Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dmcs, Nov 11, 2006.



  2. Try to find the CAPS key and use it....but for your lens question: you may need something like a AF 85mm f1.8D Nikkor (or the AF 85mm f1.4D Nikkor) for better luck in find a way to stop the blur in your images. You may need to figure out how to get the shutter speed to 1/250th or faster and then practice on getting good focus when you shoot.

    Good luck.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Dale, you clearly have focusing problems in the two images you attached. In the first one, the volley ball net is very sharp but the players are out of focus. In the second one, the banners on the back wall are quite sharp but again, the players are not. In the future, you need to focus on the players, or at least the main player in action.

    By the way, as one of the moderators here, I need to remind you that your images are oversized. Please post smaller images within 100K bytes.

    I'll delete this thread in a little while.
  4. Your problem isn't motion blur its focus. In the volley ball shot the girl behind the one in mid air is in focus (so is the net), the one in mid-air is not. In the second example, I think the people in the stands look crisp, but the players are not in focus.

    If I look at the EXIF data in the first shot, its at a focal length of 112mm. If I assume the players are about 20ft from you and you are at f2.8 (2.8 confirmed by the EXIF) then you will have a total depth of field of about 1 foot. Since the net and the player behind the gal in mid air are in focus, its no surprise the player in mid air is out of focus. What focus settings are you using.
  5. Not sure you'll get 1/250 in a non-flash photo in a gym, but higher iso will enable you to get faster shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures w/ more d.o.f., all of which will help. (What was your iso on these ?) The 'help' will come at the expense of some noise, which you can address in processing if it bothers you. The first photo, to my eye, is not really so poorly focused. In fact, I really like the intense facial expression on the player crouched on the opposite side of the net. On that one, I'd say what keeps it from being an excellent shot is that the ball is missing. Nonetheless I've tried two crops with very little ps applied, just for the heck of it. In the second, the 'subject' is the player preparing to make a defensive play on the opposite side of the net.
  6. And a second try.
  7. Plainly I didn't take care to adjust brightness to match in the two crops.

    In any case before spending $$$$ on a fast vr Nikkor zoom, I'd continue to experiment with settings, and with pre-focusing on expected areas of action, and brace the camera as best you can (given the setting) on something stable.

    To my eye, the compositions/expressions/angles are what make some action sports photos stand out, more than sharpness or perfect focus. But again, that's my eye.

    Incidentally, resizing for web posting is easy. There are several methods, fastest of which (though not my favorite) is probably the 'Save for Web' command in the photo editor you're using.

    Good luck. Hang in there.
  8. mjt


    hi Dale ...

    this is very typical in sports photography. or, for that matter, any photography where movement is the game, such as concerts where all the band members are moving around in a [usu] dark environment.

    the "trick" here is to use an aperture where xxx feet are in focus.

    for example, when i shoot wrestling matches, i'm only concerned about having about 2-3 feet in focus, since the wrestlers are latched to each other. when shooting a football game, 20 feet is usually more appropriate. when shooting a motocross race, i'm only concerned with about 5 foot of focus (and only one rider, as a rule). for concerts, it depends on the shot: if for one person, focus on them; for the whole band, you need a DOF that includes all the members.

    i suggest that you take some sample shots for whatever event you're shooting, adjusting the aperture to get the correct DOF. it might mean that you get to the event 30 minutes before and get the readings correct.

    the next thing that hangs people up concerns autofocus. i assume you're using autofocus for these events. you have to pay attention to the focus indicator ... this is what goofs up most folks. for example, let's say we have 2 wrestlers down on the floor and we are down on the mat with the camera, pointing it at the wrestlers. however, the focus indicator is not pointing directly at the wrestlers, but is pointing just above them at some people in the background. this is very common behavior for a photographer ... we compose for the shot, but the mechanics "get in the way". (i.e., the focus indicator is not pointing where we are composing).

    guess what? the folks in the background are in focus, but not the wrestlers! most cameras allow you to move the focus indicator from the middle to the right/left/up/down/around-in-a-circle.

    depending upon the event you are shooting, it might be that you need to move the focus indicator to the left or right ... focusing on one player - as a bonus, you'll capture the other player on the other side of the frame and they should be in focus (assuming you've done your DOF homework prior).

