Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Post Your Photos > Sports & Action Photos

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 15, 2011, 10:58 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 127
Default The DOF Challenge when shooting sports

I’m curious to hear from anyone on what I find to be one of the real challenges of shooting indoor or low light sports with the 85mm f1.8 lens on a crop camera like the Canon 7D that I have––specifically the narrow DOF.

JohnG’s very helpful distance limitation chart posted on this site indicates an approximate maximum range of an 85mm lens at f1.8 is about 25 feet. My experience supports that.

Unfortunately, DOF charts (DOF Master @ http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html) indicate that with a Canon 7D body, the DOF at f1.8 and 85mm focal length for a subject 25 feet away is 24.1 ft in front and 25.9 ft in back of the subject or about a foot and a half.

Perhaps more significantly, at a distance of 10 feet from the subject, the DOF is only from 9.86 ft in front and 10.1 foot in back of the subject or about 3 to 4 inches.

This would suggest that trying to get a basketball players face and the ball both in focus is problematic when staying under the max distance limit.

Narrow DOF is certainly beneficial in making the subject stand out from the background but it (along with a few other factors) really makes getting sharp images a challenge for sports shooters.

Am I missing something?

JohnG: Thanks for posting the distance limitations and thanks for sharing your expertise on all matters photographic––especially on shooting sports. You are indeed a valuable resource for all of us.

Jerry
coachjerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 15, 2011, 12:44 PM   #2
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Jerry - the reality is - you can't have everything in perfect focus. Fortunately, DOF is somewhat gradual - you don't go from completely sharp to completely blurred. The key is to determine what is the most critical part of the image to have in focus. That is usually a player's face. A sport like basketball isn't about the BALL it's about the PLAYERs. When people view a basketball photo they're not looking to see the details of the ball itself. They naturally look at the people. And when the people are a bit blurred, it's noticeable.

So - the easy answer is - MOST of the time the part of the photo that needs to be sharpest is the subject's face. This can be tricky when the photo is 2 people - attacker/defender - but even then, usually it's one player or the other that's your true subject - that's the one you want in sharp focus - that's the one you want to highlight in the photo.

There are exceptions to every rule - but most of the time you want the face in focus. Generally speaking, if you have 3-4 inches of DOF or more the face and torso are often in the same focal plane - the one difference is when you're low to the ground and shooting up at them - in that case you want to be sure your focus point is on the face, not the chest.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2011, 1:11 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 127
Default

Thanks for the insight. I totally agree. For me the difficult part is getting the single focus point on the moving player...sometimes I'm fortunate just to get the focus point anywhere on the subject let alone on the subject's face.
Jerry
coachjerry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2011, 3:03 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Australia, New South Wales central coast
Posts: 2,885
Default

G'day CJ

And to add to the above ...
It's also one of the reasons why 'most' sports shooters also choose a camera body with both of a decent burst-exposure fps and good focus-tracking abilities

While I do a small amount of sports work - more BIF + things on-the-move, the burst rate & the focus abilities work hard. But even then I will only have 10% keepers where the subject is both in sharp focus and in-focus

Regards, Phil
__________________
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Google me at Travelling School of Photography Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
Ozzie_Traveller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 15, 2011, 3:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 127
Default

It's also one of the reasons why 'most' sports shooters also choose a camera body with both of a decent burst-exposure fps and good focus-tracking abilities

That's one of the reasons I went with the Canon 7D...it has high burst rate and good focus tracking ability...at least I think it is suppose to have these capabilities.
coachjerry is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:57 PM.