I've hired this lens for the week. to use for sporting shots at a triathlon.
Any suggestions regarding settings would be greatly appreciated.
It's going on my DS3100
Wanting to get some shots with blurred background. Will try panning also.
Shoot it wide open in aperture priority for freezing action like runners, just make sure there is enough light to get a fast enough shutter speed, if not raise the ISO, but on that body be careful of the noise doing that will introduce. For pans shoot shutter priority with slower shutter speed to blur wheels.
What did it cost to hire if you don't mind me asking?
All the 7's: D700, D7000, D70
Thanks for the tips Wayne.
Cost $175 for the week Epoc.
To isolate your subject and get the blurry background, also consider the distance to background behind the subject.
Pick a spot to shoot from where there's a big distance to the background.
You'd also be decreasing the dof the longer the focal length you use and the closer your subject comes but of course the framing will change.
But with the smaller dof you also need to nail the focus.
Try pre focusing on a spot where you want to shoot the subject, lock that focus and wait for the subject to reach that spot then firing the shutter release.
Alternatively if the D3100's AF is up to scratch in continuous AF tracking, try letting it track. I don't know how good the D3100's AF is but given its an entry level camera it may struggle with tracking on-coming subjects.
Finally aim for shutter speeds higher than 1/500. If you can get shutter speeds significantly higher than 1/500 then switch the VR off.
Nice. The first (and most obvious) tip is to get some practice if you have access to the lens and enough time before the event.
I'd set the camera like this:-
Single-point AF focus point - allows you to choose the focus point in the frame. I generally use the centre focus point for sport when people are moving about, however this generally means that you need to crop in pp to get the best composition. You could use an alternate focus point when subjects are in a consistent position within the frame (eg when shooting runners you might use a higher focus point on the subjects head as each runner will be in a similar position in the frame). (Obviously you can move the focus point around to suit each shot but I generally find this impractical when shooting sport).
Focus mode AF-C (autofocus-continuous). This means the camera will continue to focus on a moving subject while the shutter-release button is half-pressed (or the AF-ON button is pressed, if you have one).
To freeze motion you'd probably want a shutter-speed (s/s) of 1/1000 or faster. I'd use auto-ISO in aperture-priority ("A") mode, with the minimum s/s set to 1/1000 and the max ISO set to 3200 (or whatever you're happy with). For panning I'm not sure, but use shutter-priority ("S") mode and maybe try starting around 1/125 and see how you go. If shooting 'non-action' stuff (eg competitiors post event) turn off auto-ISO, or set the min s/s to something lower. (I usually leave auto-ISO on but change minimum s/s to 1/320 or 1/400).
I'd turn on 'burst-mode' (can't remember the proper name), but would use it sparingly (short bursts), if at all. It means that it's ready if you see something that calls for a quick sequence of shots (an imminent crash for example).
If I'm shooting at 1/1000 or faster I generally turn VR off. Anything lower than that I generally leave VR on. Turn VR on for panning, but maybe check the manual for which VR mode (I think it's "Normal" on my older version 70-200 but not sure about the new one).
(I was going to mention depth-of-field relating to subject/background distance but I see Swifty has posted about that while I've been writing this).
Not sure of your general knowledge level, so I'll add a few general points...
Shooting from down low often gives a more 'dynamic' image and tends to make the subjects look more powerful.
Look for emotion in the athletes faces - pain, elation, relief, etc - zoom in tight.
Keep an eye out for small details that help tell the story - bandaged limbs, broken equipment, etc
Keep an eye on the exposure of the subject if you have strong light behind them, such as bright light coming of the water. You might need to dial in some exposure adjustment.
Most of all, enjoy it...
Wow Filum, going to have to print that off and absorb, thanks I'm sure it will be a great help. Thanks to you too Swifty.
Now after attempting to get some practice in before work this morning and getting 'rained' home, not to mention taking some dismal shots, I returned to the road this evening for some more practice and would like to share one photo for some cc please. Hopefully exif data is able to be seen. Please note as far as editing goes i only have Photoshop Elements 5.0 to work with.
This the original image
This is the image that has been cropped and shadows and highlights adjusted
One Click, the lens only does what the camera and the photographer order it to do. Considering the strong back-focus on your last images, you'd be better to master your D3100 first (get the right settings for action shots).
I must be missing something or my eyes are going, cause in the 1st photo of the bike rider you seem to have nailed focus. I am viewing on an iPad, so maybe that's it.
Last edited by Epoc; 20-02-2013 at 10:20am.
One Click, I just wanted to help you. But if you're happy with your shots, it's the most important thing !
Epoc, you'll be surprised if you seen a full-size crop on the above cyclist's head (the one is sharp for you)...
Tell me exactly what needs to be improved. I am open to cc of the images so if you feel there is a strong back focus please tell me how to improve that. Obviously its in the settings, thanks.
One Click, I have the 70-200mm. It is a sensational lens, but it will show up any flaws in technique or inappropriate settings.
