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Thread: Help Me Please - blurry action shots

  1. #1

    Help Me Please - blurry action shots

    I just took some action shots from a dance receital today. As you can see, I am not too happy with most if not all of them. They are pretty blurry and I was pretty sure that the Nikon D5000 could take better action pictures, which leads me to believe that I am using the incorrect settings. Anyone with any suggestions as to what I can do in the future is greatly appreciated.

    Warren

    dance5.jpg
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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 15th November 2009 at 04:30 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    I think, there may be a few more pictures here. Still trying to learn the correct way to add images.

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Well from the first and only one I can see you need a faster shutter speed. I don't normally take action photo's but remember to use a speed faster than 1/250 of a second.

    But it all depends, and that is what I would start with, as long as 1/f was greater than your chosen speed where f is focal length.

    I'm sure you will get more expert advice from others here. Good luck.

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren View Post
    I think, there may be a few more pictures here. Still trying to learn the correct way to add images.
    Hi Warren,

    Start by clicking on "community" (above) and choose "Pictures & ALbums" - and create yourself an album.

    Once you've got that sorted - and have uploaded a few images - come back to us and we'll help you with the next step

  5. #5
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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    I'm no expert here, but I can tell you from experience live view doesn't help when it comes to getting sharp photos even with image stabilization. I could be wrong but it looks like your image suffers from camera shake, I'm not able to read your image info so I can't tell what your shutter / aperture / ISO speed are. But I can tell you it looks like some of the photos I've had in my collection.

    Timing was excellent though.

    Jack

  6. #6

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Quote Originally Posted by jacsul View Post
    I'm no expert here, but I can tell you from experience live view doesn't help when it comes to getting sharp photos even with image stabilization. I could be wrong but it looks like your image suffers from camera shake, I'm not able to read your image info so I can't tell what your shutter / aperture / ISO speed are. But I can tell you it looks like some of the photos I've had in my collection.
    There's a wee bit of camera shake, but most of the blur is at the end of the girl's legs where the speed is highest.

    Can't tell what shutterspeed was used as the EXIF data is stripped

    IS helps to reduce camera shake allowing you to shoot at lower speeds without camera shake - but it doesn't do anything to freeze subject motion, unfortunately.

    Warren, in essence, what you need is the highest possible shutterspeed and that comes hand in hand with noise and depth of field compromises; a fast shutterspeed reduces the light hitting the sensor and would result in an under-exposure if something else wasn't increased. Only two choices - you can "up the ISO" to effectively make the sensor more sensitive (but this will also increase digital noise) and/or you can open up your lenses aperture, at the risk of decreasing your depth of field which may or may not be an issue.

    Welcome to the world of photography compromises!

    Here's one taken at 1000th of a second to give you an idea of how the high shutterspeed freezes motion:

    Help Me Please - blurry action shots
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 15th November 2009 at 05:34 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Ok, I will try and make a photo album for you to view. How do I make the images small enough for the website while keeping the photo information attached?

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren View Post
    Ok, I will try and make a photo album for you to view. How do I make the images small enough for the website while keeping the photo information attached?
    Hi Warren,

    What program are you using for your post processing?

  9. #9

    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Colin,

    I am using Corel Photo Paint 9, simply because I already own it and am somewhat accustomed to it.

    Warren

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Ah - sorry, can't help with that (I'm a Photoshop guy).

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Warren, please post the image's metadata. It will help us understand what settings you use, and for us to give you recommendations. Everyone here uses different levels of bodies and brands, and don't want to mislead you.

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    I don't use Corel either, but basically just use your programme image resizing menu and set a suitable new size. Say 800 pixels by 96 pixels per inch, or somewhere close to that. Then Save (or Export) as a Jpeg image. 100% on the compression settings (best quality) gives the best results but a slightly reduced figure will save a lot of space; but I wouldn't go below 80% compression setting.

    If you resize by a sizeable amount, a little bit of Unsharp Mask, or other sharpening device, will tune up the sharpness.

    The other alternative for including images in posts is to link them from a photo site like Flickr or P base.

    If you start with a Jpeg photo and resave as Jpeg any exif information should be retained; although I have had problems when converting Raw images into Tiff. If in doubt just use the old fashioned pen and paper method to record information then add it to your post. Don't forget to include camera and lens information.

    If you still have any problems with any of this, keep asking for help; we will, eventually, manage to sort out everything for you.

    With regard to your posted photo. I agree with the others that low shutter speed was your chief problem there. Arith's recommendation that the minimum shutter speed should equal the lens length is a good starting point for static subjects but fast moving action shots often require something even faster; as Colin described.

    Don't worry too much about increasing ISO to allow a faster speed. While using the lowest possible ISO is a good general maxim, most of the modern Dslr cameras will work tolerably well up to ISO 800. And, at worst, it is better to suffer a little bit of noise than to get camera shake or motion blur problems.

  13. #13

    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Ok, I have put up some of the photos, hopefully with the camera information still attached as well, into a photo album aptly named 'Blurry Photos'.

