What settings to take Action shots with KX


chloe

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 21:33
Hi I am a complete novice as far as photography is concerned and have only used a POS in the past but am desperately trying to figure out how to use my new KX as having read up on it was convinced it would be the best buy for a novice.....However, having studied the manual, and trawled through a million forums (or so it feels) I am feeling out of my depth, I want to take photos of my daughter jumping/riding her pony especially at competitions, usually outside in various conditions. I have the kx with the 18-55 and 50-200 lenses, will these enable me to achieve this, also what settings would be the best as I have read that the auto action setting is not as successful as the manual setting but I dont have a clue.... I would appreciate any help please?

Mannesty

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 21:48
Welcome to the forum Chloe.

I've taken many hundreds of images at horse shows including jumping, ridden, in-hand, and dressage.

Of your two lenses, you'll likely need the 50-200mm more than the 18-55mm.

You'll need to set shutter priority mode (Tv) with a speed of at least 1/320th second to freeze the action of horse jumping. Other disciplines can be shot with a lower speed. Unfortunately, your kit lenses may only be of use outside in sunny conditions as they are relatively 'slow' lenses. Others having a maximum aperture of f2.8 are much better, but expensive.

In poor lighting conditions like cloudy overcast days, you'll need to increase the ISO setting to 400, 800, or even 1600, but be prepared for slightly noisy images at the higher settings.

For indoors, you may need to increase the ISO even further, or invest in faster lenses.

Set the white balance to an appropriate fixed setting rather than auto white balance (AWB). I recommend setting it to daylight for everything, you can make corrections in colour casts later.

AF-C or AF-S focus modes will be best.

You must not use flash, so if your camera (I'm not familiar with the Kx) has an auto flash mode that causes the flash to popup in low light, turn it off.

The images of jumping horses which have the most impact are of them taking off, into the jump, rather than at the crest or on their way down to landing.

Lastly, shoot RAW, either .PEF or .DNG, not .JPG, you'll have more correction opportunities in post processing with raw files.

Hope that helps.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 23/08/2011 - 22:15

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Anvh

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 21:49
Welcome to the forum Chloe.

Tv might be the best, you pick the shutterspeed there and the camera does the rest if you've set the ISO on Auto at least.

Not sure what the best shutter speed will be though for this kind of sport...
Will 1/250 do maybe?
Just experiment i would say, some blur is welcome though because she is moving after all but if the blur is too much try a higher number but keep the number as low as you can.
If you go too high the ISO (image sensitivity) will go up and the photos will become grainy.

I've no experience with this kind of sport or your lenses so i'm sure someone else might have other tips.

edit:
Somebody else was even faster
Luckily almost the same advise.
I would leave the white balance on auto if outdoors though because i find it works very well then, but that's me

oh if you've no idea what we are talking about rad this first, it might shine some lights on some things hopefully.
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-exposure.htm
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ
Last Edited by Anvh on 23/08/2011 - 21:55

chloe

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 21:58
Hey thanks for the replies.... I have selected tv with iso 400 and sets the shutter speed automacally, it is on af and wb is set to daylight, I have no flash but have a choice of jpeg raw or raw+, which would you recommend? Thanks again for the plain english.

Mannesty

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 22:12
Firstly, Tv mode sets the aperture automatically, you need to set the shutter speed manually. You may need to increase the ISO a bit more than 400 under certain conditions. You can always change it quickly if necessary after taking a test shot or two, and reviewing them on screen.

When I mentioned flash earlier, I was referring to the onboard flash. You need to make sure it's not going to popup and go off unexpectedly. As I'm sure you are aware, horses generally don't like flashes and it could be dangerous to horse and rider if one becomes startled.

I would recommend setting the file format to RAW. RAW+ saves both a RAW and a JPG image, and will use up your cards faster. You can always convert your best images to JPG later.

Paradoxically, I tend to shoot RAW+ at horse shows nowadays, mainly because we can now print them at the show, and JPG files are faster to deal with in that scenario. Then if any need, or would benefit from, some serious post processing work, we always have the RAW file as well.

As you'll probably not be printing on site, RAW is best in my opinion.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

wvbarnes

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 22:57
Hi Chloe,

Lovely camera and no substitute to just going out and practicing.

If you are a novice to DSLR photography you'll have plenty to learn without worrying about RAW processing just yet. You will also be able to take more photos at speed with jpeg only to start.

The advice on shutter speeds and ISO speed is sound. I had a KX before my KR and it is a remarkable camera at higher ISO and is not appreciably grainy (speckling noise due to sensor getting hotter as its turned up) until 1600 ISO and above. I would alter the focus to spot focus when using the telephoto to be sure of locking on the subject. You can of course flip the switch on the side and focus manually too but I'd stick to auto.

If you select Sport mode on the top dial this will automatically go for fastest shutter speed anyway and constantly refocus for you rather than just as you use the first pressure ont he shutter. Look for the focus lock light in your viewfinder. Nothing wrong with using these quick modes to start!

The flash on the KX doesn't pop up on its own so no need to worry about that.

If you are panning with the movement of the horse it is better to turn the anti shake off. If taking stationary turn it on unless you have a tripod.

The control panel (press info twice) is the best place to set most things rather than the more complicated menus. A third press of info will blank the LCD to void distraction and save battery. press info again and you're back tot he default speed, perture etc status screen.

Finally take the pocketable handbook with you until you've got the main settings in your head.

Then just go and have fun and don't forget to give yourself time to enjoy watching your daughter. Some of us do get a little obsessed with seeing the world entirely through a viewfinder!!!

