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Old 09-15-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
luvmyfam444
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camera setting - help!

I have a Canon Powershot SX10is & I'm trying to take pics of the moving colorguard @ night! HELP! What setting do I need to use?
I've tried the running man & auto of course with no luck.

I'm thinking a new camera would be a good choice - if you tell me it's imposible with what I have...just make sure you tell me another one to buy that's somewhat affordable. LOL
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:22 PM   #2
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Moving objects at night is one of the most challenging subjects out there.

Can you tell us more about what's not working? Are the pictures too dark, too blurry, too grainy--or all of the above?

Does your camera allow you to take control of it manually, to adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO?

You want to keep the aperture of the lens as wide as possible, the ISO as high as it can go without the picture getting unacceptably noisy (grainy), and a shutter speed that will "freeze" the motion while still allowing as much light to hit the sensor as possible.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:00 PM   #3
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That camera is 4 years old... And sensors have evolved rapidly in the last few years.
To capture pictures in low light, you need to combine 3 technical factors.
ISO - the sensitivity of the sensor. This has changed dramatically in the last few years. Your camera, and my 6-year-old dSLR max out at 1600. New midrange dslr's go to 16,000. My new point and shoot goes to 6400. So if you are setting your camera manually, set the ISO at 1600. But thus factor would improve dramatically with a newer camera.
Aperture -- how wide you open the lens. Small number = wide open. So use the smallest possible aperture. Try not to zoom more than necessary, because the more you zoom, your aperture number will go up.
Shutter speed -- a slow shutter speed will capture the most light. A really slow shutter speed is great for nighttime landscapes, but that doesn't work for action. So use the slowest shutter speed you can get away with. Probably about 1/50.

So ISO 1600
Aperture 2.8
Shutter 1/50.

If that doesn't work, may be time for a new camera.
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:11 PM   #4
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You're describing a difficult condition for any camera - action/movement in low lighting conditions.

First, if you're using your flash, turn it off. Unless you're on the field right in the middle of the action, you're too far away for the flash to be effective. Having it on will only confuse the camera.

Now let's talk about the three settings in your camera that impact how it deals with different lighting conditions. The first is the aperture, which determines how wide the shutter opens. The lower the f-stop number, the wider the aperture and the more light will come in. The second setting is the shutter speed. The longer the exposure, the more time light has to come in, and the more detail you'll get in darker areas of the photo. The third setting is the ISO. This setting determines how sensitive the sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the camera is to capturing low-lit subjects.

The trick is finding the right balance between these settings for the specific conditions you're shooting in.

When there's motion in the scene, especially if it's fast motion, you need to keep your shutter speed fast enough to avoid blur. A fast shutter speed will "capture action" without blur. Unfortunately, a fast shutter speed isn't friendly to shooting in low light. So the trick is to have a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur, but slow enough to provide enough light to work with the aperture and ISO settings you've selected.

The aperture setting is limited by the design of the lens. This is a case where
a better camera makes a big difference. Your camera has the ability to go to f2.8 when at the max wide angle. (That's pretty good.) As you zoom in, though, it goes down to f5.7 at the maximum zoom. That means the more you zoom, the lower the amount of light that can get in. Keeping the camera back at the full wide angle will improve your low-light shots. One of the things that the aperture setting effects is the depth of field. With a very low f-stop, there will be a narrow depth of field (less of the photo will be in focus). Things that are closer to the camera than your focal point and things that are farther away than your focal point will be out of focus. With a higher f-stop, more of the picture will be in focus.

Increasing the ISO allows your camera to "see better" in lower light, but has the adverse effect of adding noise (static) to the photographs. This is another area where a better camera has an advantage. The better the sensor, the less noise at higher ISOs. So the trick here is to have a fast enough ISO to work with the shutter speed and aperture settings, yet low enough to minimize the noise. Your camera has the ability to go as high as ISO 3200.

Here's a link to your camera's user manual. http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/7/030000...0IS_CUG_EN.pdf Check out page 84 for instructions on changing the ISO. Start at 1600 and see what that gives you.

