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techniques specific for a sigma 150-500 lens

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 18 Mar 2011 (Friday) 21:36   
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aftab_alam
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Orogeny wrote in post #12068903external link
Well, I don't know of any quirks simply because I have never used another 500 mm lens!

For birds in flight, keep your shutter up. 1/1600 or faster works best for me. Again, I don't know that that is specific to this lens or is true with any lens at that focal length.

The OS works well. This is a photo of the first grizzly I saw last May in Yellowstone. It was cold with scattered snow flurries and the bear was just coming over a hill. This is hand-held at 500 mm with a shutter speed of 1/400. Between the cold and the excitement, the OS saved this photo.

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If you have never used a lens this long, there will be a learning curve. 500 mm is long and any shake will greatly affect the image quality. Practice, practice, practice.

Tim

OBSERVE THE BACKGROUND AND FOREGROUND OF THE BEAR. THERE IS BLURRING. I THINK IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE HIGHER DEPTH OF FIELD WITH SIGMA 15-500 MM LENS.

Post #16, May 03, 2012 21:16:17




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cfcRebel
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aftab_alam wrote in post #14376194external link
OBSERVE THE BACKGROUND AND FOREGROUND OF THE BEAR. THERE IS BLURRING. I THINK IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE HIGHER DEPTH OF FIELD WITH SIGMA 15-500 MM LENS.

Well, for birdlife and wildlife photography, often time we want to isolate the subject front the foreground and background. Meaning, i want everything blurred except the subject. I don't want every blade of grass, twig and leaf to be in focus and sharp.
At 500mm focal length, even the minimum aperture f22 won't give you the Depth of Field that covers everything in focus.

To get the grizzly bear and its surrounding in focus, you will need to use a 24mm lens and sit 15 feet away from it.

Post #17, May 03, 2012 21:26:59


Fee

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cfcRebel
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aftab_alam wrote in post #14376172external link
ME TO GOT THE SAME LENS RECENTLY, AND AM SUFFERING DUE TO BAD QUALITY IMAGES. ONLY THOSE OBJECTS CLOSURE TO LESS THAN 30 FEET ARE GIVING GOOD RESULTS. DEPTH OF FIELD IS DIFFICULT TO ACHIEVE, AS A RESULT BLURRED PHOTOS. ON AN AVERAGE, IT IS A BAD AND UNFAITHFUL LENS.

Please stop bashing the lens everywhere. From the samples that i have seen you posted, it is due to user error I'm afraid. You don't understand what a telephoto is, and how to effectively use it. Your unrealistic expectation causes your dissatisfaction.
At 500mm, a bird at 30 feet away, won't give you tack sharp image. You just need to accept that. Even Arty Morris using a 1DX + 500mm f4 IS Mk II won't get the same bird tack sharp. Not with today's technology. If you can't accept that, then wait another 30 or 40 years before coming back to bird photography. Perhaps then a 300mp camera might do it for ya.

Post #18, May 03, 2012 21:37:56


Fee

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JersFocus
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Gotta love guys who lack experiance (trying to crop 1% of the screen and expect tack sharp at 500mm), or have a broken lens, then troll the forums bashing the company and model of lens.

Like learn to use it, send it in on fantastically long warranty, or return it. Or at least goto the sample section.

Lol@ background and foreground are all blurred, only subject is in focus, piece of crap lens, clearly...

Anyways rebel, after my 3rd day of shooting with this lens, using potn members and your suggestions... Im started to learn the glass and getting some tack sharp pics. Got a long ways to go though... Cant wait until summer to shoot some big game!

Also, i keep forgetting my monopod at home. That should help more if im nailing sharp images handheld.

Does anyone know if this sigma OS has tripod recognition?

Post #19, May 04, 2012 00:50:56 as a reply to cfcRebel's post 3 hours earlier.


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pepponeskie
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I had this lens for about 3 months before I sold it.

The trick with this lens is to get to f8.0 as much as possible to get a sharp tack images. However, at f8.0, the subject is hardly isolated from the background.

