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Thread: Out of focus

  1. #1
    rawill's Avatar
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    Out of focus

    another motorsport photo. I have wondered if these should have been in the Pets/sports forum.
    Mods move it if I am in the wrong place, same with my Motorsport thread.

    So to my question, the focus point was just behind the lead car.
    I really wanted to have the lead car in focus, and if I had moved the camera foward a little it would have been in focus, however the cars behind would have been OOF.

    I am wondering what settings I need to change to attempt to get this right.
    I can not change the speed or I will not get the speed effect. speed is set between 80-125.

    Camera set to S priority.
    1/80, F32, EC-1.3
    Focus AF-C

    Dynamic metering mode set to the largest diameter.

    Out of focus

  2. #2
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    Re: Out of focus

    For this type of panning shot I would prefocus manually on the near edge of the track, set aperture f5.6 - f8 depending on DOF I needed and use at least 400 ISO to get the shutter speed up. If I wanted to enhance a "speed effect" I would do it later with photoshop. The effect is a secondary consideration you first need to get a usable photo. At f32 focus was probably the least of your problems - you just need to get the panning perfect if you want to use such a slow shutter speed.

    I have never had much luck with autofocus when panning but my camera is now showing its technological age.

  3. #3
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    Re: Out of focus

    Hi Robin,

    I was surprised at f/32 also, as L.Paul says where you focused is not the problem, the slow shutter speed is - now I know the f/32 was used precisely to obtain the slow shutter speed, but I think at 1/80s, you went too far.

    What we need to consider is that even if you have a perfect panning technique, you can only keep ONE point of the car sharp; - if it bounces up and down it'll blur
    - if it rotates, bits of it will blur
    - if the car(s) following are gaining or falling back, they'll blur too

    The longer the shutter speed, the more these (quite small) movements will blur details of the picture.

    Cheers,

  4. #4
    rawill's Avatar
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    Re: Out of focus

    Hi guys and thank you.

    F32 was an "accident".

    I had the camera set to S 1/80th.
    The camera set the F stop, I was trying to get the F stop lower so I used EC to try and bring it down.
    That did not work, so I think I need a polarising filter.
    ISO was 200.

    Maybe I should ditch trying with 1/80th.
    Because my panning is not good enough I do not get enough usable photos.
    I set it to continuous shooting and normally get at least 3 maybe up to 7 shots per pan.
    I guess my thinking is if I take enough I will get one useable one!

    Blurring the background in PP is not something I had thought of.
    I have seen it, and the "blur" on the wheels does not look like a "good shot" when I get the panning right.

    L Paul,
    If I used A setting to F8 or similar my speed would have been too fast.
    I wanted the blurring in the shot rather than PP.
    Last edited by rawill; 14th January 2013 at 01:35 AM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Out of focus

    I have never tried this type of photography or panning of any kind. However, I have seen on another forum photos of racing cars and motorcycles that were so sharp and the action stopped that you could easily see the eyes of the person. Yet the wheels showed lots of motion.

    My point is that the ideal combination of motion in the wheels, panned blur in the background and foreground and completely stopped action in the main body of the car or motorcycle and driver can be captured with no need to attend to those aspects in post-production. This occurred with regularity every time the particular photographer went to the race track.

  6. #6
    rawill's Avatar
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    Re: Out of focus

    Yes Mike,
    but it is not easy, he/she was a very skilled action photographer.

    And that is the aim, although to see the eyes in the shots I have been taking so far would not be possible,
    but on open wheelers and a clear visor, yes, I know it is possible, I have seen some pics like that.
    I must go hunting for a site to see these photos.

  7. #7

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    Re: Out of focus

    Just keep practicing and have fun Robin. A bunch of us from our club hit the local track for a session exactly like you have here. Many of us only got a couple of usable shots the first time. More success on the second visit. Plan ahead and decide if you want the background blurry or not. Also the wheels. Everything clear and stopped looks just that, not moving. Clear numbers on the car, blurry background and spinning wheels was usually the most popular. Hint - start in a corner where they slow down and it's easier to pan. If you look at some magazines you'll see the pro's also miss on the shutter speed. Something about a motorcycle leaned over in the corners with the spokes fully stopped just doesn't seem right to me. Many don't notice though.

