7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera

Started Aug 30, 2010 | Discussions
humanist
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7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
Aug 30, 2010

Hello all.

I recently shot a family member's dog running toward me at top speed. I was found that about 1 in 5 was focussed properly in a given burst of 10-15 shots. This is ignoring photos that were blurry because of my handmovement etc. I am also already considering depth of field: the 4 out of 5 that weren't right would not have been OK if I had a bit more DOF.

Is this the best I can get? Or should I be adjusting the custom fucntions? Most of my settings except flash settings are still set to the factory default.

Thanks!

Lemming51
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more info, samples?
In reply to humanist, Aug 30, 2010

specifically, what exposure mode and what AF mode, and what AF point or group of AF points?

If you're really on the "factory defaults" then that is the problem. Defaut is AI Focus autofocus mode and automatic selection of AF points. For a subject moving toward or away from you, AI Servo is the AF mode to use. For a stationary subject use One Shot. AI Focus is a combination of the two that doesn't work. Best to never use it.

humanist wrote:

Hello all.

I recently shot a family member's dog running toward me at top speed. I was found that about 1 in 5 was focussed properly in a given burst of 10-15 shots. This is ignoring photos that were blurry because of my handmovement etc. I am also already considering depth of field: the 4 out of 5 that weren't right would not have been OK if I had a bit more DOF.

Is this the best I can get? Or should I be adjusting the custom fucntions? Most of my settings except flash settings are still set to the factory default.

Thanks!

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humanist
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Re: more info, samples?
In reply to Lemming51, Aug 31, 2010

Oops! I guess I meant that I didn't have any fancy custom functions set. I did use AI servo and I had the middle group of AF points selected.

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Ecoh
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Re: more info, samples?
In reply to humanist, Aug 31, 2010

It might have something to do with the color of the dog. With my all black dog I have found focus is sometimes difficult in low light. I put a bright patterned bandana on her and AI servo is much better

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kimvette
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to humanist, Aug 31, 2010

What lens? The focus motor does make a difference; USM ring zoom is faster than micro usm is faster than a DC micro motor.

If you were using the EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS, for example, I'm not terribly surprised it was a bit slow to focus.

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humanist
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to kimvette, Aug 31, 2010

I was using my spectacular 70-200 f4L IS lens. Now, the dog did head-butt the lens while going full speed, but I'd expect the lens to hold up to something like that... Plus, the shoot when it was running toward me the first time (about to hit the lens!) was also so-so. It didn't touch the glass, btw, just smacked the side.

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elfroggio
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to humanist, Aug 31, 2010

humanist wrote:

I recently shot a family member's dog running toward me at top speed. I was found that about 1 in 5 was focussed properly in a given burst of 10-15 shots. This is ignoring photos that were blurry because of my handmovement etc. I am also already considering depth of field: the 4 out of 5 that weren't right would not have been OK if I had a bit more DOF.

I do a lot of running dog, you can see a whole sequence at:
http://www.foto-biz.com/Canon/High-speed-ai-servo-tracking

My settings:

C.FnIII: Autofocus/Drive:

AI Servo tracking sensitivity: Setting #1: Slower than medium, but faster than slow.
AI Servo 1st/2dn img priority: Setting #2: 0: AF priority/Tracking priority.
AI Servo AF tracking method: Setting #3: 1: Continuous track priority.

You haven't said which AF selection you used and haven't given samples. I often use the zone af in similar cases.

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The Business of Being a Photographer -- Lightroom Q&A -- Canon 7D

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elfroggio
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to elfroggio, Aug 31, 2010

Oops! It wasn't zone af, it was single point.

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The Business of Being a Photographer -- Lightroom Q&A -- Canon 7D

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Schoonderwoerd
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elfroggio, did you....
In reply to elfroggio, Aug 31, 2010

also test the difference in behaviour between single point and single point with AF expansion?

If so, what can you say?

Thanks for sharing the info.

