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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 26 Dec 2013 (Thursday) 11:12
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First ever wild bird shot

 
Kyle ­ Blunt
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Dec 26, 2013 11:12 |  #1

Did this shot yesterday of a Robin with my 300mm, my first ever wild bird shot. At 100% its slightly out of focus. :(
Any advice for getting such a small subject in focus for sure? The 300mm is a very accurate and nice lens so maybe I was using the wrong settings? Photo has had some minor tweaks in Lightroom, nothing over the top though.

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Robin On Takeoff (external link) by Kyle Blunt (external link), on Flickr

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RENKEEN
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Dec 26, 2013 11:21 |  #2

looking at your image your point of focus seems to be on the wire fence just in frount and below the bird ....hand held as you press the shuter in may have just droped your focus point a tad


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Scrumhalf
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Dec 26, 2013 11:24 |  #3

With a small bird like that, you need to get closer or drop a fortune on longer glass. Also, getting a camera with spot AF would help, not sure if your camera has it or not. And of course, improved handheld technique can never hurt! ;)


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Kyle ­ Blunt
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Dec 26, 2013 11:39 |  #4

Scrumhalf wrote in post #16554969 (external link)
With a small bird like that, you need to get closer or drop a fortune on longer glass. Also, getting a camera with spot AF would help, not sure if your camera has it or not. And of course, improved handheld technique can never hurt! ;)

Thanks :)
I can only dream of a 7D that can do spot AF, I sadly am stuck with a 40D. When the 7D drops in price I will snap one up for sure, that or a 5D mark III. The 40D is quite a heavy kit with the grip and a 300mm, I am not very big so I definitely should try and improve my handheld shooting techniques. :D

RENKEEN wrote in post #16554962 (external link)
looking at your image your point of focus seems to be on the wire fence just in frount and below the bird ....hand held as you press the shuter in may have just droped your focus point a tad

Thanks, I just double checked the RAW file and it is showing the focus point on the bird in Canons DPP software.


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Scrumhalf
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Dec 26, 2013 11:56 |  #5

Unfortunately, a lot of the nicer features are only available on the higher end models, the "prosumer" cameras like the 7D or the 5D3. These include MFA, spot AF, focus point expansion, etc. You have to be ready to pay to play in this business unfortunately.


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If I don't get the shots I want with the gear I have, the only optics I need to examine is the mirror on the bathroom wall. The root cause will be there.

  
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Kyle ­ Blunt
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Dec 26, 2013 12:06 |  #6

Oh yes, I think they are worth the price for sure though. Just the hard economy sadly, money is short these days. Need to make do with what we have.
I don't shoot wildlife photos often, it is just something I want to do one day in the future. The 40D serves me good for what I use it for primarily though. :)


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Snydremark
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Dec 26, 2013 12:26 |  #7

The 40D is a fine camera for birds, it all just takes practice. You're off to a pretty good start, regardless, Kyle...the little guys don't like to sit still much :)

A few things:
1. What AF mode were you using? For these guys, AI Servo can help quite a bit because you never know when they're going to move, and AI Focus is the dumb stepbrother of the other two modes.

2. If the AF point was on the underwing of the bird, it may not have had enough contrast to lock focus correctly.

3. As mentioned above, the trick with the little birds is really to get closer; which takes patience, practice and time.

4. Look into moving over to back button AF; where you take AF off of the shutter button and assign it to the 'AF-ON' or * button on the back of the camera. That way you can get focus and then shoot when you need/want to, without the camera trying to refocus in the middle of taking the shot.

5. Barring the above having been the issue, it does appear that you had some front focusing going on, as the bird is just outside the back end of your depth of field; looks like focus grabbed on the railing closer to you.

Also, as you progress and start getting your closer shots, you'll also want to work on the framing (either at shot time, or in PP) to move the little featherdusters slightly off center for *most* shots; there will always be times that a central composition may be the more appropriate way to go, but for the majority of shots it's usually more pleasing to have them off to one side and looking/moving "through" the frame.


