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Another DIF thread - what can be improved?

Started Apr 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Another DIF thread - what can be improved?
Apr 9, 2012

I was considering asking about it in the other DIF (dogs-in-flight) thread, but then understood that my problems are slightly different, so here we go :-).

There is a greyhound racing stadium not that far from my home, where I've never been before, until I learned that for a modest entrance fee you can take pictures of dogs to your heart's content (flash is not allowed). I went there last weekend and below are the 7 best shots (out of 150 or so ;-)). Racing is in the evening, and even though artificial lighting looks pretty bright, going to 1/1000 shutter speed required me to shoot with ISO 6400 pretty much all the time while keeping the lens (70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) wide-open. All shots were done by panning, with continuous mode on, AF set to Servo, and IS on the lens set to mode 2 (panning mode). These things are so fast though, that even tracking them for more than a couple of seconds is a challenge, and when they run in a bunch, AF lands pretty much randomly.

In other words, it provides plenty of challenge :-), and so far I'm not really satisfied with the result, so any advice on how to improve sharpness and overall quality would be welcome. Things I plan to try in the future:

1. Manually pre-focus on the middle of the track and shoot without panning at fastest shutter speed feasible.

2. Decrease the shutter speed even further (will require a faster lens, I'm afraid).

3. Video with some fast prime, at least during start it should look very good (but then small DoF might spoil it).


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