Exposure settings to shoot action - Dreamstime

Exposure settings: As a rule of thumb, you need a shutter speed of around 1/1000 sec to capture action like a bird taking off, sports, jets etc. The relative speed of the subject will increase if you are close to it. It will also depend on the direction on the movement. Movement perpendicular to the axis of lens will need a higher shutter speed to freeze the action compared to movement that is along the lens axis- i.e subject heading towards or away from you.

There is really no major role played by the aperture since our aim here is to capture action and not the control of depth of field. Most of us will be using tele-zooms to capture action whose longest end focal length will be around 300mm at an aperture of f/5.6. These lenses generally give much better performance at about f/8 (their sweet spot). So, you are looking for a brightness level that will support a shutter speed of 1/100 and an aperture of f/8. For an ISO of 100 you need very bright light corresponding to EV 16, which is very bright clouldless midday light. This may not be available at all times. Fortunately, the digital revolution has brought to us the tremendous advantage of high ISOs, with values going up to several thousands. Today's latest generation D-SLRs ( even those with APS- C sized sensors) will give excellent performance up to ISO 3200 and in a pinch you can even go to ISO 6400 or even higher. At these values of ISO the picture quality will not be as good as the base ISO of 100 or 200, but a grainy sharp image is a lot better than no image or an image that is blurred. The best thing is to keep the ISO at the lowest possible value that provides around 1/1000 shutter speed of your lens. This means that you need to keep a tab on the ISO. Once again modern D-SLRs give you an auto ISO Mode that solves this problem. This mode will alow you to select the shutter speed and aperture you require, while the camera chooses the minimum possible ISO (as per existing lighting) for best quality images.

Along with exposure settings it is very important to understand Autofocus settings to capture the action, so my next write up will be on Autofocus settings to shoot action.

Photo credits: Abhishek Singh.

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February 27, 2012


Great photos! And thanks for the tips!

February 26, 2012


Very nice tips here. Thanks

February 24, 2012


Nice tips supported by some good pictures

February 24, 2012


Thanks for the tips, I should indeed try and work out how far I can go with the ISO on my camera, I'm always scared that the photos end up with too much noise, but as you said, they're no good anyway if they're blurry.

February 22, 2012


Fantastic photos! Congratulations!

February 22, 2012


Thanks for sharing. Your images are great.

February 22, 2012


Great pics!

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