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Thread started 18 Sep 2015 (Friday) 06:38
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Spray and pray vs calculated

Cream of the Crop
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Sep 20, 2015 09:37 |  #31

Charlie wrote in post #17714294 (external link)
+1, panning is a scenario where it's all about spray and pray, and not too much emphasis on timing.

Actually nailing the timing when panning can be really important! I am often dealing with subjects that are traveling in excess of 300 feet per second, and maybe even 500 feet per second. The problem is that there are two of them and they are traveling in opposite directions. I have a 30 foot length to hit the photo in. At 300f/s that gives me 0.05 seconds of overlap, at 500 f/s its only 0.03s. If you go for a tight framing it is quite easy for the opposing subject to not have entered the frame in one shot, and to have left the frame in the next shot, even when shooting at 10 frame/second. It's actually easier with some practice to do this in single shot mode.

Shooting in controlled 3 shot bursts really helps with reducing the chances of vertical camera movement induced by pressing the shutter button. But then you have to time the middle shot to perfection, which takes even more practice, as you have to judge a bigger distance apart to fire the shutter button. To fill the frame you need to be shooting at 300mm, and what is worse as a right hander/right eye dominant, ideally you need to be tracking the subject coming from the left hand side, which means you don't get the periferal vision from the non shooting eye aiding your judgment of separation.

Simple spray and pray is just too random for reliable results, timing is all.


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Title Fairy still hasn't visited me!
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Sep 20, 2015 09:55 as a reply to  @ BigAl007's post |  #32

I think it also depends on the type of action you're trying to record. Different strokes for different folks as well....the only technique that's right is the one that works for you. Perhaps spraying for team sports like basketball and football are more important, since players are not traveling as predictably as a car or airplane. I do more event and portrait photography, so I don't have much experience with burst modes. I have taken some nice photos of cycling for one of my friends. I found I did get many keepers just by panning and pressing the shutter right before the subject was getting in the desired frame. I've also gotten some good group photos and stills from parades: think shooting that one shot at the peak of action is a bit predictive and improves with experience.

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Sep 20, 2015 10:23 |  #33

Frodge wrote in post #17711942 (external link)
I rarely spray and pray. I usually will focus compose and sort of wait for the right moment. Even with a moving object. How many of you are taking many photos at once vs calculated shots. I sometimes will take 2 or 3 in a row. But have never held the button down till the buffer filled, I feel like it is just wasted actuations. I think this may be a holdover from fully manual cameras that were incapable of taking more than one shot.

Seriously considering going back to 4x5 B/W. Another Sinar with Schneider glass should fit the bill. Just as slow as you can get even with a Grafmatic film back.

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Sep 20, 2015 10:33 |  #34

Frodge wrote in post #17712236 (external link)
I'm in my 40s, I know, a lot younger than a lot of you guys, but I did use a manual 35mm for years and years with great results. On that same note, I remember watching a documentary on some old German WWII photographer from Germany. It was a documentary on how he captured specific moments with his camera. This film has to be at least 30 years old, and I wish I could remember the name of it. Anyhow, he explained when he was photographing Hitler, he would time exactly when for instance how arm would reach the apex if he was lifting it during a speech, and he would snap that photo right as the arm was coming to a standstill before it started coming down again, and I never forget some of these techniques he talked about. The photos were brilliant as well.

Many years ago when I was shooting a lot of sport, I'd use a Nikon F2AS Photomic with MD-2 motor drive. The thing would go off like an AK-47 on full tilt. Golf was an entire different kettle of fish. No motor drives allowed. The trick was to trip the shutter when the club just came in contact with the ball (or just a nano second after) or at the top of the follow through. Took a lot of practice as you only get one go at each stroke.

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Sep 20, 2015 10:50 |  #35

yogestee wrote in post #17714421 (external link)
Seriously considering going back to 4x5 B/W. Another Sinar with Schneider glass should fit the bill. Just as slow as you can get even with a Grafmatic film back.

I built a 4 by 5 field kit from a company called Bender. I really enjoyed it but I will never go back to the dark room.

I rented at 24 TSE II and it isa wonderful lens. Excellent IQ but wasted on me. I know over time I'd lose interest in using the tilt shift. Don't have that type of patience anymore. If I had unlimited funds both the 17 and 24 would be in my collection just because :-)

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Sep 20, 2015 11:42 |  #36

umphotography wrote in post #17714372 (external link)
Timing and a Trained eye gets you way more keepers. Your not going to train your eyes until you stop spraying and praying

I agree.

The only time I'd even think of using machinegun mode is if I needed a series of images of some sort of motion that represented successive moves of the subject. Think of a gymnast doing their thing and you needing to show how its done.

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Sep 20, 2015 11:43 |  #37

umphotography wrote in post #17714372 (external link)
^^^^ THIS ^^^^
I think you are doing a major dis-service to yourself as a photographer by spraying and praying. I am deliberate everytime I push the shutter and I shoot it all. Sports, wildlife, and a successful wedding and portrait business. Composition and ability to capture what you envision is so important.

