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I keep getting shots of the fence!

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by Larty, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007
    Hi Guys,

    Shooting lots of co-ed softball games lately.
    I find that in a sequence of a batter going thru
    the motion.. that some picture picks up focus
    with the fence in the backgroup, and the player
    becomes out of focus... any suggestions on
    what to try?

    I use continuous focus, with FPS priority + focus.
    Dynamic group Focus with center priority.
    Focus lock set to normal.. I've also tried long
    but doesn't help lock focus on batter.
    I put the center focus point on the hip of the
    batter and try my best not to move off of the
    hip when the batter is swinging.

    Help? Btw, camera setup is D200 with 70-200vr.

  2. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    Don't use Dynamic group focus because the AF could lock onto anything within the group. Make all the AF points active but "MANUALLY" select the AF point you want to use. Place that AF spot on what you want to stay in focus. For some reason, you seem to place it right on her hip. Absolutely nothing wrong with that though I would prefer to have the player's face in focus as opposed to her hips. i.e. place the AF right on her face.
  3. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007
    Alex.. thanks for the reply!

    So... just to clarify...

    1) So you're saying use single focus and none of the dynamic ones.
    I'll definitely try that for tonight, makes sense. I just keep thinking
    I should utilize the predictive focus technology on my D200 hehe.
    So when do you use dynamic group focus???

    2) When I zoom in on the batter, head near the top of the frame
    and shoes near the bottom of the frame... if I change focus point
    to right on the batter's head.. then I'm giving up the center focus
    point which is a cross type... instead I am now using just the
    horizontal focus type... would it be less accurate?

  4. Jimmy,
    Don't know how much DOF you're dealing with but if Alex's good advice doesn't work out (which it should) you could try MF or AF with the button and releasing it when you shoot.

    Also keep an eye on that darned AF selector button. I just got back from an event to find out it got bumped to closest subject.
    Lots of pics of sharp grass and OOF race cars.

  5. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007
    Don! Howdy?

    Late evening when the sun is setting.. I go with 2.8.
    With the sun still blazing, I sometimes shoot at F4 to
    get more parts of the players in focus.

    That's a great idea.. focus with the AF button and then
    releasing it when I shoot with the shutter button.
    Manual focus? I don't think I can react quite that fast!

    Actually, closes subject priority might not be a bad
    idea.... as the fence is further away so if the cammy
    is smart enough, it will not focus on the fence.. hmmmm!
    I'll probably have to try that as well... Dynamic Group
    Priority type 2 with closes subject priority.

    AHHH!!! Experiment...

    Thanks Don.
  6. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    1. I use dynamic focus, but manually select the primary AF point. I hardly use group dynamic because as much as possible I want to do the thinking not the camera. It's not practical to shoot everything manual but I do try to retain as much control as possible.

    2. I do not have a D200. However, I find the other AF points just as accurate as the center. I always change my AF depending on whether I am shooting vertical or horizontal. In a pinch, I just press the center of the AF selector and the AF will immediately select the center AF point.

    Also, if you are shooting AF+FPS just be sure to not release the shutter until the camera has actually focused and locked onto your subject. A lot of people just press as the action unfolds. Nothing wrong with that especially if you are just shooting for a newspaper. But you have to wait those extra milliseconds if you want something tack sharp.
  7. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007

    Tks for the reply.

    Dynamic focus is where I get the most "fence focus" pictures.
    In dynamic focus mode, I also have the center focus point selected.
    Do you lock the thumb pad? And when you do that, does it lock
    the focus point to the one you choosed? Or does it still evaluate
    the contrast it seems at ALL focus points since it is Dynamic mode?

    When previewing some pictures in Dynamic mode on my camera and
    looking at which focus point was used... sometimes a picture shot
    in dynamic mode will have NO focus points selected... It could be
    the camera was still looking for focus but the shutter fired because
    the continuous mode was set to fps priority rather than focus priority.

  8. acena


    Mar 14, 2006
    New Jersey
    Nothing wrong with AF+FPS, which is also my preferred setting, but you have to wait until your camera has locked on. I do not use the lock because then I cannot changed the AF point without unlocking it. Now if you plan to shoot one way over the other then maybe you would want to lock it. But if you are constantly changing, then do not lock it.

    In dynamic mode, the camera will focus primarily on the point you select but use all the information from the other points to track your subject.
  9. Larty


    Apr 12, 2007
    Tks for the response.

    I'lll go out to experement some more... =D
  10. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    i use single af and the center one usually...don't forget to set the lock switch
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