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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:14 PM   #21
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First, I went with my trusted 80-200, and got better results thanks to the extra DoF, like below:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:16 PM   #22
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Or this one:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:17 PM   #23
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Orthis one:
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:19 PM   #24
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With the 70-300G, I got more reach, but the sharpness was severely lacking on most shots. Not only that, but it had more of tendency to hunt--not sure if that b/c it's a slower lens or the lack of a focus lock. In addition, even on the few sharp shots it turned out, there was a tendency to PF in the pictures, like the following:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:21 PM   #25
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I then decided to go back to my trusted 80-200, and the blue heron decided to return for that afternoon (and I'm still having trouble retaining the highlights for him):
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:22 PM   #26
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And I also got another mallard male in flight:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:28 PM   #27
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So far, what I've learned is that:

a) my skills aren't there yet. I've improved, but I'm just not tracking them as well as I should.

b) my equipment isn't ideal, either. It's more than adequate, but the D70 doesn't focus that fast, and my lens is a slow focuser as well. On top of that, it's not quite long enough, as I usually find myself cropping an area b/t 1.5 and 2 MP from the original 6 MP.

More importantly, though, I've learned a few things that do work:

1) use continuous AF, single-shot AF is probably too slow (on something like the D70).

2) use the custom function to create an AF-on button to decouple AF from the shutter release.

3) bump up the ISO for faster shutter speed, noise isn't much of an issue (even ISO 1000 isn't bad).

4) use a smaller aperture for more DoF--those birds fly out of focus awfully fast, so a greater DoF increases your margin for error.
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:43 PM   #28
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Quote:
use a smaller aperture for more DoF
the drawback of that is : your compromise shutter speed, which is probably the most important aspect required for in-flight bird shots [apart from AF speed as you have correctly determined]

BTW, your wood duck will have tongues hanging - I suggest posting it on a seperate post with the title as North American Wood duck !!

Happy picking on a higher level :-)
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 6:38 PM   #29
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JakeTPegg wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
use a smaller aperture for more DoF
the drawback of that is : your compromise shutter speed, which is probably the most important aspect required for in-flight bird shots [apart from AF speed as you have correctly determined]

BTW, your wood duck will have tongues hanging - I suggest posting it on a seperate post with the title as North American Wood duck !!

Happy picking on a higher level :-)
Yeah the Wood Duck is our answer to those birds of yours from South Africa. Too bad they don't come to the ocean...:?

Dave
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 2:46 PM   #30
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Thanks Jake, I might post the wood duck pictures in a separate thread. They're actually mostly boring pictures, albeit of a beautiful creature.

I don't disagree with the shutter speed concern, but many of my shots just come out a bit too soft, so DoF is a greater concern at this point.
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