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Soccer photos from this weekend, all out of focus

This is a discussion on Soccer photos from this weekend, all out of focus within the General photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Sorry I don't have any samples (I'm at work, none to post). I shot my daughter's soccer game again this ...

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    Default Soccer photos from this weekend, all out of focus

    Sorry I don't have any samples (I'm at work, none to post).

    I shot my daughter's soccer game again this weekend (I am now the team photographer). I have been shooting the games all season with basically the same setting with nice results.

    AV mode

    2.8
    160 ISO

    The speed was running around 1200-1500, but this weekend it was up to 3800 due to the very sunny, cloudless day. All the images were soft. I wasn't paying attention to my shots after I took them and didn't notice until I got home.

    I am guessing (and hoping) there is nothing wrong with my camera, and I just had the setting wrong. I should have closed down on the f-stop to get the speed back to 1200-1500. 3800 speed was just way to fast to capture sharp sports images.
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    Generally speaking, faster should be sharper all other things being equal. The reason is that you are not likely to get motion blur at that speed. Blur from depth of field issues, however, is another matter. If the weather was excellent and lots of light I think I'd move up to f4, f5.6, or even f8 to give yourself more depth of field. If you had them running towards you or away from you it could be that you focused on them when they were at point A but captured the image when they were at point B and the result was out of focus because the depth of field was too narrow and they moved out of the focus zone before the image was captured.
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    I agree with you that 2.8 was too 'open' - particularly if you're shooting long. Recall that the longer you shoot, the thinner the slice of DOF you're getting for an equivalent aperture. This isn't to say that you should NEVER shoot sports that open--but if you do you have to be on your game, and, well, you'll have to accept that 4 out of 5 shots might be misses.

    In addition to adding some shots to the mix, I'd like to know your camera, lens you were using, what focus mode you were using (point ? zone ? auto select ? servo ?).

    Without seeing anything I'd suggest that it's possible that you were attempting to focus on subjects that didn't have as much contrast as the sunlight hitting the grass + accompanying shadows that might have been present. But it sounds like you were on the sun side (because of your shutter speed) - so, well, that's less likely.
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    I shoot with a Canon 60D and a Tamron 70-200 2.8.

    I shoot them in center weighted exposure, auto focus point selected.
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    Are you using a servo mode for tracking ? If you catch my half marathon thread in the People section you'll see shots of runners for which I used 'one-shot' and not a servo mode--so it's certainly not a requirement, but you may get more hits in servo mode.
    See Christopher Steven B. Photography for recent wedding and engagement photos.

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    Only if servo mode is fast enough with your body/lens combination. I shoot with lower end gear and I was using my T3i and a Sigma 70-300 for the Terry Fox run this past weekend and that camera/lens just can't keep up when in servo mode. I had to go one-shot focus and even then I missed focus on quite a few as they were running towards me. :(
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    Until we see some actual images, this is a lot of guesswork. Post a few and the help will be way more fruitful.
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    OK, stupid me, I figured out what I did.

    When I took my initial practice shot, it was around 1/3500 speed. I decided to add a filter to help knock down some of the glare. The tinted filter caused my speed to go from around 1/3500 to down to 1/400-1/1000. I never took another test image after adding the filter and was thinking my speed was very fast (not viewing it in the viewfinder). I was only paying attention to the focus points and exposure meter in the viewfinder (because the action is so fast to capture).

    I never even looked at the exif info when I got home (or when I started this thread)

    Lesson learned!!!!

    I needed to up the ISO to get the speed back to my desired 1/2000 or so
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