If you have a Canon DSLR, like I do, then you may know what AI Servo is, but if you don't or if you don't know anything more about it besides its one of a dozens of options on your camera than this will definitely interest you.
Almost all of us have tried to get nice and crisp action shots and every single one of us who have tried have ended up with blurry photos and missed moments. We all know we can't recreate the shot, especially an action shot. Once the moment is over, its over. So its very important to be prepared with your camera before you have a chance to take and miss those shots!
(A photo of my dog running trying to utilize auto-focus to capture her fast movement - and failing)
This is where AI Servo comes in.
AI Servo is a auto focus mode on Canon cameras that allows the camera to intelligently predict a moving object's speed and distance so you have the best chance of catching a crisp and focused photo of your subject. To best utilize AI Servo take the following steps:
- Set you camera in either manual mode, aperture priority, or shutter priority.
- Choose AI Servo for the focus option. (depending on your particular Canon your menu may be in a different place than my camera.
- Select High Speed Continuous shutter speed if you have the option. (this allows you to simply hold your shutter button and take many many consecutive photos)
- Adjust your shutter speed/aperture for your given lightning conditions and movement speed.
- Test out your settings by snapping a photo to make sure they're what you'd like.
- Adjust accordingly.
- Practice some action shots before going to an important event where you will not want to miss a shot!
If you utilize these steps, and get comfortable with AI Servo then you will have much better action shots and a lot less blur and frustration. Just be sure to practice any new technique and settings before you fully rely on them delivering the shot you envision!
And if you have a Nikon:
Nikon’s equivalent of AI Serve is “continuous servo AF.” Since I do not have a Nikon I am not familiar with the settings, but the same logic applies. Adjust your light (aperture) and speed (shutter) accordingly and utilize that mode to allow you camera to judge the objects speed and distance to provide a nice and sharp focus.