BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Debbie Crowe


I have been trying to master this lens and still can't get it right. I have a Canon XTI and a 70-300 zoom lens with the image stabilizer. I must not be doing something right! According to the directions, if you are taking shots of a moving object, you put it in mode 2 and turn the stabilizer on. I attended my grandson's basketball game and took nearly 100 shots. I was trying to get the action shots of him running down the court. Some shots I was just standing still against the back wall and the camera was stationary. Others I tried panning the shots as he ran past. About 70 of them were blurred. I am focusing before I take the shot and then holding down the shutter to take several in a row, sometimes refocusing again during those shots. The camera was on manual and the apeture and other settings varied slightly depending on where I was standing but the shots were all taken with the bar on the "0" in the viewfinder, leading me to believe the lighting was fine but who knows. I thought for the price of that lens, I could take better action shots. Can anyone help please?
Thanks, Debbie

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2/4/2008 7:05:56 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Stabilizer is to cut down on blur from you not holding the camera still. Not blur from somebody running.

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2/4/2008 9:42:15 AM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hi Debbie, What shutter speed were you using ?

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2/4/2008 9:53:18 AM

Debbie Crowe   Thanks everyone!

Carlton, My settings ranged from 1/60 f5 ISO 400 to 1/50 f5 ISO 800. there may have been slight variation in above that came from me moving the dial to get that "0" in the viewfinder. lighting was a typical gymnasium with overhead florescents but not at all dim.

Gregory, just how does one capture those action shots then? After dozens and dozens of shots at a race track, I was able to get maybe 2 shots where the motorcycle took off down the track and the background was blurred. have no idea how I got it and have not been able to duplicate it. And to top it off, it was at night. Obviously, I do not understand the mechanics of using this lens very well. I bought for mostly sports and action shots from a distance and have yet to figure out what I am doing wrong.

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2/4/2008 11:11:13 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  It's taking pictures that you're not getting, not the lens.
You got the panning right on the ones with bike that came out. Besides, car or motorcycle movement isn't like people running. People don't have linear, level movement.
A f/5.6 lens isn't bright enough for a gym without flash. Some people with a f/2.8 lens will intentionally underexpose to get a higher shutter speed and depend on photoshop to drastically lighten pictures later.
Very seldom will you get shots clear enough for people in action with 1/50. Some instances, a track meet, but there's other stuff involved with it that isn't like basketball.
Gyms are bright enough to see but not take pictures.

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2/4/2008 11:33:07 AM

Debbie Crowe   Ok, then what would work to take these kind of pictures? where do I need to be on my settings?

also, am I suppose to focus only once and then follow the subject or keep refocusing?


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2/5/2008 1:42:57 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  For exposure with that lens, use a flash with iso 400 or 800 and pick spots within the distance range so that exposing for f/5.6 won't cause a full power discharge.
For focusing, you can take two easy ways out and focus on one area and wait till somebody gets in that area or leave it up to auto focus.
Or you can do the focusing yourself and follow the action and focus as the game is in progress.

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2/6/2008 5:34:45 AM

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