Need help on focusing in fast paced SPORTS


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munkey

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Apr 25, 2007
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#1
Hi all, using a 40d from a recent 400d upgrade. Most of the time and per this case, I shoot with manual mode and center focus, with autofocus on. Something that baffles me is how the professionals get those spot on clear images of movement in sports, knowing that im only an amateur hence i have much to learn.

Here goes:
Say i am shooting indoors in a badminton hall of people playing with adequate lighting. I am shooting at a constant 1/150 f/4 with ISO 1000 (M mode, no flash required) which is just sufficient to STOP the action when the player makes a jump and a successive smash. While i am able to land some decent shots with AF locked down on the player, the moment is usually lost as I use center focus and by the time i recompose to place the subject at the side, hes out of focus again. Seeking advice from people who have experience here, am i supposed to tamper with AI servo mode or something along that lines? Never touched it before.

THANKS YO.
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#2
You should use continuous focus, and continuous frames.
 

kezumix

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Jun 25, 2007
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#3
Change ur Focusing area instead of centre ? :)
 

munkey

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#4
So you are saying that i should switch back to the 9-frame AF instead of the center AF, would that be better in this case for fast moving objects?

Which one are you talking about for burst frames? AI SERVO or AI FOCUS???
 

CYRN

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#5
So you are saying that i should switch back to the 9-frame AF instead of the center AF, would that be better in this case for fast moving objects?

Which one are you talking about for burst frames? AI SERVO or AI FOCUS???
Use AF-Servo. Forget about re-composing. ;)
 

munkey

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Apr 25, 2007
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#6
Ok the manual doesnt really have a good description of the AI SERVO.

Ok now that i know what mode to use, M mode, AI Servo, how do i go about doing it?

Thanks alot bro i really wanna get the shots right this time :L )
 

CYRN

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#7
Ok the manual doesnt really have a good description of the AI SERVO.

Ok now that i know what mode to use, M mode, AI Servo, how do i go about doing it?

Thanks alot bro i really wanna get the shots right this time :L )
Well, nothing beats practice :angel:
 

crusher

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Mar 4, 2005
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#8
Why do you fixed shutter speed, aperture and ISO? You mean you get the same exposure all the time?
 

Prismatic

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#9
Why do you fixed shutter speed, aperture and ISO? You mean you get the same exposure all the time?
The main concern with sports is usually with speed, so if you already has a shutter speed that's fast enough to capture the movement, there isn't a need to keep changing the shutter speed. That leaves only the aperture size and ISO, but if you are indoors, the lighting condition isn't going to change much either. Sometimes important or good shots are missed when the photographer is fiddling with the setting. I guess it's more important to take a less than prefect shot rather then not having the shot at all.
 

ceecookie

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#10
Tip:Smaller apertures such as F/2.8 will work better in low lighting conditions.
 

ortega

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#11
here is a suggestion

1. decide on shutter speed to stop action
2. choose aperture for some DOF (allow some movement)
3. set ISO speed to get right exposure
4. pre focus
 

hidden3

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#12
i guess what he is trying to achieve here is called panning in other words.
i'm new to photography too, and yes when i shoot moving objects, i got the same problem as you, the subject gets out of focus and the background or foreground get focus instead.
still trying to figure out how to have focus on the subject even if it's moving.

hope you've figured it out how to do it the next time you shoot it! and share some tips with me k! :D
 

munkey

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Apr 25, 2007
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#14
Yeah AI Servo Nails it just right.

But sometimes i feel that its still quite a hit-and-miss although it does work. Doesnt guarantee 100% sharp shots like the Center AF.
 

munkey

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Apr 25, 2007
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#15
I dont really mean panning, Cos in panning the object (usually a car or something) goes from left to right equidistally. Whereas if you were to take a person and he was running at you, the focus will have to keep changing since the effective distance between the subject and the camera lens will keep changing, hence the need to refocus and recompose over and over again. Anyone catch ma drift?
 

#16
i shoot a form of fast-paced extreme sport, tournament style. all i can say is knowing the game and being able to read the game on the field/court well helps a lot in second guessing what's gonna happen next and get u ready for it.

there's already some good advice given out here but the best is

PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
 

jonkk

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Dec 29, 2006
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#17
yo munkey,

As per the advice given,
1. drive mode: burst,
2. AF mode: Servo
3. AF points:multipoint AF.

And in addition, try this via your Custom Functions,
1. Autofocus buttons: AF-on AND AE buttons
2. Shutter button: AE lock (half press) and shutter release (full)

Here's how it works:
1. Lock focus on your subject via the centre point.
2. The centre point will be activated first. Let it lock and track your subject.
3. Holding onto the AF buttons will continute to lock focus on the subject.
4. If it moves off the centre AF point, it will attempt to hand off the focussing to the other 8 points.
5. Result: Increased hit rate, as focussing tracks independently (focussing factor) while you fire at will (time factor)
You're more likely to get sharp images and also the right timing.


Shot at NUS, Rugby 10s: Medicine vs Engineering.
f/4.5, 1/400s, ISO100. Second frame of a three-frame burst.

Technicality aside, it's very important to know the game so you can anticipate. Anticipation includes:
1. knowing WHERE on the field the action takes place (eg. certain action happens at goal mouth, others along flanks..)
2. knowing WHAT kind of action is going to take place (eg. fast break? smash?)
3. knowing WHEN the action takes place (eg. when set pieces take place, when the player is in the right phase of motion..)

Some stuff to think about :) Will change the way you look at the game, where you position yourself, and what you intend to shoot. That being said, practice is definitely important! You'll be able to anticipate the game better, and also get more acquainted with the response of your own camera. The 40D's got a good AF system man, and the AF-on button is such a welcome change, much like the 1D.

About the shooting modes, M is a good mode to shoot in if the exposure is consistent. Like indoors, or in constantly bright weather (notwithstanding clouds). Good way to ensure your shutter speed is adequate and exposure is correct. Outdoors, I prefer to shoot in Av or Tv if lighting isn't consistent.

Badminton isnt too bad, so you wont exactly need Servo. But for high-motion sports like rugby or wakeboarding, you'll proly have greater need for servo.

Anyway, if i do get to see you tmr, i'll explain on the camera.

Hope this helps :)

jonk
 

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