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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:18 am 
Before I ask my question let me start by saying I am a novice so I apologize if my question might sound daft. Please be kind with your replies.

I have just bought a Nikon D7000 with a kit lens. 18-105mm 1:3.5-5.6G AF-S.

My question is this. Even in Shutter Priority or Manual mode, why can't I seem to achieve a shutter speed any faster than what appears to be about 1/60 of a second.

Even when I have set the shutter speed to 1/1000 of a second the shutter still sounds as though is only achieving 1/60. I have tried differing lighting conditions and camera settings but still can't seem to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the motion in high speed shooting.

My example of this would be the last night when I went to the races. I thought this would be a prefect opportunity to get some great action shots. The stadium was well lit but I still needed a bit of exposure compensation and a higher ISO.

I set the camera to CH getting ready to let the camera fire off shot after shot like a machine gun as the dogs came out of the traps, but instead all my camera sounded like was a single shot bolt action rifle....!!!

I guess what I'm trying to ask is if anyone knows whether or not this is just a characteristic of the lens in that it does not allow for really high speed photography, or, is this a fault with the camera?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:33 pm
Posts: 443
Location: St. John's, NL, Canada
Hi Steve & welcome to the forum.

Achieving greater 1/60 of a second is not a function of the lens - in actual fact you don't need a lens on the camera to have your shutter operate. I think your camera goes up to 1/4000, but that's besides the point.

What you "hear" when your shutter opens is likely just the mirror popping up and down. The action of the shutter opening and closing is much quieter. The order of operations are: Mirror up, shutter open, shutter close, mirror down. It's actually a little more complex than that - but for the sake of simplicity, this will do.

The whole process's duration may be 1/60, but your shutter time is defined by the events that happen in the middle. What you set your shutter to operate at in either shutter priority or manual will absolutely be the shutter speed without question.

Your problems with the action shots at the races might just be your reaching the limitations of your gear. I know you said it was at night so this either tells me it was outside in dark conditions, or it was inside with artificial light. Both of those conditions are tough for a camera to capture.

To answer your final comment regarding the shot sounding like a single shot - I'd like to know more information. Was your camera in Aperture priority for this? I'd need to know more information than this, but it sounds like you had, or your camera chose, a long shutter speed - so rapid fire would not be so rapid in this case.

If you're wondering what you used for what photo - don't worry, you don't need to remember all that stuff. The specs of a photo (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, Lens type, Camera model, shooting mode) are all recorded within the photo file. It's called exit data. Google it to see how you can find out what you shot for each photo.

Anyway, I hope this helps you and I look forward to seeing some of your work! Welcome again!


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:51 pm 

what might be worth doing is posting one of the photos you took. thiw will enable us to see whats going on. We'll probably be able to see the exif data too so will be able to be very clear on whats happened and offer advice to solve any problems

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:20 pm 
Hi Trevor and Ian, thanks for your replies.

Thanks for understanding I'm just a novice and taking the time to reply.

At the time of taking the pictures it was dark; but it was in a well lit stadium under artificial light and I found Tungsten White Balance gave the best true to life colours.

This is the EXIF data from the last picture I took at the races: I got it from the picture "properties" tab so I hope this is the same as what you would get from the EXIF reading software. Hope this helps anyway.

Camera Model: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm 1:3.5-5.6G ED
F-stop: f/5.6
ISO Speed: ISO-5000
Exposure Basis: +5 step
Focal Length: 105mm
Max Aperture: 5
Metering Mode: Matrix
Flash Mode: No Flash
35mm Focal Length: 157mm

Contrast: Normal
Light Source: Tungsten
Exposure Program: Manual
White Balance: Manual

I would love to show you both some of the pictures but I can't seem to work out how to post pictures. It would be great to have some constructive criticism and hear your opinions on how to make my pictures better.

I have two in particular to show you so you can actually see how far the dogs moved in between shots just to give you an idea of how slow the camera seemed to be operating.

