One thing I miss about my DSLR

Started Jun 29, 2013 | Discussions
rogatsby
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One thing I miss about my DSLR
Jun 29, 2013

Overall, I have been very pleased with my Nex-5N, and I am really glad I switched from my big, heavy Canon DSLR.

As many have pointed out, however, the Nex cameras have slow autofocus when it comes to moving subjects, and I am having a lot of trouble getting usable actions shots. Undoubtedly, part of my problem is probably lack of skill in getting the Nex to get nice focus of moving subjects, but it was pretty easy for me with my DSLR.

Of course, I have seen some very nice shots posted by other members, and I know many of you will be able to show terrific action shots taken with your Nex cameras. But I think it's pretty clear that it is more difficult with the Nex's limitations in autofocus speed.

Here is a shot that I just took today. I got the composition and angle I wanted, but I just couldn't nail the focus, and I eventually gave up. Guess I need to keep practicing.

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Tuloom
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 29, 2013

1/40 and f10 for a moving bike, why?

DSLR AF is superior for the most part, but it's still not going to do you any good at 1/40.

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rogatsby
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to Tuloom, Jun 29, 2013

Tuloom wrote:

1/40 and f10 for a moving bike, why?

DSLR AF is superior for the most part, but it's still not going to do you any good at 1/40.

I realize that I could have just jacked up the shutter speed to improve focus, but I was trying to get a panning shot and a higher shutter speed would not give me the background I wanted. I used to get good shots even at 1/30 with my DSLR. I did try slightly higher shutter speeds, but it did not help much. Like I said, I need to practice a lot more with the Nex for these types of shots. But I am pretty sure it will never be close to a DSLR for panning. Of course, I knew that before I bought the Nex, so no big regrets. I just need more practice, and perhaps some good tips

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OpticsEngineer
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to Tuloom, Jun 29, 2013

"1/40 and f10 for a moving bike, why?"

While panning, the longer shutter speed is to get a background blurred with horizontal streaks to give an impression of motion.    A wider aperture would cause more blurring in the background that reduces the horizontal streaks.

The posted photo is so close to being really nice would be missing my DSLR too.

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LifeIsAVerb
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 29, 2013

rogatsby wrote:

Tuloom wrote:

1/40 and f10 for a moving bike, why?

DSLR AF is superior for the most part, but it's still not going to do you any good at 1/40.

I realize that I could have just jacked up the shutter speed to improve focus, but I was trying to get a panning shot and a higher shutter speed would not give me the background I wanted. I used to get good shots even at 1/30 with my DSLR. I did try slightly higher shutter speeds, but it did not help much. Like I said, I need to practice a lot more with the Nex for these types of shots. But I am pretty sure it will never be close to a DSLR for panning. Of course, I knew that before I bought the Nex, so no big regrets. I just need more practice, and perhaps some good tips

.

Shutter speed has nothing to do with focus.

.

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blue_skies
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to OpticsEngineer, Jun 29, 2013

OpticsEngineer wrote:

"1/40 and f10 for a moving bike, why?"

While panning, the longer shutter speed is to get a background blurred with horizontal streaks to give an impression of motion. A wider aperture would cause more blurring in the background that reduces the horizontal streaks.

The posted photo is so close to being really nice would be missing my DSLR too.

I don't think it is missed focus - it looks like motion blur (between the bicyclist and the camera - not the background). A DSLR would pose the exact same problem at these settings.

The shot may have worked at 1/80 and f/7.1, yielding the same streaky background, but reducing the bicycle/camera misalignment significantly, and this would likely clean up the shot.

Either way, use MF, then focusing speed is really irrelevant. On a shot like this pre-focus (distance to you and where bicycle will be) is pre-determined, AF is not needed.

No need to give up, and I am not convinced that a DSLR will be any easier (under same parameters/conditions) in usage.

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Henry

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Tuloom
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 29, 2013

rogatsby wrote:

...but I was trying to get a panning shot and a higher shutter speed would not give me the background I wanted.

Got it, but settle down on one variable at a time. Try having the boy ride over a mark if possible (like tape) several times and use a high shutter speed with manual focus. Once he's in focus over that point, have him repeat, lower shutter speed and go for the panning shot over that mark. I rotate my torso as opposed to my shoulders when panning. YMMV.

