Settings for D80 - Motocross MX
Ive been invited to a few MX events with a pro photographer to advance my skills. Im not a bad shooter for static shots but action shots always result in a blur. A recent wild bird shoot went horribly wrong and no matter what i did i couldn't get the birds in flight. It was a constant blur.
I avoided blaming the camera for these poor shots and for the life of me i don't know where to start. A few pointers in the right direction would be appreciated!!
I was using the D80 with the MB-10 battery pack in good light conditions outside with a 18-200mm VR Nikon lens for the wildlife shoot. My other lens is the standard kit lens that came with the 80, the 18-135mm. For some reason i ant help thinking that i get a much better shot with the 135 fitted????
As you could imagine a bit of pride is at stake here and i dont want to look stupid!!!! Any recommendations for maybe a change of lens ar upgrades that i should have would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!! Many thanks!!!!!!! Im also looking at accompanying the photograher on a few wedding shoots down the line and again any advice on lenses i should have for the 80 would be great!
I would take the 135 you can get very close to the action ....personally my weapon of choice would be the sig 10-20 and a my flash. Have a look at [URL="http://www.flickr.com/photos/djwestwood/sets/72157607585818651/"]this[/URL]
It can be so frustrating taking action shots and no matter what you seem to do they come out all blurry. Now I'm guessing that you are trying to freeze the action as they come over the top of a jump etc., but what shutter speed are you using to try and do this, as you don't say? Also, what focal length, within the range of your telephoto zoom lens, are you using?:confused:
If I was taking fast moving action, keeping the camera in a firmly fixed position I would set the ISO to either 400 in bright sunny conditions or between 800 and 1600 when conditions are overcast and quite dim, with my shutter speed set between 1/500th and 1/1000th of a second. However, if you're trying to show movement then you'll have to learn how to pan the camera. The key here is to use a much slower shutter speed and follow the direction of your subject, making sure you keep them in frame, whilst you take the shot. But you must keep panning the camera as you depress the shutter button, otherwise everything in shot will be blurred. Again, if your subject is only moving at say 20-25mph using a 1/30th shutter speed will nicely blur the background and the spokes on the wheels. Of course if they are moving a little faster you will need to use a slightly faster shutter speed. One word of warning on panning though, it only works if you subject is moving in a straight line. It's no good if they are both moving forward whilst travelling in an arc through the air, because you would then have to move your camera both up and down as well as across and this creates a very funny blurring no matter what you do. So before you go on your day out get some practice on panning the camera. If you have a friend with a motorbike, get them to ride up and down while you take a few shots of them as they go.
Anyway, hopefully that has given you a few pointers, but the best advise I will give you is on your day out with this professional photographer ask them what settings and techniques they use to get their shots and copy them.:D
Best of luck,
Ian & Browndog,
Many many thanks for your replies to my query! Your advice is much appreciated and I'm now a bit more confident with this style of shooting! I was geussing that the shutter speed had a lot to with getting the shot.
Im zoomed into about 50mm on the lens. I'm gathering that it would be a lot better to keep the lens zoomed all the way out and keep a lot closer to the action?????? Zooming in decreases the aperture and thus the light - is that right??????
You will see that on all lenses they have an f/stop range shown, typically f/3.5-5.6 or f/2.8-4.5 for instance. Now when your lens is at the 18mm end of it's range you will be able to open the aperture up to the first value shown, but when you've got the lens at it's maximum telephoto you will only be able to get a maximum aperture of the second value shown. This means that you are unable to get as much light through the lens and on to the sensor whatever shutterspeed you are using.
An example that is often used is say you have a bucket and you want to pour a litre of water into it throught a funnel. If you use a small funnel the water will take longer to pass throught it and go into the bucket. So if you want to increase the speed of the flow into the bucket you need to use a wider funnel. Then the water will stream through it without even touching the sides. If you imagine the bucket as your sensor, the aperture of your lens as the funnel and the water is the light. So by setting your lens to a higher focal length you close the aperture of the funnel and the light takes longer to pass through it and on to the sensor.
Therefore, if you want to use a fast shutter speed with your lens at 135mm or 180mm you will need to probably up the ISO a little to say 800 or 1200, so your sensor is more sensitive to the light coming through the lens to stop your images being under-exposed if conditions are a bit dull. However if you're shooting on a bright sunny day you may still be ok at a lower ISO setting of say 400.
Now you mentioned your images were blurred. Were you trying to pan the camera to follow the action? If so, you must keep the camera moving whilst the shutter is open. If you were holding the camera in your hand and zoomed in close to the action and it came out blurred, this was probably caused by hand shake and you need to use a shutter speed that is no less than 1.5 times the focal length you are using with you lens. So if you were zoomed in at 50mm you need to use a shutter speed of no less than 125th of a second to stop the camera shake. If you had the camera mounted on a tripod and the image is blurred, itc could either be a bit of vibration caused by the mirror flipping up, so lock it up if you can and that should stop it. The other thing that causes blurring is a focusing error. As in when you take your shot you need the autofocus (AF) point to be on the rider as you squeeze the shutter otherwise it maybe focusing on something else in the picture than your subject and what you want is out of focus. To get round this, you need to judge where your subject is going to be when they appear and frame your shot accordingly so they will be either slightly left or right of centre of the image and set your AF point accordingly. So when they appear you'll have the AF point trained on them and it should focus correctly. Don't have it set in the auto mode, where the camera has to pick what it focuses on as it may make the wrong choice. Don't leave it to chance!
Anyway, best of luck with it and I hope you have a successful day with the pro photographer.
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