7D problems shooting basketball

Started Jan 1, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Robert Krawitz Regular Member • Posts: 496
7D problems shooting basketball

I was shooting a basketball game yesterday (see http://rlk.smugmug.com/Sports/Basketball/MIT-Harvard-20101231/15276033_FCjeh ) and was disappointed with my keeper rate (I got only about 40% in-focus shots out of almost 900 frames), using my Sigma 70-200 OS. This time at least I had the sense to set 1/500, +2/3 stop, ISO either automatic or 4000 (5000 and 6400 were markedly more noisy, but I would have used them if I had to), so motion wasn't a problem.

The main problem I had was that the focus would jump to the stands or wall behind the court (some of the shots I kept had some of that, but they were of particular interest so I kept them even if they were less than perfect). Sometimes this would happen in the middle of a burst, and sometimes it would regain correct focus.

I was using single point with expansion, and the following CF-III settings:

1: slowest (I would expect that to help in this situation)
2: 0
3: 1 (I'm wondering if this contributed to the problem)
4: 0 (not likely a factor)
5: 0

Since I was trying to lead the player with the ball, I set the focus point to right of center (when the team I wanted to follow was going to the basket to the left).

I suspect basketball is more difficult than a lot of other sports, particularly from the seat I had (near halfcourt, about 10 rows up), due to the rapid and constantly changing motion.

I'm wondering if possibly single point without expansion, or possibly even fine point, would work better (just track the person with the ball) and AF priority + release priority (so if I get a good lock to begin with, it's less likely to jump away, since most of the motion was side to side from my perspective).

Thoughts?

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Canon PowerShot SX1 IS Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS M Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM +5 more
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