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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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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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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Action photos blurred using the zoom lens.


When shooting pictures, always check the length of the lens. Take the length in mm to decide how fast your shutter speed should be. When shooting 200 mm, the shutter speed should be at least 1/200 of a second. For a 400 mm it should be 1/400 of a second, and so on. With indoors sport, you need a lens with a huge aperture like 2,8 or better and a high ISO setting, to reach the speed needed for a long lens.
Modern lenses can have vibration reduction, and with these sometimes you can shoot 3 to 4 full stops sower.
A 200 mm lens with vibration reduction can be used then at 1/25 or even 1/15 of a second and still don't need to worry about motion blur.

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What setting is for sports


That depends on the sport, the location, and what you want the pictures to say to the viewer. You won't necessarily shoot a daytime football game outdoors the same way as a basketball game indoors.

In general you're going to want a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. To get the fastest shutter speed possible, use the Aperture Priority mode by turning the mode dial to "A" then select the largest aperture by using cursor-up/down to get the smallest f/number.

Having said that, sometimes you might want a slower shutter speed to convey a sense of motion. Select Shutter Priority by turning the mode dial to "S" and use cursor-up/down to select the desired shutter speed.

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I have a Nikon d200 and need to take sports photos in a basketball court The sport is very fast moving. What should I set the camera to. Lately the photos are dark and or blurry


You want the fastest shutter speed you can get and the largest aperture possible.
If you're close enough and it's allowed, use the flash. The flash will freeze the action. However, it's likely to give you a dark background instead of a blurry background.
If not, use the Aperture Priority mode. Open the lens to its maximum aperture (smallest f/number). This will give you the fastest shutter speed for the existing lighting conditions. The fast shutter speed will freeze the action and the large aperture will blur the background, though the amount of freezing may be limited if the lighting is relatively dark, as in a high school gym.
Be aware that if you're shooting indoors you're going up against the laws of physics. The human eye can adapt much better than any camera. A high school gym will appear light enough once you've been inside for a few minutes, but it is much, much darker than a bright day outdoors.

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Shoot at speed


The sports mode on a DSLR just picks high ISO and fast shutter speeds for you. Go Karts are very fast subject to focus on, so there are two techniques you can try.

One is to set your focus to manual mode and pre focus a point where the car will pass through. Set the camera to multi shot mode and just before the kart gets to the pre-determined point, hit the shutter button. The camera will fire off a few shots, then review later on a computer to chooset the best one out of the sequence.

Another way is set your focus mode for AI-Servo or Focus Tracking mode, this will enable the lens to track moving subjects (as single shot mode is way to slow to keep up with karts). Go to the slowest part of the track to get more sucess.

One problem you maybe having is that the shutter speed is too slow for karts. Being indoors the lighting will be very poor, so a super high ISO rating will need to be used to get faster shutter speeds. Having a lens with a very wide aperture (like f2 of f2.8 or even less) will enable you to get faster shutter speeds because they let in more light.

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Canon rebel xsi, using 75-300 lens, taking photos of basketball game, pictures are blurry, especially the ones in "action" using the sports mode. also tried my 18-55 IS lens, same thing happening, using...


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Action shots generally require a fast shutter speed -- to freeze the motion. So you need plenty of light or a "fast" lens. A fast lens is one in which the aperture opens further to let in more of light. The smaller the number of the maximum aperture, the faster the lens, so a 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens is "faster" than a 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 lens. But usually, faster lenses cost more.

For the settings on the camera, the Rebel K2 has a Sports image mode (silhouette of a runner) on the control dial which should get you appropriate settings for most action shots.

If you want to set the shutter speed yourself use the Tv mode, and with a fixed shutter speed, the camera will set the correct aperture. Watch in the viewfinder -- if the aperture value is flashing, it means the shot will be underexposed. You will have to select a slower shutter speed.

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I laugh every time I see the flashes going off at a large sporting event with folks in the upper seats firing away....

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