Photographists – Tell me your focus mode tips for bikes and that…

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  • Photographists – Tell me your focus mode tips for bikes and that…
  • If you’re using motor drive I’d use ‘AI SERVO’.

    AI SERVO tracks a moving object through the frame and focuses on that, it’s reasonably reliable although i think performance depends on the camera.

    Nice photos by the way, particularly like the black and white at the bottom and the one of the chap in the maroon fox t-shirt.

    bencooper
    Member

    Depends on the lens – if I’m using something with a fast focus motor (I’ve got an old Minolta 70-200 that’s scarily quick) then I use continuous mode. With slower lenses, I fix focus and fire a burst when the rider is at he right point.

    With continuous, I normally use area focus mode – point mode can be tricky on a moving subject.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’ve tried pre-focussing on a bit of the ground where I expect my subject to be, and then locking the focus and shooting when they arrive. Mixed results as you can imagine

    That ought to work, unless your DoF is too narrow.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Mixed results as you can imagine

    You should be able to disable auto-focus from the shutter release button and instead, assign focus lock to the AF-Lock button next to it. This way you don’t have to part hold down the shutter release button and it’s easier to shoot using pre-focus.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Have a look at this guide for the D7000

    http://www.outthereimages.com/images/D7000_Setup_Guide.pdf

    I used this as a start when I was setting up U1 and U2 on my D7000 for Sports and Landscapes, which makes it easy to switch between the different profiles.

    MrSmith
    Member

    If you’re using motor drive

    I’m over 40 and even I have managed to stop using outdated terminology (though I insist on calling trainers ‘plimsoles’ to annoy people) so unless you are wandering around with a brace of F-3’s or F2n’s round your neck and a bag of Tri-X so can you 🙄

    Ai-servo, high FPSand and the right settings for the situation. this is on a 5DIII where the AF tracking menu has descriptions of the likely scenarios with objects crossing, moving away/towards or changing direction. No idea on your Nikon. I guess a fast 2.8 or faster lens will help as all the AF sensors are used (well they are with a canon)

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    If you’re very close the subject and the subject is moving towards / away from you, then you’re asking a lot of auto-focus to track as the change in focal distance will be very high as a ratio of the total distance. In these situations either using a wide depth of field and/or pre-focus.

    Eg I really struggled in the Olympic Road race as I was only 1-2 m away from riders passing me at 30mph, which was asking too much of a D4, so I used f11, some panning and pre-focus and it was a bit pot luck.


    Bradley Wiggins on Box Hill by brf, on Flickr

    If the subject is further away, but still moving fast, then you can use pre-focus an just hit the shutter when they ride past a pre-set object e.g. in this case I just focussed on the obstacle, set up the right DoF and any rider going over it would be perfectly in focus.


    Emily Batty, Canada, 24th Place Women’s Olympic Mountain Bike Race 2021 by brf, on Flickr

    No help I’m afraid, I use the per focus on a spot of ground method. I’m just commenting on your photos, I really like that b&w one with the wee puff of dust. It’s like the photo from day one of the Trans Provence, here: http://m.pinkbike.com/news/Mavic-Trans-Provence-Day-One-Video-and-Results-2013.html

    In Nikon speak, you want AF-C (continuous focus) and just one focus point. Panning works well and you needn’t worry about foliage getting in the way – the AF system is incredibly intelligent and will continue to follow the subject unless it completely disappears for a time.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I just got myself a lovely new Nikon D7100 to replace the D90 I had stolen. 😀

    When I’m out in the woods or wherever, photographing mates on bikes etc, I’m a little unsure of the focus mode I should be using to get the rider pin-sharp.

    Obviously, the subject is moving, it can also be a little dim, so what do you good folks tend to find works well?

    I’ve tried pre-focussing on a bit of the ground where I expect my subject to be, and then locking the focus and shooting when they arrive. Mixed results as you can imagine, also tried just sort of…shooting, but often the camera is not fast enough or it’s not light enough to focus on the rider.

    Also, now and again you might want to do a shot where the rider is in focus but the scene is partially obscured by a tree or foliage or something. What works then? How do you stop the focus jumping to the foliage or whatever?

    My camera has a 3D focus mode, a continuous mode etc, etc. What do you find is good?

    A few of my efforts.

    phone pic

    Any tips would be really appreciated.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    Loving that one Footflaps…

    You should be able to disable auto-focus from the shutter release button and instead, assign focus lock to the AF-Lock button next to it.

    I really need to get into what all that means. To be quite honest I’ve never particularly known what that button does despite years of having SLRs.. 😳

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I really need to get into what all that means. To be quite honest I’ve never particularly known what that button does despite years of having SLRs..

    I think I’ve figured it out….
    There is this big booklet you tend to get with cameras. Never bothered reading it before but funnily enough it has some good tips in there about what buttons do.. 😉

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Standard operation is that when you half depress the shutter button the camera auto focuses, and holds that focus till you fully depress the button. This makes pre-focussing dependant on holding your finger still, which is a pain. In the Config, you can switch off the auto focus function on the shutter button, so all the shutter button does is take the photo.

    You then assign the auto focus / exposure function to the AE-Lock button and just use that to set the focus. You can then take you fingers off the buttons, wait for the rider to come into view and then just press the shutter button, knowing that nothing will change.

    MarkLG
    Member

    There are a couple of things you can try:

    Pre-focus on a fixed point (see above). Use AF to focus then switch it off, or just use MF. Follow the rider towards the point and fire off a few shots in high speed mode as they pass through. Increasing the ISO will allow you to use a higher f-stop, which increases depth of field, so you should get more in focus shots.
    This works great if your doing panning shots as well – just focus on the apex of a corner and follow them through.
    If you’re following a rider through a section and want multiple shots as they pass through you need to rely on your camera’s AF. Use the predictive AF mode and the highest frame rate. I usually use the centre group of focus points (about 9 points on my Canon 7D I think), rather than a single point – it gives the AF a better chance of locking on and holding focus. If you can select shutter release to shutter priority not AF priority. That way the camera will carry on firing even when it hasn’t got a perfect focus lock – you get a few more out of focus shots, but with a decent depth of field accurate AF is less critical.

    This was from a few years ago using an old Canon D6 (which only had 3 focus points!). Pre-focused on the apex of the corner and panned through:

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