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Old     (whitewookie)      Join Date: Jul 2004       02-13-2006, 10:46 AM Reply   
I was at Supercross this weekend and took a bunch of photos during practice. I have a Nikon D70 and was using the Nikon 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6. Most of the pics were out of focus and very fuzzy (I will post some examples tonight when I get home). I was shooting in apature mode at 5.6 at 300mm. Shutter speed was around 600. My question is would the 80-200mm f/2.8 fix this problem because of the fast internal auto focus or should this lense work fine and I just need more practice?
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       02-13-2006, 5:17 PM Reply   
You can get a higher shutter speed by turning up the ISO, 1 stop more shutter for every raise in 1 full ISO level. for example if you're at ISO100 in AV mode and your camera is metering 1/600th you'll get something between 1/1000th and 1/1250th just by bumping the ISO to 200. But that won't help if the lens isn't focus tracking the rider properly. Post a shot, it's pretty easy to tell the difference between motion blur and an out of focus shot.
Old     (whitewookie)      Join Date: Jul 2004       02-15-2006, 8:34 PM Reply   
Rich, what do you think. After reading your post, I think the problem is the low shutter speed.

Old                02-15-2006, 10:24 PM Reply   
That looks pretty sharp to me. Your depth of field is shallow because of a large aperture (small f number). Your shutter speed seams fine (you froze the wheels, which I assume were spinning). I like the picture a lot. Stop your lens down, or get closer and use a shorter focal length (probably not an option), and your depth of field will get bigger.

Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       02-16-2006, 6:32 AM Reply   
That's a nice shot! Since the rider is approaching you and you're not panning you could get away with a slower shutter, which would give you some wheel motion.

The shot below of my Friend Mike on the kart is a crop of a shot done at 200mm 1/400th f7.1 I believe. Even though the shot is usable he must have tilted his head right as I got the shot because there is a bit of motion blur there. It's hard to tell but if you look close you can see the wheels spinning. I was trying to focus track him around the turn in AIservo but didn't have much luck with the rest of the sequence at this distance and angle. I got sharper shots (like yours) at 1/800th but couldn't get a good pan where the kart was sharp with a nice background movement blur (which is what I was really trying for). I guess my point is shooting motorsports isn't automatically about high shutter but that's certainly a place to start.

Next time I shoot Mike I'm going to get a little closer, open up to f4, crank up the ISO until I get shutter speeds in the 600th range and see if I can get my panning technique down to the point where I can get that elusive motion blurred background/spinning wheels look. This is a case where the Canon 1 series AF would probably be a big help.

Old     (whitewookie)      Join Date: Jul 2004       02-16-2006, 9:07 AM Reply   
Nice shot Rich. I still think that for my shot a shutter speen in the 1/1000th range would work great. I may not be panning but the rider is jumping a triple so to catch him mid-jump would be easier with a faster shutter speed. I was also trying to stop the wheels dead instead of getting motion in this case. I am going to head out to a local track this weekend and try the different approaches you have said. I'll post them on Monday so you can check them out. Also thanks alot for your input Rich and Philip. I am very green at this but I've totally got the bug. You're input is very much appreciated.
Old     (ladyboarder)      Join Date: Feb 2001       02-16-2006, 3:05 PM Reply   
Your problem isn't the shutter speed. 600 froze the wheels so it would for sure freeze the rider. The problem you are facing is the slow AF of a lower end lens. I don't know much about Nikon lenses, but if they are comparable to Canon then the 75-300 is a value lens and is slow to AF and probably a bit soft at the 300 end unless you get up around f8 to f16. I used to have the Canon 75-300 and the pics looked nice, just didn't have that killer cut yourself sharpness that I wanted. I sold and got the 70-200 f2.8 and have been very happy with it, now I just need a camera that can AF track as fast as it can. (have a 20D, want a 1d mark 2). That leads me to another thing to think about. A person or rider coming directly at you is very hard for the camera to keep up with. I deal with this a lot shooting basketball from the baseline. I don't know where your camera ranks in the Nikon lineup, but the camera's AF just may not be able to keep up. Most likely the lens is your initial limiting factor though.
For information a great place to go is and visit the forums. Also, is an extreme sports photo site.
Rich.. how fast is your friend going on his cart that you will have to use 1/600 to pan? I was panning cars going 70 on the highway and I was down around 1/25 to 1/50 and getting pretty nice blurs. My first shot was at about 1/100 and I got very little blur in the ground.
Brad, I hope that helps you a little bit. Fred Miranda also has gear reviews so you can read up on what other people say about the 80-200 before dropping the cash.
Old     (mattyboyr6)      Join Date: Jul 2003       02-16-2006, 3:36 PM Reply   
Brad if your software supports it then check to see where the focus was at. It may be the you missed the rider, or the rider passed out of your focus.

Rich when I was shooting motorcycle track days and racing I would drop the shutter down to 1/250 or 1/100 for motion blur depending on corner speed. 1/600 would cause a little wheel spin while grabbing the rider sharply, quite easily.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       02-16-2006, 6:18 PM Reply   
Thanks for the shutter speed tips everyone! He probably hits 50 or so on the main straight. (practice first on cars-good idea!) There's no substitute for experience when it comes to this kind of thing.

Interesting comments about the 20D AIServo focus tracking and different lenses (and bodies). I'm shooting with the 5D and it's servo mode is supposed to be a little better then the 20D but not on the level of the 1D/1D2.

I don't think I ever used the AIServo on the 1D I had (didn't really need it for shooting WBing) so I'm not sure what it's capable of. I used the 100-400 for the shot above and I know it's AF speed is not on par with the 70-200 but I believe it will do the job with proper technique as I've seen some decent sports photos done with it.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       02-16-2006, 9:04 PM Reply   
I was going thru more of those kart pictures and found one that is relatively sharp with some background blur. Shot at 1/320th it appears. Sounds like a 100th would be an excellent starting point next time out.


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