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Old Aug 16, 2011, 8:08 PM   #11
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RAW slows down continuous shooting a lot. For any kind of sports/action photography, I suggest you stick with Large Fine JPEG.

EDIT: ... and use some large, fast SDHC Cards.
OK, I'm not a sports shooter My only experience in that area is my kids t-ball. So correct me if I wrong. But I have played with burst mode on my old D50 and my D5000 and I see no real difference in speed shooting RAW (keep in mind that these cameras have slower fps to start with) There can be a buffer issue if you hold the button long enough but at that point you might as well be shooting video. So it seems to me shooting RAW would still be a good idea as it will allow you better correction of exposure and color wich might be needed under these conditions. With a lower end camera timing might serve better than spray and pray anyway.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 9:00 PM   #12
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The easy answer to the issues caused by aperture priority is to use manual exposures. ...
The single issue caused by aperture priority is that the aperture is really big and the depth of field is really small. Using M Mode doesn't change that.

And, btw, Active D-Lighting works in M Mode too, as does Auto ISO.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 9:04 PM   #13
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On that last point I've found with my 7D that continuous shooting high quality RAW + JPEG @ 8fps is only maintained for a couple of seconds till the buffer fills up. That's using a fast memory card. So if "spraying and praying" in future (something I try to avoid) I'll turn off RAW.

The rest of this thread seems to apply to most cameras - it certainly applies to the 7D.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 9:21 PM   #14
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OK, I'm not a sports shooter My only experience in that area is my kids t-ball. So correct me if I wrong. But I have played with burst mode on my old D50 and my D5000 and I see no real difference in speed shooting RAW (keep in mind that these cameras have slower fps to start with) There can be a buffer issue if you hold the button long enough but at that point you might as well be shooting video. So it seems to me shooting RAW would still be a good idea as it will allow you better correction of exposure and color wich might be needed under these conditions.
RAW will cut the frame rate in half at best, even when using very fast cards.

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With a lower end camera timing might serve better than spray and pray anyway.
One of the things that happens with sports/action/wildlife photography is that you really don't know when the action is going to happen. You don't know when a hockey player is going to take a shot, not because the player doesn't want you to know, but because the player doesn't want the players on the opposing team to know. So you start shooting when you think it might happen, and you stop either after it has happened or when you know it won't. When a soaring raptor is overhead, you start shoooting when it's coming toward you, and you keep shooting as long as it does because it keeps getting bigger in the frame, and you stop shooting as it starts to turn becuase it's stopped getting bigger.

So "spray and pray" as you call it, means that you'll get the shot you want, at the cost of some others you don't care about. There's no praying involved; getting the shot you want is almost a certainty.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 9:27 PM   #15
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The single issue caused by aperture priority is that the aperture is really big and the depth of field is really small. Using M Mode doesn't change that.
I don't think you got his point. Basically, as I understand John's view, you want to use spot metering to get the exposure right for, e.g., the gymnast's face. But an actively-moving subject will be hard to keep on-meter. So, instead, you meter for what you are trying to get right and set the exposure once. Then, when the spot falls off-meter, you don't care -- you just concentrate on getting the composition you need. The aperture and shutter speed aren't going to slip out from under you if you are in manual mode.

I am working on figuring out how I feel most comfortable with action shots right now. So far, I am staying with aperture mode and using exposure compensation adjustment for my exposure foul-ups in post. But I can see that you might well want both a given aperture and shutter speed, and adjust ISO to give you those. In that case, manual seems like the right way to go. I may end up there for my action tele shots once I get more confident that I know what I want to achieve. As of now, I'm still creeping up to an approach I can believe in. For one thing, I don't have the sense yet of what shutter speed I even want to shoot for with many action shots. But I can imagine that I may, at some point, be in a position to use John's suggestion productively.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 10:02 PM   #16
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I get JohnG's point. I also know that sometimes in my own experience, lighting conditions change during the course of a competition, and sometimes depending on where you happen to be pointing the camera at any particular point in time. Keeping the metering active during an event means I'll always get the camera's best effort at a correct exposure. And I can adjust the exposure in post-processing after shooting in A Mode just as well as he can after shooting in M Mode. (well, maybe.)