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Kyle ­ Blunt
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Dec 26, 2013 14:09 |  #8

Snydremark wrote in post #16555104 (external link)
The 40D is a fine camera for birds, it all just takes practice. You're off to a pretty good start, regardless, Kyle...the little guys don't like to sit still much :)

A few things:
1. What AF mode were you using? For these guys, AI Servo can help quite a bit because you never know when they're going to move, and AI Focus is the dumb stepbrother of the other two modes.

2. If the AF point was on the underwing of the bird, it may not have had enough contrast to lock focus correctly.

3. As mentioned above, the trick with the little birds is really to get closer; which takes patience, practice and time.

4. Look into moving over to back button AF; where you take AF off of the shutter button and assign it to the 'AF-ON' or * button on the back of the camera. That way you can get focus and then shoot when you need/want to, without the camera trying to refocus in the middle of taking the shot.

5. Barring the above having been the issue, it does appear that you had some front focusing going on, as the bird is just outside the back end of your depth of field; looks like focus grabbed on the railing closer to you.

Also, as you progress and start getting your closer shots, you'll also want to work on the framing (either at shot time, or in PP) to move the little featherdusters slightly off center for *most* shots; there will always be times that a central composition may be the more appropriate way to go, but for the majority of shots it's usually more pleasing to have them off to one side and looking/moving "through" the frame.

Awesome, thanks! I was in AI Servo at the time. Now I look at it, the focus was on the underwing also! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this, it will seriously help me, I completely forgot about the AF-ON button also. :)


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Leila51360
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Dec 26, 2013 14:24 |  #9

I think almost all Canon EOS can be set to a single point focus, even my lower end EOS can be set for a single focal point, my 70D also. I shoot a lot of birds and I have found that you need to take a succession of photos and then pray............. and that's the way it's done. All of the photos I take are with the subject centered due to this so you just have to crop to achieve that 'slightly off centered, moving through the frame' effect. Keep shooting, you will get it. I have also done a lot of manual focusing when I am in the trees. I switch to AF when the birds are in motion.




  
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navydoc
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Dec 26, 2013 15:08 as a reply to  @ Leila51360's post |  #10

If you are focal length limited, it can be a lot of fun to set something up in your backyard or patio that brings the birds to you. Maybe place a feeder at a spot where you can sit inside out of notice and wait for the birds to come in to feed. Have an interesting branch or two for them to perch on near the feeder so you can get nice shots without the feeder in the frame.


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Titus213
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Dec 27, 2013 01:42 |  #11

Interesting, I have owned a 7D for some time and don't recall ever hearing it referred to as spot AF. But having read the description I understand. I really think your camera should be able to lock on that bird if you are using single point selected by you.

I think your problem might be compounded by how few pixels actually make up the bird. He's pretty small.

You could target some bigger birds. ;-)a


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Naraly
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Dec 27, 2013 20:17 |  #12

Nice shot, although I do agree that the bird is a tad out of focus :) but a bird that small really is difficult to get in focus especially when you can't get any closer. I just use MF, for me personally I think it's easier, especially since I don't have a lens with fast AF, by the time it focuses the bird is gone lol.



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Scrumhalf
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Dec 27, 2013 20:24 |  #13

Titus213 wrote in post #16556567 (external link)
Interesting, I have owned a 7D for some time and don't recall ever hearing it referred to as spot AF. But having read the description I understand.

I was referring to this, - see link:

http://digital-photography-school.com …canon-7d-and-other-models (external link)

Also on page 93 of the manual.


Sam
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If I don't get the shots I want with the gear I have, the only optics I need to examine is the mirror on the bathroom wall. The root cause will be there.

  
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Titus213
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Dec 27, 2013 20:49 |  #14

Use it often (but not for wildlife except in special situations). Just don't recall the name. Spot AF works fine.


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First ever wild bird shot
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