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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk 
Thread started 31 May 2012 (Thursday) 14:14
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AF for Wildlife

 
markisclueless
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May 31, 2012 14:14 |  #1

Just want clarification from the experts out there ... is it common practice to shoot using AF centre point for "general" wildlife like it is for Avian/Bird photography (makes sense to me but what do I know !) ?


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Snydremark
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May 31, 2012 14:26 |  #2

For larger wildlife, I'll usually move the AF point around so that I can frame them, with the eye in focus; for smaller things I'll usually shoot with the center point, since I know I'm going to be cropping anyway (since they're too far out to fill the frame).


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robertwsimpson
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May 31, 2012 14:31 |  #3

I pretty much never use the center point. depends on how your framing the shot in camera though. with a 1D3, you don't have much room for cropping, so you have to get it right when you take it.

Here are some examples:

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IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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A cormorant dries its wings (external link) by robertwsimpson (external link), on Flickr
AF point on eye

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7149/6818276577_d1775ed183.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/40483547@N07/6​818276577/  (external link)
Female Norther Harrier in flight (external link) by robertwsimpson (external link), on Flickr
all points selected

I always use AI servo mode though. I never use one shot because generally things are moving way too fast for that.



  
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Nature ­ Nut
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May 31, 2012 21:20 |  #4

I only use the center AF and focus on the eye or face depending on what I can see and then recompose the shot before capture for still subjects. Comes down to user pref ultimately though. My logic behind the madness is my quicker switch to Servo AF for moving critter and BIF where I use the center AF point.


Adam - Upstate NY:

  
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markisclueless
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Jun 01, 2012 00:52 |  #5

thanks all, varying responses as expected, but all make sense ... agree with NN (Nature Nut), it all comes down to user preference ... my biggest fear is that I miss the perfect shot (there 1 second, gone the next) due to poor choices, that is why I want to practice big time with my new 100-400mm lense so I ultimately know what works for me ...


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Evan
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Jun 02, 2012 01:14 |  #6

I always use the center point and Back Button Focus to recompose (when needed). Its the best method that I have found for me. And the center point tends to be the most accurate on all cameras.

I suggest you try out BBFing, its one of the best assets for wildilfe/bird photography.


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jhayesvw
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Jun 03, 2012 23:21 |  #7

Snydremark wrote in post #14512329 (external link)
For larger wildlife, I'll usually move the AF point around so that I can frame them, with the eye in focus; for smaller things I'll usually shoot with the center point, since I know I'm going to be cropping anyway (since they're too far out to fill the frame).

I have used the outer points on large subjects like deer.

BirdBoy wrote in post #14519460 (external link)
I always use the center point and Back Button Focus to recompose (when needed). Its the best method that I have found for me. And the center point tends to be the most accurate on all cameras.

I suggest you try out BBFing, its one of the best assets for wildilfe/bird photography.

this is what I do 99% of the time. My camera is always set to BBF and almost always on center point focus.



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Evan
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Jun 03, 2012 23:39 |  #8

you should try checking out arthur morris' Back Button Focus Tutorial (external link)


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Techuser
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Jun 12, 2012 17:29 |  #9

Don't you guys ever have problems with branches behind the birds getting focused?
I've been using MF for the past three years, the few times I tried AF the surroundings of the bird was in focus, not him. I think the center spot is too big.


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Nature ­ Nut
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Jun 12, 2012 18:53 |  #10

Techuser wrote in post #14570075 (external link)
Don't you guys ever have problems with branches behind the birds getting focused?
I've been using MF for the past three years, the few times I tried AF the surroundings of the bird was in focus, not him. I think the center spot is too big.


The only time I have that problem is when the branches or tall vegetation are in the foreground and im shooitng through them (ie: a bird in the bush) Then MF is really the only way to go.


Adam - Upstate NY:

  
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Evan
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Jun 13, 2012 01:55 |  #11

Techuser wrote in post #14570075 (external link)
Don't you guys ever have problems with branches behind the birds getting focused?
I've been using MF for the past three years, the few times I tried AF the surroundings of the bird was in focus, not him. I think the center spot is too big.

You should only have the problem of the AF point being "too big" if there is vegetation in front like Nature Nut said. The majority of the time, modern AF systems are too good to be fooled by BG subjects. If you are having issues even without FG subjects, either you are trying to focus in dark situations; AF confused. OR you need to practice being steadier with the AF point and keeping it on target.

I frequently use MF when in thick brush. But even then, once I get pretty close to perfect focus I go back over to AF; even with dense brush. AF is faster and more accurate in most situations than any human will ever be.


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hollis_f
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Jun 13, 2012 06:05 |  #12

Techuser wrote in post #14570075 (external link)
Don't you guys ever have problems with branches behind the birds getting focused?

Not really, not if the bird is anywhere close to filling the frame. If the bird is just a small blob in the centre of the frame then, yes, AF can be a problem. But who cares about a picture of a blob?


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jhayesvw
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Jun 19, 2012 13:30 |  #13

hollis_f wrote in post #14572343 (external link)
Not really, not if the bird is anywhere close to filling the frame. If the bird is just a small blob in the centre of the frame then, yes, AF can be a problem. But who cares about a picture of a blob?

yeah. if the bird/subject is as small as the AF box it probably wont be a good photo anyway.
background branches dont bother my 60d but foreground one absolutely do/can. MF works well then and thank goodness for back button focus on the body and full time manual on the lens.



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