Camera settings for action shots in poor fluorescent lighting

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by wwwdotcomdotnet, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. wwwdotcomdotnet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    #1
    A few weeks ago I got an Olympus Evolt E510 and I'm loving it. Its my first DSLR, but I am no newbie when it comes to photography.

    Right now I am having issues with taking pictures at an indoor skatepark with fairly poor fluorescent lighting. As you can imaging the subject is moving quickly. I do not have an external flash yet, and do not plan on getting one for a few months at least. The pictures I have been taking are extremely yellow in balance and the majority of them are blurry. Using a tripod is not an option as well because I often have to move to get out of the way quickly.

    I am taking the pictures at 1/40-1/60sec, with a normal f adjustment, and upping the flash intensity to +0.3. Can anyone recommend camera settings or let me know what I am doing wrong?
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    London
    #2
    What is the maximum aperture of the lens you are using? It sounds like you need a faster one. I'd have thought you need to get into the 1/xxx range at least to get crisp images.
     
  3. wwwdotcomdotnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2007
    #3
    I don't recall off the top of my head, but I was using slower shutter speeds because anything over 1/100 would not allow enough light into the lense and thus made my pictures dark or completely black. I'm thinking I can't get a faster shutter speed to work because the built in flash is too weak?
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #4
    A flash cannot really help that much. The reason you cannot get more light into the lens is because the maximum aperture is too small. You need a faster lens. Unfortunately fast lenses are expensive as the require much larger hight precision glass elements which are hard to make.

    I'd say for indoor sports you are looking at an f/4 lens at the very worst (this will probably not be fast enough), f/2.8 realistically.
     
  5. wwwdotcomdotnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2007
    #5
    here are my lens specs:

    Zuiko Digital ED 14-42 mm f3.5-f5.6 Lens (equivalent to 28mm-84mm in 35mm photography)
     
  6. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #6
    Low light,moving subject... what ISO are you using? This is the other variable: maybe ISO 400 or more. You risk 'noise' in the images, but it might make the difference between blurred and sharp(ish) shots...
     
  7. wwwdotcomdotnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2007
    #7
    For a while I was using the Auto ISO setting on my camera, but that didn't work out too well. I switched to ISO 400 and 800, but the shots were coming out too grainy for my liking. Although they were a bit better at 400 and 800, they still weren't worth putting my seal of approval on.
     
  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #8
    I assume you are mostly shooting towards the longer end at f/5.6? Even at f/3.5 it's going to be too slow. If you really want to shoot fast moving action indoors you will probably need something faster. I'm not familiar with the 4/3 system so am not sure what would be the correct lens, but I imagine something like this would be a significant step up and would work much better.
     
  9. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #9
    Low light, moving subject, high ISO... I think you may be at the limit of your camera/lens capabilities. :):)There's only so much you can do in these situations, unless you think about another - controllable - light source. And then you're talking $$$, pre-planning, etc...
     
  10. wwwdotcomdotnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2007
    #10
    That was actually a lens I was looking into when I bought my camera, but I don't think I can afford one after dropping the cash for the camera itself! Hopefully I can save up for one after buying a new MBP and the plane tickets I just bought to Europe!
     
  11. wwwdotcomdotnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2007
    #11
    I think you are right about taking pictures out of my camera's abilities :(

    I figured it was my personal inexperience with the new camera and not having taken photos previously in that type of situation.

    One day I will invest in a better lens and an external flash, but I need to get more experience with the camera first to justify such expensive purchases ;)
     
  12. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #12
    I'd say check on eBay. I bought the expensive Canon L lenses I have on eBay for half retail or less. Yes they are second hand, but they still work perfectly and are optically like new!
     
  13. Airforce macrumors 6502a

    Airforce

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    Jan 12, 2006
    #13
    Change your white balance. Your pictures won't come out "yellow". Take your Raw images to photoshop or other raw editing program and adjust exposure. Also, make sure you turn off noise reduction. It softens the pictures.

    I have an E410, so our cameras are identical minus IS (do you have image stabilization turned on?) and the battery.
     
  14. wwwdotcomdotnet thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2007
    #14
    I've played around with the IS, but haven't seen improvements in my image quality. I prefer not to use it whenever possible to save battery life.

    Should I be increasing or decreasing the white balance?

    I guess I really am a noob with photography after all haha :eek:
     
  15. Airforce macrumors 6502a

    Airforce

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    Jan 12, 2006
    #15
    Go to WB and select the little light bulb to start out with. See if you notice a huge difference ;) If that doesn't help enough, just decrease it.

    Hey, I've only had mine since Christmas, but I've been working with a DSLR-like camera(Kodak Z760). It can't even touch the quality of this Evolt, but had a lot of settings to mess with/learn from.
     
  16. zdobson macrumors 6502

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    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Indiana
    #16
    IS only works to prevent image blurring caused by the camera itself moving. It doesn't help when the subject is moving.

    As for white balance, the easiest thing to do is to shoot in RAW and fix the white balance later. With RAW, since the image is uncompressed, setting the WB on the computer later is exactly the same as doing it before you took the photo. If your camera lets you adjust the color temperature, use that for your WB and try a couple test shots to fine tune it to your liking before you start shooting.

    Here is some info from wikipedia on fluorescent lighting color temperatures:
    Warm-white fluorescents have CCT of 2700K and are popular for residential lighting. Neutral-white fluorescents have a CCT of 3000K or 3500K. Cool-white fluorescents have a CCT of 4100K and are popular for office lighting. Daylight fluorescents have a CCT of 5000K to 6500K, which is bluish-white.
     
  17. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    Location:
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    #17
    As others have said, shoot RAW - fluorescent light can play havoc with a lot of camera's auto white balance settings.

    A tripod (or IS) is not going to help in these circumstances. Robbieduncan is spot-on - if you're going to do a lot of this, you're going to want a lens/lenses with a wide aperture. You should hopefully be able to pick up a large-aperture prime lens for not too much money; but I don't know Olympus' lens lineup.

    The Olympus 4/3 sensor, being smaller, is probably somewhat noisy at high ISO. However you can do some test shots and find how high you can set your ISO without the noise being distracting. A lot of people that have only known digital photography seem to think any noise is unacceptable; but personally I think that's silly - you're going to miss a lot of shots with that attitude.

    Edit: fixed typo
     

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