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Thread started 01 May 2011 (Sunday) 09:43
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Sharpness setting for bird pictures

 
jmercer
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May 01, 2011 09:43 |  #1

I recently bought a T2i with a 400 mm lens that I use for taking pictures of bird. I was disappoainted at first, but a friend told me to shoot in landscape mode for sharper pictures. That is much better, but I see that I can set it up to a sharpness of 7. Is there any disadvantage from shooting at a sharpness of 7?




  
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Sgt.Ed
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May 01, 2011 09:56 |  #2

Welcome to POTN. I think most will recommend shooting RAW rather than JPEGs and doing any sharpening in post. You'll find a wealth of really good information on this forum if you look around. If you are trying to shoot birds in flight you'll need a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement. That unwanted movement can and does lead to blurry images.
Ed


Ed
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Roobaix
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May 01, 2011 10:06 |  #3

I'd use the manual modes and shoot in RAW, you'll have much better control over what you're trying to do with the camera.


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Unregistered.Coward
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May 01, 2011 10:12 |  #4

Increasing your sharpness is, in part, becoming a better photographer. Are you using a tripod? Does your lens have stabilization? What mode of focus are you using, etc, etc. If your technique and initial set up is poor, no amount of processing is going to get you tack sharp photos.

You might want to invest in a couple of books, browse and read as much as you can.

And practice, practice, practice.......I can nail a good bird pick about one out of three right now, so I'm still on the learning curve.


....the best camera is the one you have on you at the time.

  
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HKGuns
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May 01, 2011 10:20 |  #5

400+ lens, as fast as you can afford, sun at your back, shoot RAW and sharpen in post. Best advice I can give you for bird shooting.

Oh, and welcome. Good first post.




  
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GPFocussed
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May 01, 2011 10:25 as a reply to  @ HKGuns's post |  #6

Try setting your camera's autofocus to 'continuous' rather than 'one shot' if you are tracking moving birds rather than birds perched on a tree branch or something.


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jmercer
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May 04, 2011 13:20 |  #7

Thanks for the advice, I will definitely try the continuous autofocus, that may explain some of the fuzzyness. I am an old time film camera guy and do not like processing the raw data, I feel if I am doing my work right, it should come out the first time with only cropping. Plus I am going to be away for 3 weeks and am not sure that 80G of memory cards will hold enough if I shoot in raw. Lastly,I find the sharpening of the raw pictures does not yield as nice a picture as I would have hoped, they seem better if I have the camera sharpness set right. I was wondering if the camera setting might produce too many highlights or some other issue. Again, thanks




  
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Stump
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May 04, 2011 13:28 |  #8

jmercer wrote in post #12346883 (external link)
Thanks for the advice, I will definitely try the continuous autofocus, that may explain some of the fuzzyness. I am an old time film camera guy and do not like processing the raw data, I feel if I am doing my work right, it should come out the first time with only cropping. Plus I am going to be away for 3 weeks and am not sure that 80G of memory cards will hold enough if I shoot in raw. Lastly,I find the sharpening of the raw pictures does not yield as nice a picture as I would have hoped, they seem better if I have the camera sharpness set right. I was wondering if the camera setting might produce too many highlights or some other issue. Again, thanks

When you shoot jpg, your camera is processing the image for you. While some people feel that post processing of an image isn't the real image they are wrong. It really comes from a lack of understanding how it all works. If you shoot jpg with the sharpness turned up, your camera is sharpening your photo for you after the photo has already been taken.


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Jim_T
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May 04, 2011 13:58 |  #9

I've been shooting both RAW and JPEG for years.. In both cases I leave all the camera settings neutral and do the sharpening in post processing.. As a note, if you do choose to shoot JPEG, it does respond well to regular sharpening and unsharp mask.

Of course, the best way to get good images is to capture them as best you can. At 400mm you need a shutter speed of at least 1/400 second if you're handholding the camera. Even if you aren't holding the camera, your subjects are often moving, so about 1/500 or faster will help. .. You don't say what lens you're using, but stopping down to about f/8 sometimes provides better results.

And finally.. A picture is worth a thousand words.. If you continue to have problems, post an example with the EXIF information attached...




  
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sandpiper
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May 04, 2011 14:20 |  #10

jmercer wrote in post #12326634 (external link)
I recently bought a T2i with a 400 mm lens that I use for taking pictures of bird. I was disappoainted at first, but a friend told me to shoot in landscape mode for sharper pictures. That is much better, but I see that I can set it up to a sharpness of 7. Is there any disadvantage from shooting at a sharpness of 7?

Yes, there can be a disadvantage. When you shoot with the sharpness that high, the image can easily become oversharpened. This can lead to some serious artifacts around feather detail etc., which can ruin a shot. Setting sharpness later, in the computer, you can always dial it back a bit. If you apply that much sharpening in camera, you are stuck with it and can't turn it down later. Some images will suit aggressive sharpening whilst others will need minimal sharpening and be ruined by too much

This is why most of us here use raw, and process the images ourselves, if you leave it to the camera you need to be sure that the camera has the right parameters for the shot you are taking. As with sharpness the other parameters also want to be right for the specific scene you are shooting. Take contrast for instance, on a dull overcast day, with really flat lighting, you want contrast cranked up quite high, but that setting on a bright sunny day can blow highlights and block up shadows because the actual scene has so much more contrast.

jmercer wrote in post #12346883 (external link)
I am an old time film camera guy and do not like processing the raw data, I feel if I am doing my work right, it should come out the first time with only cropping.

Even in the film era (and that is my background, too) it was rare to use images straight from the camera, only with transparency film really and even then you could make decisions on results by choosing films with different colour balance, or contrast etc., to suit the image and the lighting conditions.

If you just shot colour negs and sent them off for processing and printing, the lab would apply a whole bunch of auto processing to the results before printing them, it wasn't straight from the camera. The same goes if you shot your own black and white, all sorts of processing would be done in producing the print, once you got into the darkroom.

With digital, you can't change the results by changing the type of film, the grade of paper (for contrast) etc., so you do all that in post processing on the computer.

Processing does not detract from 'proper' photography, it was part of the workflow for all the great photographers.




  
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jmercer
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May 04, 2011 15:49 |  #11

Thanks for the advice, it has been really helpful. I will try shooting raw and hope I have enough memory for the trip. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until I am home to look at them other than through the camera, but I can at least dispose of the really bad ones and save some memory.




  
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Sharpness setting for bird pictures
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