RonnieA wrote in post #12226044
Being a former pro athlete, I'd like to think I have solid hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Maybe that's not the case? At any rate, I find it difficult to keep continuous focus on a subject's face while shooting action during field sports ... or basketball or hockey for that matter. I find it's easier to go with the flow of the play by focusing on the belt line or chest. It works for me reasonably well.
I think it depends on the sport though. Primoz shoots lots of ski racing and each racer is generally moving along the same line. I can see how one could get in a groove and effectively pan while maintaining good focus on a racer's head.
This is what's working for me shooting lacrosse. Even w/ a 300mm or 400mm lens, the players head is pretty small when you're shooting across the field, and it is easy for it to move out of the focus point. I've also found, that even at f/2.8, there is sufficient DoF to get the player's face in focus if you're putting the focus point on their chest or belt line. With a 300 f/2.8 wide open, with a distance to subject of 20 yards will give you a depth of field of ~ a foot and a half. At 40 yards, that goes to ~6', and at 10 yards, it's ~5". So if I'm standing on the sideline, shooting the goalie, I'm ~30 yards away, and will have a DoF of ~3', which will certainly have his face in focus if I put the focus point on his chest. If they're getting closer than ~10 or 15 yards, I'm switching from my 300 f/2.8 to my 70-200 f/2.8, and probably zoomed in. At 10 yards @ f/2.8 and 200mm my DoF is a little less than a foot, and @ 100mm it's over 3'.
I don't see much of a downside in focusing on the chest or belt line in this kind of a situation. Closer distances w/ a long, fast lens, absolutely.
7D, BG-E7, BGE2x2 (both FS), 17-55 f/2.8 IS, 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS (FS), 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8L IS Mk I, 70-300 f/4-5.6L, 550EX, Kenko Pro300 1.4xTC