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02-08-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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Best autofocus point for action shots

What is the best choice for the autofocus point for action shots? Is it the 5 point AF or spot autofocus? Am I correct that either of these options will work with the continuous autofocus setting. I am interesting in photographing fast moving dogs and trying to figure the best settings for focusing. Thanks for any advice on this issue.

02-08-2012, 10:56 PM   #2
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Use all 11 if stuff is moving at high speed- you don't want your lens to start hunting because you couldn't keep up!

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02-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #3
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I use a single center focus point for action and I pan (ie I follow the moving object).

Dogs are not that fast IMO compared to air force planes and even volley balls. I have goodf results with center focus + panning in a numbe rof action shots.

Food for thought...
02-09-2012, 12:05 AM - 1 Like   #4
Brooke Meyer
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I stick with AF Single with Single Point Center and track with the rear AF button. Get on the subject and stay there, panning, When you press the shutter, you're ready. Same deal with airplanes & dancers

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Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 02-09-2012 at 12:12 AM.
02-09-2012, 01:18 AM   #5
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I mostly shoot in low light, and use centre point-focus-re compose (using AF button). In good light I would probably use more points.
02-09-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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AF Point

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
I stick with AF Single with Single Point Center and track with the rear AF button. Get on the subject and stay there, panning, When you press the shutter, you're ready. Same deal with airplanes & dancers
What do you mean by "track with the rear AF button"? Thanks.
02-09-2012, 08:57 PM   #7
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You can decouple the shutter release and AF functions, so that you use the AF button on the back of your camera to trigger AF, and the shutter release to take the shot, or a half press to wake up the meter. The point is, the half press on the shutter release won't cause you to lose focus by triggering the AF again. It works well, I switched a couple months ago and will likely keep it set up like this now. The first couple days it felt a bit awkward.
02-09-2012, 09:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I use a single center focus point for action and I pan (ie I follow the moving object).

Dogs are not that fast IMO compared to air force planes and even volley balls. I have goodf results with center focus + panning in a numbe rof action shots.

Food for thought...

+1 for this. And I do the same.


@Brooke Meyer awesome shots! I specially like the dancer.

02-13-2012, 02:32 AM   #9
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The other way is to switch AF off and aim focus manually to the point where you guess to take a shot and the object shoul be at the moment. This way you concentrate on the better movement tracking. Here is my example from a motocross competition. Distance to the object is about 5 meters. Overall good shots output from the serie was about 60-70%.

07-21-2016, 12:40 PM   #10
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In my past I shot action using Canon AI Servo. I would use SPOT as I wanted line-up the focus light in the viewfinder with the subject. For Example, I want to get that crisp photo of one surfer in a crowded mess of waves and other surfers. Results were always great, especially when pre-tracking and anticipating the movement of the subject.

I'm finding things are different with Pentax. I've been testing an old film zoom (100-300mm) with a newer digital body. It really struggles at the far end of the focal length- It gets really confused and noisy. Keeps panning... and I've read about these problems with the newer zooms as well (hence the Pentax development of the 75-300 Pulse lens?). This morning, I did some additional testing. As I changed from spot, to 5Auto, to eventually 11Auto I kept getting better results. Was surprised but also thrilled to find that 11 in particular was really getting the job done. No hunting at all, was firing away getting most every shot.

As I consider a new body (K3II v K70) I'm starting to wonder if the 27 focus points in the K3 would be an even better improvement?
07-21-2016, 10:04 PM   #11
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Just a caution - if you use 11 points rather than the one that several of us in this thread normally use, the focus will go to whichever of the 11 points is closest. This might be something or someone other than your intended target!


Wouldn't be a problem in Brooke's three examples, there's nothing else in those foregrounds. :-)
07-21-2016, 10:55 PM   #12
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Clackers, yes agree with that. That was my point... My instinct is to use spot focus for that reason. Yet spot and 5Auto isn't getting the job done in the set-up I was testing. My first problem was simply to get the lens engaged while at the long end. I was about ready throw the lens in a trash can at one point. Was definitely surprised that 11 points did the trick. I will definitely keep testing this and chime in with any additional thoughts.
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