AF is fast enough to take photos for BIF, but not as fast as the Canons. The OS feature is really awesome. I always shoot handheld, but sometimes when the condition is dim, I use it with a monopod.

Another trick is to shoot the subject as near as you can get. The nearer the subject, the sharper it will be.

Cropping the images taking with this lens is somewhat not so advisable. Crop the image as less as you can to preserve the detail.

Post #20, May 04, 2012 01:43:47


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cfcRebel
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JersFocus, glad you get to know the lens better and started getting nice pictures out of the lens. I wish Aftab_Alam would listen to the advice many POTN'ers have given him, and not be too adament about how the lens SHOULD work. If he understands the following points, then he'd be a much happier bird shooter.
- A subject (bird) at >30ft away taken at 500mm would NOT give you tack sharp detail when you crop heavily, with any lens available today.
- Even at f22, it's IMPOSSIBLE to get everything in focus when shooting at 500mm.
- Gather enough information from experienced bird shooters. If they are getting nice bird images, they must be doing something right.

Post #21, May 04, 2012 09:28:31


Fee

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cfcRebel
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pepponeskie wrote in post #14377245external link
The trick with this lens is to get to f8.0 as much as possible to get a sharp tack images. However, at f8.0, the subject is hardly isolated from the background.

That's hard to believe regarding the subject isolation, popponeskie. Please take a look at Duane's samples at f10, a fellow POTN'er's who got tons of beautiful bird images here. http://photography-on-the.net ...hp?p=14106036&postc​ount=3

Isolating the subject from the background, is up to the mercy of where your subject chooses to perch. If a situation doesn't allow you to isolate your subject at f8, that situation won't allow you to isolate the same subject at f4.

Post #22, May 04, 2012 09:34:21


Fee

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pepponeskie
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cfcRebel wrote in post #14378406external link
That's hard to believe regarding the subject isolation, popponeskie. Please take a look at Duane's samples at f10, a fellow POTN'er's who got tons of beautiful bird images here. http://photography-on-the.net ...hp?p=14106036&postc​ount=3

Isolating the subject from the background, is up to the mercy of where your subject chooses to perch. If a situation doesn't allow you to isolate your subject at f8, that situation won't allow you to isolate the same subject at f4.

Well i agree with you, isolation will also depend on the distance of subject to foreground, but as you've said if you can't isolate at f8, it will still look a little bit isolated on f4.

Post #23, May 04, 2012 10:14:15


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Hardrock40
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cfcRebel wrote in post #14376245external link
To get the grizzly bear and its surrounding in focus, you will need to use a 24mm lens and sit 15 feet away from it.

The only way I'd be 15' away from that beast would be as I went by in my truck doing 90mph.

Nice photo for sure, but I'd been outta there the speed of light.

The most dangerous thing I'm going to take time to photograph is a non poisonous snake. Grizzly???? I don't even want to be in the same state.

Post #24, May 04, 2012 11:20:18




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tomj
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I see you use a 50d - when I used this camera and lens I would turn off focus search, custom function 3. With this selected the camera won't try to focus if it doesn't see something to focus on, so it doesn't search all over the place. So if you're tracking a BIF, for example, and your focus point goes off the subject onto sky, it doesn't try to focus till you're back on target. In order to do this you need to manually pre-focus "in the ball park" so there's enough of an identifiable object for the camera to see. The Sigma has full-time manual focus that allows this, and the way I held the lens it was easy for me to use my thumb to do this. With very little practice this became very easy. Hope this made some sense.

Post #25, May 04, 2012 13:46:16 as a reply to aftab_alam's post 16 hours earlier.


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Muteki
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Like I said in another thread about 150-500, the inexpensive pricing of this lens attracts many inexperienced birds/wildlife photographer who thinks s/he can crop the hell out of a photo and get super sharp capture with their 500mm. Experienced birds/wildlife photographers on the other hand work their way toward their subject rather than relying on cropping. I've used the 150-500 before and it was quite capable of producing quality photos. Feel free to check out my 150-500 photos hereexternal link.

