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06-05-2010, 11:32 PM   #1
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Suggestions for begginer settings K-x please

I am a complete begginer to photography and DSLR, I have just bought a K-x with 18-55 kit lens. I am wanting to take photos of my son who is 2 and never still even when he is sitting still.
I am studying my manual and some books recommended on this forum to try and grasp the basics, but this is a steep learning curve. I want to learn to use the camera without just using Auto settings ( which i can see though better than my current Manual attemts are pretty average)I need some advice or suggestions for which settings I should try on my camera to give me the best use of its features.
I can see from reading here that center focus and recompose is a poular method but with a moving subject this is proving difficult. I don't want to leave him in the center of the frame in every shot but I am getting shots of in focus shoulders and chairs instead of eyes and nose. Which focus mode would be best single or continuous, single or multi point focus etc. I can see that apperture affects the amount of focus/DOF so what sort of f value should I be using to capture a child, Any advice or suggestions would help as I am stuck. Thanks mel

06-06-2010, 12:21 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by kangamel Quote
I am a complete begginer to photography and DSLR, I have just bought a K-x with 18-55 kit lens. I am wanting to take photos of my son who is 2 and never still even when he is sitting still.
I am studying my manual and some books recommended on this forum to try and grasp the basics, but this is a steep learning curve. I want to learn to use the camera without just using Auto settings ( which i can see though better than my current Manual attemts are pretty average)I need some advice or suggestions for which settings I should try on my camera to give me the best use of its features.
I can see from reading here that center focus and recompose is a poular method but with a moving subject this is proving difficult. I don't want to leave him in the center of the frame in every shot but I am getting shots of in focus shoulders and chairs instead of eyes and nose. Which focus mode would be best single or continuous, single or multi point focus etc. I can see that apperture affects the amount of focus/DOF so what sort of f value should I be using to capture a child, Any advice or suggestions would help as I am stuck. Thanks mel
If you are unsure what to do, and do not have time to read the instruction manual, you may set the dial mode to the Green mode. Another alternative is the P-mode.

Then set the focus to AF-S. It will focus once the lens. AF-C (continuous auto-focus) is somehow slower and not as performant.

Further select a Centrepoint auto-focus. That is, the lens will be focused around what is at the center of the frame.

Beyond that, do read the instruction manual. It is worthwhile...

Hope that the comment will help...

Last edited by hcc; 06-06-2010 at 12:22 AM. Reason: Typos
06-06-2010, 01:34 AM   #3
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Ok, I am using centerpoint auto and AF-S so I guess I've selected the right settings there.

Beyond that

QuoteOriginally posted by kangamel Quote
I am studying my manual and some books recommended on this forum to try and grasp the basics, but this is a steep learning curve. I want to learn to use the camera without just using Auto settings
QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
If you are unsure what to do, and do not have time to read the instruction manual, you may set the dial mode to the Green mode. Another alternative is the P-mode.

Beyond that, do read the instruction manual. It is worthwhile...
Thanks hcc that was really helpfull... and made me feel great too...
06-06-2010, 01:58 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kangamel Quote
I am a complete begginer to photography and DSLR, I have just bought a K-x with 18-55 kit lens. I am wanting to take photos of my son who is 2 and never still even when he is sitting still.
I am studying my manual and some books recommended on this forum to try and grasp the basics, but this is a steep learning curve. I want to learn to use the camera without just using Auto settings ( which i can see though better than my current Manual attemts are pretty average)I need some advice or suggestions for which settings I should try on my camera to give me the best use of its features.
I can see from reading here that center focus and recompose is a poular method but with a moving subject this is proving difficult. I don't want to leave him in the center of the frame in every shot but I am getting shots of in focus shoulders and chairs instead of eyes and nose. Which focus mode would be best single or continuous, single or multi point focus etc. I can see that apperture affects the amount of focus/DOF so what sort of f value should I be using to capture a child, Any advice or suggestions would help as I am stuck. Thanks mel
Since you want the eye(s) of your son in focus then you have to use only one focus point, either Center point (he is in center of the frame) or Selective point (the point depends on which side of the frame your son be). I've found AF-S gave me more shots than AF-C . You may want more DOF to ensure image of your son still in the focus plane by stopping down to f/8 - f/11; increase ISO so you can have faster shutter speed to avoid blurry image .

Shooting little kid is hard, it take a lot of practice and patient .

Hope that help . Others may have better advices .

06-06-2010, 11:33 AM   #5
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If the subject is moving to fastfor you to focus and recompose in time, chances are excellent that he's moving too fast for you to select a focus point in time also. With practice, you can learn to get good results with either method, but neither will always work perfectly without practice.
06-11-2010, 04:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, ken that did help I was a bit confused about what apperture I should use for kid shots, so much to learn so little time, I wish I had learn't to use a camera before the child could move so fast

sorry to take so long to respond i have been a bit unwell for a few days
06-12-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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I'm a new K-X user too. One of the things I saw is on pg. 85 of the manual. It's about shooting kids. Check that out and see if it helps.
06-12-2010, 03:10 PM   #8
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Practice by shooting the kid while he's sleeping first, and take it from there.

Learn to capture perfectly in-focus static shots before you drive yourself crazy while the offspring is moving.