FPS is highly over rated i my opinion. I raced motocross bikes for years and played competitive tennis for 30+ years. Timing and a Trained eye gets you way more keepers. Your not going to train your eyes until you stop spraying and praying

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Sep 21, 2015 09:16 |  #38

I find fps is good for human movement for different angles and expressions.
For object movement, per all the math shown, the timing of the shot is best done with practice otherwise between 10fps, you can wind up with no ball in the fame. Realize 70mph is about 100 feet/sec.

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Sep 21, 2015 09:20 |  #39

It's nice to have the option to do both...

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Post edited over 4 years ago by Wilt. (4 edits in all)
Sep 21, 2015 10:32 as a reply to  @ gschlact's post |  #40

And yet, I have found, while shooting 7 grandkids sitting across a couch at Xmas time, that even if you are trying to get them all to smile nicely at the same time,the use of a high fps burst does NOT ENSURE that all of them are captured well -- looking at the camera with a smile on the face without blinks and eyes closed and less than pleasing grimaces or sudden yawns -- even in one frame within the burst! So you have 5-10 throwaways, rather than simply one or two!

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Sep 21, 2015 11:42 |  #41

I learned a new phrase from this thread: "controlled burst". That's what I use when I'm shooting birds in flight.... I'm not pointing at the sky and praying. I'm panning.... getting the bird/birds in focus and then firing off a few shots. I don't hold the shutter button down until I fill up the buffer. I've had my 7D2 for almost a year now and I've never once had it slow down because the buffer was full.

It is hard for me to compare the "then" and "now" because I was previously using a 70D and either a 70-300L or a 400 f/5.6. I got the 100-400ii just a few weeks after I got the 7D2 and have been using that combo ever since. I can say without any exaggeration, I am getting far more keepers than I did with my 70D and the two lenses I used with it. I "think" the faster frame rate and better AF system are allowing me to get the wings at various angles in sequence more easily. I did use the 400 f/5.6 for a short time and truth be told, I was disappointed in the 7D2/400 f/5.6 combo. I'm sure I was doing something wrong, but for what ever reason, when I started using the 7D2/100-400ii something clicked.

I don't know for sure... hence the reluctance to be dogmatic. I do know, when I get home from a venture into nature, I have taken more photographs and a much higher percentage of them make it through the culling process.

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Post edited over 4 years ago by TeamSpeed. (5 edits in all)
Sep 21, 2015 13:03 |  #42

I shoot a range of sports, but the most professional of them all is NBA basketball. As with just about anything, after you shoot the sports enough, you learn the nuances of the action. Once this happens, you will undoubtedly move away from spraying, and instead do controlled bursts as you time the action better. I seldom do bursts, but will hold the shutter as somebody flies through the air and slams the ball, for example. Ditto for hockey...

I am not 100% confident this works with everyone, but the progression did with me. I sprayed more up front as I learned the sport, and calculated more and sprayed less as I grew accustomed to the sports. I also learned to shoot with both eyes open so that I could see the rest of the action to time my shot better, this works well with basketball/softball. That took a while to get accustomed to though, I had to switch my visual recognition from eye to eye.

My problem is that I am not fast enough to zoom with the action so I end up with cutoff limbs. This season, I plan to work on that issue aggressively. Doesn't matter how good I am with timing if arms/feet/heads are cut off. :(



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Post edited over 4 years ago by panicatnabisco. (2 edits in all)
Sep 21, 2015 13:13 |  #43

Thats why I bought a 1DX; calculated 14fps sprays. There's a time and place for it, but making blanket statements saying it's just a waste/skill-less is another "my method is better than yours" argument.

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Post edited over 4 years ago by ejenner.
Sep 21, 2015 13:51 |  #44

IMO anyone with experience knows 'spray and pray' is neither complete 'spray' with no timing, not complete 'pray' - the more you practice the 'luckier' you get.

But I for one cannot time a hummingbirds wing strokes, so I'm glad for 10fps.

I do find though, however shot the blackout time, there are situation where 10fps is too fast. It seems to put me off my timing a bit and make it harder to time the bursts. I do like the features on the 7DII to have two frame rates you can completely adjust.

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Sep 21, 2015 15:24 |  #45

Canon (and other manufacturers) keeps upping the FPS and people keep screaming for even more. There's gotta be a reason for that or it wouldn't be on the Holy Grail list. If you don't ever use it, fine, but it works for me in certain situations.

What I have learned here is that I do use a "controlled" spray in that I only use it when I know the action is about to happen but can't tell at exactly what instant in time the peak may come. As some of you have said, I to am getting better at it, but it's almost impossible to become completely adept at it. Why? Because like a lot of other things in life, there's a human element on the other side of the lens that you have absolutely no control over.

High FPS and its utilization are just another tool in my bag of tricks. Once I have a tool in my bag, two things happen. I use the tool when I need it and I upgrade it when I need to and I can. I plan to keep on being a mechanic.

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Spray and pray vs calculated
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