Sport photography with a film camera is no different with the digital camera.
All cameras will have a delay between when your brain, through your eye, tells you to take the picture and the actual exposure to film or sensor.
There are ways to help you get a better photo.
Determine the distance to subject then set the camera to manual focus. This eliminates the delay of the camera/lens focus.
In my experiments setting exposure method to manual didn’t appear to help any but it’s worth trying.
Using other formats other than RAW doesn’t appear to help either. It does if you’re taking multiple exposures but not with single exposure.
If you’re using a zoom lens then set the lens to the desired focal length and leave it alone. This doesn’t improve the delay time but it will help you get the picture. If you’re adjusting the focal length you will probably miss the shot altogether.
Now you need to practice, practice, practice. Again and again. Over and over.
What you’re looking for is the amount of delay between brain and sensor. In the case of the volleyball players I found that if I decided to take the photo when the ball was coming down and say 3 feet from the player’s hands the photos would show the ball maybe 10 feet in the air AFTER the player has hit the ball.
Why so much delay?
The worse case was when I forgot to turn auto focus off. Even with auto focus off the ball in most shots had already been hit by the player. I was trying to get the exact moment when the player was hitting the ball. Not easy. But with manual focus on it got closer to what I wanted.
Now the problem was determining how much delay there is from the moment of decision to the actual exposure.
I’m still working on that but it’s getting better.
Original contents copyright 2010 by John S. Krill and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.