    Let me know if this is what you guys needed to make some suggestions.

    Warren

  14. #14

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Firstly, I can't find any Exif information on those photos but maybe someone with a specialised reading programme will have more success.

    As far as I can tell from your other images, you have camera shake as well as motion blur which suggests a considerable lack of shutter speed. With some photos, the background is blurred in a specific direction which makes me think that you were actually moving the camera whilst pressing the shutter button.

    If so, a brief pause between aiming and clicking may help to steady the camera and give auto focus a better chance of 'locking on'. Panning and photographing moving subjects is a bit of a specialised field but isn't that difficult to achieve.

    However, the main problem still looks like too slow a shutter speed.

  15. #15
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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Hi Warren,

    I did a google on your software and "EXIF" and found someone that was needing to change pakage "mostly so I can get software that retains EXIF data", so it looks like you will need to try another image editor in order for us to see the EXIF data.
    However, that comes with the caveat that one entry on the interweb is not normally a good basis for an opinion! Can any other Corel users (esp PP9) confirm whether it is EXIF unaware or requires a menu option to be turned on to enable EXIF to pass through?

    You can try Elements on a 30 day trial, or GIMP is free (which I assume is EXIF friendly).

    Having now seen the album pics, I definitely concur you need a (much) faster shutter speed.

    If you go back for a re-shoot, stick the ISO on 3200 and shoot at say, f8 and see what shutter speed that gives you. You will need 1/500s (minimum) to get close to freezing arms and legs (at least, that's my guesstimate), so get as close as you can to that.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 18th November 2009 at 10:20 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Your camera should come with a trial version of Nikon NX2 capture, or if not. Just get the info off the back of your camera from the memory card. Just scroll to image and depress the downward arrow on the command toggle. It will display all your settings and info there.

    If you already download and cleared the card, just put a blank memory card into your card reader, and drag the images back onto the card.

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    Your camera should come with a trial version of Nikon NX2 capture
    Smart thinking ... (why didn't I?)

    Warren,

    You will have ViewNX for real (i.e. free) that will show you the EXIF data, either on the Metadata tab in grid mode, or in full screen mode, you can see it in a little box top left (which you toggle on and off with the "i" button on top edge, towards the right).

    At least these options will allow you to manually tell us.

    Not that I use it, but there seems to be a way to export from ViewNX which can downsize too.

    Cheers,

  18. #18

    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Ok, here is what I can find of off the photos.

    Informatin for picture of Boy (Arms) VR55-200 F/4.5-5.6G 98mm Auto ISO-1600 1/25s-F/4/5

    Information for Boy in the Air (all the same except) 1/40s - F/4.2

    Information for Girl in Blue on ground (all the same except) 1/20s - F/5.6

    Information for Girl in Blue in Air (all the same except) 1/50s F/4

    I thought that would be enough to make an educated guess. If you need more information just let me know and I will get it. thanks again.

    Warren

  19. #19
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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    Warren the zoom you are using is too slow to capture action indoors. To freeze action you have to have either a wider/faster aperture (f2-2.8) or cranky up the ISOs. You need a minimum shutter speed of 1/250th-1/400th of a stop action in dance, your image speeds are way too slow to be effective. The more you zoom out, the smaller your aperture will be because that's how your zoom is made. Hence the 4.5-5.6. Lenses with single f stops can be adjust from the beginning (say 2.8) to the smallest aperture like f22.

    Often times the low lighting that is enough for you to see by, is often times not enough to shoot by. Cranking your ISO's up to the max will help in this location that you shot at, but your images will appear noisy. To allow more light into your camera, again, a faster aperture is required.

    Don't know what your budget is, but the 85 1.8 and the 180 2.8 would be handle your needs quite nicely. Just get there early to stake your real estate claim to work your focal length to it's advantage.

    One of the advantages of Nikons is the "backwards technology" where you can us older lenses (including film) on digital bodies. Now, unfortunately entry level bodies like the D40, D60, D3000, and D5000 do not have the AF drive engines to power older AF lenses; so they will need to be focused manually.

    If you don't want to go down this routine, then a hot shoe flash will be necessary to stop action. Problem is, most competitions will not allow flash photography.

  20. #20

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    Re: Help Help Help Me Please

    I'd have to agree with Amber. The solution to your problem is getting more light into the camera. If you're going to be in that venue I'd get the fastest glass you can afford. Even exchaning 3 stops of light from the apeture to the shutter still won't exactly put you in consistant action-stopping territory, but it'll be a heck of a lot closer. ISO1600 is already pretty high, I wouldn't recommend pushing it further unless you absolutly had to. From that EXIF I would lean towards the 85mm f/1.8 Amber recommended, favoring the extra stop over the 180mm f/2.8 - and cropping the image. The 85mm is also pretty close to the 98mm you shot at. Use a program like Adobe Bridge or something that will let you see the counts of what focual lengths you use, this is also helpful information for purchasing new lenses.

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