Canon Rebel XT EOS..problems with blurry action shots

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by tammy_thomas|3, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. My daughters are both in competition cheerleading - when shooting in the gym
    (low lighting) we can not get any of the action shots to come out recognizable -
    they are all blurred. We are trying to get photos of things like tumbling
    passes (backhandsprings/tucks, etc)..which are quick action.

    We have had this same issue when trying to shoot in the gymnastics gym.

    We have also taken photos in higher lighting situations (outside - nice sunny
    day) while she is playing soccer and gotten good shots then.

    We have the basic lens that came with the camera and a Canon ultrasonic zoom
    lense Ef 70-300.

    We are new to all of this and need help. We appreciate any help you can give
    (in laymans terms - step by step type of thing).

    A MILLION THANK YOUS IN ADVANCE.

    Tammy
     
  2. You need to take the camera out of the green all auto mode and dial in a higher ISO (at least ISO800). The way you are shooting, the camera has too slow a shutter speed - which is why you are getting blurry pictures. Your shutter spped should be at least 1/125sec minimum! If you can't get there by increasing the ISO, then it is time to buy a faster (and way more expenisve) lens.
     
  3. You can search the archives for information on shooting gymnastics or other indoor sports. The problem here is 1) too low an ISO value 2) too small an aperture on your lens

    A quick summary solution:

    1) don't use any "scene" mode like "Action" anything similar. Shoot in a mode that allows you to change the ISO to 1600. P at least, or Av.

    2) Depending on how close you can get you will likely need a lens with a larger aperture. Something like the 70-200mm f/2.8 which is very expensive or the 135mm f/2 which is still pricey if you are further back. If you can get close, the 50mm f/1.8 or the 85mm f/1.8 would work. Shoot at the largest aperture available to you.

    3) practice practice practice.
     
  4. Thank you both!

    Rob...question for you -- you say: 2) Depending on how close you can get you will likely need a lens with a larger aperture. Something like the 70-200mm f/2.8 which is very expensive or the 135mm f/2 which is still pricey if you are further back. If you can get close, the 50mm f/1.8 or the 85mm f/1.8 would work. Shoot at the largest aperture available to you

    During practices she is close to us -- but at the actual competitions she will be far away...the lens I have is the 5.8 that is stamped on there the F value? When you say "shoot at the largest apeture available to you" are you refering to the lens? Sorry, I really am new to all of this. Is there any adjustments that can be made on the camera to help compensate for the lens?
     
  5. If you are within about 50' of your daughters when taking your pictures, an add-on flash will get the job done for you (if they are permitted). Canon makes several models. The more expensive ones have more power and will give you better pictures from a farther distance than the less expensive ones. You can also get a different lens made for lower light conditions (they tend to be expensive but if you are close enough the 50mm 1.8 will do a fabulous job for you and costs around $100.
     
  6. At the competitions -- we are far away in lower lighting shooting onto a stage with very bright lighting... how do you work with that situation?
     
  7. Tammy,

    the bottom line is that if you can not get a better lens, then you will have to increase the ISO to the dreaded 1600. Period. Your shutter will have to be about 1/125 Displayed as "125") of a second to stop motion like that and then you will still see some blur. The 1/125 means the shutter (effectively) is open for 1/125th of one second. Therefor only recording what motion that takes place in that short period of time.

    So to get proper exposure you either have to get more light to the sensor or make the sensor more sensitive (ISO, just like film speeds). To get more light to the sensor means there must be more light available (being out side does this, or useing flash to brighten the subject), or you have to allow more light though the lens. There is a number on the front of the lens that read like this 1:4-5.6. That means at 70mm your lens has a max aperture (F number) of 4 (writen as f4) and at 300mm it is f5.6. That is what we call a slow lens.

    A fast lens is more like f2.8 or f2 or f1.8 and so on. The lower the number the faster the lens because it's inside diameter (for the most part) is larger allowing in more light. Those lens cost more because they have bigger elements, makeing them heavier and must be built a little better to support the weight of those elements.

    Think of it this way, a faster lens lets in more light there for exposeing the film/sensor faster.

    The higher ISO makes the sensor more responsive to light so you can speed up the shutter as a result. Read the manual on how to change ISO. the higher the number the more sensitive the sensor.

    As others said, use Av mode to keep the lens f number as low as possible and the camera will adjust the shutter atuomaticly to acheive proper exposure.

    Hope this helps

    Jason
     
  8. During practices she is close to us -- but at the actual competitions she will be far away...the lens I have is the 5.8 that is stamped on there the F value? When you say "shoot at the largest apeture available to you" are you refering to the lens? Sorry, I really am new to all of this. Is there any adjustments that can be made on the camera to help compensate for the lens?​

    Tammy, it will be difficult to answer your question, you would need to understand a bit the controls that are available in your camera. Your problem (and it's not just your problem, everybody has it) is that you are in a difficult situation due to lack of light and speed of movement of your subject. This typical situation is beyond the limit of your camera and lens combination. That's why you won't find a simple 'do this' answer because it's not quite as simple.
    What can try to do is:
    • Shoot at a highest ISO (sensitivity) mode, to force the camera to "record" the image quicker than usual. Your maximum ISO option is ISO 1600 which is available in the "creative" modes - e.g. P mode.
    • Shoot at the widest opening of your lens. This in the case of the 70-300 lens zoomed out would be f/5.6
    • What you will find now is that because there is not enough light, the camera still takes a relatively long time to take a picture and your daughters will still appear moving and blurred in your pictures.
      To solve this problem you need to get more light to the camera. This can be done by:
      • Using a flash - not always an option and difficult to control in a big room
      • Using a lens that allows in more light. These are usually called "fast lenses" or lenses with "wider apertures". These are heavy and expensive, the kind of stuff that professionals use. The previous posters have already given you some great suggestions.
      • If you choose a new lens, you need to decide which focal length (how much zoom) would be useful for you to take the pictures, depending on the distances involved. There are some calculators over the web that you can use to find that out.
     
