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Old Oct 18, 2005, 2:23 AM   #11
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Dave Chrismer wrote:
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I shoot literally thousands of soccer pictures using a 20d and Sigma 50-500. I get a very high percentage of in focus keepers, I would say normally about 98 out of 100. First, I agree with not using servo mode, I've tried it and its just not fast enough to keep up. This may be due to the lens more than the camera, but the single shot mode just works better for me. I use the center focus point exclusely. Using the f4 wide open will result in better looking shots, but a few more out of focus, still, you should get 9 out of 10 in focus. I would suggest a monopod instead of a tripod, much easier to follow the action and i believe for this kind of shooting it is just as steady. Don't get your focus set and then wait to take the shot, once focus is set you have to take the shot before the player moves too far. Pre focusing where you think the ball is going to be sometimes helps, that is, if I want to get a goalie shot, I focus on the goalie before the ball is struck instead of waiting. Don't be afraid to bump the iso up to 400 to get a higher shutter speed. I see no appreciable difference between 200 and 400 with the 20d, and I'm gussing you wouldn't either.

http://www.chrismer.net/galleries/Soccer/Metro%20United/Galleries.html
Thanks for your suggestions Dave. I will try shooting in single shot mode next time. The Sigma 100-300 F4 HSM lens is pretty fast, so the lens isn't the problem. I would really like the percentage of keepers that you've got. :-)
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 8:39 AM   #12
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G35Guy wrote:
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I use single shot focus with the center focus point. AI-Servo is kinda crappy in my opinion, it sounds nice, but doesn't work in the real world, at least in my experience.
That's my experience as well - Single-shot AF is IMO the only reliable way to achieve focus and I use the 120-300 f/2.8 EX wide open quite often

I never trust the camera 'smart' especially when it tries to perform anything predictive - It guesses wrong most of the time like the goal post instead of the player. With single-shot AF the camera can't focus anywhere else but what one points @ and none of this prediction stuff of where a subject should be a fraction of a second away...
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 8:59 AM   #13
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NHL wrote:
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G35Guy wrote:
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I use single shot focus with the center focus point. AI-Servo is kinda crappy in my opinion, it sounds nice, but doesn't work in the real world, at least in my experience.
That's my experience as well - Single-shot AF is IMO the only reliable way to achieve focus and I use the 120-300 f/2.8 EX wide open quite often

I never trust the camera 'smart' especially when it tries to perform anything predictive - It guesses wrong most of the time like the goal post instead of the player. With single-shot AF the camera can't focus anywhere else but what one points @ and none of this prediction stuff of where a subject should be a fraction of a second away...
Hi NHL!

So when you take a look at my (poor) misfocussed photos, you can say that it could be a result of the AI-Servo?
I have shot number of objects with this great lens, but have never used it on sports and with AI-Servo. The results were disappointing, almost everything is misfocussed. :sad:

I can't wait to get out and shoot some more soccer,in single shot mode, is my guess. Do you think the results will be sharper?
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 10:01 AM   #14
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IMO the Sigma 100-300 f/4 should be sharper than my f/2.8

I haven't had any luck with any other AF mode beside single-shot mode (and I only use the center AF point) - Theses are not sport, but action shots all the same: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=11

-> Help the camera on where to focus by 1/2 pressing the shutter release, and squeeze it all the way to snap the shot when the red AF point lights up - AI or servo focus tend to pick on the background (or predict something else instead)


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Old Oct 18, 2005, 11:23 AM   #15
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Personally I think AI servo should not have any problem shooting soccer players. they don't move that fast (comparing to birds here). When using AI servo mode, once has to acquire the target (depending on custom fn 4 it could be half press of shutter or * button) and then start shooting while making sure the target is tracked with the center focus point. It does take practice. Your first shot could be bad but most of them should be fine when shot in continous burst. Here better AI servo of 1dMK2 comes real handy. I hoping canon improves the AI servo performace in the upgrade to 20D.


