Question about Nikon D40x Digital Camera

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Need fast shutter speed

I'm shooting basketball action shots and I'm needing a fast shutter speed on rapid fire. Everytime I try to crank up the shutter it tells me subject too dark even with the slave flash on. Is there any good settings I can plug in?

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Re: need fast shutter speed

First, the flash on your camera is completely useless for taking shots from the distance you are probably shooting at (>20 feet, right?).  So, just put the flash down and forget about it for now.  There are several ways of addressing your problem.  
Your camera is trying to tell you that you don't have enough light.  This is true, since the faster the shutter speed, the less light is allowed to reach the sensor.  You can either increase the light reaching it or change the settings to allow it to make do with less.
The ways to increase the light that hits the sensor are:  Open the lens' aperture to a wider (lower f-stop) setting, turn the lights up in the place you are photographing, use a slow shutter speed.  I'm assuming you don't want the last one, you probably can't do the second and you have the lens as wide as it will go.  So the only real way for you to do that is to buy a faster lens.  Unfortunately, by buying the D40X you can't use the vast majority of Nikon lenses - only AFS lenses work on that camera because Nikon saved the $50 or so it cost to put the auto-focus motor in the camera.  This by the way is the reason you should never have bought this camera.  The choices for fast AFS lenses are few, and generally expensive.  (I use an 85mm f-1.8 which I got used for just over $100 quite often for this kind of thing, you can't do that.)
Okay, enough of this, on to the last way to solve your problem - changing the settings to allow your camera to make do with less light.  The ISO setting is essentially the gain of the sensor - like the volume knob on a radio.  While listening to music on your radio, if particular passage is soft, you can turn up the volume to make what comes out of the speakers reasonably loud.  The same can be done with your camera.  Find the ISO setting and change that from what it is (probably 200 or 400) to something higher - 800 as a start.  If you were set at 200, this is now a 4 times higher gain setting, so you can use a 4 times faster shutter speed, or shoot with 4 times less light, etc.  
Of course, as with the volume knob on the radio there are two problems with this.  First, you have probably noticed that soft music with the volume cranked up results in "noise" in the background.  Same thing with your pictures.  Second, on that radio if you forget to turn the volume back down when the music level rises, then you will get all kinds of distortion from the "clipping" and the same will happen if you leave the ISO setting turned up when you go outside into the Sun.
In general, the ISO "noise" will look worse if you use a high saturation setting, so if you adjust the image saturation settings down, it will be MUCH less noticeable.  In fact, if you turn down as far as it will go, and then convert the images to B&W, you can probably use the 1600 ISO and have it look just fine.  
Good luck.

Posted on Jan 27, 2008

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Re: need fast shutter speed

I would use 1/250 on either shutter priority 'S' or manual 'M' Set the f-stop to match your combined flash output. f4 to f5.6 should get you good results regardless of what the camera tells you. It has no way of knowing that you are using a slave strobe. Shoot some shots during a practice time and bracket the fstops to get an idea.

Posted on Jan 27, 2008

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