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Thread started 23 May 2011 (Monday) 20:06
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Best exposure mode for wildlife?

 
arch.cm
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May 23, 2011 20:06 |  #1

I've been going to the zoo and taking pictures with my Canon 60d and 55-250mm IS and have been getting a lot of motion blur in my pictures.. Mainly I've been using the manual mode and trying to set everything myself, but maybe this is where I'm going wrong... I've been seeing a lot of EXIF info from pictures of birds and most people are using Av (aperture priority mode). Is this what I should be using? I set the aperture and ISO and the camera sets the best shutter speed so I don't get motion blur?

I've been searching online and seeing when it's best to use M, Tv, Av, P (this is professional mode, right? just kidding... ), but couldn't find anything specific enough.

Thanks.


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Saint728
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May 23, 2011 20:36 |  #2

Manual mode is the best to use. If your getting motion blur then you have your settings wrong. Bump up the shutter speed a bit so you don't have the motion blur then change either the aperture to a bit wider and or bump up the ISO. Remember you always have to change your settings if the lighting changes. I'm sure if your too lazy or don't feel like changing your settings all the time just use AV mode or just shoot in the green box mode.

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shedberg
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May 23, 2011 20:38 |  #3

I go with Av mode, but I make sure my ISO is high enough to get a fast shutter speed. Also, keep an eye on your shots to see if you need to make an exposure adjustment.


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MNUplander
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May 23, 2011 20:40 |  #4

You're close, but not quite there. In Av you set the aperture, ISO, exposure compensation and the camera selects the shutter speed to get a proper exposure for that amount of light - not to stop motion blur. The camera doesnt know how fast your subject is moving so it cant set the shutter to stop it, plus there will be many situations where there is not enough light using the settings you've entered to get a proper exposure AND stop movement.

But, Av is what I use 90% of the time - its kind of a jack-of-all trades setting. Im a landscape shooter so Ill generally set the aperture for the depth of field I want and ISO 100, then let the camera pick my shutter speed. From there, Ill either bracket my shots or use EC to adjust.

In general, Im doing some type of photography where I want control over my DOF for creative purposes - landscapes, wildlife, portraits. Using Av allows me to set what I want and let the camera do the rest - making corrections with EC/ISO as needed.

I dabble using manual sometimes, but I just dont have the "eye" to judge what my shutter speed needs to be but Im practicing by taking my first couple test shots in Av and setting my shutter/aperture in manual based on the best looking image from my test shots. The benefit of this is that once you judge your light, you can set the camera once and get a consistent exposure every time you trip the shutter.

I dont really ever use Tv or P so I wont speak to those.


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May 23, 2011 20:41 as a reply to  @ Saint728's post |  #5

Some people won't like it, but the no brainier is use TV mode, set your shutter to 1/500 or so, and leave ISO auto. I would also go single point focus. Your camera will do the rest, Ap and ISO..........some say AV mode, and then play with ISO, I think TV is a lot easier...try it




  
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DivingPrincessE
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May 23, 2011 21:18 |  #6

I'm pretty new to wildlife photography, but I use Av mode. Several of the wildlife photography books I've read recommend using AV mode. It's worked better for me than M mode, ymmv. I don't like the idea of using Tv as I want to choose depth of field. I don't want the camera to decide if I want a blurry background or sharp background.


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Sparky98
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May 23, 2011 21:40 |  #7

Personally I shoot in manual. That way I have full control over shutter speed and aperture but since you are not comfortable in M I would suggest shooting in Tv. Motion blur likely is due to using a slow shutter speed. The general rule is to shoot at 1/focal length which most likely for you would be 1/250 or 1/500 might be better. Set your camera to Tv and your shutter speed to 1/500 then adjust your ISO until your camera selects the approximate aperature you prefer. Now as you are shooting the camera will select the proper aperature even if light conditions change and it should remain reasonably close to what you prefer it to be.

You do essentially the same thing when shooting in M mode. Set your shutter speed where you want it and then set your aperture where you want it. Then adjust the ISO to where you have a proper exposure when focusing where you will be shooting. If lighting conditions change then you just roll the adjustment dial a click or two to maintain proper exposure.


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jaomul
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May 24, 2011 03:32 |  #8

As the light will keep changing, Tv mode with auto iso will keep all sharp, but as you said you want to control dof, so you could use Av but set the iso high enough that you get a high speed for all your shots. I would say try set your iso when your in the shade to get a speed of prob 1/500 sec and then at least if it brightens up your shutter will only go faster, and when the sun goes behind a cloud or tree you should still be fast enough for a no blur shot


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May 24, 2011 04:29 |  #9

shedberg wrote:
=shedberg;12466512I make sure my ISO is high enough to get a fast shutter speed.

