Aperture to capture action

rob91

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I've been trying 2.8 and it seems maybe too big. I mean, if you've got an action shot and a small window to capture it isn't it better to set it smaller and have a larger DOF that's easier to work with? I guess better that than to risk losing the shot because you can't adjust fast enough, or maybe it just takes more practice. I'm still in the early learning stages and just curious as to how you all handle this.
 

Big Mike

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It all comes down to what is more important and what you can get away with.

There is nothing wrong with using a smaller aperture for action shots, in order to get more DOF....however, a smaller aperture means a slower shutter speed...and with action shots, shutter speed is usually the highest priority. There's no point trying to get it in focus...if it's going to be blurry from motion.

Focusing for sports/action is certainly a skill that needs to be practiced. Good equipment does help but good technique is what really matters.

If your camera has AI Servo focus mode, you might want to try that.
Try panning with the movement.
Try to anticipate the action and be ready to snap the shot at the peak of action.
You can try to pre-focus...focus on an area where you expect the action to occur...then when it comes, be ready and snap the shot.
 

table1349

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Big Mike is right on with his suggestions. Shutter speed is the key for fast action shots like sports. Another reason for using large apetures is for that smaller DOF. One of the best ways to highlight the action in a sports photo, the same way it is used in Portrait photography, is to have nice Bokeah. The eye is natrually drawn to the action by it being in focus.

One thing that Big Mike touched on that I will add to is knowing the sport you are shooting. Not just how the game is played and the rules, but knowing the teams you are shooting. On every team there are those that shine on offense and on defense. If you know who you action players are at any give time, then you can more easily follow the action and anticipate that shot.

And as Big Mike said, practice, practice, practice.
 
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rob91

rob91

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It all comes down to what is more important and what you can get away with.

There is nothing wrong with using a smaller aperture for action shots, in order to get more DOF....however, a smaller aperture means a slower shutter speed...and with action shots, shutter speed is usually the highest priority. There's no point trying to get it in focus...if it's going to be blurry from motion.

Focusing for sports/action is certainly a skill that needs to be practiced. Good equipment does help but good technique is what really matters.

If your camera has AI Servo focus mode, you might want to try that.
Try panning with the movement.
Try to anticipate the action and be ready to snap the shot at the peak of action.
You can try to pre-focus...focus on an area where you expect the action to occur...then when it comes, be ready and snap the shot.

Thanks Mike, that is some great advice.
 

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