  8. #8
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    Re: Out of focus

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    If you look at some magazines you'll see the pro's also miss on the shutter speed. Something about a motorcycle leaned over in the corners with the spokes fully stopped just doesn't seem right to me. Many don't notice though.
    Hi Andrew

    You are so right about the motorcycle shot!

    Thank you,
    I have been practicing a long time, well it seems that way.
    As I look back it is at least 3 years.

    and yes I have got some good shots, and they are at 1/80th, that doesn't worry me.
    It is getting more right, so the wasteage is not so large, and also knowing if I want a good shot I can get it when I want to.
    Mind you I only took about 350 shots per day the last 3 days,
    the professional media person said he took thousands!

    That is probably the answer, and yes it is fun.

    I am not sure if I can get them sharper than this:
    Check out the sticker on the back window.
    Out of focus

    But next time out I think I will use my 70-300 with a polarising filter and try to get some eye shots in the open wheelers.
    Last edited by rawill; 14th January 2013 at 06:04 AM.

  9. #9

    Re: Out of focus

    Robin, I would recommend using manual control rather than shutter. Prefocusing like LPaul suggested is a good technique depending on the auto focus system. I have found that with my camera depending on the lens combo that the AFC/AFS is to far off to capture good shots! Something else to consider, when you are panning are you using your view finder? If you are using your viewfinder, try this, rather than trying to keep the whole car contained in frame, focus soley on one point (the headlight for example) If you can keep the headlight on the 1/3's line you will get some impressive shots. Last thought that is practice passes, where you set up your gear and make a practice pan down the intended area before the cars arrive. Helps sort out potential issues

    Not sure if that makes any sense, (waiting for coffee to brew)
    Ryo

  10. #10

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    Re: Out of focus

    Keep in mind that with a polarizing filter you can lose 1.5 - 2 stops depending on the manufacturer.

  11. #11
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    Re: Out of focus

    Thanks guys

    I had not thought of prefocussing.
    Now two of you have mentioned it, I guess I was thinking that with it set to continually move the focus it would be correct as I panned.

    Where I like shooting from they start further away coming in to a right hand corner, and as they come towards me the go into a slight left hand curve. I have been locking on to the car I want just as it exits the right hand corner and let the camera keep shooting until it just gets parellel with me.

    Why do I do this, well sometimes in the right hand corner things go alll pear shaped, and you never know one day I might get it on camera.

    If I manually set it focus at a point and set it I would miss a possible "action" shot.
    However your points are well made, and it is worth giving it a go.

    On the polarising filter, that is just what I"think" would want, so as to (maybe) not have to set the EC, on a very bright day like we had the last 3 days out at the track.

    And Ryo, yes I use the view finder, and I on my last day out there I did start focussing and pointing at the front of the car.

    Initially as a change I set the focus point on the right of the viewfinder.
    Tried that for a bit then changed it back to the centre.

    Again, many thanks for your interest and comments.

  12. #12
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    Re: Out of focus

    If you are using small apertures your focus will cover a fair range.

    For example with a 200mm focal length lens set at f16 and focused at 70 meters the focus will cover 45-158 meters which should give you a reasonable tolerance from a focus point of view. The reason I suggested focusing on the near side of track was that the focus extends further back from the focus point than it does forward.

    Good luck Paul

  13. #13
    rawill's Avatar
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    Re: Out of focus

    Thank you for that explanation, I am a newbie.

    Often what is suggested doesn't yet make sense to me.
    But I take it on board and try to keep it in the memory bank, hoping someday it will "click"!

    I am off the try what you suggest in the garden!

  14. #14

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    Re: Out of focus

    Here is a panned shot at Ruapuna, f18, 1/125,200 ISO, 75mm with a 70-200 f 4 IS lens. I was able to take 12 images as I was standing on the inside of the right hand turn in a concrete marshalls stand as the car went past panning all the time.
    Out of focus
    (You may have been to Ruapuna when people are able to take a moderately hot car on a number of laps)
    Last edited by Ken MT; 16th January 2013 at 01:40 AM.

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