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Old Oct 18, 2005, 11:51 AM   #16
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NHL wrote:
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IMO the Sigma 100-300 f/4 should be sharper than my f/2.8

I haven't had any luck with any other AF mode beside single-shot mode (and I only use the center AF point) - Theses are not sport, but action shots all the same: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=11

-> Help the camera on where to focus by 1/2 pressing the shutter release, and squeeze it all the way to snap the shot when the red AF point lights up - AI or servo focus tend to pick on the background (or predict something else instead)

Thanks again NHL!

Wow those shots were stunning!

I cannot wait to get out and shoot some soccer action again. I will try single shot mode and have a third try on AI-Servo.
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Old Oct 20, 2005, 10:23 PM   #17
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Hello Timberland

You and I are in almost precisely the same situation. I'm also an amateur who shoots sports, surfing in my case. I use almost the exact same set up as you do. I have a 20D body and the Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX lens. Like you, I feel very confident in my equipment but am having a lot of frustration with my results.

Focus is my main problem, as with you. Some shots are sharp, and many shots aren't. I would say at least half of my shots are not acceptably focused, which is not tolerable at all. I feel like I've tried everything and am nearly at my wit's end. I don't want to abandon the Sigma lens, I feel it's a quality piece of equipment and anything I would swap into would require several hundred dollars to be spent. But I don't know what else to think at this point.

I've tried every possible combination of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus point selection, focus mode, etc and nothing seems to be the magic adjustment. No matter what combination of settings I choose it seems to be a crapshoot as to wether or not I'm going to end up with good shots.

I also always use a tripod. For awhile I thought my cheap video camera-style tripod might be the problem. It was a good excuse to treat myself to a nice (expensive) Manfrotto tripod and head. Didn't improve my shots as far as I can tell.

So I wishI was writing to say that I could help you. Maybe we can help each other figure it out? By the way, I had only ever used AI Servo or AI Focus since my subject is ALWAYS in motion and the Canon manual says One Shot mode is "for still subjects". But after reading the responses you got I tried it the last two days. Sadly, I still have many unfocused shots. I just don't know what the heck it is but it sure is bugging me.

About the two photos I'm attaching: they were both taken on almost exactly the same setting (roughly 1/500th at f/6.3, iso 100, center point focus, #1 was on AI Servo and #2 on One Shot. I don't know how well you can see the small, resized image but one shot is beautiful, crisp, clean and tack sharp. The other just isn't.

If you have any Eureka! moments in your trials, please share.

Rob Keaton

Encinitas, California
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Old Oct 20, 2005, 10:24 PM   #18
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That was the 'good' shot, this is the bad one......
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Old Oct 20, 2005, 10:45 PM   #19
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I don't know which technique you are using, but the servo should be good enough for soccer as has been mentioned (should be faster and more accurate than my 10D). Do you keep your shutter halfway down at all times (to keep the AF activated) or do you let it go between shots? If you let go, then the one shot would likely be better.

One thing that both my 10D and 1D have is a custom function that lets you activate focus with the * button. It takes a little getting used to, but you can keep it held down with your thumb as you follow the action and press the shutter release whenever you want a shot.

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Old Oct 21, 2005, 3:35 AM   #20
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srvsd wrote:
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I don't know which technique you are using, but the servo should be good enough for soccer as has been mentioned (should be faster and more accurate than my 10D). Do you keep your shutter halfway down at all times (to keep the AF activated) or do you let it go between shots? If you let go, then the one shot would likely be better.

One thing that both my 10D and 1D have is a custom function that lets you activate focus with the * button. It takes a little getting used to, but you can keep it held down with your thumb as you follow the action and press the shutter release whenever you want a shot.
I know exactly how you feel Rob! I'm not getting rid of any of my equipment, because the Sigma 100-300 is magnificant!

I'm going to give that a try srvsdthanks for that. Somebody on the the Fred Miranda forum gave me exactly the same hint. Hopefully the wether will clear up here in The Netherlands so I can test it!
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