06-13-2010, 05:01 AM   #9
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thanks Subeeds, I have discovered that setting the drive mode to continuous shooting works wonders, lots of closed eye shots etc but I can catch some good ones in there with that speed, I think it also helps that I'm not pressing the button and moving the camera as much.

Ira, I'm not sure if you have either a K-x or a young offspring...sleeping shots would be good advice (it is the only time he is still ) but, although I'm loving my new K-x, have you HEARD it? Shooting in the same room as my sleeping kid would only lead to even more crazy. I'm trying to learn to enjoy taking photos of my fruit bowl and little lego people etc for some practice
06-14-2010, 03:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kangamel Quote
... although I'm loving my new K-x, have you HEARD it? Shooting in the same room as my sleeping kid would only lead to even more crazy. I'm trying to learn to enjoy taking photos of my fruit bowl and little lego people etc for some practice
LOL. You're afraid of activating the SAS. That is the Spousal Abuse System, which occurs when you wake a child with something like taking a picture.

You can also try taking pictures while they are eating. At least mine were contained in a high chair.

Generally, being new to SLR/photography and having small childern equals many many missed shots. You just have to keep trying. Try a toy or some distractor to keep them still. Center focus/ af-s. Don't worry about composition at first. Get the kid in the frame and crop if need be.
06-14-2010, 03:15 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kangamel Quote
although I'm loving my new K-x, have you HEARD it?
Lucky you don't have a K100D. Thuh-whack!
06-14-2010, 04:21 PM   #12
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Quick answer: I think I would set ISO 3200 first, see what the photos looked like and go from there. The other quick solution is a flash. I take Christmas morning photos with a high-powered flash bounced off the ceiling or walls, good enough to light up the whole room.

For my longer answer, a four-step way to approach your problem:

Since the K-x has a "kids" setting, I would set the camera there and see what it does, as a first step. The manual only reveals that it sets continuous drive mode. There's no magic to these scene modes. You can duplicate them by choosing the same settings manually. The basic exposure parameters are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Then there are body settings, such as the drive mode, flash use, etc. Note the settings that the camera starts with in "Kids", and take some photos for a day.

Step 2, look at them and compare to previous photos you've taken. Note if the "Kids" mode is any better at anything. Try to identify what causes any technical flaws in the photos. Post them here if you can't; it's not easy for a beginner to do. Select a few good photos if you have them too.

The great thing about digital is that every photo has the capture details attached to it. For step 3, analyze the settings that create good and bad photos. See if you can associate a result with a setting. For example, the kid is just a streak, and the shutter speed is 1/20 sec. Obviously shutter speed needs to be higher.

Step 4 is the hardest: using the information to create better photos. It's hard because there's lots of tradeoffs in photography. From my example above, while increasing shutter speed is a no-brainer, you'll need a wider aperture (lower f number) or higher ISO to avoid a dark photo. And photo situations don't repeat in a convenient way. But after a few repetitions, the process does work.
06-15-2010, 04:51 AM   #13
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When I am taking kid photos, I tend to have the camera on AF S and set my f stop at f4. Definitely start with center point -- don't even bother recomposing in the beginning. Just shoot. You can always crop later to get your photo the way you want, but adding any steps before you are comfortable is going to tend to frustrate you and possibly alter your focus as well.

As Dave says, you want to keep your shutter speed up. Every time you double your iso, your shutter speed will double as well. For kid photos, I like to be above 1/50 second minimum to avoid a lot of motion blur. The other way to get your shutter speed up is to use a flash. Getting a decent external flash is a must have for photographers with kids.

Finally, bribe your kids to get them to hold still. Give them things to play with and shoot them when they are distracted. Most of all, have fun!
06-15-2010, 04:51 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSM Quote

Generally, being new to SLR/photography and having small childern equals many many missed shots. You just have to keep trying. ...Center focus/ af-s. Don't worry about composition at first. Get the kid in the frame and crop if need be.
Many many missed shots, but the ones i do get are so much better than anything I could get with my P&S, then there were days with my p&s where every shot was a missed shot, not just that they were often out of focus but the camera just would miss all the great expressions and catch all the weird ones.. I am glad I went for a DSLR.

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Lucky you don't have a K100D. Thuh-whack!
Louder

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
.
Since the K-x has a "kids" setting, I would set the camera there and see what it does, as a first step. The manual only reveals that it sets continuous drive mode. There's no magic to these scene modes. You can duplicate them by choosing the same settings manually. The basic exposure parameters are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Then there are body settings, such as the drive mode, flash use, etc. Note the settings that the camera starts with in "Kids", and take some photos for a day.
.
Dave I will try this process it makes a lot of sense. As far as good or bad shots I really couldn't tell, Even the ones I think are good are probably technically bad. I'm happy if it's in focus and captures the moment. I hope I will learn enough that in the future i can look back at the photos of this time and laugh at what I thought was a good one.

Thanks for all the helpfull hints everyone, every suggestion gives me something to think about.
06-15-2010, 04:59 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
shoot them when they are distracted. Most of all, have fun!
hmmm that gives me an idea...this kid likes to hang out on his potty (takes after his dad ) If I stick to head and shoulders, position him near a good light window give him his toy cars, I might get a good chance at some quiet poses.
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