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Need digital camera tips for action shots(5 posts)

Need digital camera tips for action shotsTPC
Sep 11, 2003 8:52 AM
Hi all,

I'm heading to the T-Mobile this weekend in San Fran. Does anyone have tips on getting good action shots with a digital camera? e.g. settings, angles, etc?
(I have a canon s400)

re: Need digital camera tips for action shotstimwat
Sep 11, 2003 9:39 AM
I have the same camera, which I used for action shots at the Tour De Georgia and a MTB trip to Moab. The time it takes for a digital to take an image makes action shots tricky, but once you get a feel for your camera its not too bad. Using the focus lock is very helpful. The camera will take pictures faster since it doesn't have to focus before capturing the image. Also, you're sure to be focused on the subject you want. Just focus the camera on something the same distance as the peloton will be when you take your shot and lock it. Try to get shots when the race is approaching, if you wait until the riders are too close the movement will cause blurring. Turning up the ISO speed will prevent the blurring, but too high will cause noise/distortion. I tried using the high speed shutter setting where you just hold down the shutter button to take a burst of images. I got some good photos but you never could tell what the camera would focus on. I got one photo of Freddy Rodriguez giving the victory salute in the TDG using the high speed setting. It was perfect timing but for some reason the camera focused on the buildings 100 feet behind the extremely out of focus peloton. Now I just try to get set up and go for one great photo. If you have any questions send me an email.
re: Need digital camera tips for action shotsbriburke
Sep 11, 2003 11:12 AM
I too have an S400 and have quite a few action shots from biking. I find the best way to get the shot you want is to take a sequence of shots.

First, set it to the faster of the two sequential settings (2.5fps instead of 1.5fps). With the camera in picture mode, go to the menu and the second setting down is "Cont. Shooting", put it to high-speed (the one on the right). You might also consider turning of the AiAF (artifical intel auto focus), and just go to spot focusing.

In full resolution, superfine mode, you'll only get 3 or 4 shots per sequence until the buffer is full. So, what I did was bump it down to 1200 x 1600 (M1) using the FUNC button when in manual mode. I also think I bumped down the jpeg quality to Fine. This would give me about 10 to 12 shots at 2.5 frames per second before filling the buffer and having to wait.

When turning the camera on in manual mode, ensure the flash is forced off, and put it in sequence mode by hitting the bottom button of the 4 button circle. This setting isn't remembered, so you need to do it everytime you turn it on.

Technique-wise, do as timwat suggested - compose your picture before the riders come through by holding the shutter down halfway. Start taking the pictures when you want, and track the riders as they pass you by turning your body.

Practice with the settings before hand and hopefully you'll get some good shots. Here's some links to some of mine... (there's a great sequence of me crashing in there)

and a few more here...

One more thing...briburke
Sep 11, 2003 11:26 AM
A great resource for digital photography is They have a Canon Talk forum with lots of S400 users, and a ton of advice.

One more thing...TPC
Sep 11, 2003 8:34 PM
Thanks for the tips! Very helpful, much appreciated!