Originally Posted by NHL
IMO you're confusing Depht Of Field (DOF) and focusing....
The two sets of images are not totally comparable as their magnification are different: in the first set the subjects were larger and the DOF were shallower than the 2nd set which has more background into focus which make the images appear to be sharper.
Thanks NHL. Yes I agree about the benefits of shallow DOF and also that the two sets are not totally comparable, I was just trying to illustrate my experience and found two similar series shot within a short period of time. Yeah I wished I had gotten zoomed in more on the second player to match the distance and filled the frame more similar to the first. Then the DOF should have been closer since both were at f/4.
Also, I understand about the zoom ring being one way or another. I just added that and the tightness of the ring to help explain my experience. I am sure if I used the lens longer I would be more familiar with the controls and hopefully get better images. But it ships back in two days and with it getting dark so early now I probably will not get to use it again.