Need help with Kodak Z700 - adjusting settings...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Cat, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. Cat

    Cat TPF Noob!

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    Hello all! Newbie here, my photo-taking skills aren't anything to brag about even though I do love taking pictures. I guess I should say I'm barely camera-literate.

    My problem is that I recently bought a Kodak Z700 digital camera to use primarily for sport events - basketball, cross country, and the like. My old digital, another Kodak, didn't have the video feature nor did it have a sports setting. So, while this Z700 does have both the sports setting still does not take quality basketball photos which is driving me crazy.

    When using the sports setting (action?) in a gym I cannot get a photo that isn't incredibly dark, the further I zoom the darker it gets. My brother has a Kodak, too, although his doesn't have the optical zoom that mine does but his camera takes relatively decent sports photos and the only dark ones he gets is if he accidentally leaves the flash on. With my camera, I get a good light photo if I use the landscape setting during games, but of course everything's a blur as the girls are all in motion! I've tried the Party feature for photos taken indoors, and of course those are blurry, as well.

    I read the manual about adjusting the settings using the PAS setting, but even then I'm at a loss. I don't grasp exactly how to fix my problems by adjusting the settings. Some photos I took last night I had adjusted the ISO (which again, I really don't understand what I'm talking about when I say ISO.) to something like 400 which helped with the quality of the color, however they were still quite fuzzy.

    So, does anyone have any information as to what I might try to get the settings adjusted for good, clear, crisp basketball photos?

    TIA! :D
     
  2. Cat

    Cat TPF Noob!

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    Did I make some huge faux paux in asking this question? Is this not a Kodak-friendly forum? Do I have toilet paper hanging from my shoe?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Not at all, it's just a bit tricky to help you out here. Ok, so here goes!

    With sporting photography you have to work with available light as the scene is usually far too far away for a flash to reach (and you may not be permitted to use flash). Therefore you have several options:

    Change your lens to one which is faster (not possible in your case without buying another camera)
    Up the ISO to a higher number. Essentially the ISO is the gain or volume on your camera's digital sensor. Turning it up makes the camera more sensitive i.e. brighter picture. However, the flip side is that it makes the shot noisier and you'll get an effect similar to film grain.
    Steady yourself and use a longer exposure. (Generally, the only way at a sporting event is to use a monopod. They're cheap, flexible and give you good vertical stability).

    If your pictures are fuzzy, then it's likely you're suffering from camera shake. Short of getting a more suitable camera, like a DSLR with a 300mm f2.8 lens, the best you can do is steady the camera using a tripod or monopod. Monopods take up less room and are almost as stable as a tripod. They also allow you to pan faster.

    Good luck!

    Rob
     
  4. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    I agree with what rob said...

    You are probably getting dark photos because you are using flash - but your subject is too far away...

    And the reason why the more you zoom the darker it gets, is probably, you are further away to be zooming more.

    According to dpreview.com your flash range is about 3.8 metres...

    " Flash guide no. 3.8 m (12.4 ft )"
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum

    Basketball is probably one of the hardest things to shoot if you don't have the right equipment...the lighting is bad and the action is fast.

    The lenses that pro sports photographers use, cost thousands of dollars...that's just the lenses. You can't expect a point & shoot digi-cam to compare to that.

    That being said, there are ways to maximize your chances of getting good shots with your camera...however, you will need to understand the basics of exposure. Read up on exposure, aperture, shutter speed & ISO...then read through your camera's manual again.

    Once you understand what your camera is trying to do...and what it can't do, you can hopefully make the best of it.
     
  6. Booshka

    Booshka TPF Noob!

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    Also play with the settings a lot. For example, im a complete n00b when it comes to photography but i'm finally getting the hang of aperture, ISO and Shutter etc by taking the same picture while sat in the house but altering the settings to see what effect they have, i don't get it right all the time, but i'm getting it wrong less, which is good.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good point, play with the settings.

    The 'modes' (sports, landscape etc.) are really only changing the basic settings and maybe the focus & metering modes. Once you understand those settings, you can figure out what those modes are trying to do...and do it yourself but with more control.

    Sports mode is trying to use a faster shutter speed to freeze the action. However, the faster the shutter is, the wider the lens has to open (aperture)...the catch is that a lens can only open up so far...then if you keep making the shutter faster...you end up with dark photos. You can make the ISO higher (at the cost of digital noise)...but that also has a limit.
     
  8. Cat

    Cat TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for the replies! I really appreciate the help. I don't use flash in the gym, so that isn't a problem. (I feel like a guppy swimming amongst sharks here, by the way! lol) I have a game tomorrow to attend so I will fiddle with the settings some more and try to see if I can't improve something! It helps knowing what some of the causes are, so at least I can try to counteract them.

    I'll let you know how it goes!
     

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