Hi, I am fairly new to taking photos. Although I have taken "unprofessional" pictures for years. (Pointed my camera at a target and snapped pictures...Rathery grainy) In 2015 I purchases a Canon Rebel t5i with two different lens as a bundle. My son plays baseball and my husband rodeos in the spare time..regardless everything we participate in, is a family event. When I first got my camera it took AMAZING pictures (of course I never adjusted any modes, shutter speeds, ISO anything... well I started to try and "play" with those things and I am afraid I have selected something Somewhere within that is making my photos less sharp and crisp. Please help... my son is having a baseball tournament this coming weekend and I would like to get those WOW shots!
Mode I am using right now- TV Mode, ISO 400, 1/1000
Thank you for your advice/help in advice.
If you are not sure what settings are in place go to the Menu and select Clear Settings:
The camera has a Sports mode (running man icon), but you can get better results if you select your own settings.
Select Tv with a shutter speed of 1/500 or 1/1000, depending on the amount of action/motion.and Auto ISO
Select Auto AF point selection so the camera follows the moving subject, but start AF using the center point (see page 70 of manual).
Select Continuos for drive speed (page 66)
Select AI Servo for focusing (page 98)
There can be lots of reasons for this...
use of "One Shot" focus vs. "AI Servo" focus on moving subjects ("One Shot" mode doesn't update the focus if the subject distance changes after the focus lock was achieved... "AI Servo" mode will keep updating focus.
AF point selection mode can also have an effect. If the camera is allowed to use any AF point it wants then it will, by default, just focus on whatever was closest to the camera (even if that's not what you wanted). But you can tell the camera specifically which AF point to use.
The shutter speed of 1/1000th is generally fast enough to freeze most action. Some very fast action can still show a bit of motion blur at those speeds.
Lucky lucky lucky you, that your subjects are outside in bright sunshine. That makes life so much easier and the equipment requirements (and price!) so much lower. With all that light you should be able to get good shots and fast shutter speeds with affordable lenses.
In addition to the excellent suggestions already offered, I'd suggest backing the ISO down to 200 if there's enough light to work with. My old T3i Rebel, with the same 18mp sensor you have, showed noticeable loss of detail/resolution starting at ISO 400. Assuming your aperture wasn't already maxed out wide open, and so still has room to open wider (to a lower f/number) to compensate, you can keep the 1/1000 shutter speed.
People always talk about noise/grain being the negative side effect of raising the ISO but personally I think at moderate high ISO levels the bigger problem is the other side effect, that the sensor records fewer lines of resolution the higher the ISO. Moderate noise can be reduced or eliminated in post, but, perversely, noise reduction really just softens your detail even more. True, you wouldn't miss the lost resolution if you were printing the images and viewing them on 4x6 or 5x7 or maybe even 8x10 paper prints, but no doubt you, and everyone you share your digital images with, will be viewing your work on a monitor that is a lot bigger than that, so a loss of detail is irksome.
People always talk talk about noise/grain being the negative side effect of raising the ISO but personally I think at moderate high ISO levels the bigger problem is the other side effect, that the sensor records fewer lines of resolution the higher the ISO. Moderate noise can be reduced or eliminated in post, but, perversely, noise reduction really just softens your detail even more.
With some clever masking that's easily worked around.
"Noise" is basically an arbitrary spike in the light reading by one of the photo-sites on the sensor. It stands out because the surrounding photo-sites didn't record values nearly so high.
But if you think about this... that means noise in shadows (where all the pixels are mostly very dark) will easily stand out. But noise in the highlight areas (where all the surrounding pixels are already pretty bright) doesn't stand (and there's no such thing as "anti noise" where a pixel is arbitrarily dark when it should be light.)
Most of the detail tends to be in the highlights.
This means that a bit of clever noise reduction -- where noise reduction in dark tonal areas is more aggressive and noise reduction in bright tonal areas is least aggressve can help reduce the overall look of the image by eliminating the most noticeable noise without softening the most noticeable details.
Additionally, software that searches for edges of contrast and then builds a mask can be used to allow noise reduction to occur in flat non-contrasty areas (where noise would really be noticeable) but protect sharp edges where you don't want to allow the image to be softened and noise would be less noticable anyway.
It's a bit more work then the simple noise-reduction slider control (which globally applies noise reduction without discriminating on any part of the image), but it can be done to substantially improve an otherwise noisy image without sacrificing much in the detailed areas you want to protect.
Tim, you are right about more careful noise reduction doing less damage, and I do use NR masking in Lightroom (I don't use Photoshop) to lessen the damage NR does.
Still, that being true, there is no way to create the detail that was never captured in the first place because of a higher ISO setting.
this is a photo from this past week and this is right off the camera... I love this photo.. this is one of the much clearer photos so I can not make a fuss on this one... the second one is what I am disappointed about... It isnt as clear as I used to be able to take... to me anywas... there are some that are "aweful" but it is because my Camera used the wrong focus point (ex. the crowd or fence behind my point of focus)