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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I managed to get my hands on a Canon 300 F:2.8 L series lens for a few days and decided to see what I could get done with my running dog. The light was not ideal, and the location didn't have a very good run up section. I shot about 150 frames or so and got these six (yes I said 6) that were pretty close to what I was attempting. The focusing abilities of lens/camera combination doesn't seem able to quite keep up with the fast running dog, but on occasion does nail it. I hope we get some better light while I still have access to the lens, and I wonder if I would be having better success with a higher end camera body. I am shooting a Canon 30D which is about 3 generations old. Here they are. All shot at F:2.8 and ISO 400; shutter speeds were 1/1600th, 1/1250th, 1/1000th, 1/1000th, 1/1000th, & 1/640th.
















 

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Great looking shots. I'm no photographer but I know what I like and those are nice.

That dog ain't got no drive.:p:p
 

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I managed to get my hands on a Canon 300 F:2.8 L series lens for a few days and decided to see what I could get done with my running dog. The light was not ideal, and the location didn't have a very good run up section. I shot about 150 frames or so and got these six (yes I said 6) that were pretty close to what I was attempting. The focusing abilities of lens/camera combination doesn't seem able to quite keep up with the fast running dog, but on occasion does nail it. I hope we get some better light while I still have access to the lens, and I wonder if I would be having better success with a higher end camera body. I am shooting a Canon 30D which is about 3 generations old. Here they are. All shot at F:2.8 and ISO 400; shutter speeds were 1/1600th, 1/1250th, 1/1000th, 1/1000th, 1/1000th, & 1/640th.
Nice shots. I recently got a new Canon T2i to replace my old Canon 300D. I have a 70-200 f2.8 lens and I tried to take some similar shots during hunting season (in Arkansas from a pit blind which gives a nice perspective because you are at or below the dog's eye level). My camera and lens seem to be having trouble focusing properly as you mentioned you were experiencing also.

My question though is whether you think those shutter speeds are really needed or did the camera select them? I don't THINK that 1/1000, or certainly anything faster than that is needed to stop a running dog or splashing water drops. I was thinking something in the 1/500 - 1/750 range would probably get it done. What are your thoughts on this. I tried shooting in the "sports mode" and it selected shutter speeds so fast (like 1/1600) that it ran up the ISO so high that the pics were grainy (in an attempt to get enough light). The next 2 days I shot in shutter priority and experimented with shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/1000. The results were inconclusive because the focus was so often off. I swear this lens focused much faster with my old 300D which was the very first generation digital Rebel. The other issue I had in determining whether the SS was fast enough was that I was shooting in f2.8 so I had very, very little depth of field so when something appeared blurry (like a paw, tail, etc.) I had trouble determining if it was due to lack of sufficient SS or due to lack of depth of field.
 

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Spend the time getting out there and just play with the settings. Spending the time of getting to know your camera will pay off in the long run. Go to a city park or something of the like where there is lots of ducks and trying shooting flying shots, feeding etc. Tinkering with the iso and shutter priority will slowly teach you the fine area where you get more of those "great shots" instead of by accident. Good luck and hopefully we will some great pics get posted up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My question though is whether you think those shutter speeds are really needed or did the camera select them? I don't THINK that 1/1000, or certainly anything faster than that is needed to stop a running dog or splashing water drops. I was thinking something in the 1/500 - 1/750 range would probably get it done. What are your thoughts on this. I tried shooting in the "sports mode" and it selected shutter speeds so fast (like 1/1600) that it ran up the ISO so high that the pics were grainy (in an attempt to get enough light). The next 2 days I shot in shutter priority and experimented with shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/1000. The results were inconclusive because the focus was so often off. I swear this lens focused much faster with my old 300D which was the very first generation digital Rebel. The other issue I had in determining whether the SS was fast enough was that I was shooting in f2.8 so I had very, very little depth of field so when something appeared blurry (like a paw, tail, etc.) I had trouble determining if it was due to lack of sufficient SS or due to lack of depth of field.
Well, let me tackle these one at a time. Perhaps you could get good sharpness at speeds of less than 1/1000th sec (the last shot of my dog is at 1/650th and plenty sharp) especially if the dog is moving directly toward you, as perceived movement is less than if the movement is across the frame however, you not only have to counter subject movement but also camera shake (I know that image stabilization helps quite a bit here) and the longer the lens, the worse both types of motion (subject movement and camera shake) blur becomes. Because of that, I usually shoot on AV (aperture preferred) when using a big lens (300mm +) with the aperture wide open until the shutter speed is at least 3X-4X the focal length of the lens. That means at least 1/1000-1/1250 with a 300mm and 1/1250-1/2000 with my 600mm. That might not be necessary for everyone, but I know that I'm just not that steady when shooting action.
As to the shallow depth of field that results from shooting a close subject through a long lens with a BIG aperture, even stopping down a couple of stops (necessitating either slowing down the shutter speed or boosting the ISO an equal amount) just won't increase the depth of field enough to make that much difference. Unless you are shooting in VERY bright light and can stop down to something like F:11 or F:16, I just don't know if the loss of shutter speed is worth the gain in depth of field.
Looks like we might actually have some sun later today and so I might give it another try to see what effect that has on focus tracking.
 

