Manual focus for sports

Make that for one sport. I snagged a trio of Nikon E lenses a few months ago (the collection is growing), and finally had time to give one of them a try. With the 100mm f/2.8E in hand (along with the 35mm f/1.8G ED), I did my usual tour of the city.

The lens is tiny, as are most MF lenses compared to their AF counterparts. It's a bit unbalanced on the D3, and would make a better fit on a DSLR without a vertical grip. Using the aperture ring on the lens to set the aperture brings back fond memories of the old days with my EM and Fujica film bodies. The focus action is smooth, although not up to the level of a Nikkor lens. The E lenses were Nikon's attempt at challenging the proliferation of third party lenses, and so don't have the same build quality and optical performance of their regular lens line.
Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and 100mm f/2.8E with HB-31 hood
Nikon 105mm f/2 DC and 100mm f/2.8E with HB-31 hood
As I wandered through the city, I decided to zigzag around Chinatown to look for some corners that I hadn't photographed before. I ran across several volleyball games going on at the Willie "Woo Woo" Wong Playground, and thought I'd try to take a few shots.

The only time I tried MF for sports was a painful 30 minutes trying to capture surfing with the V1 and Sigma 500mm. Painful because that combination results in very, very tight framing, and is unwieldy when you're trying to MF.

I did a lot better this time. Yes, I missed focus quite a lot, shooting at f/5.6 through the fence. Timing of course is an issue, but I never said I was a pro. Some of the shots have the player's hand right on the ball, making it look more like a basketball game than volleyball. It took me some time to remember that I was shooting action and switch to manual exposure to keep the shutter speed up.

But I did snag some keepers, leaving me pretty happy. 

Hit rate: 27/732, or 4%


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