Technique or gear? Trying to get good focus on dog running at me.

Started 6 months ago | Questions thread
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curiousmike1300
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Technique or gear? Trying to get good focus on dog running at me.
6 months ago

Nikon D5000 + 55-200.

I've tried various combination, but my typical setup is...

-A priority ( typically as large as lens will allow, but I have stepped it down to try to increase DOF)

-Spot Focus - typically using center focus point and keeping it on the dogs head the best I can

-Spot Metering

-Continuous Focus

-Crank ISO up until I see 1/800 or greater

-I've always tried setting exposure lock to on when shutter is half-pressed.

-I've tried various ways of holding the camera as steady as possible

The problem is I'm not able to nail focus of my dog running directly at me.

I asked the subject question in the Beginners Forum a month or so back, but did not get a satisfactory answer.

Are my results more due to missing technique, or is it conceivable that my gear "doesn't focus fast enough." (Which will lead to a follow up, Does the Nikon 70-300 or Tamron 70-300 focus faster -- and would that speed be useable on my D5000 body?)

Trying to keep the single focus point on the dogs face seems it could be a candidate, as I often see another plane of the dog in focus - maybe the chest or back.   But I've taken hundreds of photos of her running at me, and I haven't hit perfect focus on her face ever.  Still images at similar focal lengths look sharp and focused to me.

I know I've tried 3D tracking for a few shots, didn't see an improvement, and bailed on it as a solution.  Maybe I should try it again?

 curiousmike1300's gear list:curiousmike1300's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-3N Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
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Nikon D5000
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