Shooting moving objects?


TPF Noob!
Jan 12, 2009
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Midland, MI
I had the pleasure to be able to see training flights at Luke AFB in Goodyear, AZ...I love military jets, and F16s happen to be my it was a great experience. I took a ton of pictures, but I was disappointed to find that most of them were blurry. I was using a fast shutter speed and a medium aperture (F11 I believe on Av) and tried panning with the planes using the center AF marker only and keeping that right on the center of the plane. I was also in AF Focus mode (Canon Rebel XS). I tried with both the regular and telephoto lens. I got a few sharp-ish shots, so I'm happy about that, but most of them turned out blurry. Just wondering what tips/techniques there are to make the main subject in motion crisp every time?
If you are trying to "pan", then using a fast shutter speed is pointless. How fast can you "pan" at 1/60th of a second. You want to get down to 1/10th of a second and slower if you want pan shots that simulate motion.
Probably nothing wrong with your exposure settings, but perhaps you should be shooting fast moving subjects in AI Servo AF. AI Servo locks onto the moving subject and "tracks" it to keep it in focus using the camera CPU to calculate your moving subject motion and correcting constantly.

Give it a try and see if your shots of action improve....:thumbup:
I'm not sure on the shutter speed. I think it was faster than 1/60 though because it was pretty bright outside. Some of them turned out pretty good, but others were still blurred. By "panning" I just meant I kept the button down to focus and kept the center AF point on the plane as it moved. I thought I should have been in servo mode...I can't believe I didn't change it!

So when the object is moving, as fast of a shutter speed as possible with a medium aperture (good DOF but still quick), and maybe an ISO of 200? I was shooting at ISO 100 and f11 I believe.
I hope it was faster than 1/60 with it being bright outside, that looks like a slow shutter speed for an aperture of f11 if you want to capture something moving fast.

If you were shooting with a 70-200 telephoto, then your shutter speed should of been at least 1/250 just to avoid camera shake.

For the motion freeze, you need a fast shutter speed. You should vary your ISO and Aperture to ensure you have a fast shutter speed. If its really bright and you are shooting ISO 100, you may need to have a really small aperture to ensure a fast shutter speed.

Panning would be that you have a slow shutter speed that enables you to follow the subject AS the picture is being taken. If you are panning at the same speed as the subject, you should get the subject in focus and the background blurry / streaky.
Also remember if the background of your shots was a solid blue sky, then trying to capture motion by panning would be pointless, because there is no detail in the background to blur. :p
The panning was the right idea. I don't know what ISO you were using, but with an aperture of f11, I doubt your shutter speed was fast enough.
Why were you using f11 & Av? Seems like a small aperture. If very bright conditions then use Tv priority (shutter speed or Time Value priority).

You need to make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the object and also that you do not get any hand shake!

Here's one of mine. 1/500 f8 ISO200

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