Know your long lens techniques, which include:
- Shoot with lighting behind your back and shadow pointing toward the subject.
- Shoot at an eye-level angle that way you can minimize any distractions that can fool your camera's AF system.
- Fill at least 1/3 of the frame with your subject, and crop no more than 1/2 to 2/3s. So get close to your subject or let the subject come to you!
- You might be able to get close, but know the minimum focus distance (MFD) as long focal lengths tend to have longer MFDs.
- For 150-500 and even the 100-400 as well, stop down to f/8 for optimal sharpness and DoF.
- Shoot at a higher shutterspeed to freeze any lens and subject movements. Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO as most modern cameras have pretty good high ISOs.
- Hold your lens properly. Use tripod/monopod/stabili​zation if necessary.
- Understand the interface between the subject and the front element of the glass is air, which can have interferents such as heat, moisure, dust, branches, mosquitoes, etc. etc.

If you don't understand any of the above, buying 500/4, 600/4, or even 800/5.6 won't help you get sharp photos!

Post #26, May 04, 2012 14:58:59


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JersFocus
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Here is me checking my shutter speed at car 1/3200... then not checking it again until I got home. This shot is ISO 400 SS 1/200 f6.3.

So pretty much everything not to do to get a good shot. No wonder I had no keepers. /facepalm.

ANyways not bad for handheld with THOSE settings....haha bokeh~~!

IMAGE: http://i.imgur.com/sSkHG.jpg

Post #27, May 04, 2012 19:10:03


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Inspeqtor
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tomj wrote in post #14379640external link
I see you use a 50d - when I used this camera and lens I would turn off focus search, custom function 3. With this selected the camera won't try to focus if it doesn't see something to focus on, so it doesn't search all over the place. So if you're tracking a BIF, for example, and your focus point goes off the subject onto sky, it doesn't try to focus till you're back on target. In order to do this you need to manually pre-focus "in the ball park" so there's enough of an identifiable object for the camera to see. The Sigma has full-time manual focus that allows this, and the way I held the lens it was easy for me to use my thumb to do this. With very little practice this became very easy. Hope this made some sense.

Reading that the 50D has cf 3 to turn off autofocus sounds really nice. My XSi does not have that. I have been toying with the idea of saving up to get a 60D. I just now downloaded the manual and yes the 60D also has this! Now I want one even more!! Thank you!

Post #28, May 05, 2012 00:46:28


Charles

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aftab_alam
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I fully agree with you Muteki. I used to crop the image more than 25%. I have taken good and sharp photos of subjects lesser than 50 feet. However, my problem is that even by using tripod, even the panoramic scenes are not as sharp as expected. Even a slightest crop (say 10%) shows very bad and blurred picture. I have tried all settings, all ISOs, all shutter speeds, but still facing the problems. Whereas others have got very good results (like you) with same settings. However, congratulations for your beautiful and world class photos you have shot. I think there is something wrong with the lens.

Post #29, May 08, 2012 12:03:45 as a reply to Muteki's post 3 days earlier.




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tomj
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"I fully agree with you Muteki. I used to crop the image more than 25%. I have taken good and sharp photos of subjects lesser than 50 feet. However, my problem is that even by using tripod, even the panoramic scenes are not as sharp as expected. Even a slightest crop (say 10%) shows very bad and blurred picture. I have tried all settings, all ISOs, all shutter speeds, but still facing the problems. Whereas others have got very good results (like you) with same settings. However, congratulations for your beautiful and world class photos you have shot. I think there is something wrong with the lens."

My experience was the same with this lens, and even to some extent with the Canon 400/5.6 I use now. I suspect it has to do with the object you're focusing on. If it's small, say a bird's head where the entire bird is filling only a small part of the frame, there just isn't enough to accurately focus on. Same for the panoramic stuff, if it can't see something clearly defined to focus on. Something close will naturally more fill the frame and be easier to work with. At least this what I'm thinking is happening, I could be wrong.

Post #30, May 08, 2012 13:00:56 as a reply to aftab_alam's post 4 days earlier.


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