Need advice, blurry with zoom lens - action shots - D50

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Dawn, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. Dawn

    Dawn Guest

    Hi, I have a Nikon D-50 with a Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5:6 lens. I am
    trying to photograph my daughter at ice skating events. I have used
    monopod and also a tripod, with flash off for athlete consideration.
    The pictures are never clear. Very blurry.

    When using the sigma the lens won't work unless it stays on 22 fstop(?)
    or a FE flashes and wont let me shoot. This happens whenever using the
    sigma in any condition.

    I have tried auto mode and "action" mode. When I do macro or any type
    of non-movement photos they turn out beautifully.

    Any help or advice is appreciated!!!
    Dawn, Nov 20, 2005
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  2. Use shutter priority and set at least 1/300 sec or shorter. Bump the iso as
    needed to get enough light for a good exposure.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Nov 20, 2005
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  3. Dawn

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Try boosting the ISO. I'll bet that you have it set at the
    default of 200. This, plus the relatively small maximum aperture of he
    lens (f/5.6 if you are using it at the maximum zoom) forces the camera
    to use a slow shutter speed -- which ensures you will get blur for
    sports, even if you eliminate the camera motion with a good tripod. (And
    a lightweight tripod will probably not do much for you with that long a
    lens. 300mm with the crop factor making its coverage more like 450mm.
    This is normal behavior for the D50 and the D70/D70s, as well as
    some other cameras -- at least if you are in program mode (you can't be
    in Automatic mode, or it would insist on using the flash anyway). The
    lens *must* be set to the smallest aperture, so the camera body can
    select just how far to close it down, as the aperture ring is a hard
    stop to how far it can close down.

    If you want to use the aperture ring, you will need to switch to
    "manual" mode, and select shutter speed and aperture on your own. IIRC,
    even if you set it in "aperture preferred" mode you have to use the
    camera's controls to select the aperture. On the D70 and D70s, there
    are two wheels, one under the thumb, and the other under the index
    finger, in front of the shutter release button. One controls the
    shutter speed, and one the aperture. With the D50, you only have one
    wheel, IIRC, and I'm not sure how you select both shutter speed and
    aperture in manual mode with that camera.
    Boost the ISO. Hold down the button to the left of the display
    which says ISO above it, and which has a small checkerboard on it.
    While holding it down, rotate the thumbwheel, and observe the display on
    top of the camera. It should say 200 before you start rotating the
    wheel. Rotate it until it says 1600. This will give you a higher
    shutter speed, though it will introduce more noise into the image. I
    think that you will find the noise less of a problem for your purposes
    than the blur.

    Or -- you could go into the menu -- the purple pencil one -- to
    option "05" (assuming that your menu has the same options that the D70
    and D70s do). This one should be labeled "ISO auto". Turn that on, and
    the camera will automatically boost the ISO if there is not enough light
    for a good shot.

    Another item in the same menu, Number 21, allows you to select
    the slowest shutter speed that the camera will use before deciding to up
    the ISO to get the exposure. I think that the default is 1/60th of a
    second, which is probably the slowest you should go anyway for the kind
    of things you are shooting.

    And -- *don't* expect to get good shots of someone in one of the
    jumps. For that, you will need flash to stop the motion -- and you will
    probably need more than the built-in flash can deliver. Depending on
    your distance, you may need to go up to the SB-800 as the maximum
    on-camera flash.

    Obviously, if you are going to use flash, you need the agreement
    of the skaters -- ideally shoot only when your daughter is on the ice --
    and not during competition.
    You have my suggestions and opinions above.

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Nov 20, 2005
  4. Dawn

    Kyle Jones Guest

    Unless you're shooting outdoors during the day I think you need a faster
    lens. At 1/300 and ISO 1600 I fear that you're going to be 1.5 to 2.5
    stops underexposed with indoor arena type lighting using that lens. Try
    it as Ed Ruf described and find out; in manual mode your camera will
    probably tell you how many stops a scene would be under/over-exposed
    with current settings. If underexposure is indicated in the range I
    gave, the most economic route is probably a medium telephoto prime, say
    a 135mm f/2, and cropping the resulting images.
    Kyle Jones, Nov 20, 2005
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