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Well, let me tackle these one at a time. Perhaps you could get good sharpness at speeds of less than 1/1000th sec (the last shot of my dog is at 1/650th and plenty sharp) especially if the dog is moving directly toward you, as perceived movement is less than if the movement is across the frame however, you not only have to counter subject movement but also camera shake (I know that image stabilization helps quite a bit here) and the longer the lens, the worse both types of motion (subject movement and camera shake) blur becomes. Because of that, I usually shoot on AV (aperture preferred) when using a big lens (300mm +) with the aperture wide open until the shutter speed is at least 3X-4X the focal length of the lens. That means at least 1/1000-1/1250 with a 300mm and 1/1250-1/2000 with my 600mm. That might not be necessary for everyone, but I know that I'm just not that steady when shooting action.
As to the shallow depth of field that results from shooting a close subject through a long lens with a BIG aperture, even stopping down a couple of stops (necessitating either slowing down the shutter speed or boosting the ISO an equal amount) just won't increase the depth of field enough to make that much difference. Unless you are shooting in VERY bright light and can stop down to something like F:11 or F:16, I just don't know if the loss of shutter speed is worth the gain in depth of field.
Looks like we might actually have some sun later today and so I might give it another try to see what effect that has on focus tracking.
Thanks for the reply. Maybe when I get the chance I'll post a few pics on a new thread to see what kind of advice I can get. I know this isn't a photography forum but there are a good handful (or more) of pretty talented photographers on this board of which it appears you are one.

I have used a monopod in the pit blind at times in the past and I did not do that this year. I didn't think it made that much difference with the fast shutter speeds, but maybe that was part of my problem. I still don't think this lens focuses as fast on the T2i as it did on the old 300D. Sorry if I hijacked your thread.
 

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Here is my 1 cent worth of advice as it's not worth 2 cents...:)

Set the image stablizer on the number 2 setting and if your camera body permits, expand your autofocus active focus selection from one to two. This will ensure optimal action autofocus.

I really, really like these images and for only shooting a few --- yes, 150 plus images are just a few --- you did a spectacular job.

The Canon 300 2.8 AF/IS lens is my favorite dog action lens.
 

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You gotta take the collar off for the pics. That is my only complaint in the pics. There have been so many pics I've taken of my dog, and I know they would have been better without the collars.
 

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My favorite is the second one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Here is my 1 cent worth of advice as it's not worth 2 cents...:)

Set the image stablizer on the number 2 setting and if your camera body permits, expand your autofocus active focus selection from one to two. This will ensure optimal action autofocus.

I really, really like these images and for only shooting a few --- yes, 150 plus images are just a few --- you did a spectacular job.

The Canon 300 2.8 AF/IS lens is my favorite dog action lens.
Howdy Tony!
Glad to hear from you as you were the inspiration for this little experiment. Clearly will take practice and experimentation to achieve what I want with any consistency, but sort of reminds me of when I was first shooting horses and had to get the timing down so that I could get what the client wanted. Went from probably under 20% in the beginning to around 80-90% with some serious practice.
The 30D only has nine focus points and as far as I know, you can either select an individual point or make them ALL active and let the camera decide. (should probably re-read the manual for the umpteenth time) I shot both ways yesterday and suppose I need to go back and look at the metadata and see if it will tell me which I was using at the time the photos were taken and then which seems to work better. Here is exactly where having the more sophisticated (read expensive) camera bodies may provide an advantage.
 

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Very nice images. You've inspired me to dust my camera off and start shooting again.
 

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The 30D only has nine focus points and as far as I know, you can either select an individual point or make them ALL active and let the camera decide. (should probably re-read the manual for the umpteenth time) I shot both ways yesterday and suppose I need to go back and look at the metadata and see if it will tell me which I was using at the time the photos were taken and then which seems to work better. Here is exactly where having the more sophisticated (read expensive) camera bodies may provide an advantage.
That is one of the problems I ran into with my T2i. You either use all the focus points or just one. When I let it use all of the focus points I was consistently getting problems like the dog is out of focus but a decoy 6 feet behind him or 3 feet in front of him would be in PERFECT focus. When I used a single point it was pretty tough to keep that on the dog's nose as he bounded through the water and with a very limited depth of field it really needed to be on his nose or the duck he was carrying. It sure would be nice if you could select just the 4 focus points in the center (arranged like a plus sign) or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
You gotta take the collar off for the pics. That is my only complaint in the pics. There have been so many pics I've taken of my dog, and I know they would have been better without the collars.
What are you? Some kind of perv? Only want NEKKID dog photos!!! ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My favorite is the second one.
Well, of course, I like all of these, but my two favorites are the first (look at the shoulders on the dog and look at his shoulders in the avatar photo!! pure power!) and the last which looks like pure joy to me.

HPL
 

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My Mark III has 45 focus points. I think I can only manually select 19 of them. Also, have a body that can shoot 10 fps burst comes in handy.


Howdy Tony!
Glad to hear from you as you were the inspiration for this little experiment. Clearly will take practice and experimentation to achieve what I want with any consistency, but sort of reminds me of when I was first shooting horses and had to get the timing down so that I could get what the client wanted. Went from probably under 20% in the beginning to around 80-90% with some serious practice.
The 30D only has nine focus points and as far as I know, you can either select an individual point or make them ALL active and let the camera decide. (should probably re-read the manual for the umpteenth time) I shot both ways yesterday and suppose I need to go back and look at the metadata and see if it will tell me which I was using at the time the photos were taken and then which seems to work better. Here is exactly where having the more sophisticated (read expensive) camera bodies may provide an advantage.
 

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BTW, what are you using for a tripod and tripod head?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
BTW, what are you using for a tripod and tripod head?
Actually all that stuff was hand held. I shot a hunt test this past weekend (first one I had been to) and used my 600 F:4 quite a bit and had it on my big Bogen tripod and gimbaled head. Will also post some of those shots in the next couple of days (still editing through approx 2700 images).
 
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