The pictures do appear to be fairly dark but flash photography wasn't allowed so as not to startle the dogs as they raced.

And admittedly the composition isn't that great either. Not to make excuses, but I'm blaming the camera for being so slow....!! By the time the camera had fired, the space of track I had left in front of the dogs to give them a sense of movement and direction of where they were headed, had already been filled by the dogs and all you could see was where they had come from.

Trevor, I understand now what you mean by what you hear when the camera shoots is the sound of the mirror lifting up and down, but surely if the shutter speed is faster the mirror should lift up and down faster, especially in "continuous high" shooting mode.

I'm probably barking up completely the wrong tree but I saw a video on You Tube of a photographer taking a picture of a "free runner" doing a somersault off a wall and his camera sounded like a gatling gun it was so fast. But in fairness his lens was almost as long as my forearm and probably worth as much as a small family car...!! ha ha


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:01 pm
Posts: 1249
Location: NW England
Hi Steve.
First off, do you have the camera set to `CH` on the top dial?

Image btw,He who dies with the most toys, WINS!
Nikon D800E & D700 bodies + Nikon 200-400mm F4 VR1, 50mm F1.4G, 16-35mm f/4G VR, 105 F2.8 VR macro, 70-300mm lenses. A couple of filters, Giotto tripod & ballhead. Lowepro Slingshot 302 AW

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:07 am 
Hi Carlos,

Yes, the Drive Mode was set to CH. I've just checked through all the settings menus on the camera just to see if there was any way I may have accidentally adjusted the number of FPS shot in CH mode, but there is no setting for this. Only CL.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:27 am
Posts: 16
Location: South Otago, NZ
Since you have stated that you are trying to take these photos at night I think that your camera is trying to autofocus between each shot. You can change a setting so that relesing the shutter takes priorty over focusing but then you could just end up with a bunch of out of focus photos. Shooting in manual focus mode can also help but usually if you are shooting fast action you will have to focus on a spot and wait for tha action to enter your focus zone.

As for posting photos try this thred

D5000, 10.5mm Fisheye, 35mm f1.8, 17-70mm sigma, 70-300mm sigma, 105mm macro, 500mm f4

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:02 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
Posts: 1831
ISO 5000

You're shooting at night

Have you got your auto ISO feature set to On in your menus?

With a minimum shutter speed of 1/60th?

And your delay or lag is down to autofocussing in dark conditions. Try manually prefocussing - and getting rid of that exposure compensation!

Last edited by dubaiphil on Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:18 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
Posts: 1831
This is a bit of a fast induction to shooting wih a DSLR, where you're not getting the results you're anticipating and potentially getting upset, thinking it's the camera. Why didn't you start with your underactive family pet, flowers or children like most people!!!! :D

It's not you or the camera, just the situation

1 - You're shooting at night, it's dark, so autofocus will be slow, especially with a 'slow' lens

2 - You're shooting something at night that's moving. Even if you're lucky with your focus, you'll possibly end up with motion blur due to the slow shutter speed

3- Even if you've got a fast enough shutter speed, you'll have high ISO noise in your image because it's so dark

This is where fast lenses come in, in this situation. You're shooting at 1/60th second at f5.6, ISO 5000. Now the D7000 should be capable of producing a respectable result if something's stationary with those settings, but the 1/60th second is too slow. 1/250th second is more like it for moving dogs. That would require a doubling of the shutter speed twice (1/60th to 1/125th to 1/250th) which would require two things to balance your exposure - either doubling the ISO twice (to ISO 20,000 +) or opening the lens up by 2 stops (f5.6 to f4 to f2.8 )

Doubling the ISO would result in a nasty noisy image.

Moving to f2.8 requires a big financial investment!

Now if you're shooting with an f1.4 lens you would then be able to shoot at f1.4 (4 stops faster) at 1/250th second and ISO1250 - this would give you a fantastic result on your D7000. That is IF your autofocus, in continual tracking mode, could keep up.

