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Old Feb 7, 2009, 10:40 PM   #1
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For some reason while shooting basketball recently I have been struggling. The players just don't seem crisp and clear while objects behind them are clearer. I've done a lot of reading today about this subject but I think I have become more confused. I may ask some stupid questions but please stick with me.

When shooting at the game I'm using a Nikon D70 with a 50mm /f 1.8 lens and I'm shooting in aperture priority with the f stop at 1.8 and sometimes at 2.8. Is it ok to use aperture priority? Or do most use shutter priority? And why?

Should I be setting my metering to something specific? I thought spot would work fine? And the other setting is single spot, dynamic area or closet subject which is best? And would this setting be the reason my players aren't crisp but some objects behind them are?

The other areas I'm confused on are the settings of AF/AE lock or AF-L and AF or AE, lock which should I set my camera to?

I certainly will appreciate any help anyone can give thanks again!




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Old Feb 8, 2009, 8:54 PM   #2
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If you post some pictures here with examples of your issues, you might get some responses. I'll try to get you started..

1. You should really use manual mode for exposure. What I typically do is use Av to get close, then set manual based on what I get. Use spot metering and set exposure based on FACES - jersey color could affect exposure greatly.

2. The reason players aren't crisp is that the camera is focusing on something other than the subject. Be sure to set your camera to center-point focus, then get the subject into the center - your hit rate will improve. Remember that the depth-of-field at f/1.8 is REALLY shallow - only about 1ft +/- at 15 ft using your 50mm f/1.8 lens..

3. I'm a Canon guy, so I don't know what the other settings are.. Again, go ahead and post some pics.. You'll likely get more specific responses.
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Old Feb 9, 2009, 6:11 PM   #3
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I agree posting some shots might help.

A major problem could well be that the lens is too wide. When shooting with a 50mm lens then you only have an accurate working range of about 15 feet if you are outside of this then you will get more and more focus issues. Realistically you will want to shoot with something like an 85mm lens for anything other than below the hoop shots.

What focus mode are you using? You need continuous. Also you need to only use the centre point and ensure you are tracking the player for a second or so to allow it to 'lock on' and get a good focus. If you keep losing the player out of the centre spot then you will likely have the problems you are mentioning. Sports shooting looks easy but it is one of the hardest things to do technically as you need to master good panning skills and an eye for the action.
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