciate any input at this point. Thanks...

Comments (9)

KariCD40 wrote:.

I am clearly a novice with my new Canon 40D and frustrated. I haven'twanted to ask questions because I feel like an idiot but at thispoint I'll have to get over feeling stupid!!!! Again, I have theCanon 40D. The lens that came with my camera (I'll read right off thelens) is a zoom lens EF 28-135mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS 72mm. What does thismean exactly and is that why I have the worst volleyball picsEVER???? I love this camera BUT I need help. I would appreciate anyinput at this point. Thanks..

Hi Kari-.

Don't worry, this stuff takes time to become familiar with. Here we go:.

- the EF is Canon's lens-mount codename- different manufacturers use different letters- all it tells you at this point is that you now know that "Canon EF" range of lenses work on your 40D, so if you are buying lenses in the future, EFs should work well..

- the 28-135 is the focal-length range of this zoom lens. You can zoom back to a slightly-more-wide-angle-than-normal-view 28mm, or zoom in to a much-tighter-and-closer-than-normal-view 135mm, or anyplace in between. That's a useful, wide range..

- 1: 3.5 - 5.6 is telling you the maximum aperture range. The smaller the number, the larger the opening (aperture) of the lens at that setting, so it lets in more light. Vice-versa, the larger the aperture #, the smaller the actual opening letting in light..

This lens is not constant, so the maximum-aperture available at one focal length is different than at other lengths- in other words:.

@28mm focal length (wide end), the max aperture is 3.5@135mm focal length (telephoto end), the max aperture is 5.6.

- the 72mm is not about focal length, it's talking about the diameter of the lens across the front glass element (so a lenscap or filter for this lens must be 72mm).

OK - why are your volleyball pics the worst ever? Not seeing the pics, here's a guess:.

The f/3.5-5.6 max aperture for this lens is typical of many zoom lenses that are versatile, not too big or heavy, & affordable. But f/5.6 will only allow you to shoot *with a fast shutter speed* in good bright light- if shooting in lower light from far away, you may need a faster max. aperture..

Why do you need a fast shutter speed? So you can get non-blurry shots of people moving around!.

What's happening is:.

1. if you're zoomed most/all the way in at 135mm, your lens will only open to a certain amount (f4 or f5.6).

2. your 40D calculates the necessary shutter speed in combination with that aperture to get a well-exposed picture (not too dark or light),.

3. but because not that much light's coming in the aperture, it has to select a shutter speed that's too long for volleyball and4. you get blurry and/or muddy photos.

Solution?.

1. Increase your ISO setting - the higher this is, the faster the shutter speed can be allowed with that lens's aperture... trade-off is the pictures get grainier looking though ("noisy")..

2. "Faster" lens - a larger (smaller #) maximum aperture throughout the focal lengths you're using. tradeoffs: more expensive, more size & weight..

Shooting sports is hard - that's why I don't bother!   Have fun & good luck...

Comment #1

You have no idea how helpful your info was!! Thank you so much! Here is another question but I understand if you're too busy to answer. I could ask a million questons at this point. If I take a pic of a group of people (standing still) how do I get them all "in focus"? I've taken pics of groups of people and it seems as though the clearest focus is on the closest person and leaves all others slightly out of focus.Thank you again for your time and answer!..

Comment #2

KariCD40 wrote:.

You have no idea how helpful your info was!! Thank you so much! Hereis another question but I understand if you're too busy to answer. Icould ask a million questons at this point. If I take a pic of agroup of people (standing still) how do I get them all "in focus"?I've taken pics of groups of people and it seems as though theclearest focus is on the closest person and leaves all othersslightly out of focus.Thank you again for your time and answer!.

Hey, no problem! Again, I'm sure it's a fine lens, but sports whether indoor or out are always tough, even if you have the most outrageously fast, expensive lens..

Your group portrait issue relates to depth of field, or how much will be in focus. One of the fun things about using a dSLR is you get to see how much effect aperture has to do with focus:.

- large aperture (low #) = not much in focus in front of/back of your focal point.

- small aperture (high #) = most things in focus in front of/back/of your focal point.

The person at the front is the one you focused on (or the camera chose to focus on) and the aperture setting for the pic was probably too small (high #) to allow much behind that person to also be in focus. This would be a nice effect (background out-of-focus blur) if you were just taking a portrait of that one person, right? But in a group, no good..

Take a look @ your picture and find out what aperture it was at - that will give us a starting point- you're gonna need to do a couple things next time:.

1. move that aperture setting up (higher #, smaller aperture) somewhat to get more in focus and/or.

2. get people in your group to be pretty close together, distance-wise (focus is about distance from the lens, so if you have people standing feet behind the front-row people, it might be difficult)...

Comment #3

This is the opposite problem to that you had with the volley ball shots..

What you are experiencing is too short a "depth of field" (DoF). The depth of field depends on the focal length, aperture and distance from the subject. However, in your case what you can vary is the aperture..

The smaller the aperture (larger f number), the larger the depth of field. So try setting the aperture to, say, f8.Chris R..

Comment #4

Again, thank you Chris and JChristian for your advice. I am so excited about this forum. Here is the third question of about half a million I have to ask all of you experienced fab photographers. I am attempting to take prom pics today and feel a little stressed. I'm concerned about lighting. I'd like to take indoor and outdoor pics.

I did not buy an extra light for my Canon 40D (yet). Is this going to be a problem?..

Comment #5

Will attempt to shoot prom pics today. Would like to take indoor and outdoor. Someone said something about bouncing the light/flash off the ceiling. I did not buy another flash for my 40D. Is this going to be a problem?..

Comment #6

KariCD40 wrote:.

Again, thank you Chris and JChristian for your advice. I am soexcited about this forum. Here is the third question of about half amillion I have to ask all of you experienced fab photographers. I amattempting to take prom pics today and feel a little stressed. I'mconcerned about lighting. I'd like to take indoor and outdoor pics.Someone said something about bouncing light off the ceiling etc.

Is this going tobe a problem?.

Using a flash directly on (and that is the only way that you can use the on-board flash) produces a harsh light. The best way to avoid this is to use an external flash and bounce the light off of the ceiling or a wall. This produces much softer light..

If you are shooting outdoors at night you clearly can't bounce off the ceiling, but there are various defusers available which will soften light somewhat, e.g. Gary Fong's Lightsphere, various products by Lumiquest and StoFen, and various hand made diffusers (e.g. by Peter Gregg). You can also use these indoors if for any reason you can't bounce the flash..

Lumiquest make a little diffuser that will work with the on-board flash. It isn't great but is better than nothing. It also reduces the light output of the flash somewhat. You might see if you can get hold of the Lumiquest product at a local camera store - it is called the Lumiquest Soft Screen Diffuse and is cheap..

The Canon 430EX is a good external flash, but it is probably too late for you to get one and learn how to use it before the prom..

For your prom shoot the best strategy would be to set the camera to Program Auto and the ISO to 400. Don't get too far away - the effective range of the on-board flash is probably not more than 10 feet..

You may well get red-eye with the on-board flash which you will have to remove in post processing..

It will be a learning experience so take lots of shots and look at them in the LCD to see how they have come out. Make sure that your battery is fully charged and take a spare if you have one. Don't expect miracles from the on-board flash but you should get better quality than a P&S..

Best of luck.Chris R..

Comment #7

Chris, thank God it's you!!!! Thanks for the info! How do I start a new thread to ask a different question (My subject keeps coming up as NOVICE)????..

Comment #8

Thanks for the lighting tip. I am also taking group pics tomorrow (volleyball) and will change my aperture like you adivsed. Figured out the thread issue...

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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