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View Full Version : Shooting children indoors with D50 - best way to get great shots?



davidwgreen
02-03-2006, 07:40 AM
Hi,

this is my first posting here. I hope someone can help.

I've just bought a D50 after using a FinePix 4700, and before that a Canon EOS 300 film camera. My wife works in a kindergarten and wants to use the D50 to take pictures of children 'at play' (rather than posed shots), mostly indoors and preferably without flash.

Unfortunately, I sent her off yesterday with advice to 'use Auto or P mode' , but she returned with a number of blurred photos.

Please can anyone suggest some basic settings I should be getting her to use so that she can get sharp well exposed shots indoors? For example, should I override 'auto ISO' for the program modes? Or, should I tell her to use 'Sports' mode?

I want to avoid her getting discouraged from using the Nikon. Then she'll use it and get more expert.

Thanks in advance.

David Green
Cambridge, UK

Ray Schnoor
02-03-2006, 07:54 AM
A little more information might help a bit. Were the photos blurry because they were out of focus, because the shutter speed was too slow to cause blurry photos due to hand shake, or because the shutter speed was too slow to cause blurry photos due to the children running around.

If the first cause, was the camera on auto focus, or was the object of the photograph not the area being focused on?

If the 2nd cause, was she using flash, or was the ISO high enough?

If the 3rd cause you may need to increase the shutter speed.

Can't really give you a definite answer without a little more information.

jamison55
02-03-2006, 08:09 AM
I think we can probably surmise that motion blur was the culprit (either the "models" or the operator). Keeping it as simple as possible, I'd encourage you to switch over to Sports mode. This should get the camera in the right "frame" of mind, and cause it to choose a faster shutter speed to better freeze the action. Depending upon how dark it is, however, you may not be able to avoid using the flash. Even DSLR's have their limits...

K1W1
02-03-2006, 01:57 PM
You wife is going to need to experiment and accept that there is a learning curve and even when she gets more confident not all images will come out perfect.

Assuming that the light is reasonable one more or less safe option to start with would be.

Set the camera to ISO400 or 800 (because I assume that the photos are indoor with low light)
Set the focus to AF-C
Set the mode to "S" (Shutter priority) and the shutter speed to 1/250 sec
Set the metering to Matrix
Make sure that the focus area is the centre of the screen

This is esentially a manual version of sports mode

Basically here you will eliminate handshake and movement blur from the equation. The camera will still fire if the focus is not locked (That is what happens in AF-C) but the focus locks fast so in most cases this won't be an issue.

Take lots of photos and learn and adapt from there. Digital film is cheap and there is always the delete button that most of us know only too well.

D70FAN
02-03-2006, 02:47 PM
Hi,

this is my first posting here. I hope someone can help.

I've just bought a D50 after using a FinePix 4700, and before that a Canon EOS 300 film camera. My wife works in a kindergarten and wants to use the D50 to take pictures of children 'at play' (rather than posed shots), mostly indoors and preferably without flash.

Unfortunately, I sent her off yesterday with advice to 'use Auto or P mode' , but she returned with a number of blurred photos.

Please can anyone suggest some basic settings I should be getting her to use so that she can get sharp well exposed shots indoors? For example, should I override 'auto ISO' for the program modes? Or, should I tell her to use 'Sports' mode?

I want to avoid her getting discouraged from using the Nikon. Then she'll use it and get more expert.

Thanks in advance.

David Green
Cambridge, UK

If you are using the 18-55 kit lens (or any f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens), indoors, without a flash, life may be frustrating indeed, as even with the ISO cranked up to 1600 the shutter speed may not be fast enough, especially for kids at play. The D50 has an excellent built-in speedlight and a little time spent reading the manual and practicing can net some suprising results.

The least expensive, non flash, solution (that comes to mind) is to make purchase of a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (~$110). Put the camera in aperture priority mode at f/2.2-2.8, ISO at 800, or 1600, and use good old fashioned "foot-zoom". Due to the relatively shallow depth of field (DOF), at f/2.2 this will work for individuals, or small groups side-by-side, but immediate background objects, including other children, will be out of focus.

If DOF is a problem then an external speedlight like the SB600 is probably a better (and cheaper) next solution. I get terrific results bouncing the SB800 (similar to the SB600) and eventually it should be part of your kit as well. Add a diffusor and it gets even better.

The 50mm f/1.8 should be in your kit anyway. For the money it is a sharp, fast, contrasty, lens. For a little wider angle you might also consider the 35mm f/2, but it runs about 3X the cost, and for a little more you might consider the, very nice, Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 (~$370).

Hope this helps.

davidwgreen
02-04-2006, 01:29 AM
May thnaks to everyone who has replied and given me some good ideas! It is always a pleasure to discover a forum like this where responses are quick and helpful.http://www.dcresource.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif
:)

Yes, I think the problem my wife had was simply motion blur due to low shutter speed. I'll give these ideas a go.

Sincerely,

David Green

Jason25
02-04-2006, 09:00 PM
When shooting my 1 year old indoors, I set my camera to A and use my 50mm f1.8D lens at 1.8-2.8 and ISO 800-1600 (depending on light available). I aim at the eyes.

Otherwise, I'll use whatever lens and my SB600 flash :D

Esoterra
02-04-2006, 11:50 PM
Hey David,

a year ago, I was in your exact same shoes, and the good folks here at DCR gave me the great feedback they are now giving you. Thanks for trusting us with your inquiry. George hit it right on the head with the Nikkor 50mm and SB600 speed light. I have that set up, and I love it. My 150m gallery, linked below in my signature, are all pictures taken with my Nikkor 50mm1.8. Feel free to thumb through them for examples of a nice lens. Good luck!

coldrain
02-05-2006, 03:40 AM
Besides a 50mm prime, you may want to get a wider prime... else you will notice you will mostly end up with portrait shots, but showing kids and their activities will get you much more interesting pictures. With the 1.5x crop factor, a 50mm lens gets to have a field of view of a 75mm lens... think about a 28mm or 35mm prime (which have a field of view of 42mm and 52.5mm respectivily).

They will allow you much more freedom of framing indoors. And make your kids memories much richer.