I am struggling getting my subject in focus when I am taking actions shots. I have failed at this task in many ways. I think I have the wrong settings on my camera. I will explain my most recent failure.
I tried to take a photo of a hawk flying by me in an animal show. The hawk was flying fast and I managed to get the background in focus but the hawk was blurry. The hawk only flew about 10 feet from me. Below are the specs and settings of my shot. I would GREATLY appreciate any advice on how to get this shot.
Camera is a Nikon D300. Lens is Tamron 17-50 mm 2.8. The camera was set on Aperture priority and the aperture was 3.2. It was a sunny day in St. Petersburg, Florida. The metering was set at center weighted metering. The autofocus was set at Dynamic area autofocus. The focus mode selector was set to Single-Servo Autofocus,however, I think I also shot photos with Continous-servo Autofocus and I still got blurry subjets. The bird was flying in fast so I set the Release mode indicator to continous high speed.
I think the root of my problem is getting the subject in focus when you are shooting continously using the continous high speed mode. Again, I would appreciate any advice.
#1. "RE: getting subject in focus in an action shot" In response to Reply # 0
Two major things to change: first, you MUST change from single servo to continuous focus. I'd set it to single point too, until you learn the AF system. Then the way to get this is to put the AF target onto the subject EARLY, then track it (AF activated, meaning half-press the shutter or AF-ON button) until you want to take the picture. Then squeeze the release smoothly when the right time arrives.
when you use AF-S (single servo), the camera moves to focus, then locks in - and stops. If your subject is still moving, as in this case, the frame is out of focus. In AF-C, the camera keeps adjusting continuously. The more advanced ones - the D300 is certainly one of them - even calculate where the AF will be a few milliseconds ahead of time, since the camera can run at high enough frame rate that the AF sensors are blacked out a considerable proportion of the time.
With AF-C and an early lock-on, you can shoot blazing fast things, even with slow lenses. Your D300 will certainly capture Indy cars at 240 mph - I've seen it done.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: getting subject in focus in an action shot" In response to Reply # 0
Berwyn Heights, US
Continuous focus and Dynamic area focus with the 9 or 21 pt setting should get you there, but the other element is simply practice and skill panning with your subject so you can lock on focus to begin with. It's not easy but with practice you can get the hang of it. If the hawk was only 10 feet away, it sounds like you would have had to react and focus very quickly making it even more difficult.