After picking an ISO, there are two modes you can play with. The first is Av (aperture priority mode), which allows you to set how wide open you want the aperture. The camera will determine the optimal shutter speed. Try setting the aperture value bar as far to the left as it goes and try a few shots. Page 102 in the manual applies.

The second is Tv (shutter priority mode), which allows you to set the shutter speed and have the camera pick the optimal aperture. (Why's the abbreviation for shutter priority mode "Tv" on the dial? It stands for "Time Value."). Pick the slowest speed you can that doesn't result in blur. This will require some experimentation. Page 100 provides the details in your manual.

Now, if you've been shooting in full auto mode, your camera should have been finding some of these same settings. If you've been getting dark or blurry photos in auto, chances are you're not going to see a major change in Tv or Av. You may be able to refine the balance between darkness/blurriness and find a better balance than the auto settings were able to find, though.

If you still can't get the results you want, there's one other thing to try. You can force your camera to go into an even higher ISO mode by setting the ISO 3200 scene. Check out pages 95-97 in the manual. Set the dial to "SCN" mode, then select "ISO 3200" from the scene list. You're going to get a lot of noise at this setting, but depending on what you're looking to do with the pictures, it may work for you.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmyfam444 View Post
I have a Canon Powershot SX10is & I'm trying to take pics of the moving colorguard @ night! HELP! What setting do I need to use?
I've tried the running man & auto of course with no luck.

I'm thinking a new camera would be a good choice - if you tell me it's imposible with what I have...just make sure you tell me another one to buy that's somewhat affordable. LOL
Of course newer technology with a broader ISO range would make things easier. But it's not impossible, it just might not be the shot you want.

Don't zoom in. Your lens has a larger aperture at the wide end. This lets in more light. As you zoom in that maximum aperture gets smaller and makes it a lot tougher to get shot in less than ideal light.

Set the ISO as high as it goes (I think 1600 on there). Give priority to the shutter speed, making sure it's fast enough not to cause motion blur.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:00 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the info! I didn't realize the camera was so old - my mil gave it to me 'cause she hated it for sports pics. I have loved it til now - I have been able to get decent sports pics.

I just went back & looked @ some non night pics & I now have a thin white line going thru all the pics on the left hand side...I ignored it @ first thinking it was from the night pics - but its not - it's on all the pics. Don't have a clue what that's about.

Yep...these pics are blurry & it looks foggy out. Just looked @ my mil pics from the same event - she has a new Canon point & shoot - elph series I believe & though her pics are less blurry from movement - they still look like they were taking on a night of thick fog.

SOOOOO - if I have this random stripe that I can't get away from...I definitely want to look for something else. I would love any recommendations for a point & shoot. I've been sold on canon forever...so I'll start there. I'm gonna head on over to Steve's digicams review (I think that's the site) but in the meantime I'd love to also hear from you.

I wish I had the $ to spend on a "real" camera - but that's not possible right now.
FWIW I take action shots of soccer, softball, colorguard & that's about it. I don't blowup the pics - mostly print just 4x6 @ cheaply @ WM or put them all online.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
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The white line sounds like your sensor is damaged. Definitely time for a new camera.

The fact that your current camera has a damaged sensor may not necessarily be a bad thing if you're already thinking about replacing the camera anyway. If you would consider a factory refurbished camera as an option, you may want to look into Canon's loyalty program. If you have a broken Canon camera, you can turn it in for 20% off their normal rate for a new (to you) refurbished camera.

Maybe you can afford a nicer camera than you thought.

There are no details about the Canon Loyalty Program (CLP) on the Canon USA web site, but the Canon phone number (866-443-8002) does have an option (#2) for the CLP. Check out the Canon direct shopping site to see if there's a refurbished camera that interests you. Shop for either a refurbished DSLR or Point & Shoot. If there's one you like, call the number above and ask them if it's available under the CLP. If it is, sending in your old broken camera will get you an extra 20% off the listed price.
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Last edited by BirdsOfPreyDave; 09-18-2012 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for that info! Now that you mention it...my brother did that years ago...haven't thought about that.
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