10 burning questions even pro sports photographers still ask themselves

    | Photography Tips | 25/07/2012 03:00am

    When should I switch to manual focus?


    Sports Photography Tips: when to switch to manual focus

    Autofocus works well with action subjects when set to one of the AI Focus modes – but it’s not foolproof. It will be faster with some lenses than others – and can be fooled by foreground objects that you 
don’t actually want to focus on.

    Switching to manual focus 
is a great idea with some action subjects, because you can use a technique called ‘prefocusing’ (learn how to get sharp images every time with manual focus).

    In many sports, competitors follow a predictable path around a circuit so you can focus on a point along this path before the subject comes into view.

    Because it’s hard to check precise focusing by looking through the viewfinder, it’s helpful to zoom in as far as possible before focusing manually (then zoom out for the composition you require).

    For this shot of a show-jumper, it was possible to focus on the top bar of the fence, and then shoot as the horse and rider appeared. The same focusing distance can be used for a number of competitors (a trick that’s also useful with motor sports).

    PAGE 1: How do I choose the right shutter speed?
    PAGE 2: How slow should I go for motion blur?
    PAGE 3: Do I need the motordrive?
    PAGE 4: When should I switch to manual focus?
    PAGE 5: Why should I keep both eyes open when using the viewfinder?
    PAGE 6: How slow should I go at night?
    PAGE 7: How do I set up for low-light events?
    PAGE 8: What shutter speed do I use for zoom bursts?
    PAGE 9: When should I switch on the flash?
    PAGE 10: When should I use second curtain sync?


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    Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 3:00 am under Photography Tips.

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