Some issues with focusing...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by viventi, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. viventi

    viventi TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys...

    Recently I've been going to a lot of hockey games and bringing my camera along with me. I have a Canon XSi and a few lenses. I generally use my 1.8 85mm and my 1.8 50mm lenses to take the photos, as it's usually too dark in an arena to use much else without jumping up to an absurd ISO.

    I take a lot of photos when I go, but I notice that a lot of them will have my subject out of focus and the background sharp...I'm not THAT new of a beginner in photography, but I've really been unable to figure out why this keeps happening. I know the fact that the player is moving quickly doesnt make things easy but yeah...anyone on here have any suggestions as to how I can remedy this?

    I've tried changing the AF points, to no avail. Anything you can suggest would be of great help! :mrgreen:
     
  2. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It could be motion blur. You have to be using a fast shutter speed in order to stop the player in their tracks. Something like 1/1000 maybe 1/500 should be good but i'm not too sure what you will need in that situation. Any sample shots?
     
  3. viventi

    viventi TPF Noob!

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    I really dont think it's motion blur...but I could be wrong. It's moreso my camera focusing on the background rather than the foreground. Here's some examples...

    This is the issue I'm having sometimes...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Whereas I have stuff come out perfectly fine and I get this...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. cnutco

    cnutco No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The lens that you have are very fast. It does not take much time at all to focus on the backgrond when the subject moves a tad off target.
     
  5. viventi

    viventi TPF Noob!

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    That's what I figured...is there a way around this though? Should I close up the aperture a little bit to help the DOF? I usually shoot at 1.8. I'm sure there's a way around it that I'm unaware of...I'm just wondering what (if anything) I'm doing wrong...or is it just bad luck.
     
  6. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    General focus setting for sports.

    Single focus point activated. I suggest the center point to start. Once you get real adept with the camera then you can use a single focus point other than the central point and learn to select on the fly.

    Focus mode= AI/Servo


    Focus activation moved to one of the buttons on the back of the camera under your right thumb. I've never used an XSI so you will have to read the manual on what custom function to use to do this. This separates the shutter release from the focus.

    Shooting: Put the single focus point on the subject of the action and track that action/person focusing all of the time. Her comes the hard part. You have to make a choice, you can be a spectator or be a photographer. You can't be both when photographing fast action sports. If you want to shoot sports that camera needs to be at your face and you tracking and focusing on the action continuesly. You also need to anticipate the action and be prepared to trigger the shutter release.

    Takes a bit of getting used to but once you do your keeper rate will go up. Sports photography is my prime interest. Once you get the hang of it you will get addicted. Have fun.
     
  7. ajkramer87

    ajkramer87 TPF Noob!

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    Not sure I can really help with your problem but I felt the need to say go flyers. Nice seats
     
  8. fokker

    fokker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Could be that in poor lighting it is just plain harder for the camera's autofocus to work as effectively. I bet if you were using a 7D or 1D then your issues would largely disappear...
     
  9. viventi

    viventi TPF Noob!

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    I've tried te a/i servo with the focus point in the middle. It seems to help a little bit. Maybe I'm just not doing it correctly. I dont mind being a "photographer" at the game really, sometimes it's more fun than being a spectator, lol. Maybe I'm just not following a player as much as I should, like you stated. The camera is focusing on the object staying still, in this case, the background. If I can keep the player the "static" part of the frame and the background the moving part, it'll focus on the player instead. Should I be holding this button down the whole time? I really dont know how to use it other than how to get it to focus, a friend just told me how to do it and had me try it. He wasnt there to show me.

    I'm going to a game tomorrow, my seats arent as good as the ones in some of these photos and I wont make it there in time for warmups, but I'll try to move up for a bit and take some. I'm going next week, and the week after as well, we'll see. :mrgreen:

    I really should get to more of their practices...and I agree with you, once I started taking photos of sports, I was hooked.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    #1 and #2 were both DOF issues where the focus point is in the background and the foreground is blurred because it is outside the near limted of the DOF. In other words you weren't focused on the action around the net but on the spectators in the background.

    #3 the stick is outside the rear limit of DOF.

    The softness of the near subject in #4 is motion blur.

    #5 is again a DOF issue, players #21 and #5 are just beyond the rear limit of DOF.
     
  11. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you are following the action you should be focusing as well. If you are not and see action you want to shoot it is already too late. The focus has then working to catch up. Following the action through the viewfinder means keeping that one active focus point right on the action/person you want to capture. If you loose it for a second the focus will change and have to catch up again. Practice will make tracking the action easier. Good luck.
     
  12. gardy90

    gardy90 TPF Noob!

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    +1 since its Atlanta
     

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