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GammyKnee
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to elfroggio, Aug 31, 2010

elfroggio wrote:

C.FnIII: Autofocus/Drive:

AI Servo tracking sensitivity: Setting #1: Slower than medium, but faster than slow.
AI Servo 1st/2dn img priority: Setting #2: 0: AF priority/Tracking priority.
AI Servo AF tracking method: Setting #3: 1: Continuous track priority.

Ditto. I keep playing around with different tracking sensitivity settings but I always keep going back to one notch down from medium.

Regarding AF mode, well it depends on the circumstances. For a dog running about in a garden I use single point + expansion. That also serves me very well at our monthly lure coursing sessions. I've very rarely had success with zone AF for dogs unless I'm shooting side-on to them, probably because the camera gets to choose which point to start tracking with, and doesn't choose well. All 19 points sometimes helps me get a shot that I keep missing in say an agility set up, but it's a weapon of last resort.

As already mentioned, consider using a bandana or similar if the dog is monotone. My nightmare scenario is trying to shoot an all black whippet on a dull day!

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humanist
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to GammyKnee, Sep 1, 2010

Are these the same settings I'd use for a bird in flight or a toddler stumbling toward me? ie. can I leave these settings on my camera as the new default?

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GammyKnee
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to humanist, Sep 1, 2010

humanist wrote:

Are these the same settings I'd use for a bird in flight or a toddler stumbling toward me? ie. can I leave these settings on my camera as the new default?

BIF - dunno as that's not something I do, but I have seen a number of posts recommending those settings for BIF.

Toddler - yep should be fine.

I can't think of many situations where you'd want to deviate from AF priority/Tracking and Continuous track priority. Tracking sensitivity however is more subjective. Some people say they get better results ramping it up to the fastest settings. That didn't seem to work for me but maybe my own tracking ability isn't that hot and so the camera has more of an excuse to lock onto something other than my intended subject. Worth experimenting with this one to see what gives you the best results in particular situations.

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zaks
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to humanist, Sep 1, 2010

Hi all,

I have been following this thread closely as i am trying to shoot something similar. The only difference is that it will be NOT A DOG BUT 5-6 of them running. Infact it is a greyhound racing that i am shooting. I did try it once with 7d 70-200 f/2.8 but the lighting conditions were abyssmal (under flood lights) and had to beef up ISO to 1000 so was not happy with outome. Will be trying again tomorrow during the day time. Please give your suggestions.

http://www.photoshop.com/accounts/e158088f5d894892ab4ace8697a55d65/px-assets/c823076c507d49d0aaef776d39cbe549

 zaks's gear list:zaks's gear list
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elfroggio
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Re: elfroggio, did you....
In reply to Schoonderwoerd, Sep 1, 2010

Schoonderwoerd wrote:

also test the difference in behaviour between single point and single point with AF expansion?

I rarely use the AF-expansion point. My personal experience is that it's better for erratic and very contrasty subjects. Rarely are my subjects erratic.

http://www.foto-biz.com/Canon/AF-point-expansion

If the subject is fairly large, you may want to experiment with Servo and the 19 point AF. I'm starting to like it more and more. It starts with your focus point and will track the subject over all the 19 points area.

http://www.foto-biz.com/Canon/Automatic-19-points-select-focus-point

If so, what can you say?

Thanks for sharing the info.

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The Business of Being a Photographer -- Lightroom Q&A -- Canon 7D

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Drewbie
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7D AI Servo Settings for Horses running toward camera
In reply to zaks, Sep 1, 2010

Hmm, this thread is of interest to me too:

I shoot a lot of Horse Trials (none of them are ever found guilty - haha) and sometimes the horse and rider are travelling parrallel to me and at other times toward me, add in a jump in to the air to contend with at the moment you want to hit the button and it adds up to an interesting challenge.