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cwood
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to LifeIsAVerb, Jun 29, 2013

the only option is to zone pre focus.  This is tricky with your depth of field and subject.  If you have a repeated activity you are trying to catch like basketball then I focus very carefully on the netting of the net or a mark on the floor I am seeing repeated action in with manual focus and peaking.  They just leave it in manual and fire away.  Anything in that plane will be in focus.

With the biker you would have them stop, focus like above on them, note the spot on the ground and have them try to hit that same spot as they go by.  Again you will have focused shots.  Alternatively if they are not someone you can stop, you have to look for the spot that is hit with some regularity and focus on that and wait.

If you need to catch random fast moving stuff all all distances then they really aren't fast enough in my experience anyway.

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rogatsby
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to cwood, Jun 29, 2013

cwood wrote:

the only option is to zone pre focus. This is tricky with your depth of field and subject. If you have a repeated activity you are trying to catch like basketball then I focus very carefully on the netting of the net or a mark on the floor I am seeing repeated action in with manual focus and peaking. They just leave it in manual and fire away. Anything in that plane will be in focus.

With the biker you would have them stop, focus like above on them, note the spot on the ground and have them try to hit that same spot as they go by. Again you will have focused shots. Alternatively if they are not someone you can stop, you have to look for the spot that is hit with some regularity and focus on that and wait.

If you need to catch random fast moving stuff all all distances then they really aren't fast enough in my experience anyway.

Thanks for the great advice. I think you are right that this is the only real solution. But I recall getting nice shots with my DSLR just using the continuous autofocus feature. I had that turned on, but the Nex couldn't get it just right.

That being said, I am very happy with the Nex-5N, and my son (who is pictured in the photo) actually liked this shot a lot. I like it too, despite the missed focus

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Jim Parsons
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 29, 2013

rogatsby wrote:

That being said, I am very happy with the Nex-5N, and my son (who is pictured in the photo) actually liked this shot a lot. I like it too, despite the missed focus

Actually, I rather like the shot as is. I'm not sure it would have the same impact if your son was in razor sharp focus. To me this shot conveys motion much more strongly than it would if he were in sharper focus.

Viewing this gives me a viseral reaction that it probably wouldn't if he were in sharp focus. Maybe it's just me. 

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sidebyside
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to Jim Parsons, Jun 29, 2013

Jim Parsons wrote:

rogatsby wrote:

That being said, I am very happy with the Nex-5N, and my son (who is pictured in the photo) actually liked this shot a lot. I like it too, despite the missed focus

Actually, I rather like the shot as is. I'm not sure it would have the same impact if your son was in razor sharp focus. To me this shot conveys motion much more strongly than it would if he were in sharper focus.

Viewing this gives me a viseral reaction that it probably wouldn't if he were in sharp focus. Maybe it's just me.

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Jim Parsons

I agree with Jim.  I like the shot the way it is.

Andy

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Russell Evans
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to Tuloom, Jun 30, 2013

Tuloom wrote:

rogatsby wrote:

...but I was trying to get a panning shot and a higher shutter speed would not give me the background I wanted.

Got it, but settle down on one variable at a time. Try having the boy ride over a mark if possible (like tape) several times and use a high shutter speed with manual focus. Once he's in focus over that point, have him repeat, lower shutter speed and go for the panning shot over that mark. I rotate my torso as opposed to my shoulders when panning. YMMV.

"Son son, go back to the edge of the stage and start over."

"No. No, this will only take a minute. Give him the diploma back."

"Oh sorry, one more time."

"What do you mean, "I'm embarrassing you"? Come don't be a w@nker"

"Shoot, just not getting it, again please"

"You won't do it again? Well, would you like me to tell all your classmates what I caught you doing last night in the bathroom? Get you're bloody @rse over there then!"

"What? Screw you, your little twit can wait to get his diploma. The nerve of some people. Now son, one more time"

...

Thank you
Russell

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 30, 2013

rogatsby wrote:

Here is a shot that I just took today. I got the composition and angle I wanted, but I just couldn't nail the focus, and I eventually gave up. Guess I need to keep practicing.

Looking at original size, focus is not the issue. Motion blur is, at 1/40s (courtesy of f/10). I would say that you'd have had the same issue with a DSLR under the conditions.

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GaryW
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 30, 2013

rogatsby wrote:

Thanks for the great advice. I think you are right that this is the only real solution. But I recall getting nice shots with my DSLR just using the continuous autofocus feature. I had that turned on, but the Nex couldn't get it just right.