To reiterate some of the points above, be careful with your focus point selection and ensure AF-C is the selected focus mode. I'm not sure if the D3100 has a 3D focus tracking mode, but that can be useful (provided it is fast enough).
Finally, I found the lens back focussed on my body which was particularly noticeable at larger apertures (f2.8 - f4). This required a trip to the Nikon service centre for calibration. When shooting in Aperture priority mode and stopping down further (say to f5.6 for example) may give you a bit of a larger focus plane.
Good point, CarlR re: focus accuracy with the particular camera combo.
One Click: have you had a chance to check for this? You might drive yourself crazy with every setting permutation available only to find its the camera/lens combo producing a consistent back focus.
If that turns out to be the case, I don't think AF microadjust is available on the D3100 so you'll then have to stop down for greater dof to allow for the focus inaccuracy. You can still achieve good isolation even when stopping down a bit if you consider the other factors affecting dof.
I think you would have found your money much better spent on buying the 55-200mm (You can pick them up second hand for rather cheap...$150 odd) for daylight shooting as you have done than hired the 70-200mm (which I feel would have benefitted you more if shooting action in low light) for that event.
IMO: I don't think there is backfocus.. it's most likely to be the focusing system itself and the setting. Didn't check the exif, but the chances are high that the camera is still set on AF-S focusing mode. But the time the camera has focused and the exposure is allowed, the bike rider has moved a significant amount forward of where the focus was supposed to be 0.5seconds ago.
As Fillum said, AF-C mode is best used in these situations, and this is where the lens and a better(more full featured) camera would allow the operator more flexibility for capturing the shot with better detail.
I don't think the 55-200 kit lens would have been fast enough to focus mounted on a D3100. A slow to focus kit lens mounted on a consumer level body with a not so advanced focusing system may have made the experience more frustrating.
One Click great to see you out getting some practice...
Which focus-point are you using? If you are using the centre point, you can see from the original image (in post #7) that this will take the focus from around his right hip, which will be a little behind his face in this riding position. Therefore the sharpness of his face is will depend on your depth-of-field (DoF). DoF will be minimsed with a larger aperture, longer focal length and closer subject distance. Try to keep the focus point over the main area you want in focus, most likely the face in this case. If it's too difficult to keep the subjects face in the focus point, aim for the upper chest. (Although in this case the direction of motion is predictable so you should be able to aim for the head in most cases).
Nikon basically have two autofocus modes - AF-S (autofocus single-servo) and AF-C (autofocus continuous servo). In AF-S, once the focus is locked it won't change (while the shutter-release button remains half-pressed), so if the subject distance changes (eg the subjcet moves towards you) the focus won't be optimum. In AF-C the camera continues to re-focus, for example when the object is moving. I think the default focus setting for your camera is "AF-A", which is not really a focus mode itself. What this setting does is allow the camera focus mechanism to determine if the subject is stationary in which case it will use AF-S, or if the subject is moving in which case it will automatically switch to AF-C. I think there's a possibility here that if you accidentally focus on something stationary while framing the shot then the focus will be locked at that distance, which may be what happened in the image in post #9.
The focus (in post #7) looks ok to me - not tack sharp but acceptable (to me) at web sizes. I think it could do with a more sharpening in PP (particularly around the face). Are you doing a final sharpen after resizing the image? Resizing can sometimes cause a loss in sharpness.
Last edited by fillum; 21-02-2013 at 10:23am.
Where do I begin to thank people with their suggestions, thanks so much to all of you.
Now to address some of the things that have been raised. Firstly my camera came with two lenses, one being a 55-300 so I wanted to try this lens before purchase to see if I could handle and master it. It had been suggested to me that for taking action shots it would be good and I am sure it is if I could master it.
Interestingto note AVALANCHE'S comment "...70-200mm (which I feel would have benefitted you more if shooting action in low light)" as the shots I took at 7am in overcast / rainy conditions were very bright.
I am still not having much luck in getting the practice I need. I finished work early today and went down to try and catch some cyclists but there were none to be found due to warm northerly conditions and also a little too early for them so I will try and go out after dinner providing I get the case packed for early departure to Devonport tomorrow.
I have tried an endless amount of settings that have been mentioned here.
One question I will ask is what should these settings on the lens itself be set on:
1.Focus button A/M M/A or M 2.Focus Limiter Full or 5m 3. VR Button On or Off and Normal or Active
Yes I have read your suggestions on these fillum, thanks.
Will check back later to see if there are any further comments, I hope so.
In answer to your questions regarding lens switch settings:
The focus switch - leave it on A/M. (Autofocus with manual override & reduced senstivity of the focus ring)
Focus limiter - I tend to leave it on full and only switch it to 5m where objects will stay more than 5m away (which is probably not the case for triathlons)
VR - On. Normal.
Hope this helps. Hope the trip goes well and post some examples.
Arrived in Devonport just in time to get some shots of the Tri Kids, tri.
CarlR have only now just read your suggestions on settings, had set on A/M rather than M/A should i change it?
CC of the above photo's please they have not been edited in any way as I only have a small mini pc with no editing programs on it.
Tomorrow is the big day.