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I went to a daytime Greyhound meeting recently. I used an aperture of f8 for most of them. I also used a 9 point focus area & Continous shooting. I found that with the shots of the dogs when they were racing towards me, generally the lead dog wasn't in focus, but the dogs behind were. I would prefer the lead dog to have been in sharp focus!
My question is - should I have used the 21 or 51 points focus areas or perhaps the 51 point (3D-tracking). I used an aperture in order to have a fast shutter speed, perhaps I should have used f11?
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The problem with "the dugs" is that the lead dog is often a yard or two clear of the pack and the others are bunched up behind it. Any "intelligent" AF system is likely to decide that the bunch is the main subject and focus on that.
I would use a single focus point and, if the dogs are racing clockwise, have it to the left side of the viewfinder. That makes it easier to lock it on to the lead dog with a half-shutter press (or AF lock button) as you pan to track them. If your panning is good, you won't need a particularly fast shutter speed. Try 1/125th or thereabouts. Also, with the D300, you can safely go to ISO 1600 to achieve a smallish aperture if that is what you want.
Yes...use single point AF and make sure the brackets are over where you want focussed. Use the continuous focus rather than single, and the camera should follow focus if it is able.
When I had a Nikon d7000 I posted a similar query. In my case photographing wild birds on the move. I wasted an awful lots of shots, very expensive if it had been film! Although I got some good advice, I ended up switching to Canon. Several members then gave me useful hints for setting up the somewhat overwhelming options on my 7D Canon and now I get a far better success rate. So hopefully some Nikon users can share their knowledge!
Agree with the above. I shoot dogs for cash (no really, go Google Hairy Dog Photography) and use a single focus point on C mode. Greyhounds are particularly difficult though as their heads move up and down so much it's hard to keep focus on their heads! I actually wrote a blog post about just this - hopefully the mods won't mind me linking to it as it's relevant... Hairy Dog Blog
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