CamRanger Review – Moving Subjects

For this installment, I wanted to try the CamRanger out on moving subjects. It’s all well and good when things are stationary in front of the camera but what happens when there’s motion? I tried it out for 3 different scenarios: My cat lying on my bed, a ladybug in a couple of locations and on people for a little street sniping.

For my cat, I used my 18-200m, for the lady bug I used my 150mm macro lens and for the people I used both. In all cases, I encountered the same issue. Focus. The CamRanger focus feature ends up being much too slow to keep up with live action. By the time the focal point is set, it’s no longer the point of interest. In order for this to work, you need to pick a spot on which to focus and wait for the action to move to that spot. Similar to a birding photographers technique I’ve heard used. Obviously, this method relies on a fair bit of luck and can be quite frustrating to get right.

So how did it work with my cat? I’m not sure if your cats are anything like mine but any little movement and he wants to investigate. So I thought that using the camera away from me while I didn’t move much would give me the opportunity to have him sit still long enough for me to get a good shot. So for this, I kept trying to focus on his eye but everytime I activated the shutter or went to review the image, the camera would make a sound and he would turn his head to look. So his eye was rarely in the right place. I would’ve been better off going handheld.

This is the best shot I was able to get from the series.

This is the best shot I was able to get from the series.

Here is a Full Zoom in his eye. This is the best one I got and it's still a little soft.

Here is a Full Zoom in his eye. This is the best one I got and it’s still a little soft.

When shooting the ladybug, the one from Part 4, it wasn’t until I got it into a plant that there were moments it slowed down enough for me to use the CamRanger on it effectively. When it was actually moving around, like most insects, it was going much to fast to keep up with. Previously, I had attempted the “pick a spot method” for some bees but after 5 minutes of waiting, no bee ever came to the flower I had chosen. You need a massive amount of patience for this method. But the bright side is you won’t use many shutter activations and decrease the life of your camera 🙂

Even here, it had already moved after focusing

Even here, it had already moved after focusing

When it came to the people, I set up my camera and tripod in a spot where I could catch oncoming foot traffic. I picked a spot to focus on and waited for people to pass it to take my shot but I could never quite tell if they were in the right place so the focus was usually a little soft. Plus there was often the pesky situation of other people blocking the main subject. Don’t they know I’m trying to take a picture? Oh yeah, I was sniping, so no. I abandoned the “pick a spot” method and tried to select someone that I wanted to capture but as I mentioned above, the focus took a couple of seconds to set and by that time, they were no longer at the spot I had focused on. So that was not a viable alternative. Possibly with enough practice, I could get good enough with the timing but I was only testing here.

Here I was able to get a good one. This was the "Pick a spot" method.

Here I was able to get a good one. This was the “Pick a spot” method.

I had to increase Clarity in Camera Raw to attain this sharpness.

I had to increase Clarity in Camera Raw just to attain this level of sharpness.

All in all, you can get “usable” results for moving subjects but the CamRanger seems best suited to stationary targets and not for moving subjects. It looks like I’ll still need to go handheld for certain things.

I think that probably covers most of the uses I can think of for this nifty little device. I will conclude my review with the next and last part.

About Dov Plawsky

I am an aspiring freelance photographer and writer. I've always enjoyed the story around the picture and now want to expand upon that. I founded Beyond Your Bag to help share knowledge across like minded people and to hopefully connect those people to one another.