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Photography Question 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
 

How to shoot a swim meet?


I have a new Canon 40D and a EX 580 flash and I'm using a 70-200 2.8 Canon len. What setting would I use with the flash? Without the flash I have use Apt exp at 2.8 and have been getting the shutter around 1/100 or slower at 1000 ISO. I was a faster shutter speed so should I use 1600 ISO or the flash? I don't use a flash that much and had never use the 580 EX yet just got it for Christmas. Any suggestions would be great. Just not sure what to set the camera on or the flash no to get a good picture. Would like to drop the ISO to stop some of the grainy ness but keep the higher shutter speed. Thanks for all your help.


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1/14/2008 7:42:09 AM

 
W.   
Hi Ric,

set the 40D at Av (aperture priority), F/2.8, the iso at 800 or 400, and use the 580EX (bring spare, charged, batteries). Hopefully the 580EX has enough reach, and you a vantage point directly at poolside.

If you shoot swim and other sports meets more often, you may want to consider getting a 300mm lens and a "Better Beamer" (http://www.birdsasart.com/accs.html#BEAMER).

Have fun!


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1/14/2008 9:59:43 AM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  I do use AV (aperture priority) at 2.8 but at 800 to 1000 I can't get the shutter speed above 1/100. I also set the custom balance. Should I set the flash on something special I just used ETTL and let the flash work on automatic? I'm able to get on poolside some of the time. I would like to get the shutter speed around 1/500 or faster. The pictures that I took with no flash turned out OK which was 1/125 at 2.8 , 1600 ISO. But I spend a lot of time photo shopping them and thought with a flash will leason so of my editing time and maybe produce a better picture, what do you think?


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1/14/2008 10:30:41 AM

 
W.   
As I understand it Canon dSLRs with Speedlights are synced throughout the shutter speed range. So yo should be able to shoot tacksharp, flashlit images at 1/500th or so.
However, the higher the shutter speed, the less ambient light gets to the sensor, so your backgrounds get darker and darker.


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1/14/2008 12:10:27 PM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  1/500th will do fine I think. I have only got shutter aroun 1/60 to 1/100 no faster. Will I need to set the flash on something different then ETTL which from what I'm told is automatic for the flash. Will I be able to get the ISO down to 400 to 800 and keep the 1/500th shutter? So your background will get darker that is where the flash will help right?


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1/14/2008 12:19:16 PM

 
W.   
"So your background will get darker that is where the flash will help right?"

No, the flash is synced, so the cam/flash combo will illuminate/expose the subject correctly. But with higher shutter speeds the ambient light (which lights the background) has less opportunity (shorter time) to reach the sensor, so that gets darker.

So the flash won't "help" with darker backgrounds, it causes them.


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1/14/2008 1:04:00 PM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  Ok I think I understand what you are saying it makes since. There is a meet tomorrow so I will try a couple different things and see what works best.


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1/14/2008 3:36:54 PM

 
John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
  Go to pool. Insert swimmers.

Adjust ISO to 1250 or 1600. Forget flash. But, do adjust white balance.


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1/14/2008 4:59:11 PM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  Really John,
I just thought if I used a flash I could lower the ISO and spend less time Photo shopping pictures. For Volleyball & Basketball events you can not use a flash. So I have used those setting before, just trying to get a better picture and spend less time on the computer fixing them.


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1/14/2008 5:08:47 PM

 
John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
  Since I got my Canon 30D I have yet to see a noise problem associated with raising the ISO. Not aying it's not a possible issue; rather that I've not noticed the issue.

I took swim meet pictures for years - my son started at age 5 and continued till he graduated, as Swim Team Captain, from high school. I never needed a flash. Period.

So, as I said, raise your ISO to something you feel comfortable with; adjust the white balance - because I'm sure the pool is lit via something other that straight incandescent lights.

Have fun.


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1/14/2008 5:15:04 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You can use flash, just balance the power with the iso so that you can use f/2.8
That'll keep the background from being too dark. Shoot tight as you can and use the high speed sync.


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1/14/2008 5:15:17 PM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  This is the first time doing swimming, like I said before I have never use a flash for Volleyball or Basketball so it is new to me. Last weekend was my first swim meet and I asked before I used the flash but I didn't have it set right. Later this week there are a couple more meets. Last year I was at a big quarter final meet and I saw people from the local paper using a flash bouncing the flash off a white card. So that is where I got the idea about the flash,and they where poolside.


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1/14/2008 5:28:16 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Don't freak out. It's just one of the ways to do it. You can either use a high iso without flash. Or lower the iso and use a flash. It still depends on the basics of how much light is in there and what kind of shutter speed/aperture combo you can use.
Say even at your highest iso your shutter speed is 1/60. Well your alternative can be to use iso 400, and use your flash so that the power of the flash is enough to light up the swimmer at whatever distance they are, so that you get a good exposure at f/2.8 Or even f/4
If you can get a good exposure at f/5.6, so be it. It just that when you get down to smaller apertures,(and this is also due to straight on flash) you get the night time flash look of bright object surrounded by total darkness.
You may not want that. If it doesn't matter, than that's okay too.


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1/14/2008 5:38:10 PM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  Gregory,

I looked at your gallery and you have 4 swimming pictures did you use a flash there? The one of the girls hugging I see a little red eye on the one girl. The TYK picture looks pretty clear what where your setting there? I have the 70-200 canon IS 2.8 lens, just trying to figure out the right shutter speed and ISO. Over the weekend I couldn't get over 1/60 to 1/100 at 1000 to 1250 ISO at 2.8 and was thying to keep away from 1600 & 3200. So I tried the flash and couldn't get much better, but I had it set wrong also.

P.S. Nice gallery


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1/14/2008 5:55:00 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Both were flash. The ones hugging was straight on, the other was bounced off the ceiling.
Can't remember the aperture. Shutter was 1/200 which is the sync. Iso could've been 200 or 400.
I have another that's not in there that was done without flash. I just waited until the swimmer was in the brightest part of the pool. Which made the shutter speed probably 1/200. I doubt it was higher, just being familiar with that particular place. Iso would've been 800, maybe 1000, but I try to stay at 800. But it could've been either of those two.
Try using the distance scale to estimate what the flash power should be to get an exposure for f/2.8 Or use the monitor. And go from there. Pick a lane.
If a swimmer is closer, you can stop down. If farther, add more power.


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1/14/2008 6:11:43 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  I take that back. the one without flash is in there. Called swimmer.


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1/14/2008 6:51:13 PM

 
Ric Henry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/29/2004
  I'm reading the canon flash manual and in sync mode I think 1/250 in aperture is the fastest shutter I can get. I have only had this 40D Canon camera for 2 months and the 580 ex flash I got for Christmas. Thanks for all your info.


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1/14/2008 7:42:54 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  250 is a good sync speed


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1/15/2008 12:20:46 AM

 
Laureen M. Carruthers   one thing to remember at swim meets - don't use flash off the starting block - as it can mess with the auto start signals!

Good luck,

laureen


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2/1/2008 11:39:57 PM

 
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