I use single point (no expansion) with AI Servo. I've been considering trying a small group of focus points in the 7D's arsenal. Anyway, here are some examples below with the aforementioned settings which seem to cope quite well as 95% of my shotsare of this quality:

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elfroggio
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to zaks, Sep 1, 2010

zaks wrote:

Hi all,

I have been following this thread closely as i am trying to shoot something similar. The only difference is that it will be NOT A DOG BUT 5-6 of them running. Infact it is a greyhound racing that i am shooting. I did try it once with 7d 70-200 f/2.8 but the lighting conditions were abyssmal (under flood lights) and had to beef up ISO to 1000 so was not happy with outome. Will be trying again tomorrow during the day time. Please give your suggestions.

http://www.photoshop.com/accounts/e158088f5d894892ab4ace8697a55d65/px-assets/c823076c507d49d0aaef776d39cbe549

My suggestion is forget it! No can do, no camera can track multiple subjects.

  1. Your better bet would be to select one dog with the single-af and have enough depth of field to have most of the dogs in focus.

  2. You will get less noise at 1600 than at ISO 1000. 1000 is 800 with 1/3 f/stop under exposure: http://www.foto-biz.com/Canon/7d-and-noise . I've had decent results at 3200.

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The Business of Being a Photographer -- Lightroom Q&A -- Canon 7D

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PerL
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In reply to humanist, Sep 1, 2010

humanist wrote:

Hello all.

I recently shot a family member's dog running toward me at top speed. I was found that about 1 in 5 was focussed properly in a given burst of 10-15 shots. This is ignoring photos that were blurry because of my handmovement etc. I am also already considering depth of field: the 4 out of 5 that weren't right would not have been OK if I had a bit more DOF.

Is this the best I can get? Or should I be adjusting the custom fucntions? Most of my settings except flash settings are still set to the factory default.

Thanks!

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humanist
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to elfroggio, Sep 1, 2010

Have you tried this? Is it true? If so, I am VERY glad to get this advice. I've been shooting my kids indoors and thinking I'm saving some noise by keeping ISO1000 rather than the full 1600! Thanks everyone for all the help so far. I hope to have a chance to test this out, even if only with toddlers, soon.

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Joe Marques
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to humanist, Sep 1, 2010

I have about 300 shots of my son running towards me dunking on a 7 foot basketball hoop. 7D and 70-200 f4 IS - same gear as you. I had about 10 OOF shots.

The gear is up to the task. I would use AI Servo manual single point or AF expansion (the 5 point mode).

Joe

humanist wrote:

Hello all.

I recently shot a family member's dog running toward me at top speed. I was found that about 1 in 5 was focussed properly in a given burst of 10-15 shots. This is ignoring photos that were blurry because of my handmovement etc. I am also already considering depth of field: the 4 out of 5 that weren't right would not have been OK if I had a bit more DOF.

Is this the best I can get? Or should I be adjusting the custom fucntions? Most of my settings except flash settings are still set to the factory default.

Thanks!

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Drewbie
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Re: 7D AI Servo Settings for dog running toward camera
In reply to Joe Marques, Sep 1, 2010

Hi Joe

What do you find the advantage to be of the 5 point expansion mode ove the single point mode with this particular subject matter?

I'm looking forward to using this next time out but would like to hear your view.

Drew

Joe Marques wrote:

I have about 300 shots of my son running towards me dunking on a 7 foot basketball hoop. 7D and 70-200 f4 IS - same gear as you. I had about 10 OOF shots.

The gear is up to the task. I would use AI Servo manual single point or AF expansion (the 5 point mode).

Joe

humanist wrote:

Hello all.

I recently shot a family member's dog running toward me at top speed. I was found that about 1 in 5 was focussed properly in a given burst of 10-15 shots. This is ignoring photos that were blurry because of my handmovement etc. I am also already considering depth of field: the 4 out of 5 that weren't right would not have been OK if I had a bit more DOF.

Is this the best I can get? Or should I be adjusting the custom fucntions? Most of my settings except flash settings are still set to the factory default.

Thanks!

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