    HIH, michael
  9. mjt


    sorry to barge in again ... now that i've looked back on one of your photos, i see exactly what i'm talking about. it's the basketball photo. it appears that although you've composed the shot okay, the problem is that the focus indicator is pointing at the banners in the background.

    the banners are in focus (i assume that is not what you wanted) an the girls are OOF :)

    personally, i would have shot in landscape, versus portrait, because i would want to capture where the girl is focusing ... she's looking to our left, but we can't see what she's looking at. and believe it or not, i never shoot faster than 1/250 for something like basketball. why? i have learned to "wait" for the moment ... and most times, that moment is most always "still" (if that makes sense).

    regards, michael
  10. Thanks for all the replies, sorry for not posting the photo in the correct size, i will have to try and figure that one out.

    I am shooting a D70 with the Focus Area Selection set at "single area" I am using a monopod also. I constantly tap the pre set (not sure if thats what it is called) on the shutter release.

    Anyway hope that sheds some light, if you want me to post some more example I sure will.

    The basketball (HS) photos are at 1600 ISO, the volleyball was at 1000 ISO i believe.

    Is there a possibility that my camera is out of whack? I keep the center focus box on my subject and rarely am I getting good focus shots. I am shooting 300-400 shots in a game.

    thanks again,

  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    As I pointed out earlier, your main problem is very simple: focusing errors. Additionally, there are composition and timing issues as others have pointed out. For example, the ball is the center of the action and that should be in the shot.

    Focusing problems could be the combination of photographer errors and AF system problems. For sports, I would experiment with AF-C instead of AF-S, and we can discuss further options as far as control goes.

    As we have discussed quite a few times, any Nikon SLR with the Multi-CAM 900 AF module is going to have AF problems if you shoot sports. We have had quite a few threads starting from the N80 film SLR to the D100 to the D70 and D50. The problem gets worse indoors when the light is dim. The Multi-CAM 900 has only 1 AF point that is cross type; I would only use that center AF point to shoot sports. If you eventually eliminate all other issue and the AF problem reminds, you might need to upgrade the D70 body.
  12. I am looking at purchasing a Nikon d2h, this week. Thanks again for the advice.

  13. Here is another example out of focus, but the jacket in the background seems in focus. This is in single focus area and my meter is reading the center box.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    All 3 of your images seem to have some sort of "back focus" problems. Do you have access to another D70? If possible, I would do some kind of test. Either your D70 is focusing incorrectly or somehow you are not using it correctly, but it is hard for us to tell from a distance.

    A D2H will give you Nikon's best AF to date, but you might want to check out its performance at high ISO if you need to shoot indoors frequently without flash. But regardless of camera, it is usually the photographer that really affects the quality of the final image.
  15. Shun,

    I don't have any access to another D70. Thats my delema, I have shot 2 years of my daughter and probably 5,000 pictures with this camera. If I get 10 good (focus) pictures out of 250-300 shots I am doing good. Thanks for all the help.
  16. The soft focus on your last shot (not action sports, but more 'posed') suggests that your camera may indeed be the culprit, particularly if that shot is par for the course. The 'back focus' issue was, as I recall, noted on some of the then-new D70 bodies -- and observed widely enough that I believe Nikon acknowledged it.

    My guess, Dale, is that when you say only 10 out of 250 - 300 shots appear in sharp focus, those are probably the 10 where you've selected an aperture small enough to 'cover' or mask the focus error (e.g., outdoor shots in bright light).

    Here's a thought: Send your D70 to Nikon, after calling first, with a letter explaining that under a variety of circumstances, since it was new, your camera has exhibited this problem consistently and with all your lenses. Even though you're now beyond the warranty period, I believe there's a decent chance that with strong (though courteous) advocacy, Nikon may fix it w/out charge, especially if your D70 is within the group of bodies that Nikon knew was more likely to suffer from the back focus problem.

    That's not acceptable. And since you're a Nikon customer contemplating an additional investment in Nikkor optics and/or a more expensive Nikon body, it shouldn't be acceptable to Nikon either.

    Good luck.
  17. One more thought, I sent this camera to Nikon because it would not stay on, they had a software problem. I just looked at the paperwork they sent back and it says;

    repair sc 201789
    General check & clean

    what is the metering FPC & sc 201789 mean?
  18. I have accidentally shot a number of sports photos with the wrong part of the picture in focus. They were all due to the fact that I had touched the toggle button while holding down the shutter release button. As soon as I noticed that the focus icon on the screen was not in the middle, I fixed it. I also noticed that for shooting things like football where there is one player that I want to key on, that I change the focus area to spot focus. This eliminates shots that are out of focus because a ref or player might be in the foreground while I'm really shooting a player who is running by in the mid-ground. I doubt these errors explain why you have been getting out of focus shots for 1,000's of pictures, but it's possible?
  19. look at the girl further from u across the net SHE IS IN PERFECT FOCUS......one of your problems is simply your focus setting... Walt

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