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Thread: Taking sport at 300mm

  1. #1

    Default Taking sport at 300mm

    How to do it? I tried doing 1 ytd, but it failed terribly. Cant focus coz there's too many elements moving around. is manual focus the only way out?

    even so, my manual focus is not so sharp and fast lor.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    use AF servo and 1 AF point and follow the subject around. make sure ur shutter speed and FPS is fast enough as well. then keep shooting. shld be able to nail at least a few.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Galdor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Shoudn't be a problem, a friend of mine used a 400mm G lens at one of my co's sports event and it turned out well. Not sure if my friend is using AF-C though.
    Minolta. Konica Minolta. Sony

  4. #4

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by rphotography View Post
    How to do it? I tried doing 1 ytd, but it failed terribly. Cant focus coz there's too many elements moving around. is manual focus the only way out?

    even so, my manual focus is not so sharp and fast lor.
    takes practice to do handheld.



    Used a cheap 75-300mm at extreme 300mm F6.3 in the evening. Not as bright as i liked but nailed the scenes which was pretty challenging using AF. Just go with whatever settings which works and adjust accordingly to the situation.
    centre weighted + spot is recommended.
    Last edited by Reportage; 1st April 2009 at 01:37 PM.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    a lot of my pics turn out blur. i wonder what object the lens focused on.
    is there a limit to the range we can focus objects? coz i was actually very far from the action. like 1/4 of a field + 8 lanes (of running track) away.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by rphotography View Post
    How to do it? I tried doing 1 ytd, but it failed terribly. Cant focus coz there's too many elements moving around. is manual focus the only way out?

    even so, my manual focus is not so sharp and fast lor.
    not a sports shooter, but from what i know, a lot of the people really into it in the west tend to prefocus, and burst shot it when it reaches the approximate zone.

    of course, the better and the more experienced people will have a higher chance of nailing it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by rphotography View Post
    a lot of my pics turn out blur. i wonder what object the lens focused on.
    is there a limit to the range we can focus objects? coz i was actually very far from the action. like 1/4 of a field + 8 lanes (of running track) away.
    any pictures to show?

    it might be motion blur you are talking about.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by rphotography View Post
    a lot of my pics turn out blur. i wonder what object the lens focused on.
    is there a limit to the range we can focus objects? coz i was actually very far from the action. like 1/4 of a field + 8 lanes (of running track) away.
    Hi Rp,

    I would like to help if I can.

    Could you please tell me the following:

    Equipment and Conditions

    1) What where you shooting/where?
    2) Lighting/weather condition?
    3) Position of the sun (more important: was the sun shining towards you or at any time as you pointed the lens around, did the sun shine towards or into the lens?)
    4) What camera and lens were you using?
    5) How did you set up your AF?
    6) How many points were you using, if you set a particular point, aka, did you 'expand' the AF points of your camera has that provision?
    7) ISO, shutter speed and aperture used?

    Shooting

    8) Before you actually fired, how did you focus/track the subject, and for how long?
    9) As you tracked and fired, did it look (in your VF) like your main subject was in focus most of the time, or did you have difficulty keeping the maion subject in focus?
    10) Were there many athletes criss-crossing each other like in a football game?
    11) What colour of clothes did the atheletes wear? Specifically, did other subjects other than your main subject wear brighter or more contrasty clothes?
    12) What did you do when you felt you had enough shots?
    13) What was your FPS?

    From this basic information, and if you could attach a few of your best and worst photos, we might be able to help you a lot more (specifically) instead of just providing generic advise.

    Why so many questions? Because almost all of the above could and/or would affect the way your AF behaves, how the camera behaves and what kind of shots you end up with.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Hi Rp,

    I would like to help if I can.

    Could you please tell me the following:

    Equipment and Conditions

    1) What where you shooting/where?
    2) Lighting/weather condition?
    3) Position of the sun (more important: was the sun shining towards you or at any time as you pointed the lens around, did the sun shine towards or into the lens?)
    4) What camera and lens were you using?
    5) How did you set up your AF?
    6) How many points were you using, if you set a particular point, aka, did you 'expand' the AF points of your camera has that provision?
    7) ISO, shutter speed and aperture used?

    Shooting

    8) Before you actually fired, how did you focus/track the subject, and for how long?
    9) As you tracked and fired, did it look (in your VF) like your main subject was in focus most of the time, or did you have difficulty keeping the maion subject in focus?
    10) Were there many athletes criss-crossing each other like in a football game?
    11) What colour of clothes did the atheletes wear? Specifically, did other subjects other than your main subject wear brighter or more contrasty clothes?
    12) What did you do when you felt you had enough shots?
    13) What was your FPS?

    From this basic information, and if you could attach a few of your best and worst photos, we might be able to help you a lot more (specifically) instead of just providing generic advise.