This is normally the key. Most people seem to be afraid to raise the ISO, terrified of the dreaded noise. Noise can be fixed in post-processing, motion blur cannot.


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lungdoc
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May 24, 2011 06:18 |  #10

Sparky98 wrote in post #12466850 (external link)
Personally I shoot in manual. That way I have full control over shutter speed and aperture but since you are not comfortable in M I would suggest shooting in Tv. Motion blur likely is due to using a slow shutter speed. The general rule is to shoot at 1/focal length which most likely for you would be 1/250 or 1/500 might be better. Set your camera to Tv and your shutter speed to 1/500 then adjust your ISO until your camera selects the approximate aperature you prefer. Now as you are shooting the camera will select the proper aperature even if light conditions change and it should remain reasonably close to what you prefer it to be.

You do essentially the same thing when shooting in M mode. Set your shutter speed where you want it and then set your aperture where you want it. Then adjust the ISO to where you have a proper exposure when focusing where you will be shooting. If lighting conditions change then you just roll the adjustment dial a click or two to maintain proper exposure.

If you are following the camera's meter in manual and adjusting to center it you are gaining nothing and slowing down vs. Tv or Av. Manual is better in situations where light is constant but doesn't appear to be - e.g. a bird flying in clear area in front of various backgrounds, some light, some dark. In truly variable lighting as you may encounter in many wildlife situations (e.g. is that deer in the center of the meadow in sun or peeking from the dark forest edge?) I can't see how manual would have an advantage.


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wilerty
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May 24, 2011 09:33 |  #11

I also like the P mode. I can roll the wheel for DOF and change the ISO if i can't get enough speed.


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ChuckingFluff
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May 24, 2011 09:36 |  #12

I always use manual mode but if you're not comfortable with that your next best option is to choose TV. Since it's low shutter speed that's creating the motion blur just set a high shutter speed and let the camera do the rest.




  
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pieq314
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May 24, 2011 09:38 |  #13

arch.cm wrote in post #12466322 (external link)
I've been going to the zoo and taking pictures with my Canon 60d and 55-250mm IS and have been getting a lot of motion blur in my pictures.. Mainly I've been using the manual mode and trying to set everything myself, but maybe this is where I'm going wrong... I've been seeing a lot of EXIF info from pictures of birds and most people are using Av (aperture priority mode). Is this what I should be using? I set the aperture and ISO and the camera sets the best shutter speed so I don't get motion blur?

I've been searching online and seeing when it's best to use M, Tv, Av, P (this is professional mode, right? just kidding... ), but couldn't find anything specific enough.

Thanks.

I always use Av mode. Set the aperture to the maximum possible on the lens (smallest F#), increase the ISO until the shutter speed is high enough. Exactly what speed is "high enough" will depend on if the animals are moving or not. So check the photos immediately to see if you have motion blur or not to see if the shutter speed is "high enough" or not.


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ChuckingFluff
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May 24, 2011 09:52 |  #14

pieq314 wrote in post #12469269 (external link)
I always use Av mode. Set the aperture to the maximum possible on the lens (smallest F#), increase the ISO until the shutter speed is high enough. Exactly what speed is "high enough" will depend on if the animals are moving or not. So check the photos immediately to see if you have motion blur or not to see if the shutter speed is "high enough" or not.

Seems like a lot of work to get the shutter speed up when you can just set a fast shutter speed to begin with. Not sure what the advantage of using this method is?




  
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TGrundvig
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May 24, 2011 10:01 |  #15

I use Manual if the subject is stationary and Av if it is moving. I set my DOF for each shot differently depending on foreground and background. By having the DOF I want, I can then use the ISO to control the where the camera will set the SS. High ISO will result in fast SS, low ISO will result in slow SS. If the subject is stationary then I do not need a really fast shutter speed. But, if the subject is moving around and flapping its wings or something, then I want a faster SS to freeze the motion. I am always adjusting the dials to get the image I want. Sometimes I may want wings in motion but I want the crane to be sharp. But, there is no 'one setting' for me. I am always changing the settings based on the subject, the subject's movement, and if I want the foreground and background in focus or not. This is where using Tv mode would not work for me. If it is bright and Tv mode is set at 1/500 then I may end up with all kinds of stuff in the foreground and background that I did not want in focus. Not everyone thinks about these things before they push the button, but I do.


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Best exposure mode for wildlife?
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