sharper/better focused images, fast sports?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by shadowlands, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, to make a long story short, I want more "keepers" when I shoot sports. My son plays football. I stand on the sidelines and try to capture images of him in action, etc...
    I get some keepers, but just as many out of focus captures to toss.
    What gives? Could use some pointers. Not looking for better equipment. Just looking to nail focusing more often.
    D800 & 70-200 VRI
    I use "C" continuous and I've tired 9 points, 51 points, 3D, etc.. can't seem to master this aspect of shooting.


     
  2. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Try a single point, or group area af (5 point) make sure he is big enough in the frame to get the focus locked and keep the shutter speed up! Also try and trip the shutter just before the peak of the action rather than randomly burst shooting.

    The nature of sports and wildlife though means you will be trashing a lot of shots anyway.
     
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  3. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time. I shoot in AP at 2.8. Would I be better off shooting in SP?
     
  4. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I swear I once got sharper images with moving sports. I just restored my camera to factory defaults. My glass tests just fine.
    It's something with focusing ability, and or my technique, lack of.
     
  5. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time. I shoot in AP at 2.8. Would I be better off shooting in SP?[/QUOTE]

    Ah, that could be it. In my opinion, yes though there are a lot of people who shoot that way. Personally I prefer shooting in manual with auto ISO so I can set the DOF and keep the shutter speed high enough, I control exposure through the metering mode. I'm a canon shooter so dont know the nikon metering modes but I normally use Centre Weighted Average, possibly a spot meter if the lighting is really difficult but it can be very hard to control. Some places are just too dim lighting wise for sports and you are allways on to a looser unless you can get some flashes in there, but a lot of places that is just not allowed.
     
  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Ron Lane another TPF member does some fabulous sport shots. Here is a link to the posting where he describes his technique. Will need to scroll down some, post #5. HS Football - week 3 I learned something thanks to him.
     
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  7. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Single-point autofocus, turn the multiple points off unless you want your focus jumping everywhere. Manual mode or shutter priority, not aperture priority. Aperture means little unless the area is dimly lighted. Keep your focus point ON THE SUBJECT AT ALL TIMES. Don't let it move off. That means you will have to pan the camera with the subject and that does take some practice. If you want to completely freeze everything in the frame use 1/2000 second shutter speed, possibly 1/1000. Much slower if you want the background to show motion blur, which I personally prefer. Shooting motorsports I typically use 1/125 second. Play with the shutter speed until you get the results you like. If it's dim you'll have to sacrifice some shutter speed to get a decent exposure.

    The important thing is to keep the focus point on the subject at all times. Pan with the subject and don't let the focus point get off him.
     
  8. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    @smoke665 pretty much made my comment for me on this one, huh???? lol.

    The advice you have been given is solid and will help you. I would really suggest the single point focus area to help with the camera from moving the point on you.

    The big thing that I would add to what has been said here is to use back button focus if you aren't already. It will take some getting used and jumping from QB to WR you have to remember to lift and acquire focus again but give it time.

    I will add this as far as keepers. I have a decent keeper rate but there are still nights that I take 325 images and end up keeping only about 100-125.
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    My suggestions:
    3) Read The Manual 2) practice. 1) buy the Thom Hogan Complete Guide to the D800/D810/

    MANUALLY select the starting AF area using the button pad on the back of the camera is a key part of Nikon AF.

    There is a 90% change you have the LOCK ON setting set to the wrong value, since it is in Japanese English, and is utterly backward from what most people think it means.
     
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  10. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LOCK ON? I will look into that.
     
  11. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks!
     
  12. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Single Point Focus it is, moving forward.
     

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