focus problem w/ D5000
I have a new D5000 and it has been taking very good action photos of sports events with the action sports setting. The photos were in focus. After my daughter got ahold of it, the settings seem to have changed and I am not sure how to get them back. I have been holding the camera steady without a tripod but that wasn't different than when I was taking photos earlier. The lens is a 200 mm. The shutter speed shows 1/30 with 1600 ISO. The photos were taken inside a gym. The lens auto focus is on. I there another setting in the menu that shows autofocus in the camera itself? If I choose the autofocus menu, it is confusing on what settings it should be on.
I hope someone can help. I will try to attach the photo (s) if I need to.
#1. "RE: focus problem w/ D5000" | In response to Reply # 0
>I have been holding the camera steady without a
>tripod but that wasn't different than when I was taking photos
Were the images that you captures earlier taken in the same gym at the same time of day, focal length, etc..?
>The lens is a 200 mm. The shutter speed shows 1/30
>with 1600 ISO. The photos were taken inside a gym.
What was the Aperture (f/#)?
You have a few things working against yoe in this situation.
1. At 200mm the Rule of Thumb for Minimum Handheld Shutter Speed would be 1/300th sec. to prevent blur due to camera shake. If you have a VR lens you will have up to three stops of latitude, though you must also freeze the movement of your subject.
2. To freeze the movement of your subject a minimum shutter speed would be about 1/250th sec. though 1/500th sec. would be preferred, depending on how fast your subject is moving.
3. Most gyms are light dungeons. This alone magnifies the problem of getting a fast shutter speed. The lower the ambient light level, the higher the ISO setting and the larger the Aperture (smaller f/#) you will need to get a faster shutter speed.
4. In Sports mode the AF system should be in Continuous AF mode. To get your subject in focus you must acquire focus by keeping your subject under the active AF point (the highlighted box in the viewfinder) while pressing the shutter release button half way. Track the movement of your subject while continuing to press the shutter release button half way. Whenyour subject is in focus and you are ready to capture the image press the shutter release button all the way.
I assume you are using one of the kit lenses, likely a 55-200mm f/4-5.6. At 200mm the aperture is f/5.6 which is very slow for shooting indoor sports in low light.
If the images are properly exposed just blurry and the Aperture was wide open at f/5.6. Increasing the ISO from ISO 1600 1-stop to ISO 3200 will give you a shutter speed of 1/60th sec. Increasing the ISO to Hi (ISO 6400) will give you a shutter speed of 1/125th sec. which is still a bit slow to freeze the motion of your subject but much better than 1/30th sec.
You can gain another full stop by setting the zoom to 55mm where the Aperture is f/4 wide open. This combined with increasing the ISO will get you to 1/250th sec.
If the images are very bright or over exposed your daughter may have moved the Exposure Compensation to the + side. Check the +/- symbol in the viewfinder (See #17 on page 6 of the D5000 Users Manual ) or on the Information display. See #12 page 8 in the D5000 Users Manual)
The lens auto focus is on. I there another setting in the menu that
>shows autofocus in the camera itself? If I choose the
>autofocus menu, it is confusing on what settings it should be
As far as I know if the in Sports exposure mode the camera will choose AF-C (Continuous AF mode). If you decide to use P,S,A, or M exposure modes see page 54 in the D5000 Users Manual. Also check page 55 for tips on getting the best performance fron the AF system.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#2. "RE: There is probably not enough light" | In response to Reply # 0
>The shutter speed shows 1/30 with 1600 ISO. The photos were taken inside a gym.
There is probably not enough light for a sharp picture with a 200mm lens on DX
Ideally you want a shutter speed of 1/300 and better still 1/600, assuming no VR, and static subjects to get sharp pictures.
VR can save you 3-4 shutter speeds but even so you might need 1/125 for static subjects, and faster if players are moving fast playing ball games.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#3. "RE: focus problem w/ D5000" | In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for the tips. I see the general gist is that the shutter speed needs to be 1/250 or more in the gym. I am going to try to photograph ski racers next week so it's a whole different ball game. I think I would love to find a workshop just on using the D5000.