Tips for shooting action with legacy lens

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by sprinke, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    I figure I need to practice my legacy lens skills so I want to challenge myself by shooting action.

    I have a Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens and I'm planning to shoot my son's "bike day" at his preschool. Picture about 25 4-year-olds riding their bikes around an oblong track-like area that's about 10 meters long.

    Any tips for shooting this type of action? They won't be going super-fast, but they will be moving. It will be mid-morning on a bright sunny day. Should I choose a middle-of-the road aperture like f/8 or f/11? Or should I pick a shutter speed that will stop the action, like maybe 1/500 or higher? Should I just pre-focus on a certain spot and wait for the kids to ride by?
  2. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Yes and yes.

    Another tip : watch out for the background, choose your spot in advance and check what's behind. Don't spoil great images because of a pesky pole looking like it's implanted into a head.

    And yet another one : if you're shooting sideway, pickup your target ahead of your focus point and rotate your shoulders until it arrives on your focus mark. Shoot, without stopping your shoulders motion.

  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You don't need that small an aperture on a Four-Thirds system. I'd go for higher shutter speed if you need it at the expense of small aperture. That's the nice thing about Four-Thirds systems, is that you can get decent DOF for fast-action shooting while still retaining a large aperture for fast shutter speed.
  4. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    I would recommend a polarizing filter to bring out the colors and aid with reflections, etc.

    The nikon 50mm tends to flare, so watch shooting into the sun- try and keep it at your back.

    Sweet spot is f5.6 - f8..
  5. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    I use to shoot such sports with Leicas. Same ideas.

    1) Pre-focus. See where the action goes in the oval: maybe a jump, or the apex of the corner. Click.

    2) By all means, try to borrow an rangefinder camera's optical viewfinder of some kind - 90 to 105 mm will do equally fine... Then you can concentrate on framing, see the action without EVF blind-out, and keep panning the bikes in Sequential release mode. Make it Jpg not RAW to optimize this mode speed...

    3) If you follow point 2, your best panning shots (follow-framing around a bend) will be at the slowest shutter speeds i.e. 1/30 to 1/250s. (*) Note that this brings in small apertures, which optimize your depth of field, absorbing plenty mistakes on the pre-focus area.
    Try it even slower, too : the spinning motion of pedaling makes great action shots. But the pedals turn at about 1-2 turns per second, so it's not easy to get the cartoon-like spinning effect.

    4) It's with head-on shots (like on a jump) that you should use high shutter speeds -- 1/1000 good starting point. Faster limits your DOF, so it's never the one head you wanted sharp which gets it.

    * There's nothing uglier than the profile of a racing bike with its spokes locked and sharp. Looks like everyone is going to fall down next second... :rolleyes:
  6. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    Jumps!? They're four years old and most are still using training wheels. :tongue:

    Still, thank you for the tips!