ELPH Techniques

Shooting fast moving subjects without motion blur is a challenge. You need to get a fast shutter speed. Since it isn’t possible to set the shutter speed on the Canon ELPH cameras, I needed to figure out how to force a fast speed. I tried a bunch of that shot with flash first but that gives a different look that some people don’t like. This shot probably isn’t the subject you are trying to shoot, but did require a very fast shutter speed. I got my SD800 up to 1/1600 exposure with f/7.1 aperture.

Of course, for all the stuff I have mentioned you have to be in Manual mode. I have never messed with the scene modes much. It isn’t really manual compared to a more complicated camera so don’t worry too much about that. I have not used them, but on recent ELPHs there is a kids and pets and/or a sports setting in the scene menu which should give faster shutter speeds.

You can turn the exposure down so the camera doesn’t expect as much light and will use a faster shutter speed. But you loose DOF that way and your shots will be darker. You probably can’t go too far down.

You should also zoom the least amount possible, none is best. The wider the shot the more light is let in so the camera can use a faster shutter speed. Wider shots also help catching your subject. Mine is usually jumping cats and it helps make sure I get the whole cat in the shot.

Setting your ISO to at least 200 is probably a requirement for catching fast action unless in the brightest sunlight. The higher the ISO the less light the camera needs so can use a faster shutter, but the image gets noisier the higher the ISO. Don’t be afraid of 400 if you have too, grainy shots are better than blury shots. Sunlight is extremely important if you don’t want motion blur. If you can live with a small amount of motion blur, which can sometimes be interesting and shows the action, then a bit shady or not so bright sunlight will do. Example 1, Example 2, Example 3.

Your other option is to use the flash even in daylight, just turn your camera from automatic to always flash. It will slow down how fast you can shoot and you will probably want an extra battery if you do it a lot since it will drain much faster, but it will help you freeze the action if you are close enough to the subject. Here is an example in the dark. And another example (don’t look if you are mouse fan).

If you get blurry pictures with the flash because the shutter is staying open too long you might have the Slow Synchro setting turned on. You can turn it off in the Menu. It could also happen if you are too far from your subject for the flash to have much effect. For example, when shooting an event from the stands flash (on any camera) isn’t going to do you any good. You are better off with high ISO.

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