There's the advantage of "Fast" lenses. I'm not advocating going out to buy one straight away, but you've just set yourself a very challenging subject to try and shoot. Stick at it though!

Settings I'd select for this situation?

- Auto ISO ON (minimum shutter speed 1/250th second, max ISO 12800), then keep the camera in A mode and select wide open (f5 - f5.6) and hope!

Also worth considering - centre weighted or spot metering. Consider your autofocus tracking modes - I'm not sure on the D7000 but you'lll want some form of tracking on AF-C.

I'm not meaning this in a patronising way at all, but it may be a bit too much to ask straight off, shooting in this kind of environment. You're shooting in extreme conditions and there are lots of possibilities to work around your problem but it's all a balancing act with exposure. I'd getting a thorough understanding of exposure first before worrying about panning at 1/60th at night, getting motion blur from a panned background, with sharp subjects and blurry legs.

Wheel out that 15 year old arthritic cat in good light and start from there!

Last edited by dubaiphil on Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:35 am 

I cant see the shutter speed in the exif data

One thing, I'm not a nikon user so some terminology and specs I'm not completely familiar with.

How many frames per second is your camera capable of? Mine is 3.7fps which means my entire shutter action only needs to take 1/25th total including moving the mirror.

Have a look at setting up a flickr account and upload a couple of photos to it. Once you've got images saved to the internet its just a short step to posting them in a forum like this

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:45 pm 
Hi "dubaiphil" thanks for your advice.

I was shooting at night but the Auto ISO feature was turned off. I was unsure exactly how the Auto ISO feature worked but the way I interpreted it from the manual, with a minimum shutter speed of 1/60th, I thought it sounded as though it would hinder the operation as when I reached the maximum preset ISO it would not allow for a faster shutter speed. I was manually prefocussing though, and the shutter speed was 1/1000.

From reading your last post though I think it sounds as though I have just reached the limitations of the lens. It is only a kit lens after all. I might have butter up the missus so I can buy that "family sized car" priced lens. In the mean time though I think I'll have to start teaching my cat new tricks so I can practice taking pictures of him. Its about time he did a bit more than just sleeping on my sofa...!! ha ha

If you haven't lost your patients with me yet though I would be grateful if you could explain exactly how this feature works.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:02 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
Posts: 1831
Auto ISO on Nikon bodies is particularly handy. On the new D4 it takes things a bit further still, but even the basic function thats on the D90 (and therefore presumably D7000) has a lot of uses.

Basically increased ISO makes the sensor more sensitive to light. Double the ISO number and you double the sensor's sensitivity.

So for a given scene, if you're shooting at ISO400 with a shutter speed of 1/125th second, if you double the ISO to ISO800 then the sensor only needs to be exposed for half the time (i.e. 1/250th second)

So it's all a balancing act.

In fast changing scenes, or where light levels change, you may have to change the ISO accordingly. This is where auto ISO comes in.

Basically you set the minimum shutter speed and the maximum ISO you wish the camera to go to.

Say you set ISO 6400 Max and 1/60th min. It's daylight outside but the sun is setting. You're shooting in Aperture priority at f8 and 1/250th.

The light starts to fade and your shutter speed slows to 1/125th. Then is fades some more and your shutter speed slows to 1/60th. Now without Auto ISO on now when the light fades some more your shutter speed will drop to 1/30th and slower.

Auto ISO on takes that issue away. The camera will increase the ISO incrimentally to keep the shutter speed at the speed you want. UNTIL the camera reaches the maximum ISO you've selected. If light levels drop lower you may see your shutter speed dropping below 1/60th, but only if the max ISO has already been reached.

It's useful if you're shooting something fast moving in changing light, and want to maintain a fast shutter speed. Initially the logical thing to do would be to select Shutter priority, but then you have no control of your aperture.

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