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Old Oct 16, 2005, 8:57 AM   #1
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Hi there,


I'm completely new (shooting for 3 months now) with DSLR photography. Last week it was the first time I tried to shoot some soccer. Unfortunately only about 4 of 150 shots were kind of sharp.

Today was my second attempt. And yet again, I shot about 150 photos and there wasn't a single one (tack) sharp.
What am I doing wrong. Please help me!


I'm shooting with a Canon 350D, Sigma 100-300 F4 lens (AI SERVO, Center focus point selected, tripod used).
Here are some examples:

1. 1/1250", F4, ISO 200




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100% crop:

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2. 1/2000", F4, ISO 200 (looks back focussed)

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100% crop:

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3. 1/2000", F4, ISO 200

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100% crop:

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4. 1/800", F4.5, ISO 200

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100% crop:

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Pleas help me!

Thanks.

Tim
--
http://www.sukotec.tk
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Old Oct 16, 2005, 9:30 AM   #2
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I typically don't use the AI servo, just have my center focus point. You might try a smaller aperture, say f/8,at wide open f/4 your depth of field is going to be shallow, so only a small portion of the scene will be in focus. You will not get as fast of shutter speed but in the bright sun light that shouldn't be a problem, you will still more than likely at least get it to 1/500 which is plenty fast enough. You could also try a few shots with it set to A-Dep, this mode will try to bring everything into focus, but will activate all the focus points.
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Old Oct 16, 2005, 10:10 AM   #3
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Caboose wrote:
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I typically don't use the AI servo, just have my center focus point. You might try a smaller aperture, say f/8,at wide open f/4 your depth of field is going to be shallow, so only a small portion of the scene will be in focus. You will not get as fast of shutter speed but in the bright sun light that shouldn't be a problem, you will still more than likely at least get it to 1/500 which is plenty fast enough. You could also try a few shots with it set to A-Dep, this mode will try to bring everything into focus, but will activate all the focus points.
Thanks for your reply Caboose.
I like a narrow aperture like F4, this is one of the reasons I got this lens. I don't want everything to be in focus. Just the subject that I've focussed on (the player(s)). This should work perfectly.

Has someone else got any suggestions. I want sharp action photos! :-)
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Old Oct 16, 2005, 6:04 PM   #4
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Soccer season here has almost finished I shoot in just about every condition possible. What I use for equipment is:

Canon 300Dw/ Sigma 70-300(hand held)or Sigma 170-500 (monopod)

General settings are Tv Mode, Shutter speed set at 1/1000 but can go as low as 1/640 depending on conditions. I don't worry about the F stop. Don't know if this will help. If you would like to see some of my work got to:

http://www.geocities.com/k1par/gallary.html
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 7:49 AM   #5
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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. I imagine your out-of-focus shots are a result of AI-Servo...don't forget that the focus area isn't contained to just the little focus square. Most likely what's happening is thatas the camera is adjusting focus, the center point comes off the player a little (assuming you aren't keeping the camera still and are panning at least a little)and the camera adjusts focus to be incorrect and then you shoot.

I do very little sports shooting myself, but of the shots I take, probably 50% have the wrong subject in focus and it's almost always b/c as I pan to catch the action and press the shutter button for focus, the focus point isn't 100% where I want it.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 7:50 AM   #6
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To my untrained eye, it looks like it is a problem with your focussing. To me it looks like parts of the phot are in focus, just not the part syou want to be. This I think is compounded by the shallow depth of field you are using.

I would guess that accurate focus (ie the bit you want in focus)and shallow depth of field in a high action sports setting is a very challenging task indeed.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 8:23 AM   #7
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I have to agree that the focus is simply not on the object of the picture. In your second shot, it seems to be on the goal frame...

On the other hand, with the type of wheather of the last few weeks, you can go to f8... for once, we do not lack light in the Netherlands!!!

I had a look at http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

With 200mm focal length, focusingan action 25m from you at f4, the dof is 2.36m. With f8, you are at 4.75m dofwhich will give you more confort and still fit you goal to have only the players sharp...

My 0.02€
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 12:56 PM   #8
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If you have a f4 lens why shoot at f8. Most of people shooting soccer use 300/400mm f2.8 so DOF is not a problem. Something wrong with the lens if this is only happening with this particular lens. Have you tested the lens using stationary object.


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Old Oct 17, 2005, 6:22 PM   #9
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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
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 3:21 AM   #10
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bobbyz wrote:
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If you have a f4 lens why shoot at f8. Most of people shooting soccer use 300/400mm f2.8 so DOF is not a problem. Something wrong with the lens if this is only happening with this particular lens. Have you tested the lens using stationary object.

Exactly! I've got a F4 lens, and I want to use the F4.

I've also tested my lens on a stationary object and the results are super sharp. I used this lens before on my holiday to Australia and the results were very satisfying. The lens is a HSM lens, so it's very fast to focus, so that's also not a problem.

I think it's just the AI-Servo (or my technique).
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