    Why so many questions? Because almost all of the above could and/or would affect the way your AF behaves, how the camera behaves and what kind of shots you end up with.
    wow..ok i tink some of the answers can be found in the samples i post below. basically i'm shooting at 300mm at 125/sec or 160/sec, f8-f10 ISO 200.
    was using AF then switch to AI SERVO but AF system was confused by the players running around.

    this one roughly shows the condition and place i took the shots.


    this is another sample where the pic is blur. its only 214mm


    same pic at 100% crop

  10. #10

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    125/sec or 160/sec any reason why limit yourself to such speed?

    for such a sunny day, it should be fine to go faster.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    300mm need 1/500 or min 1/300 and use speed mode. shutter speed 1/focus length basic rules. eg. using 200mm your shutter speed should be 1/200 and above.
    Nikon D600 N35f2, N50f1.4, N24-120f4, Tokina 20-35f2.8, SB900,

  12. #12

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Reportage View Post
    125/sec or 160/sec any reason why limit yourself to such speed?

    for such a sunny day, it should be fine to go faster.
    Quote Originally Posted by STTNP View Post
    300mm need 1/500 or min 1/300 and use speed mode. shutter speed 1/focus length basic rules. eg. using 200mm your shutter speed should be 1/200 and above.
    prolly becoz i had a cpl filter attached and i wanted to go for at least f8.0 tats y the slower shutter speed. guess i'll hv to try without the cpl and go for higher shutter speed.
    i'm juz lazy to remove the cpl filter tats y its there

    but could lens limitation be one of the reasons for blur pics? i tink its quite tough for a cheap lens to zoom 100% into small objects with details? or is there a limit to which a lens could focus on?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    CPL is more for landscapes imo...for sunny days, best is to tweak your exposure settings.

    lens is only responsible for the CA and whatever distortion in the pics but blur is mainly due to the camera body settings and user.

    AF lock speed is no guarantee will be faster the more expensive the lens..just have to know your equipment better.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    I think you don't have the skill or experience yet. Sport photography deals a lot with anticipation as well. You'll need to learn how to "read" the sport as part of the process.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by Reportage View Post
    CPL is more for landscapes imo...for sunny days, best is to tweak your exposure settings.

    lens is only responsible for the CA and whatever distortion in the pics but blur is mainly due to the camera body settings and user.

    AF lock speed is no guarantee will be faster the more expensive the lens..just have to know your equipment better.
    i've experience with L lens where the pics are still sharp at 100% unlike my sigma's.
    i believe better lens do produce better images ba.

    Quote Originally Posted by YSLee View Post
    I think you don't have the skill or experience yet. Sport photography deals a lot with anticipation as well. You'll need to learn how to "read" the sport as part of the process.
    ya i agree. i tried to anticipate too. but that only helps in catching the moment. if pics turn out blur, its still not a keeper.

    prolly i shld try more of these events. i tink if u can master focusing in this kind of events, u can focus in all events.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    L does produce nicer pictures but any shake or settings can still cause blur. Try renting one for the next game and see if it helps cut down number of blur shots.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    1/focal length does not work with sport. You shutter speed needs to be much faster, just imagine using a 200mm shooting at 1/200 you will get motion blur. Don't listen to that.
    Basically for sport, to freeze action you need a shutter speed of 1/500, atleast. I always aim for about 1/800. No cpl is needed for any sport, to stop action. If you have control over your exposure you shouldn't need a filter.

    Sports : 1/500 lowest shutter speed
    Aim for the key action
    Close crop, show expressions on faces
    300mm lens is fine, especially on a cropped sensor.
    AI Servo. One focus point, usually center because it is the fastest on most cameras.
    If the light source does not change, for example inside gym, meter first with AV/TV mode and then swith to manual and use roughly those settings. If your shutter speed isnt high enough, put your ISO up.
    Outside, field sports use low ISO and switch on TV to have a minimum shutter speed of what you think is right and let your aperture change.

    Other aspects :
    Keep your backgrounds clean
    Level your horizons, don't let them tilt.
    Faces faces faces. Usually this is the rule but those rules can be broken.

    Try all this next time and post up your shots. All of us would be more then happy to give you some more pointers.

    Keep shooting!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Frankly, I junked my Sigma 70-300mm due to the fact that I coudn't get decent photos at 300mm or even 200mm.

    For event where I need to zoom, my Minolta 70-210mm F4 aka Beercan is used. Much better results.
    |SonyA700|T180mmf3.5|M70-210mmf4|S30mmf1.4|T17-50mmf2.8|T90mmf2.8|M5600hsdX2|

  19. #19

    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    I think you have most of the answers you'll need from the other replies, especially geeteethree's detailed reply and contribution.

    Also, you did not offer answers to many of the other questions that relates to your equiipment, AF set-up, or shooting technique.

    I'm not being difficult.

    Canon's (I assume since you mentioned L) AF systems can be very specific in the way it works, and even then, it's body-specific to some extent. It took me a while to understand how their AF system works, and once I did get a grasp of the fundamentals, I could nail down one single athlete in a mangled pack, lock, track and shoot, or even when there were other athletes criss-crossing my target.

    A good example of how understanding a camera's AF system works will be crucial to you getting your shots is when shooting high-action sports with very high incidences of your main target being constantly blocked/line-of-sight interrupted like when shooting basketball, rugby, wrestling or even a bunch of kids playing in a field (you'll be amazed at how fast they can move, and how erratic their movements can be, changing direction and blocking each other from your POV without warning in a split-moment!).

    Believe me, even if you bought a 1 series camera, it won't give you guaranteed in-focus results without intimate understanding of how the AF system has been designed and programmed to work.

    All the best in your journey.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Taking sport at 300mm

    Quote Originally Posted by rphotography View Post
    i've experience with L lens where the pics are still sharp at 100% unlike my sigma's.
    i believe better lens do produce better images ba.
    ...
    I believe in your case, the lens would've produced decent results if you fulfilled your end of the responsibility for producing good images, that is knowing your equipment and how to maximise it. Here for instance, why is a CPL even on your lens when it serves no constructive purpose?

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