Sounds like you are shooting at shutter speeds of 1/30th of a second or slower, and/or your flash unit is set to "slow sync" or a similar mode. Try shooting in shutter priority or manual, and using a speed of at least 1/60th but not more than F4's sync speed of 1/250th. If you are shooting a moving subject, you may find that this "problem" actually creates some very interesting effects.
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Although a good SD card is worth considering it's not the only thing that determines the speed. In fact the shooting light has more to do with it then the memory card. The Rebels although not Pro cameras are pretty darn fast with the differences immeasurable in most cases with Pro cameras. The Rebel will show the burst rate in the right corner of the viewfinder and if you noticed this rate changes with the light and shutter speeds. Sow the shutter speed down and that burst rate will drop as well. The size of the image file also dictates how fast you can burst in frames per second. You are shooting RAW and no doubt jpg's so the camera is doing double duty with some pretty impressive files size. If you want speed shoot jpg's and set your camera correctly for white balance, shoot for the end use. If you are looking for speed you aren't shooting portraits or landscapes where you have time to calculate your shot so the need for a BIG print isn't necessary so drop your image quality. The Rebel's processor is very impressive and it has a large buffer where it writes the file as you are shooting so in fact the camera is writing to the buffer at the same time it's writing to the memory card. That's why when you stop shooting it takes several seconds for the camera to catch up.
If you are looking for speed keep your shutter speed up, reduce the image file size, shoot jpg, class 6 works nice (I use this type) I have only one class 8.
On a personal note the Canon Digital Rebel has put so much power and performance in the hands of entry level photographers and they are using that power to come up with some darn nice photography and in the right hands it's putting the hurt to some long time pro shooters.
The hardest thing about low light photography is balancing your available shutter speed to the amount of action you're trying to capture.
Here are a few things to try:
1) Try using a tripod. Steadying your camera during long exposures will greatly improve your image clarity.
2) Buy a faster film. You may need to increase your film's ISO setting. Try 400 to start, then go up from there. Remember, faster film always produces grainy images, and it usually costs a little more to process. If you're stuck with 100 ISO, you can always "push process" the film, where a given ISO is let to sit in its developer longer than usual--This will cost you more too!
3) Invest in a good flash system. Nikon has tons of hotshoe flash systems that rarely compromise the ambient light-mood of a given situation. Look for one that lets you aim the flash in different directions, and try to find one that will meter a light situation on its own.
4) Turn on the lights. If you're ok with losing some of the romance of an image, turn on some more lights to give you some more flexibility when making your exposure choices.
5) Open up your aperture. You may find that a lot less in depth of field will give you a lot more in image clarity and exposure flexibility. Shooting at f2.8 with only a birthday cake lighting your subject will grant you many more valuable shutter stops that shooting the same with f5.6.
Remember, Rebecca, if you're shooting handheld, you must do everything in your power to shoot with the quickest shutter speed available. This will cut down on the blurriness of your indoor images.
--Hope this helps.
Your camera light meter should tell you, but in case it doesn't work then all you need to remember is the "Sunny 16 Rule". Basically, on a bright day and with the lens aperture set to f16 you set the reciprocal of the film speed.
So with ISO 100 film the reciprocal is 1/100, or 1/100th of a second. Your camera shutter speed dial doesn't have that, but it does have 1/125th which is close enough.
Once you have the exposure set for f16 then if you adjust the aperture you simply adjust the shutter speed to match. So if you decide to set f11 that allows twice as much light onto the film so to compensate you reset the shutter speed to 1/250th of a second to halve the light coming in. As twice the light coming in through the aperture is compensated for by halving the light coming in via the shutter, the exposure remains the same.
Although this works for a sunny day, you just guess based on experience other lighting conditions. So if it's bright but overcast then you can leave things as they are, but if it's dull and overcast allow one extra stop of exposure by opening the aperture by one setting or by doubling the time that the shutter remains open. So from the starting point of f16 at 1/125 (as above), on a dull cloudy day you'd either set f11 OR 1/60. If you set f11 AND 1/60 then you'll be allowing not just twice as much light in but three times as much.
Hope this helps, if so please take a moment to rate my answer. If it's too complicated then please add a comment and I'll re-explain in even simpler terms.
Not necessarily. The EM has an M90 setting which will fire the shutter at 1/90th of a second. The meter is inactive on this setting. It was put on the EM so that if the batteries fail, you can shoot at 1/90th and take a guess at the exposure. There is also a small button (blue or chrome, depending on the production run) which lights up a red LED if the batteries are good. The light meter doesn't work until the frame counter is at 1 or higher. Before the #1, the shutter will always fire at 1/2000th of a second to speed up the film loading process. You can tell that the meter is working by observing the meter's scale/needle on the inside of the viewfinder. If it is pointing out of the red zone, it's OK to shoot (proper exposure). If the needle is in the red zone (indicating under or over exposure) the camera will "beep" as an audible warning. Check the battery condition first.
If you are getting some photos where only part of the image is visible, then I suspect that they were photos where you used a flash.
Cameras have a specified maximum shutter speed for use with a flash, this is called its 'sync speed'. This is the fastest speed that the camera will need to open the lead shutter and close the trailing shutter in order to expose the entire surface area of the image and have it evenly lit by the flash unit. If you shoot too fast of a speed, then the shutter will only be partly completed its exposure and you'll get a photo with only part of the image showing. The faster the speed past the sync speed, the less the resulting area of the image. Most cameras will have a sync speed of 1/250 or less. I think a lot of the Rebel models are 1/90 - consult your manual.
If the black line is also on the film, then most likely the problem is in the shutter curtains. I think one of tem is stuck. You can check it by putting the camera on to manual mode and setting the shutter speed to 5-30sec and pressing the shutterbutton while the back cover is open. That way you can see wheter one of the curtains stays in front of the film or not.
It could be a jammed shutter. If you take the lens out and the film out. Take a few pictures and see if the shutter moves. If there is no movement I would take it into a camera shop and take a look at it. Unless the shutter spring is busted, it could be an easy fix.
shutter speed has nothing to do with battery power. If you have a SLR camera you use the shutter speed option when you want to have control of the shutter speed, slow shutter speed means if your taking a picture of a waterfall and you want to see the actual droplets you set a slow shutter speed, if you want it to look more smooth/flowing you set a faster shutter speed, if you do not have a SLR camera you probably dont have much say so in shutter speed...