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I've just started taking images for my local professional team, not my usual thing and finding that i'm only getting about 20% of my shots in focus. Probably just need to practise, practise and practise a bit more. Thought maybe someone maybe able to give me any tips ? I'm using a D800 with a 70-200 2.8 lens attached, on AF-C with 21 points selected. I've no problem using a high ISO to keep my shutter speed up ( usually above 1/500 ) and all planted on top of a very stable monopod. I seem to taking the shots at the right time to get the 'action' shots but sod's law , they are the ones that are out of focus, normally by a very small margin. But its highly frustrating !!! Is there anything else i can do to improve ?
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Can you give some examples? What lens are you using? What settings on your camera?
Basically, the D800 is not suitable for sports photography, but its certainly the best for landscape and studio work. The D700 is a better camera for sport or if you want to splash the cash, the D4 is the daddy for that type of photography. You say you have a 70-200mm lens, but what make? Some lenses are great sports lenses, where others not so good. Also, are you taking shots in RAW or JPEG? As you know, the D800 RAW files are very large and take a lot of processing, even with fast memory cards. Also, any movement with the D800 and your images will be blurred and not sharp. Try shooting in JPEG if you don't at present. You certainly need to shoot at an ISO of around 400 and a shutter speed reasonably high with the D800. Its the same old saying, horses for courses. Also the D800 has not got the fastest AF, so will not help you getting those sharp shots you're after. Try manual focus. Set your camera up for a certain area that you are trying to get your shots before taking them. Like you say, practice makes perfect.
Quote: Basically, the D800 is not suitable for sports photography
Quote: Also, any movement with the D800 and your images will be blurred and not sharp.
Can you explain that? Why would the D800 make an image blurred? If you say this is due to the greater resolution then that will be the case only if you view the image at 100% (which by definition will be a physically larger image than a 8MP/12MP/24MP at 100%) - but if you look at the same physical size it will be no more blurred but have more detail.
Quote: Try shooting in JPEG if you don't at present.
Are yous aying RAW is blurred so shoot at lower resolution to make it not blurred?
Quote: I'm using a D800 with a 70-200 2.8 lens attached, on AF-C with 21 points selected
Camera/ lens is deal for the job.
You want focus to be on whomsoever has the ball, so centre and follow the ball in the viewfinder. Set the focus to spot focus or centre or whatever you have. Don't use high frame rates to hose the action, pick it out, select it. You won't get good results by luck.
Use high ISO rather than wide apertures, if you can stop down to f8 you give yourself and the camera great deal more leeway over focusing. The camera has a fast focus and tracks well, according to the tests so it is well suited to sports. But honestly any camera with decent focusing and a shutter speed over 500th would do. Very few modern lenses are too slow for using on football, if any and any f2.8 model should be well up to the job. With that 36mp capture, you have plenty of scope for cropping, so don't worry about filling the frame all the time.
Football does not require specialist equipment, it requires skilful photographers!
Football is not a particularly fast moving sport and your best results will be from applying concentration and predicting where the action will go. So, as you say, practise, practise, practise. It's they key.
I used to work with some of the best highly experienced Fleet Street football photographers in the business. What made them the best was deep knowledge and experience of both their (by modern standards crude) equipment and the game. They turned out about 2 in 3 sharp pix on manual focused 300 and 400mm f2.8 lenses, often used wide open.
Twenty per cent is not so bad at a time when it is fashionable to take thousands of pictures at any event. 5000 pix gives you 1000 sharp ones! That's a joke, by the way
Up your shutter speed to 1/1000th and see what happens.
Bit of camera snobery going on i fear , your camera and lense should be fine for most action. I used to use a Olympus e500 with a f4 70-300 lense 90% sharp .Use single focus on centre and pre-empt , say at corners focus on pen spot hold shutter half down, press full when action is in the area my focus is constantly beeping as i adjust , focus on the grass at a players feet you will focus at roughly the right distance, try and focus on a moving player and miss, the stand on the other side of the park will be in focus!
As said above practice is the key . Iknow have a e3 olympus with I.S. and the same F4 70-300 and with more practice have 99% record...
You may find that it is your panning technique which is letting you down, it is very easy to get excited and end up panning too fast. Also I would try some without the monopod, you might find it is restricting your movement just enough to result in blur.
Anybody who says the D800 is not good enough is talking rubbish, especially with that lens. I have a 70-200 2.8 and it is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used!
If the shots are definitely soft focus rather than suffering from motion blur try selecting fewer focus points. Start off just using the middle one, you could find that unknown to you it is using one of the ones not pointing at your intended target.
Practice, practice, practice and then post your pin sharp results with the title 'If I had a better camera just think how good I could be'.
Have a read here, the settings wont be any different on the d800 as far as i can see http://johnfriend.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/nikon-d300-auto-focus-for-sports-i.html
Quote: Basically, the D800 is not suitable for sports photography
This a quote from a review with cameralabs: "Overall the D800 will have a good stab at tracking fast action, but it's not really designed as a sports camera".
I have read a few reports saying its not a good camera for sports shots, but for general photo use, its the best in class. Having been able to get my hands on one prior to its release, I found it a staggering camera for landscape and portrait work and nothing can really touch it.
Mikehit, the slightest movement with this camera and the image is not sharp. Ask people on here who have one. One member said he was having problems getting sharp images hand held. 36MP is a very large image. I am saying for him to shoot in JPEG as he can fire far more shots and hopefully get some of them that are sharp. Using a 70-200mm lens also may not be a large enough lens to get the close up shots he's after and will have to crop to get the shot. This could also be one of the reasons his images are blurred.
I'm going to ask what would make the D800 a better portrait camera than any other.
AF-c sounds right - I'd try more of Lemmy's sugestion of spot focusing where there is a single centre subject.
Not wanting to drag up the D800 debate again, but...
Quote: the slightest movement with this camera and the image is not sharp. Ask people on here who have one.
The slightest movement with any camera (at the wrong speed) means the image is not sharp. The fact that the D800 has such a high resolution means that the movement is easier to see and therefore the camera is less forgiving to mistakes. That DOES NOT mean the camera records at insufficient speeds or is incapable of recording sharp images of moving objects. You just have to get it right
Quote: This a quote from a review with cameralabs: "Overall the D800 will have a good stab at tracking fast action, but it's not really designed as a sports camera".
In comparison to the 5D3 (in other words good but not as good as the best). The D800 has the same AF as the flagship d4 (sports!) camera so what is not to like? The issue seems to be buffer refresh rate so ifyou can anticipate and shoot short bursts where so the problem?
Quote: the slightest movement with this camera and the image is not sharp.
Any camera will. How are you looking at the images: 100% or 'fit to screen' (or similar)? The former will look more blurred the latter should not. If I remember correctly the person who could not get a sharp image was doing the former.
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