View Full Version : Sports Photos - Cycling - Having trouble focusing

02-26-2007, 12:47 PM
I had some trouble this weekend getting sharp photos of cycling races. Some of my shots worked just fine, but most of them were not very focused.

For examples:
This is indicative of the problem: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phatpat/401514244/

But this one was fairly sharp, with similar settings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/phatpat/401512476/

My ideas are next time:
Set autofocus to AF-C rather than AF-A
Faster shutter speed
Using a smaller aperture to increase focus distance

Any other suggestions? I'm using a D50 with the kit lens.

02-26-2007, 05:29 PM
Your problem appears to be Depth of Field, not motion blur. An increase in shutter speed will not help, in fact it may hurt. A smaller lens opening (larger aperture) may help.

LR Max
02-26-2007, 07:16 PM
Yeah. You are probably gonna have to run the 3.5~5.6 (or whatever it is). Go to 500th shutter speed and see what that does. I think that'll help some.

Yeah, switch to AF-C. Also change the focus point. See below:

custom settings
AF-area mode
Single area (or dyanmic mode, but you'll need to read up on how to manipulate it)

This will have the center of the frame to be the focus point. You'll need to mess with the AF-area mode to figure out what you like, but that'll help.

02-26-2007, 08:10 PM
Honestly I think that they look pretty good. Cycling is a tough sport.to shoot, maybe harder than autoracing since the subject is moving fast but very small for focusing. I personally find that the best shots are not always the sharpest; at least not those from the side. Pan more and even slow the shutter speed to really show that the subject is moving. If you want sharp you might try a more head on shot with a high shutter speed. A trick from auto racing is to shoot the subject as they are facing you and exiting a corner. For a brief moment the subject will not be moving very quickly in your direction. This will let you prefocus on the location and not the subject.

If you have a hot shoe flash you might be able to use it to help freeze the action since it does not appear to be very sunny and the subject was not too far away.