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I have been searching the forums and can not find the answers I am looking for.

What settings are you guys using to get good action shots that are not blurred? I have a Canon Powershot A620, so manual settings are available. We are taking a trip this week and I want to make sure the shots are decent and not the typical..."that smear is me doing a drop!" pics.
 

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Im not familiar with that camera, is it a point and shoot or a DSLR?


If its a point and shoot, there should be some type of sport mode which will make the shutter speed quick so it will be a clear shot of movement...that will take care of all of the other adjustments too.

If you dont have that option, or you have a SLR camera go into the custom settings and start playing around.

You can normally set the shutter speed from as long as you want (on a SLR, on a point and shoot you will normally be limited to 20 seconds or less), all the way down to 1/1000 of a second. The faster the shutter speed, the less time it is open...so less time for the immage to "wipe". The problem with going with too fast (short) of a shutter speed is that you wont have very much light in the photo...so you will have to adjust a few other things to make a good picture.

Your aperture size is the size of the opening on your shutter, the smaller the hole the less light can get in...the larger the hole, the more light. The aperture is represented by the letter "F", so adjust your "F number" to adjust the opening. It is backwards though, the smaller the number, the larger the opening and more light. The larger the F number, the smaller the opening.

And lastly, you can deal with the ISO number....thats kind of a hard one to explain, but I guess you can think of the ISO as worker bees....the more worker bees you have (the higher iso number), the more honey you can collect (the more light you can collect)...but there is a problem with going with too high of an ISO number.....if you go too high, the picture will come out pretty grainy...so dont go crazy with the ISO.

The best way to learn these features is to play with your camera.....easy practice would be taking pictures of moving cars so you cant take a bunch of pictures with different settings (aperture, ISO, and shutter speed)...just make sure you practice in similar lighting conditions that you will be shooting in while on the trail, if you are in the woods...try to use your flash if you are close enough, that will help more than anything with a short exposure pictrure.


If you have any questions, just post up or shoot me an email...

Kyle
 

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I would suggest using Shutter Priority mode set to 1/250th or faster. In Shutter Priority, the camera will automatically select the appropriate aperture for you. You want to set the camera to the lowest ISO that will yield a proper exposure.

Will you be in bright sunlight or in a forest (low light) setting?
 

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RSutton1223 said:
I have been searching the forums and can not find the answers I am looking for.

What settings are you guys using to get good action shots that are not blurred? I have a Canon Powershot A620, so manual settings are available. We are taking a trip this week and I want to make sure the shots are decent and not the typical..."that smear is me doing a drop!" pics.
Very complicated actually. But for a quick solution,....

Set camera to A setting. Open aperture to widest stop.
If the shutter speed is less that 1/125, then consider bumping up ISO or Panning as your subject passes by. Use a fill flash but get used to the delay and capture peak moment...

Peak moment is anticipation, not the actual move. It happens just before. Like when going off a ledge, its when the front wheel is off, not both. makes a viewer imagine the next moment.
 

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I can't believe nobody mentioned: USE THE FLASH!!!!

Esp in the woods under a heavy canopy. It's equivalent to shooting at twighlight. It's dark. Anything moving is hard as heck to get.

Like the others said:
Use the lowest aperture setting you can.
Shutter priority settings is really helpful The A series Canons have it but my two SD series don't.
ISO 400 is about as high you can go on any compact Canon, w/o really hurting the pic with the grainyness.

Sometimes it helps if you can pan with the shot...that takes practice.(lots) It will blur the background.
Shooting from farther away reduces the relative motion ... less motion blur at 30' than at 15'
Shooting closer to the angle of appoach or departure can be better than closer to perpendicular. The subject is moving toward/away from the camera more than it is moving across the field of view. Proper focus is more of a challenge but blur can be reduced if you time your shots to a prefocused point.

In the woods you have very limited LOS so it's tough to get farther away, or at the angle you want, try to hunt around anyway.

Note I'm rarely sucessful myself so if your shots come out crappy, welcome to the club.
 

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If you do use flash, and have the option, dial off some flash - so dial into the flash control “minus .3 or .7”. This will give better looking images.
Be aware that many cameras, when set on A (aperture priority) have a limited range of shutter speeds when flash is activated in this A setting -going down the shutter speeds. Notably 1/60th of a second might be the lowest you can venture to. There is also a max shutter speed of up to /250th a second too. Check your camera’s manual as it may only offer you one shutter speed in which case don’t bother with it!
Try P or S also as it depends on the actual camera.
Play with the ISO ratings and vary them for both inside and out of the woods.
Keep the shutter speeds up, and remember that as you zoom the lens to its fullest optical (as opposed to digital) zoom range, the max aperture will decrease - so it might be an f2.8 lens at the 28mm setting and as you zoom in closer, that aperture changes to maybe f 5.6 at 120mm.
This will have a marked effect on the amount of light you now have entering the camera's lens, meaning "up" the ISO from 200 to 400 maybe or ..... move closer!

There is no "one stop" solution.
Play about with it – before your trip would be my Top Tip of the Day!
Take any shot just prior to when you want to freeze the action and get used to the digital shutter lag that cheaper compacts suffer from. Some can be 1/2 a second behind your button pressing, so you need to grab the shot 1/2 a second before it actually happens in this case!

Tim
 

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manual? how much manual?

RSutton1223 said:
I have been searching the forums and can not find the answers I am looking for.

What settings are you guys using to get good action shots that are not blurred? I have a Canon Powershot A620, so manual settings are available. We are taking a trip this week and I want to make sure the shots are decent and not the typical..."that smear is me doing a drop!" pics.
If you have the ability to manual aperture, ISO, and shutter speed you will be able to do a lot, And I believe you can. Your A 620 is a lot like my wife's A 710 IS which I mess with a bit. You could set your mode to TV then set your shutter to something like 1/250 or 1/500 and let the camera do the rest and see what you get, play with the shutter speeds up and down a little too in TV. Get too high in shutter and you may get a more grainy shot as the camera compensates auto for a high shutter depending on your light. Then try the AV mode and set your aperture to around 4.0 and see what you get. I think you may have better luck in TV mode doing action though. Low light, maybe try the flash turned on. Just my .02 cents.
I am no pro at this, but I have used a small handfull of point and shoot sure shot canon's the last 5 years. I currently have the G7, and am quite happy with the quality of shots.
Some pictures:
The snow shot was taken at 2000 shutter speed, 6.3 aperture and 200 ISO hand held in freezing cold weather with guys racing a GS course hauling azz by me.
......the waterfall picture, 1/500 shutter speed..... this shot at a different angle is featured in the newest Dirt Rag and Bike issues in the Turner ads. It took a heck of a lot for me to pull off the picture that you will see in the ads. Both of these pictures taken with my G7.
Then a close up was taken by a friend, low light under a canopy of trees with a Rebel XT, just enough blur to show movement and action can be a real good thing. 1/200 shutter, aperture 5.6 with a flash.
Then the last picture is a ski base jumper, the run in on snow was at about 40 mph., 35 degree pitch point the skiis straight down a shoveled runway to the jump......I was underneath 450 feet below with my G7, zoomed in a bit, 1/500 shutter. Hand held waiting for the psycho to launch off the cliff at speed. Too see the sequence is nuts, here he is 1/2 way through his front flip before pulling his chute 2 seconds later.......I like my feet on the ground....!!!!!!
And finally a fire scene, late night.....shutter at 6 seconds long, ISO 80, and aperture 4.5.
Just a few examples of what shutter speed and playing with settings can do for you.
 

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