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Old Feb 9, 2005, 12:24 PM   #1
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I have a D70 with the kit lense and also a Sigma 70-200 2.8EX HSM. I've tried to get some bird photos and I have a some specific questions and would like any other feedback I can possibly get.

Do people manually focus when shooting birds usually? I took the picture below but my lense struggled to focus on the bird I was aiming at and, in desperation to actually get a shot off (since I was in the AF-S mode) I must have focused on something other than either bird, like maybe the bird feeder. I don't think the AF-C will help because I'm still not going to get a focused shot on something the camera/lense combo seeems to have difficulty catching (at least in that situation where there's not much to actually focus on).

Can someone give me an idea of how much more say a 300 zome is going to provide versus the 200 I have? Is it as simple as dividing 300/200 and using the resulting number as a multiplier, so if I have a photo (like below) and it were taken at the full 200 zoom (which it wasn't, quite) and I took a similar shot with a 300, would the difference in the size of the birds in my final pic be 300/200 x size of bird in 200mm shot? Does that make sense?

Finally, what's a good aperature setting (just rule of thumb) to insure you get a bird or maybe even two at slightly different ranges in focus, while still blurring the majority of the background. The pic below was at 3.2 and I think if it were a little higher I'd have gotten both birds and still had decent blur. Though maybe camera shake was the real culprit...

I really need some help because I love some of the bird photos but I've yet to actually get a single good shot. I'm willing to invest in a longer lense if I have to, but I think I can at least get some decent shots with the Sigma lense if I don't blow them when the opportunity arises.
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Old Feb 10, 2005, 11:46 AM   #2
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It looks to be more a camera shake problem than being out of focus. Depending on your lens, you probably will want to shoot at about f8 or 11. Again, depending on what you have your ISO set at. You will need plenty of light if you're shooting at a high shutter speed. What lens were you using and how far away from the finches were you? I photograph birds with D-70 andan old Tamron 80-200 2.8 manual focus lens. I seem to have my best luck with f8 and 1000th of a second. ISO is set at 400. Hope it helps. Keep snapping. Woody
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Old Feb 10, 2005, 12:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Woody for the reply.

I was shooting with the Sigma EX 2.8 HSM lense (Nikon D70), from approximately 25 feet away. After I made the post, I found something on the net that indicated I might need to up the ISO some to get the shutter speeds that would help with the fast shifting birds. I'm downloading some pics or I'd check for the exact exif info, but I think that shot was at 2.8 and maybe 165mm (for some reason).

I do think hand shake was an issue as well. Shutter speed was around 60 or 80, which I know now is probably too slow. Having done a few more shots since I made the original post, I've tried to push the shutter speed up to a minimum of 1/f but really would rather not go below 125 or so.

This picture was taken in better light, with shutter speed of 1/500, f7.1, and ISO 400. It's still not great, but heading in the right direction I think. Maybe I needed higher ISO to be able to boost the shutter speed up a little?

I need to be using a tripod as well, which may make all the difference in the world, but isn't practical with how I'm taking these pics.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the response. The journey is half the fun.

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Old Feb 15, 2005, 9:50 PM   #4
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wannabe; generally when shooting birds, you want high ISO so you can get fast shutter speeds. Don't be afraid to go to ISO 800 and shutter speeds to match or higher if you want to stop action. Recommend never going below about 500 on shuuter speed if using telephoto to overcome shake. If on a tripod and the bird is still, you can slow things up.
As in all photography, these are just rules of thumb, you will need to experiement.
You got the equipment, go for it.
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Old Feb 19, 2005, 12:51 AM   #5
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Thanks for the comments, Golfer.

I've gotten some good shots since my last post, and one of the best was due to raising the ISO. I posted it in the wildlife forum, mislabeling it "blackpoll warbler". That shot was taken at ISO 800 handheld at 400mm with the Sigma 70-200 2.8 and a 2x tc. At least for birds, it's worked out great for a temporary inexpensive solution (already had the lense) to my minimal zoom issue.

Thanks again. Now that I've snapped a few decent shots I feel like I've got a good chance at repeating the process whenever I go out.
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Old Feb 19, 2005, 9:18 AM   #6
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I have got a sony V1.. I have problemslike in the first photo above..I think it is because of shaking.. What can I do.. I am not taking photos of any objects that are moving..I am just taking some people and they do not move.. my hand shakes and that causes some blur in the photograf.. while taking some photos with hand which mode is the best in sony V1..

I do not want to use a new lens or something else because as I mentioned I am just taking photos of not moving objects.. :shock:

As you can understand.. I am a new photographer :|

:G
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Old Feb 27, 2005, 5:18 PM   #7
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okyanus, I just read your post and see no one has responded so here are a few thoughts:
Your camera may have some shtter lag, [time between when you push the shutter button and when it takes the pic.] This can be a real problem for movement. It is important that when you prepare to take the shot, you are absolutly still from the time you push the button and the shutter clicks.
Use a solid support whenever possible.
Review ways to brace yourself while shooting.
Try to use fast shutter speeds if your camera is adjustable.
Try to use higher ISO speeds if adjustable.
TAke lots of shots.

Hope this helps. Good luck
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