Should be a basic question

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Wmcgowin, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Wmcgowin

    Wmcgowin Member

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    Hello all:

    I started back inti BW photography with a Canon A-1 bought 18 months ago. I love it still but progressed to medium format (with my Bronica), which fits what I am doing (nature shots, still life, etc.). Basically things I can set up and take my time with.

    Now, however, I am going to a motorcross race next weekend, and so I need to be able to snap pictures quickly. The A-1 is potentially automatic enough for that, especially if I get an auto winder. (the Bronica is pointless for action shots) But I think an auto-focus lens or two would help. Now, I know NOTHING about auto focus lenses. Can I buy them for my old A-1, or do I need a camera designed for them?

    To those of you who know about such things, this probably seems like a stupid question, but I am just so far down the learning curve about auto-focus that I need a primer.
     
  2. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Autofocus lenses only work with camera bodies that support those. In other words you need another camera body, such as Canon EOS (might be called differently in the US)

    Hans
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Nope, thats the name they use here too. I have a couple of Elan bodies that are very handy and can use most any Canon mount autofocus lens. My advice would be to buy from an online reseller of used cameras before hitting ebay since your looking at a camera that relies on electronics to function.

    - Randy
     
  4. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    Photographers have done sports/action shots for decades without AE & AF very successfully. Pre-plan your shots so you can pre-focus & set exposure on a jump, set of whoop-de-doos or corner where the action is anticipated. I did sports & photojournalism for many years & think a motordrive is (for the most part) just a film waster. AF (IMHO) is just another way to make the shot just a split-second too late. Yes, their both a tool and convenience, but a long shot from a necessity for sports. Take the A-1 & plan your shots, you'll be surprized how fast your thumb can advance to the next frame.
     
  5. RobLewis

    RobLewis Member

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    I agree with jolefler- prefocus on a certain point, and wait for the rider to appear. Attempting to track the rider and focus fast enough may be a bit difficult.
    Also, you're going to need a pretty fast shutter speed to freeze the action if you're shooting from the side of the rider, so hopefully you have a lens with a at least a 2.8 max aperture- especially if it happens to be indoor with poor light. If you shooting with riders coming toward you, you can get away with a little slower shutter, and higher aperture. (Hope I'm not assuming too basic of knowledge here)
    Have fun!
     
  6. Richard Kelham

    Richard Kelham Member

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    Indoor motocross? Now that's a thought!

    Otherwise good advice. Your autofocus lens would probably still be hunting for the correct focus long after the rider has flashed past. Go with what you've got...


    Richard
     
  7. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    On the college newspaper (back in "the day") I shot basketball games standing behind the net with a TLR. "f/8 and be there!" :tongue:
     
  8. DieHipsterDie

    DieHipsterDie Member

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    Very common here. Y'all still prefer fresh air and natural terrain, right? :D

    When my wife got here Canon digital SLR I thought it would be perfect for sports shooting. Doesn't focus fast enough though. I still have to prefocus the damn thing.
     
  9. RobLewis

    RobLewis Member

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    Sure, we do it indoors. That way the promoters can sell tickets for the seats, and the riders don't have to worry about the weather.

    We also use the same arena to host Professional Wrestling. Another great American past time.
     
  10. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Um, there were a small number of self-contained auto focus (SCAF for short) lenses, including a short zoom from Canon. I used to have a 75-200/4.5 Vivitar SCAF, I b'lieve it was offered in many mounts including Canon FD.

    Having had the experience, I recommend against looking for one and suggest you learn what we used to do when photographing motor sports. Prefocus.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan
     
  11. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I could not track a running dog with my autofocus EOS, so I'm not sure how much luck I would have with a motorbike... Do some reading on shooting sports events. Picking your point and pre-focussing before the bikes reach that point seems to be the way to go, so stick with manual focus.

    Have fun, Bob.
     
  12. Wmcgowin

    Wmcgowin Member

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    All good advice. Got me thinking, though. If I prefocus-why can't I just use my Bronica ETRSi? I like the bigger negatives. Get some 400 speed film (or push my Efke) and go with it...
     
  13. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    That's the spirit!! Long/fast lenses are nice for sports, are you comparably equiped in MF lenses? Shooting jumpin' horses, I'd use a 105mm at the shortest, but most frequently the 300mm hung on the front of the body...oh those are 35mm lengths.
     
  14. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Are you using a Waist level finder or a Prismfinder on your Bronica?
    WLF can be a pain to use when tracking moving objects. Can you get in close at e.g. jumps so you can use a normal lens?
    Regarding the AF FD Question. Canon changed the lensmount and remowed the aperturering when going AF so the systems are incompatible. There is an adapter for FD lenses on EOS bodies though. Nikon AF lenses mounts on MF bodies but you still loose the Auto focus which as mentioned is quite useless shooting this type of subjects anyway.
    Cheers
    Søren
     
  15. Wmcgowin

    Wmcgowin Member

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    I have a Prism Finder on my Bronica. It's the AE-III (I think that's the name) and I find it's pretty easy to use.

    I couldn't imagine tracking moing objects with a waist level finder. I'm not that coordinated!