Action Photography Autofocus Tips - Australian Kelpie Jumping over grass
An Australian Kelpie jumping over a small grass hill next to a vineyard.
This action photo required quick auto focusing which my Canon 5D MkIII is very good at. I made sure my shutter speed was high enough to freeze the motion of the dog jumping at 1/800th of a second. I set my focus to AI Servo mode to keep the dog in focus as he moves. As the dog was getting ready to jump I held down the shutter button and followed the dog jumping. My camera with the Canon 24-105mm lens was able to get every single shot in focus and I choose this photo as the best from the burst series.
In this case 1/800th of a second froze the action but usually between 1/1000 and 1/2000 is needed to ensure the photo is sharp.
This photo was taken in September 2014 with a Canon 5D MkIII and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
Camera Settings: f/4.0, 1/800 seconds and ISO 2000
When taking action photos using the center focus point usually yields the best focusing speed. Focus points are sometimes referred to as AF points they are the dots inside the viewfinder. You can have a variety of AF points, from a single point to multiple points and even having the camera select the points automatically.
I find that the camera’s ability to choose AF points not very accurate. Most of the time I select the points manually. Most DSLR cameras have that option. It varies from camera to camera on how to select the points. Normally you will need to push a button located somewhere on the back of the camera and the turn a command wheel or toggle to move the points. I use the M-Fn button on my Canon and the command wheel to move the AF point/points around the frame.
The user manual will definitely explain how to choose an AF point. Some camera have lots of autofocus settings that can be complicated. My Canon 5D MkIII has loads of settings and options that can take hours to figure out completely what every option and setting means. Some basic DSLR’s have very little options.
A photo that required similar settings and techniques was a photo of a squirrel running up a tree.
This photo was taken in June 2014 with a Canon 5D MkIII and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
Camera Settings: f/4.0, 1/640 seconds and ISO 500