  9. -- "At the competitions -- we are far away in lower lighting shooting onto a stage with very bright lighting... how do you work with that situation?"

    You expose for the stage ... but what seems to be "very bright" to the human eye isn't really bright at all for your camera.
     
  10. The fact that you are in low light and the subject is in bright light does not matter. The light on the subject is all that matters. Keep in mind that the light on the stage looks bright to you but that is relative to the dim light you are sitting in. You eyes fool you. The stage is not nearly as bright as it appears to you. The camera is not fooled this whay. and can not adjust like your eyes can. Boy if it could :eek:)

    Jason
     
  11. More than anything expressed here, I would recommend a basic photography book that you can use to learn more about the relationships between aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, and exposure values. It sounds like having this basic knowledge will greatly improve your technique and will also allow to take better advantage of forums like this, where you can get some great advice (without getting lost). I like having a book, as opposed to solely relying on the web, because you can take a book with you and refer to it at your convenience.
    Here's a forum post that lists several options. Don't be worried about a book that is not digital specific, all of the basics of film exposure still apply to digital.
     
  12. I agree with Evan, even if you have no desire to get into photography you will be much happier with the camera you have if you learn the basic relationships he mentioned. Just those three will make a great difference. Your little camera is rather capable and very much produce pro results.

    A book by Scott Kelby called "The Digital Photography Book" would be awsome for you. He spares you the technical detail and just shows you a full page picture and the next page tells you how to set the camera to get the same result. He is a great writer and on of the best currently. Very funny at that. I have not seen the book but have heard great things about it. I several of his other photoshop books and they are great.

    Jason
     
  13. <<then you will have to increase the ISO to the dreaded 1600. Period>>

    There is nothing to "dread" about using ISO 1600 on the XT. It is very usable.

    <<Is there any adjustments that can be made on the camera to help compensate for the lens>>

    As you want to freeze the motion of your daughters, and the aperture on your zoom lens is small, the only option you have available to you is to increase the ISO, which makes the camera "more sensitive" to light. This may allow you to achieve a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the motion. But depending on how much light indoors there actually is, that may not be enough. Buying a lens with a larger aperture would allow you to achieve faster shutter speeds and thus allow you to freeze motion.

    Please understand that, while this is not an impossible task, it will require a better understanding of the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. The conditions you are shooting in are difficult ones for a camera.

    Is there any way you can get closer to your daughter during the competition? I have a feeling that even with spending lots of money on a 70-200 f/2.8 lens you still will not be close enough. In which case moving in further and buying something like the 135 f/2 would be a better option.
     
  14. Tammy, let me try to give you a simple answer here.
    But you're going to have to reference your manual I think.

    1) set your camera to Av mode.
    2) turn the front dial till you see the lowest number like 4.5 or 4.
    2) go into your menu's and set ISO to 1600.

    That's it. This is the best you can do. If you buy better lenses then the lowerst A number will be 2.8 or 1.8 and you would again select the lowest number.
     
  15. Slight correction to Bill's post. I believe the lowest you'll be able to go is 5.6 which is the lowest aperture the 70-300 lens supports at 300mm.
     
  16. Depending on what the above lens/setting combination does in the light you experience you may still have to accept that some blurring will occur. In this case you should try and be aware of the movement of the cheerleaders - when they are moving rapidly you will get most blur but when there is a pause in the action they will be moving less/slower and you may suffer less blur. Keep a steady hand and look for the pauses in the action - take more shots then. In general take more shots than you think you'll need and not just that 'perfect' one - you can't always predict the way the shot will turn out - a large CF card can help (and be ruthless in editing) <br>
    <br>
    The following two suggestions are to try only if you still suffer problems after trying the others' excellent suggestions:<br><br>
    You can't really compensate very successfully for not having a fast lens/flash when the light is low but as a last resort you can set your camera to underexpose slightly by using EV compensation - but you would have to correct it later on the computer. Usually people would set their camera to shoot RAW if they were going to deliberately underexpose - and noise can be a problem. Maybe, at first try the suggestions above and see how it works out with your existing equipment.
    <br><br>
    One other thing - you should look at your photos and try and understand if the blur you are getting is motion blur (most likely - subject moving with a slow shutter speed) or generally bad focus. If the cheerleaders are at an approximate fixed distance from you it can also be an option to manually pre-focus on a spot where you expect them to be and then take the shot when they get there. This eliminates auto-focussing issues.
     
  17. I`ll echo Glen here, he beat me to it. with most sports there are times of slow action, as you know your daughters routine look for those moments, eg when they form a tower as sometimes on shoulders action is often quick up but slower to drop. also try to pan the action as they move from side to side, this does need practice, Its been a while since I took pix of a cheerleaders comp, (d30+28 135mm+50mm1.8) as I recall the lights were constant, if you have the same then a manual meter reading can be taken, this allows the highest speed and best aperture settings to be set in `m` mode. then all the camera has to do is focus. Just another option..hope it helps.
     

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