FZ30 night sports action photos

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Smoky

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Mar 11, 2005
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wherever we are parked
I had an interesting photo experience this week and am looking for comments on this subject.

We went to the Rodeo in Cody Wyoming and took our FZ30.  I was kind of excited thinking it would be the first time I had a chance to try out the sports setting.  The first hour of the rodeo it worked fine.  But I noticed as  the sun set and it got darker and darker, even though the house lights came on, the shutter speed got slower and slower.  Finally the photos were too fuzzy because the shutter speed had dropped to 1/25.

I looked at the manual and fooled around a bit with the camera and decided to experiment with shutter speed preference where I set my desired shutter speed and the camera adjusts the aperture automatically.

I ended up forcing the shutter speed to 1/40.  The result was too dark of course.  But I found I could brighten things up with my Elements software and the result was not too bad.  See the 4 photos attached.  Each one is a pair, first the original photo, then the brighter touched up photo.

I would like to use this comparison as a stepping stone to a discussion on how to handle night time sports action photography when the lighting is marginal.

How do you guys handle these situations?

Yes, I know an even more advanced camera would solve much of the problem, but that is currently not an option for me.  I doubt if flash will help in an arena, but maybe I am wrong there?  Any other ideas? 

My next experiment will be to try 1/100 speed and maybe fool with the ISO adjustment.  I did not have much time at the rodeo as these issues were new to me and I was just fooling around.

Here are the "before" and "after software" shots
 

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Howard R

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May 3, 2005
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Minnesota
Smoky said:
I doubt if flash will help in an arena, but maybe I am wrong there?  Any other ideas? 

My next experiment will be to try 1/100 speed and maybe fool with the ISO adjustment.  I did not have much time at the rodeo as these issues were new to me and I was just fooling around.

Hi Smoky,

You're on the right track here with the ISO adjustment.  I'm not real familiar with the FZ30 although that was on my list when I was looking, ended up with a Nikon D50 DSLR.  But anyway, you should be able to adjust your ISO ... the higher the ISO ... 100  200  400, etc the higher the sensitivity, just like higher film speeds.  From 100 to 200 doubles the light sensitivity for example, so you can double your shutter speed from say 1/50th to 1/100th and have the same exposure. 

The downside is the same as with film, the higher the film speed (ISO) the more prone to grain in film, noise in digital.  This will start to show up in dark areas, often as red dots or specks, so you will have to find a  happy medium.

As far as the flash unless you are quite close it will have little or no affect ... however you might give it a try, a little light just might help you out, similar to using the flash at low power to fill in shadows on a sunny backlit day.

Another thought, I believe your camera has image stabilization, correct?  That will help with the slow shutter speeds and you might consider a monopod to give some added stability for the slow speeds where a tripod would be unworkable, usually true for sports shots.  I use a monopod for shooting my grandson's and son-in-law's hockey games, as they often only turn on half the ceiling lights for the little guys and the adult league games.  Slow shutter speeds are not all bad, you can get some interesting effects that conveys motion as long as you can get the main portion frozen and sharp.

And as you found with the software, if there is something there within reason you can still pull it out ... if it's grossly overexposed and burned out it's gone, nothing there to work with.

Ain't digital fun!!  ;D 

I know I'm enjoying getting back into the photography more after several years away.


Howard
 

Smoky

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Mar 11, 2005
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"I know I'm enjoying getting back into the photography more after several years away."

Same here Howard!  I gave up my Pentax SLR and all the associated lenses when we went fulltiming.  Up until last month I lived with a run of the mill Olympic 3.2 meg digital.  Now I am getting really involved again.

Thanks for the encouragement on exploring ISO settings.  Also, good idea on the monopole.
 

Lee G

New member
Joined
May 13, 2005
Posts
2
I'd suggest you try going to a Panasonic FZ forum like the good and friendly one at

http://www.mfipb.com/?mforum=panasonicfz1fz2

It is devoted just to Panny FZ models. Good luck.

I don't think your originals look bad at all given the fact it was nighttime. It you try to make them look like daylight they'll just get washed out I think. The original are perfectly viewable in my opinion.

Lee
 

Smoky

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Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
3,589
Location
wherever we are parked
Thanks Lee for the website and also for hour perspective.

It is true they were nightime shots, but the lighting there was pretty decent and i felt the photo was not picking up the artificial lighting after I adjusted the shutter speed of the camera to reduce blurring.  I think a better ISO setting would have helped considerably.

I will go check that forum out!
 
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