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  1. #1
    Wmcgowin's Avatar
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    Should be a basic question

    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. #2
    clogz's Avatar
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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
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  3. #3
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clogz View Post
    ... such as Canon EOS (might be called differently in the US)

    Hans
    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. #4

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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. #5
    RobLewis's Avatar
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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. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobLewis View Post
    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.


    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. #7
    David Brown's Avatar
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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!"

  8. #8
    DieHipsterDie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Kelham View Post
    Indoor motocross? Now that's a thought!
    Very common here. Y'all still prefer fresh air and natural terrain, right?

    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. #9
    RobLewis's Avatar
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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. #10

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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

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