That being said, I am very happy with the Nex-5N, and my son (who is pictured in the photo) actually liked this shot a lot. I like it too, despite the missed focus

But you didn't miss the focus.  Looks like you didn't pan perfectly enough because your shutter was too slow.  I think you have the right idea, but I'd guess that 1/40 just is a bit too slow.  I also wonder how much OSS fights the panning or if it supports panning?  Anyway, when I pan, I start well before the point where I'm taking the shot, and I follow through; this has worked well for me at airshows.  (In that case, I might use 1/800 for jets and less for prop. planes. )  Also helpful is the fast continuous shutter capability; at 10 frames per second, you should be able to get something you like.

But the photo as posted looks pretty good, only slightly blurred.  Good enough for small prints/web use, I think.  I probably wouldn't print that poster size.  But a slightly faster shutter and smoother panning and you might come up with just what you want.

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photo perzon
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When I freeze my dogs playing I use 1/800, not 1/40
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 30, 2013

1/250, 1/500/ 1/800 and you will nail it

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santiclaws
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Re: When I freeze my dogs playing I use 1/800, not 1/40
In reply to photo perzon, Jun 30, 2013

photo perzon wrote:

1/250, 1/500/ 1/800 and you will nail it

You can't get the desired motion blur at those shutter speeds

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teaberry
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bingo! I said the same thing in another post...
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 30, 2013

And some hex owners told me to increase the shutter speed. They missed the point of trying to capture the sense of motion and THAT is related to AF speed. I had same issues with shooting motorsports. I don't want the cars to look like they are standing still.

I am ordering a laea2 adapter and some Sigma lenses with OS to get faster AF, more lens option while maintaining OS when I need it. Maybe that can be a solution for you.

*Tp ppl who asked the bike rider to go over the same marked spot, what if I am trying to get a candid shot of a stranger?

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GaryW
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Re: bingo! I said the same thing in another post...
In reply to teaberry, Jun 30, 2013

teaberry wrote:

And some hex owners told me to increase the shutter speed. They missed the point of trying to capture the sense of motion and THAT is related to AF speed. I had same issues with shooting motorsports. I don't want the cars to look like they are standing still.

If you have to go to 1/40 on a moving bike and have motion blur on the bike as well, is it the camera's fault?  It may be that, say, 1/60 resulted in a much better image with only slightly less background blur.  I agree, going to, say, 1/300 misses the point of having some motion blur in the background.

I am ordering a laea2 adapter and some Sigma lenses with OS to get faster AF, more lens option while maintaining OS when I need it. Maybe that can be a solution for you.

*Tp ppl who asked the bike rider to go over the same marked spot, what if I am trying to get a candid shot of a stranger?

I think the camera focused fine.  If you look at the posted photo and zoom in, you can see the name of the bike, "Diamondback" perfectly fine, but with a ghost image that could only be caused by motion blur (such as camera movement or possibly OSS) and not by misfocusing.  I think the focus was close enough, but even if you think the focus is off, there's still motion blur on the bike and rider.

So, going to a marked spot probably would not have helped in this situation; given that, making a candid shot of a stranger shouldn't be a problem either.  But even if you want to prefocus on a particular spot, you may find that in many situations, you can predict movement and anticipate.  If the camera focuses OK, that's easier for me, though.

Anyway, after looking at that double-image on the bike, I'm thinking that OSS might also be interfering with the panning, so it might be worth turning that off.  But that's a pretty long motion blur of the background, and plenty of opportunity to bobble the capture.  As I mentioned before, I'd try to get a longer start and finish and see if a smoother pan helps, with or without OSS.

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nzmacro
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One thing I miss about my old SLR's
In reply to rogatsby, Jun 30, 2013

So what do I miss from the old SLR's (not DSLR's)

Basic simple settings with no menu and filter this, filter that, add this feature, throw in boosting colours and darn autofocus and OIS new fangle dangle stuff    

I just want a box that goes click dang it !!

Now what was your problem

All the best.

Danny.

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Digital Nigel
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Re: One thing I miss about my DSLR
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, Jun 30, 2013

I wonder if the panning would have been more successful with a camera with a viewfinder (optical or electronic)?  Certainly, with my NEX-7, if going for a panning shot like that, I'd use the EVF rather than the rear screen.

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