NPhoto - - Special Feature -

01 The faster, the bet­ter

Fast primes are top of the list when it comes to aut­o­fo­cus speed and ac­cu­racy – another rea­son why they are the lens of choice for most sports pros. With a sub­ject that may only be in frame for a few sec­onds, aut­o­fo­cus needs to be vir­tu­ally in­stant and ut­terly re­li­able. Where pos­si­ble, al­ways use your cam­era’s most re­spon­sive AF points (usu­ally the cen­tral ones, but check your man­ual if you’re un­sure) to ac­quire fo­cus, as these will lock on quick­est.

02 keep up wi th the pace

To track and main­tain fo­cus on a sub­ject, use con­tin­u­ous fo­cus mode (AF-C). The cam­era will then con­tin­u­ally ad­just the aut­o­fo­cus so that the part of the sub­ject that is aligned with the ac­tive fo­cus point will be kept in fo­cus, even if it moves to­wards or away from the cam­era. Keep the fo­cus­ing point on the sub­ject’s face, even if it means that the com­po­si­tion may be slightly out, as you can al­ways crop the shot later. And back-but­ton fo­cus­ing can be a boon when shoot­ing sport (see page 32).

03 frame rate mat­ters

Sports pho­tog­ra­phy is about cap­tur­ing the height of the action: the mo­ment the goal is scored, the sprinter cross­ing the fin­ish line. This re­quires a fast shut­ter speed to freeze the action, plus a fast frame rate. An SLR that will fire off eight to 10 frames per sec­ond will in­crease your chances of nail­ing a good shot. Time the shot for when the action reaches its peak rather than sim­ply blast­ing away, oth­er­wise you run the risk of max­ing out your cam­era’s buf­fer be­fore the peak of the action.

Left Use back-but­ton fo­cus­ing in con­tin­u­ous AF mode to track fast-mov­ing sub­jects

Bot­tom left As with wildlife, burst mode will help you get sharp shots at the peak of the action

Above If in doubt, fo­cus on your sub­ject’s face and keep it under the ac­tive AF point

Top With some sports it’s pos­si­ble to pre-fo­cus on a par­tic­u­lar point, and then wait for your sub­ject to pass that point

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