How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

Started 9 months ago | Questions
baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 15,011
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

As already posted the 18-135mm can be very sharp in the center, it has a very fast AF and I use it for BIF, aircraft shooting, fast action...

To go further and effectively help you I need to know your AF settings

It is necessary with shutter to set priority to focus. For such shoot as the surfer my settings are AFC, zone 3*3, CL, CFG 5 or 6 as 1/1/front

Read carefully the manual for AF settings

Hope this helps

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a_c_skinner Veteran Member • Posts: 9,691
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

I did look at that, but there was nothing sharp.  It wasn't that it was focussed wrongly, nothing was sharp.  I have wondered if the lens is defective.  It shouldn't have been camera shake at the settings used, with one assumes, VR on.

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baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 15,011
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
1

Another sample with the 18-135mm SOOC Jpeg slightly adjusted for light

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agaoo
OP agaoo Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

baobob wrote:

What were your AF settings

I chose focus mode C and Wide/Tracking.

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agaoo
OP agaoo Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
1

mrgooch2008 wrote:

Use shutter speed fast enough to stop the action.

Have the subject in focus.

Have an f stop to give you depth of focus.

Isolate in on a subject for interest.

Thanks for the tips. But, please look at the 100% crop of the above sample photo.

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agaoo
OP agaoo Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

baobob wrote:

Read carefully the manual for AF settings

Thanks. I'll check the AF settings manual.

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agaoo
OP agaoo Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

Erik Baumgartner wrote:

Was there a filter on the lens, and was this with the electronic shutter?

With mechanical shutter and no filter is on.

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agaoo
OP agaoo Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

Kiwi Shutterbug wrote:

"I just bought Fujifilm X-T3 with 18-135mm and 50mm f/2 as I am expecting the system would give me razor-sharp sports photos."

1. You're going to be disappointed.

2. For razor-sharp sports AF, did you check out Nikon, Sony or Olympus?

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-cameras-for-sports-and-action

Are you serious? I've read many reviews say X-T3 is one of the best cameras for sports photos.

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Kiwi Shutterbug Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
2

Can you share with us the website that gave the glowing review? This article is from dpreview, not from me.

I'd rather get a system that is designed for sports/action so you can get those razor-sharp fast-action photos now without having to try this, try that, spend a lot of time months or years trying to gain experience or buying new lenses and the limitations are the body.

You may see some nice action shots, but maybe their keeper rate is 4 sharp photos out of 10, you want that to be higher.

Go to a shop and try out one of them, like the Nikon D500 and fast lens, only you can judge yourself and not regret later.

Being a Fuji forum, I expect a lot of unhappy replies to my comments, haha! Good luck!

agaoo wrote:

Kiwi Shutterbug wrote:

"I just bought Fujifilm X-T3 with 18-135mm and 50mm f/2 as I am expecting the system would give me razor-sharp sports photos."

1. You're going to be disappointed.

2. For razor-sharp sports AF, did you check out Nikon, Sony or Olympus?

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-cameras-for-sports-and-action

Are you serious? I've read many reviews say X-T3 is one of the best cameras for sports photos.

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rnpr4541 New Member • Posts: 21
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

Hello,

I believe that the lens may make some difference. The focus speed is important for sports.

I use X-T30 but the focus system is the same of X-T30.

Here are some sports pictures with X-T30 and 55-200

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/63195511

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62783671

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62751126

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Erik Baumgartner Senior Member • Posts: 2,296
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

agaoo wrote:

Erik Baumgartner wrote:

Was there a filter on the lens, and was this with the electronic shutter?

With mechanical shutter and no filter is on.

🤔 well, it seems unlikely that you only took the single surfer shot, were they all very soft like this one? Does your lens produce sharp results with static subjects? Nothing is particularly sharp in the surfer pic so it doesn’t really look like a simple case of missed focus, I wouldn’t have used that focus mode on my X-T2, but something should look sharp. Did you try other focus modes? Did you try with the OIS off? Do some troubleshooting yourself to try to eliminate some of the variables, the 18-135 isn’t really known for its razor sharpness, but in the center is should look way better than this. If all your images are soft, maybe your copy is a dud, it happens. At that range, and with that subject matter, you shouldn’t need some super specialized sports gear to get a decent result. I don’t use the X-T3, but I would use single point focus with a large enough box to get most of the surfer in, zone tends to focus quickly, but usually in the wrong place. And don’t use back button focus, follow the subject with the focus box and mash the shutter button down all the way without a half press,  AF-C mode, focus priority ON - I know the X-T3 is different, but the X-T2 works a million times better with this method and would never have missed focus in that situation. X-T3 users can help you better with specific focus modes, but for the snappiest AF with the X-T2 I’d use:

Custom AF-C setting #6: Tracking Sensitivity: 0, Speed Tracking Sensitivity: 2, Zone Area Switching: FRONT (CENTER might work better if the subject isn’t coming right at you), focus priority ON, shutter button mash, not half press and track first. Probably worth a try, Good luck.

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Fuji Maine Contributing Member • Posts: 931
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
8

Benjamin Kanarek wrote:

Learn how to use your gear:

All shot wide open or close to with the X-T3...grain added in post-prod.

What sport would you say these ladies are playing? I'm sure OP will at least find your specific advice super helpful though.

Truman Prevatt
Truman Prevatt Forum Pro • Posts: 11,036
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
1

Kiwi Shutterbug wrote:

Can you share with us the website that gave the glowing review? This article is from dpreview, not from me.

I'd rather get a system that is designed for sports/action so you can get those razor-sharp fast-action photos now without having to try this, try that, spend a lot of time months or years trying to gain experience or buying new lenses and the limitations are the body.

You may see some nice action shots, but maybe their keeper rate is 4 sharp photos out of 10, you want that to be higher.

