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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 26 Jun 2013 (Wednesday) 01:34
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Focus Points

 
markisclueless
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Jun 26, 2013 01:34 |  #1

Hi, searched and found various threads on this topic but cannot find one solution that answers my question totally.

It revolves around AF point for birds about to take off.

I normally shoot in Shutter Priority mode with my ISO around 800 mark - AI Servo - Continuous shooting mode - Evaluative meetering - Spot Focus

I have spent about 1 year trying to capture a Rock Kestrel taking off and eventually mananged one this past weekend - the only thing is the Left wing is blurred whilst rest is crisp (focus was on the head). Shutter Speed was 1/2000 if I remember correctly.

Should I rather use ALL POINTS for AF in order to get the wing in focus or should I increase my shutter speed ?

Will post pic later today when at home
thanks


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artyman
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Jun 26, 2013 03:16 |  #2

If part of the bird is sharp and part blurred at that shutter speed it is more likely to be a DOF problem. With long focal lengths and wide apertures the DOF is wafer thin. The choice of focus point is so the camera can grab the object, how much is in focus after acquiring the subject is down to the depth of field so f11 would be better, but may compromise shutter speed unless you use a really high ISO to compensate.


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Duane ­ N
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Jun 26, 2013 04:18 as a reply to  @ artyman's post |  #3

Would like to see an uncropped version of the image to offer an opinion. It does sound like it's a shutter speed issue and not a focus point issue. I rarely use more than one focus point but if the background is clear using all of them can't hurt.

Here is an example of a Red-tailed Hawk taking flight and even though it was taken at 1/1250" shutter speed there's a lot of motion in their wings to get in the air. I think this is the situation you encountered with your Kestrel.

http://www.3rdicreatio​ns.com/img/s3/v40/p164​1203018-5.jpg (external link)


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markisclueless
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Jun 26, 2013 06:05 |  #4

Duane N wrote in post #16065813 (external link)
Would like to see an uncropped version of the image to offer an opinion. It does sound like it's a shutter speed issue and not a focus point issue. I rarely use more than one focus point but if the background is clear using all of them can't hurt.

Here is an example of a Red-tailed Hawk taking flight and even though it was taken at 1/1250" shutter speed there's a lot of motion in their wings to get in the air. I think this is the situation you encountered with your Kestrel.

http://www.3rdicreatio​ns.com/img/s3/v40/p164​1203018-5.jpg (external link)

Yes Duane exactly what I encountered - except my image was nowhere the quality of yours :o


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markisclueless
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Jun 26, 2013 13:27 |  #5

please find uncropped link below:

http://www.flickr.com …/66223963@N02/9​143648735/ (external link)

The EXIF is hidden, but here are the specs:
Lens: Canon 400mm 5.6L
Taken from car resting on BeanBag
SS 1/1600s
ISO: 160
Aperture: 5.6
Focal Length: 400mm


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Duane ­ N
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Jun 26, 2013 16:03 as a reply to  @ markisclueless's post |  #6

I would say what you encountered was wing blur due to the fast movement of the wings as it took flight. What's the right shutter speed in this situation? Not sure...I usually shoot at 1/1600 especially when photographing a darker bird. Maybe next time increase your ISO to 400-800 and to increase your shutter speed. Good luck...it's fun figuring it out.


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markisclueless
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Jun 27, 2013 00:36 |  #7

Duane N wrote in post #16067514 (external link)
I would say what you encountered was wing blur due to the fast movement of the wings as it took flight. What's the right shutter speed in this situation? Not sure...I usually shoot at 1/1600 especially when photographing a darker bird. Maybe next time increase your ISO to 400-800 and to increase your shutter speed. Good luck...it's fun figuring it out.

Thanks Duane - will give that a shot.


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jhayesvw
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Jun 27, 2013 13:47 as a reply to  @ markisclueless's post |  #8

also remember that your DOF can help if the shutter speed IS high enough, which it probably wasnt in this case.

trying f7.1 will increase your DOF and probably increase the sharpness of your lens.
It will however require more light via higher ISO or lower SS.

But its worth a shot. As Duane said, its fun to figure it out. If it was easy it would be boring.



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Duane ­ N
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Jun 27, 2013 14:05 |  #9

markisclueless wrote in post #16065910 (external link)
Yes Duane exactly what I encountered - except my image was nowhere the quality of yours :o

I wanted to address what you said here...I never considered photography a contest and we all have to start somewhere. I was embarrassed sharing my images here when I first joined compared to what others posted but over time and a lot of learning my images improved....I'm still learning and hope it never stops. I think keeping an open mind, a willingness to learn and sift through what others say or feel about your images will only improve your photographs...that and a lot of practice.

