London Underground photography set up help

Discussion in 'Photography Advice & Discussion' started by heart-of-wessex, 3 Nov 2014.

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  1. heart-of-wessex

    heart-of-wessex Established Member

    11 Jun 2005
    Hello all,

    I have only just recently tried taking photo's on the LUL, and I must they they have come out pretty s**t! I have a Fuji FinePix S1800 bridge, and tried it using Auto but everything goes out of focus or blurry.

    The manual setting's are pre-set for airplane arrival/departures, and another for general moving trains outdoors, which also doesn't work for Underground shots.

    Has anyone got any tips for setting up a mode for doing such? I'm still kind of new to this having only used a bridge for under a year, but on Friday when I'm in London I'd like to start collecting some D stock shots at various locations including underground station shots, so I'd like to be able to try some suggested settings, if I did it and just left it on auto, I'd have to bin all the shots :lol:

    Any help is much appreciated :)

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  3. JohnB57

    JohnB57 Member

    26 Jun 2008
    Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
    Hey James. I hope your Friday shoot was better than you expected. For what it's worth at this late stage, a couple of observations.

    Using a bridge camera for what are in effect action shots has its own challenges. Firstly, the lens is a bit "slow" - the aperture is not wide and it gets smaller as you zoom into your subject. This means that you have to use a slower shutter speed and/or a higher ISO. A slow shutter speed - less than say 1/500 second - is too slow to freeze all but the slowest trains and as you're probably nearer to the subject on LUL than you are on the mainline, this accentuates what I think is your main problem.

    Another issue with this type of camera is shutter lag. Your particular model activates the shutter up to 0.75 of a second after you press the release. This means that between focusing and firing, the train may have moved out of focus a little and again this is accentuated by the closeness of the subject.

    I'd recommend two things. Ensure your shutter speed stays high by using shutter priority ("S" mode") and selecting a fast shutter speed - at least 1/500 and if possible faster. Use a higher ISO setting, or even auto ISO. High ISO - anything higher than ISO 800 on your camera - will give you noticeable noise on the images, but if you don't have any other choice, that's better than motion blur.

    Secondly, try to pre-focus on the precise spot where you want the subject to be in the shot by half pressing the shutter release but only firing the shutter at the exact moment - this will reduce the lag time. Also, your camera has a continuous AF mode and you might like to experiment with that.

    Hope these points are not too obvious and might help you to experiment with settings etc.
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