Go to a shop and try out one of them, like the Nikon D500 and fast lens, only you can judge yourself and not regret later.

Being a Fuji forum, I expect a lot of unhappy replies to my comments, haha! Good luck!

Oh come on, no one likes being told "their baby is ugly!"

However, the Nikon D5 is designed from top to bottom (including sensor) for sports and action. The D500 is its APSC little brother. The Sony A9 is designed top to bottom to be a sports camera. If I eat or didn't eat based on my sports photography I would not pick Fuji. Even today I'd stick with the D5/D500 sports machine guns. If I wanted or needed mirrorless it would probably be Sony.

Nikon and Sony have superior AF and AF tracking. That is what all the serious reviews conclude - see DPReview. For some sports, like horse sports, my H1 is a good solid performer. However, galloping and jumping horses don't make erratic movements and it is easy to track in AF. But in human sports where sudden erratic movements are common - Fuji is not there yet with AF. That's pretty much what the reviews say. The XT3 is better than the previous series because of a higher read out rate. However, Fuji is still behind Sony and Nikon on their AF tracking. However, in the right experienced hands, e.g., Morris, and the right lens Fuji gear can work just fine for sports.

However, all that not withstanding, that is not the issue with the OP's images. The issue there is the zoom lens is soft and particularly at 135 mm end. The first shot is fine - just suffers from narrower DOF than he desired but the focus point it sharp. The XT3 is a fine general purpose camera with sports being included in general purpose. It is certainly a "good enough" sports camera  to capture the OP's images - especially with a better lens than the 18-135 zoom.

agaoo wrote:

Kiwi Shutterbug wrote:

"I just bought Fujifilm X-T3 with 18-135mm and 50mm f/2 as I am expecting the system would give me razor-sharp sports photos."

1. You're going to be disappointed.

2. For razor-sharp sports AF, did you check out Nikon, Sony or Olympus?

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying-guide-best-cameras-for-sports-and-action

Are you serious? I've read many reviews say X-T3 is one of the best cameras for sports photos.

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agaoo
OP agaoo Regular Member • Posts: 189
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

Kiwi Shutterbug wrote:

Can you share with us the website that gave the glowing review?

This is one of the videos explains XT3 is good (if not the best) for sports photos.

https://youtu.be/UGusKCU3T3c

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DivineMadcat Junior Member • Posts: 46
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

The 18-135 may be softer at the long end, but it's not mush either. The shot in question is completely off, and I dont see how one can really blame the glass in this case.

I honestly think that the lens can do better than expected,  but it will take practice with the new system as a whole. While the fundamentals are the same with any system , you still have to learn the particular behavior of the system (especially in regards to the settings and characteristics of the lens)

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Christian Scarlet Contributing Member • Posts: 517
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
2

agaoo wrote:

wow! I am looking for that kind of sharpness.

I bought a really good football, how come I can’t throw it like Tom Brady? Do you think I need a different brand ball?

JNR
JNR Veteran Member • Posts: 4,019
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

baobob wrote:

Another sample with the 18-135mm SOOC Jpeg slightly adjusted for light

For a 5:1 wide to tele lens, the 18-135 does a fine job. Still, you have posted a couple shots that aren't at the lens' weakest setting (135 wide open), and the OP did exactly that. The advice to get to know the AF settings is the biggest key to success - and it does take some practice to get a feel for that. So, several factors at work, but a telephoto zoom set in the middle of the range is going to tend to be a lot better then the long end.

Beyond that, it is clear that on the sharp photo (volleyball), processing was part of the problem. Greater detail with less artifacts is possible with the right raw settings.

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baobob
baobob Forum Pro • Posts: 15,011
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?
1

Wide tracking is not the good one for this subject. Wide tracking is ok to track akid a pet  that moves erratically

Use AFC, single point AF of the size of your target or zone 3*3 the idea being that the AF system should not catch anything else than the target so any setting to wide will produce unpredicatble results Set CFG to 5 be sure that shutter priority is set to focus

CL my help to get a reasonable % of tack sharp keepers

hope this help

Bob

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mrgooch2008
mrgooch2008 Contributing Member • Posts: 781
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

agaoo wrote:

mrgooch2008 wrote:The reason the face is the way it is is not because of the lens but because the face was in complete shadow and without any detail. I edited it in LR to try and give it some life. Your example is much more than 100 % crop.

Use shutter speed fast enough to stop the action.

Have the subject in focus.

Have an f stop to give you depth of focus.

Isolate in on a subject for interest.

Thanks for the tips. But, please look at the 100% crop of the above sample photo.

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KneeConWon Contributing Member • Posts: 692
Re: How can I achieve razor sharp sports photos with X-T3?

agaoo wrote:

The boy in the lower left corner looks sharper than the surfer. Focus would have had a better chance of hitting where you wanted if you were zoomed in more, which you couldn't do because your lens is too short.

Generally speaking, get closer, get a longer lens, and find the right tool for the job with regard to camera body.

Personally, I bought a used Nikon D7500 and a cheap used Nikkor DX 70-300 AF-P VR lens that I use for shooting sports and it's an awesome combo for that — both indoors and outdoors. There's no "try this, try that" required. I simply set the AF to auto-area and AF-C and it focuses on what I want 9 out of 10 times. I shoot it M mode with the widest aperture and auto-iso and I just have to experiment with what shutter speed works best, given how good or bad the light is where I'm shooting and how fast the players are moving. I get very nice sports photos very easily. I'd be happy to share some here if it's allowed — is it?

Btw I have nothing against Fuji cameras — I just purchased my first one! Waiting for it to arrive in the mail and looking forward to using it. I just believe in the best tool for the job. There's no place for emotion when it comes to that.

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