Step by step FOCUSING ON MOVEMENT
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