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Old Sep 20, 2009, 7:03 PM   #1
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Default Focusing help needed

I have a Canon rebel xs with a canon 75-300 inexpensive lens. I take pictures of my son playing soccer. My problem is that the camera keeps focusing on the trees and such in the background instead of the players in the foreground. I use sports mode which doesn't seem to allow me to pick the focus points. It doesn't happen everytime but more often than not. I try to center most of the pictures but it still focuses behind the subject. It focuses fine on the background so I don't think there are problems with the lens and camera. I believe it to be a newbee user error. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old Sep 20, 2009, 7:37 PM   #2
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Make sure you're close enough. SHoot in portrait orientation and make sure your subject fills 2/3 of the vertical frame and you'll get better results.

Eventually you'll need to get out of sports mode - I'd suggest Av mode.
If you shoot in AV mode and set focus to AI-Servo, frame rate to multiple, set ISO to 400 and aperture to f5.6 you'll be at the same basic settings as sports mode. Then just select the center focus point. As long as you're in portrait and filling 2/3 of the frame and center point only you shouldn't have problems with it focusing on background.

The toughest part is being patient. A 300mm lens only gives you about 40 yards of coverage - which isn't a lot in soccer. But stick to the 2/3 rule and you'll get better results.
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Old Sep 20, 2009, 7:47 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. tim

I was about to post the same advice But John bet me to it.
I guess great minds think alike.
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Old Sep 20, 2009, 8:19 PM   #4
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thanks,
I finally found the button to push to choose the focus point. Great tips thanks again. Any suggestions on a value oriented lens with a larger magnification

Last edited by timnichol; Sep 20, 2009 at 8:21 PM.
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Old Sep 20, 2009, 8:21 PM   #5
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Not familiar with your camera, but with some I have checked out, the sports mode uses the multipoint focusing, and tries to focus on something moving. If you pan the camera, the background is in motion relative to the camera, and it's easier for the camera to predict, so that is where it focuses. Beats me why they would do it like that.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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Not sure where you're shooting from but the goal line is easiest. From there most movement tends to be towards you or away from you and it's easier to track. Standing on the side line you get much more side to side movement.

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Old Sep 23, 2009, 12:22 PM   #7
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From there most movement tends to be towards you or away from you and it's easier to track. Standing on the side line you get much more side to side movement.

Ken
Movement toward or away is easier to keep the subject in the frame but it's MUCH more difficult for the camera to track since the subject is changing focal planes. It's a much easier task for the camera to track a subject moving side to side as the subject stays in the focal plane longer. You also don't have as many issues with the lens focus motor not being able to keep up (which is the case with the lens you are using).

Just wanted to provide clarification on which is easier technique wise vs. which is easier for the gear.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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I stand on the sideline for the pics. I plan on using the AV mode for the next game and I think that will help because I can decide the focus point.


Any suggestions for a good lens that is reasonably priced for shooting soccer???
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 12:55 PM   #9
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Any suggestions for a good lens that is reasonably priced for shooting soccer???
Full field soccer or smaller? Are you just off the line or behind a fence? Understanding the distances involved will help.

Of course part of that is - focus issues asside, are you happy with the reach your 300mm lens is giving you? Or do you wish you had more reach?
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 4:43 PM   #10
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It's a full soccer field and I am on the line if I want. Youth soccer. I wouldn't mind having 400 magnification. 300 does a good job for 3/4 of the field from side to side. Not end to end obviously. I have been searching for something that goes to 400 but the ones I found are pretty steep for me.
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