Perhaps one method works better for some people in some circumstances than for others in others. Try everything and pick what works best for you most of the time.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 6:49 AM   #17
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The single issue caused by aperture priority is that the aperture is really big and the depth of field is really small. Using M Mode doesn't change that.
Actually two points:
First: the biggest issue with aperture priority OR auto-iso is that you're letting the camera choose values and the camera can get it wrong - do to background color/brightness or uniform colors. THAT is the single biggest problem. That's why most sports photographers that shoot sports like the ones we're talking about use manual exposure. It's not like the horse riding you shoot - where riders are going in front of windows and such. Gyms and arenas don't have that drastic variable lighting. When lighting is constant there is zero benefit to allowing the camera to decide the correct exposure and a lot of bad can happen based on unimportant elements influencing how the camera meters the scene.

Wide apertures and shallow DOF are desirable in quality sports images for gymnastics / hockey. Whether shooting aperture priority or manual you really want to be using those wide apertures to limit the influence of horribly distracting elements in the background. That's one of the reasons the high end nikon sports shooters love the d3s and d700 full-frame approach - shallower depth-of-field for subject isolation.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 8:53 AM   #18
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RAW will cut the frame rate in half at best, even when using very fast cards.
As I said I have not found that to be the case with my cameras, but my camera have a relatively slow frame rate to start with. This may be a case of frame rate/write speed ratio. Each photographer should test their equipment to see what works best.


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So "spray and pray" as you call it, means that you'll get the shot you want, at the cost of some others you don't care about. There's no praying involved; getting the shot you want is almost a certainty.
I understand the concept. My point was that lower end cameras will not be able to keep up with an extended burst. So the photographer will have to be more selective. And the better they can anticipate the action the better their chances.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 11:26 AM   #19
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One of the things that happens with sports/action/wildlife photography is that you really don't know when the action is going to happen. You don't know when a hockey player is going to take a shot, not because the player doesn't want you to know, but because the player doesn't want the players on the opposing team to know. So you start shooting when you think it might happen, and you stop either after it has happened or when you know it won't.

So "spray and pray" as you call it, means that you'll get the shot you want, at the cost of some others you don't care about. There's no praying involved; getting the shot you want is almost a certainty.
Agree and disagree. For sports - the VAST majority of peak action is predictable. Part of being a competent sports shooter is learning to predict that. If you're taking 10 shot bursts of every play in hockey or football or soccer you'll end up with a ton of garbage. And, even with the best cameras end up missing the good action.

With hockey, football, soccer what you typically want is interaction between the two sides - so you're waiting until that action occurs - when it does, you take 2-4 shots. If the action breaks away you stop. If the interaction continues you may take a longer burst. But typically you're only taking a few shots. When a player is breaking away - it's a waste of time, memory etc to rattle off 30 frames. You might take a 3 shot burst of them in the open but then you WAIT for the critical moment to occur.

The other side of sports shooting is trying to get certain types of shots: so instead of trying to take photos of everything like a fan you plan for the specific type of action and wait for it.

If you aren't adept enough to predict the action you'll end up with thousands of poor images. And you'll spend an eternity going through them. Burst shooting is important but you need to do it with a knowledge of the sport and the type of shot you're after. So, you predict the action (or react to it) and take short, controlled bursts. I typically fire 2-4 frames at a time so I have several shots around peak action. If you take too many extra shots it really elongates post processing time.

So yes I agree burst shooting is important. But it's no replacement for knowledge, understanding an planning. 100 boring shots isn't all that helpful - but if you can have 15 shots with 4 interesting - now you're going to be more successful.
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 8:27 PM   #20
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RAW will cut the frame rate in half at best, even when using very fast cards
It doesn't with my 7D. It works at full speed (8fps) until the buffer's full, then it stops. That's taking RAW + HiRes JPG

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So "spray and pray" as you call it, means that you'll get the shot you want, at the cost of some others you don't care about. There's no praying involved; getting the shot you want is almost a certainty.
There is with my 7D. I pray that the buffer doesn't fill and the camera stop before I've got the crucial shot.
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