And about the hawk image I shared....it helps to have a cooperative subject where the only thing you're not worried about is it getting spooked and leaving. One morning this hawk let me and another photographer walk right by it (about 5' from it) as it perched in a Dogwood tree about 6' off the ground. When I was about 15' down the path I happened to turn around and see it sitting there just looking at us. It helps when the wildlife cooperates with you. :D


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markisclueless
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Jun 28, 2013 02:01 |  #10

Duane N wrote in post #16070310 (external link)
I wanted to address what you said here...I never considered photography a contest and we all have to start somewhere. I was embarrassed sharing my images here when I first joined compared to what others posted but over time and a lot of learning my images improved....I'm still learning and hope it never stops. I think keeping an open mind, a willingness to learn and sift through what others say or feel about your images will only improve your photographs...that and a lot of practice.

And about the hawk image I shared....it helps to have a cooperative subject where the only thing you're not worried about is it getting spooked and leaving. One morning this hawk let me and another photographer walk right by it (about 5' from it) as it perched in a Dogwood tree about 6' off the ground. When I was about 15' down the path I happened to turn around and see it sitting there just looking at us. It helps when the wildlife cooperates with you. :D

Full agree - I appreciate all the help I can get from Members here on POTN - I am absolutely crazy about taking photos and even more in awe of nature!!


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markisclueless
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Jun 28, 2013 02:01 |  #11

jhayesvw wrote in post #16070252 (external link)
also remember that your DOF can help if the shutter speed IS high enough, which it probably wasnt in this case.

trying f7.1 will increase your DOF and probably increase the sharpness of your lens.
It will however require more light via higher ISO or lower SS.

But its worth a shot. As Duane said, its fun to figure it out. If it was easy it would be boring.

Thanks for your reply - can't wait to get back in the field to test some of these learnings...


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Muteki
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Jun 29, 2013 17:08 |  #12

markisclueless wrote in post #16065653 (external link)
Hi, searched and found various threads on this topic but cannot find one solution that answers my question totally.

It revolves around AF point for birds about to take off.

I normally shoot in Shutter Priority mode with my ISO around 800 mark - AI Servo - Continuous shooting mode - Evaluative meetering - Spot Focus

I have spent about 1 year trying to capture a Rock Kestrel taking off and eventually mananged one this past weekend - the only thing is the Left wing is blurred whilst rest is crisp (focus was on the head). Shutter Speed was 1/2000 if I remember correctly.

Should I rather use ALL POINTS for AF in order to get the wing in focus or should I increase my shutter speed ?

Will post pic later today when at home
thanks

Using all AF points may not help as the focus only works at a two-dimensional plane (back to math, the XY plane). Adding depth by stopping down should get more depth (i.e., the z-axis) and allow more of the subject and the environment in focus. Also, activating all AF points can confuse the AF system if the environment is busy. The other issue with flight take off is that birds can flap their wings pretty fast during take off and you might need to crank up that shutterspeed hopefully to freeze the wings as much as possible.

To summarize, use single point and AI Servo, narrow your aperture (f/7.1 to f11), crank up the shutterspeed (which require raise your ISO to get the optimal exposure), and most important of all, shoot in good light!


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philwillmedia
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Jun 29, 2013 17:44 |  #13

markisclueless wrote in post #16065653 (external link)
...Should I rather use ALL POINTS for AF...

Only if you think the camera is smarter than you or that it can read your mind and it knows exactly where you want it to focus.

By allowing the camera to select it's own focus point, you're basically saying to it "Focus on what ever you like, I'll be happy with that."
It's just doing what you told it to do.


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markisclueless
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Jul 01, 2013 05:57 |  #14

Muteki wrote in post #16076359 (external link)
Using all AF points may not help as the focus only works at a two-dimensional plane (back to math, the XY plane). Adding depth by stopping down should get more depth (i.e., the z-axis) and allow more of the subject and the environment in focus. Also, activating all AF points can confuse the AF system if the environment is busy. The other issue with flight take off is that birds can flap their wings pretty fast during take off and you might need to crank up that shutterspeed hopefully to freeze the wings as much as possible.

To summarize, use single point and AI Servo, narrow your aperture (f/7.1 to f11), crank up the shutterspeed (which require raise your ISO to get the optimal exposure), and most important of all, shoot in good light!

Thanks Raymond - makes sense (and thanks for the summary as was getting the :rolleyes: feeling)


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markisclueless
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Jul 01, 2013 05:59 |  #15

philwillmedia wrote in post #16076441 (external link)
Only if you think the camera is smarter than you or that it can read your mind and it knows exactly where you want it to focus.

By allowing the camera to select it's own focus point, you're basically saying to it "Focus on what ever you like, I'll be happy with that."
It's just doing what you told it to do.

thanks Phil - simple and concise


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