How do you focus for sports events?


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Sep 30, 2006
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#1
Hi. I have started this interesting hobby since last August. I am currently using the Canon 20D. Usually, for static objects, focusing is not a problem. But when it comes to quick action stuffs, I find focusing quite a challange.

This is what I have tried to use:

1. Set to AI Servo
2. Set to Multi-point AF
3. Use high shutter speed (300 or more?)
4. Use large aperture (to gain high shutter speed and good bokeh)

I have tried using quite a number of lenses (the 70-200 f4L, 24-105mm f4L, 135mm f2L etc). My current favourite is the 135mm f2L as I love its sharpness and bokeh.

My questions are:

1. Is my focus setting correct for sports events (eg soccer, swimming, or even walking)
2. Is setting multi-point AF a better idea to single point (centre) AF?
3. Do you set yours to large aperture setting? I usually set my 135mm f2L to around f2 (maybe to f4 or f5.6).

All advises are appreciated :)

Thanks.
 

hacknet

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Mar 20, 2007
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#2
i've tried shooting alittle sports and i've found center spot AF seems to work best with continuous AF, AI servo in your case.. didnt like dynamic AF because theres always a chance the AF system locks on to something else instead of the subject.

i was told that pre focusing also helps but i've yet to get that part right! i'm hoping to shoot some S-league matches sometime soon just for fun!
 

hueyyy

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Apr 22, 2006
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#3
yeap..pre-focus works really well.. maybe try not to be so trigger-happy for the first few games..watch and see how the game moves..learn the game, strategy etc..then try to anticipate..like, when you're shooting someone who's attacking, think like the defender..can get good action shots that way..be prepared though. especially w good players. they can really surprise you with cool stuff! haha. hope that helps. oh. and one more thing. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. haha. all the best.
 

Sep 30, 2006
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#4
Thanks for the tips. I have not tried pre-focusing before. But I guess it's hard to anticipate the action and waiting for the people to move into the pre-focused plane to take the shot. Will try that, but not sure how well it will turn out.

OT a bit. Hey Hacknet, are you still into hifi? I have crossed over from echoloft to clubsnap. Haha, thought photography is less costly than hifi, but I was wrong. Nowadays I spend more time taking photos than listening to music.
 

hacknet

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Mar 20, 2007
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hey.. ive almost sold off my whole hifi setup to fund my camera!

well, i think hifi is still more costly..!
 

kgston

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Jan 23, 2007
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Personally i prefer to set to set my focus to single servo (one shot) cuz i find it hard to keep my subject on the focus point and sometimes the camera ends up focusing on the background, wasting precious time focusing back onto the subject. I also do not shoot with my lens at the max aperature cuz it not very sharp and the DOF is quite shallow esp. at long focal lengths and a little off focus makes a rather large diff. hence i prefer a slighly deeper DOF at abt f5.6

I dunno whether you also encountered such problems, maybe bcos i always use entry level cams hence the focus AI not so gd? haha
 

Apr 10, 2006
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#8
if soccer...can try MF on predicted focusing point...& when target is in sight..OTOT!
 

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