Taking action shots with a digicam..

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, May 30, 2003.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Just bought a Canon Powershot G3 online for $581 shipped, arrived yesterday, looking at the manuals last night a little. I am a little familiar with photography but not much. Was wondering what would the photography buffs recommend for taking action shots of say pro cyclists racing. When Mario Bartel and I go to France, I'll be dragging this camera up the mountains like the Tourmalet to get shots of Lance and Tyler kicking ass (hopefully [​IMG] ) I guess the mountain stages aren't that important as they are going fairly slow, but say for the flat stages when you have the peloton flying by at 35-40mph, what is recommended. Would leaving the camera in auto be perfectly fine or should I be manually adjusting the shutter speed, ISO, or those kind of things. Obviously not as fast as say watching a Formula 1 race or auto racing...

    I need a new case for it too, any recommendations on an inexpensive case? My old case that fit my Kodak DC280 doesn't fit because of the longer lens of the Canon...

    Jay
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  3. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    Philip is right. Due to the "shutter lag", u'll find urself getting shots of nothing 'coz the subject has sped away from the frame. Of course more costlier cams can do better with faster shutter speeds but it still will have that lag. There are work arounds for it and for that, chaeck out dpreview.com. Their forums do well to educate those of us who need it.
     
  4. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    For action shots, definitely shutter priority. But it sounds like you'll have to try and time things right by hitting the trigger before they get there. The idea is to get the shutter speed as high as possible to freeze the action.

    Dig around in the manual and see if the camera will do any video. Buddy of mine was here in DC over the weekend, his digital camera was able to take a short video of Rolling Thunder.

    Andrej
     
  5. Michael St. Clair

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    I've tracked (panning on a monopod) vintage auto racing at Mid-Ohio with a Nikon Coolpix 950 with very good results. Get as close as you can and don't zoom. I have no problem keeping the action in the frame.

    Try shutter priority, about 1/30th of a second, but you'll want to experiment with a variety of shutter speeds.

    If you are a pro shooting 'frozen in time' closeups for a magazine there is no way to do it other than film. Those who read formula one magazines and such have seen amazing shots of upside-down cars with gravel and debris suspended in midair and very little blur. But with good technique, some very nice amateur shots can be taken of racing.

    Here's some vintage shots another guy took with a pro digital, but my shots are better than his; better exposure and greater sense of speed.

    http://www.nikondigital.org/reviews/d1x-d1h.htm
     
  6. Josh Lowe

    Josh Lowe Screenwriter

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    action shots with a digicam is tough. motorsports action pics are -way- tough without the speed of film or of a D-SLR type digicam with a fast lens. I took my Sony 717 to an NHL game and was able to get some very good action shots, but the speed of hockey is nothing like the speed of motorsports.

    When taking action shots you should try to take the pics from in front of the subject as it approaches you rather than right as it passes you by. If you do try to take shots of the subject passing you by, panning is a must. You have to match the speed of your subject and have the shutter half-depressed so everything is locked on.
     
  7. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I took this shot at the 2001 USGP with a Nikon 950 digicam:

    [​IMG]

    Yes, the shutter lag makes things more difficult. You should definitely get used to the manual mode of the camera and have the shutter speed as high as you can get it. But you CAN get good results. Your G3 is three generations more advanced than my old Nikon, I'd be amazed if you didn't get some great shots.
     
  8. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Amateur speaking:
    My Nikon has a mode that will snap off multiple pictures in a row (3 or 10). This is great for action... the subject will be bracketed and you can select the shot that best captures the moment (delete the bad shots). Note that the storage time is significantly longer when the camera is in this (multi-shot) mode (i.e. you'll only be able to take one group of shots every 10-15 seconds). Play around with this and the manual settings on your camera before you head over to France (shooting any fast moving objects like cars or birds would be a good way to practice).
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Andrej, Yes the G3 has a limited video mode, something like 320x240 or 160x120.. didn't think I'd ever use the video portion of the camera, but maybe I'll go play with that a little..

    As far as the 3 shots in a row... Looking at my manual now, it has something called Auto Exposure Braketing (AEB mode) which takes three quick exposures of the object in 1/3EV steps to get a range of -2EV tp +2EV. it also has something called Focus Bracketing and this is done when using the camera in a manual focus mode. This looks like it takes 3 exposures and changed the focal point a little farther and a little closer, and of course the set position.

    It also has a manual mode where I can set the aperture and shutter speed.. I guess that is the way to go, and I can practice and play with perhaps slow moving cars and stuff before I go.

    i think most of my shots are going to be head on or say 3/4 view, nothing like the nice F1 shot that Dave posted cause I may be a bit too close to the subject as we are basically on the road with these guys...

    Jay
     

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