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Old Dec 5, 2008, 7:53 AM   #1
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Well, I was feeling pretty good about this series until I saw JohnG's post, but I'll put them up here anyway. I'm not sure why, but everything just seems a bit soft... These are not cropped much, I tried to go very easy on noise reduction, but I'm still not getting the sharpness I want - especially in a gym as well lit as this one.

Shot using Canon 50D, 70-200mm f/2.8 or 50mm f/1.8, at 1/400-f/2.8 or 1/640 f/2, ISO 3200. I'm using center point auto focus, AI Servo, shooting in bursts of 3-4 frames, AWB, in-camera noise reduction set to 'Strong'. Comments and suggestions welcome...

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2. OK, for this picture, focal length was 115mm, only cropping done was to center. According to Digital Photo Pro, the AF point was on his left upper arm. Shouldn't this be sharper? He's outside the 3-point line - is that too far away to expect really sharp results?



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Old Dec 5, 2008, 9:54 AM   #2
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You've got some nice shots. But as you said they're not quite sharp. I'm guessing it's a combination of 2 things;

1. The in camera noise reduction - turn it off. Use noiseware or neatimage software.

2.Did you apply any USM? If not that will contribute.

But it does not appear to be mis-focus just general softness which you shouldn't have from the 70-200 2.8

Some good action in these the only other issue is bodies in the way. As in #3 and 6 - just the poor luck of being in the wrong position (or rather others being in the way). #3 for instance would be great from the side but from that angle the shot is less effective. There isn't much you can do about it proactively - it's not like you shot from the wrong spot it's just the chance of how bodies line up in the shot.

As for USM values - that's a camera dependent thing IMO. I use different values with my mkIII than I did with my 20d. Your 50d is completely all together different so I'm not sure how useful the values I use would be. Play with the numbers and see what you get would be my suggestion. But I have a strong suspicion the noise reduction is part of the problem.
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Old Dec 5, 2008, 1:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments John. I'll try the next basketball game with in-camera noise reduction off.. I use Noiseware, but need to spend some more time with it...

I tried a couple different positions at this game. 1. Under the goal sitting the problem with this is the action tends to be so close, framing is too tight (even using the 50mm) - I guess this is one place where full frame would be nice. 2. Sideline about level with the backboard. Here I used the 70-200mm, but again ran into problems with players being in the way (and shooting at backs most of the time).

I've tried end-line, off to one side or the other, but it seems that I attract refs and they always stand in front of me there - not sure what to do about that. Any other ideas for best postion to shoot from?

For USM, I've just been using the basic Auto Sharpen tool in Photoshop or Picasa - it allows me to process all pictures at once - I haven't figured out how to do that with USM in Photoshop (using Elements 7).
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Old Dec 5, 2008, 1:44 PM   #4
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Does elements allow you to create 'actions'? If so just create one - that's what I do. I have to hit every shot live to crop so running the action isn't an issue. USM works much better than generic sharpen tools IMO.

Typically I shoot from along the baseline. For standard games where there's no one else along the baseline I'll slide from one side to the other depending on the ref position. When play is at the other end you can usually tell which ref will end up positioning along your baseline during transition. Simply position yourself on the other side of the basket from that ref. Sometimes they have the annoying habit of sliding along the baseline and ending up right in front of you again, but not usually. Shooting from the side is just way too dificult to get good shots unless you want shots of defenders.
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