Anvh

Link Posted 23/08/2011 - 23:14
chloe wrote:
Hey thanks for the replies.... I have selected tv with iso 400 and sets the shutter speed automacally

Like Peter said shutterspeed is manual in Tv mode.
I would recommanded setting the ISO on Auto, that way the camera will move the ISO up when needed but will keep it as low as it can and it will try to keep the aperture at the sharpest setting.
2 less things to worry about

You can set the camera so up that it will give you a waning when the ISO goes above a certain range when it's on Auto, that way you know you might want to change tactics.

When you've more experience it might be better to use fixed ISO values or better yet going fully manual.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

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Mannesty

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 09:41
wvbarnes wrote:
If you select Sport mode on the top dial this will automatically go for fastest shutter speed anyway and constantly refocus for you rather than just as you use the first pressure ont he shutter. Look for the focus lock light in your viewfinder. Nothing wrong with using these quick modes to start!

There is some truth in this, but not much. These auto modes turn the camera into nothing more than a P&S camera, which is probably not why you bought a Pentax Kx in the first place rather than an Optio.

If you want to learn about photography, auto modes do not help. They may well get the shot most of the time, but when they don't, you'll need to go through each one to find out why it went wrong.

It is perfectly acceptible to use some automation, like Tv mode, auto focus, auto metering, etc. But please don't make the camera try and do everything for you. It will get it wrong sometimes, but you'll not learn from it. If you get the settings wrong, you'll learn what mistakes you made and be informed enough to correct those mistakes, next time out.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 24/08/2011 - 09:42

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wvbarnes

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 10:37
The Moving Object selection (man running symbol) also puts the camera into the higher speed of the continous shooting modes. You can do this with an up click of the four way controller of course but this then takes you to a lot of options for a beginner. No disrespect meant to ny experienced readers.

A lot of the members on here are lucky enough to have the more advanced K20D, K7 or K5 models that don't have the 'beginners' Picture Mode options the KX and KR's (that's me, retired and cash strapped) have.

I personally use none of the Picture mode options, shoot most telephoto in manual focus and for macro completely manually which takes me nicely back to the way I was taught.

The thread though was about advice for using a camera recommended as suited to a complete novice. The KX is such a camera but of course can be much more with patience and practice.

Have fun Chloe!

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Blaze

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 10:47
Chloe - I bought my Kx in April and it is the most wonderful camera and you'll have a lot of fun with it.
I think it's a good idea to practise first and see for yourself what the different settings do. There are so many variations - I'm still trying to get to grips with it all myself and I've taken a lot of photos (mostly bad ones ). But it's all part of learning.

The best time to practise with your daughter is when she's not competing. You can try out the suggestions above and it won't be the end of the world if they aren't perfect.

The other thing I would strongly recommend is getting a tripod. If you are watching someone jumping, it's extremely difficult not to move as you press the shutter as you will also be anticipating the jump !
Don't be afraid of looking silly with a tripod - it can make all the difference between a good sharp shot and a blurred one. Once you have got to grips with the right settings, all you have to do is focus on the spot where you want to catch your daughter (when an earlier competitor goes round, for example). Then you can take several rapid shots from take off to mid point.

If you really hate the thought of a tripod, just make sure you have a good strong support for your elbows.

Good luck !
(and there's loads of good advice and help to be had here )

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Mannesty

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 11:53
Blaze wrote:
The other thing I would strongly recommend is getting a tripod.

A tripod is an excellent idea, but not for taking images of moving horses. A tripod restricts your movement too much.

If you really need additional support for your camera, a monopod (one legged tripod) is of more use and much less restricting. You can of course use a tripod as a monopod, but it'll be a much heavier combination to carry about.

The next time you watch a football match on TV, have a look at the professionals on the edge of the field. If they have any support at all, it'll be a monopod.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 24/08/2011 - 11:54

chloe

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 15:27
Hi, well thats a lot of information to digest!! Thank you all for being so concise but understandable...I am going to try and practise out of competition, as suggested as I would be gutted if I missed a crucial shot! But I think I am going to try out of preset mode (God help me), but you are right that is why I bought this camera instead of another point and shoot. I am going to try without a tripod/monopod at this time as I will be chief groom as well as chief photographer and dogsbody - don't think I will have enough hands I think I have a lot of practising to do and, I am sorry but I will be back for more advice, sooner I expect, rather than later! I love this site! Thank you again x

Anvh

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 18:01
Blaze wrote:
The other thing I would strongly recommend is getting a tripod. If you are watching someone jumping, it's extremely difficult not to move as you press the shutter as you will also be anticipating the jump !

Actually you might try to move
I mean when the hors jumps you might be able to track the photo by using longer shutter speeds (1/80 might do) so you get that blurry background but timing and speed are very important though.
They might not be the sharpest photos but they will be full with motion
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

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Blaze

Link Posted 24/08/2011 - 18:31
I don't think I put it very well
I've got an arm on my tripod so I can follow the lateral (?) motion of the horse.
Of course not everyone moves when they press the shutter

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chloe

Link Posted 25/08/2011 - 00:16
Anvh wrote:
Blaze wrote:
The other thing I would strongly recommend is getting a tripod. If you are watching someone jumping, it's extremely difficult not to move as you press the shutter as you will also be anticipating the jump !

Actually you might try to move
I mean when the hors jumps you might be able to track the photo by using longer shutter speeds (1/80 might do) so you get that blurry background but timing and speed are very important though.
They might not be the sharpest photos but they will be full with motion

I actually tried this this evening and the image was clearer than I expected, although still very amaturish, better than previous attempts. I am still struggling with settings using TV mode although I did try and played around with the iso settings but the action was blurred and they were a bit grainy, so switched to action mode with multi shot (cheating?). I just feel I have so much to learn But I am looking forward to the challenge!
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