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Old Apr 7, 2005, 3:58 PM   #1
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Can anyone eplain to me what values I should be using for outdoor wildlife photography? I'm really new at this and trying to learn some basic things.
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Old Apr 7, 2005, 5:44 PM   #2
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What type of wildlife?

The reason why I ask is that often wildlife requires a high shutter speed. The shot just doesn't work if it's blury.

This means that you often shoot with the largest aperture you can, or at least a large one. There are two down sides with this.
- The larger the aperture (usually) the lower the optical quality you get. There will often be distortion on the edges of the picture and some difraction. This is why it's often helpful to stop down a little bit.... Of course, you'll loose shutter speed with the smaller aperture.

- A really small DOF. The smaller the aperture the larger the DOF. The larger the aperture (smaller f-stop) the smaller the DOF. Laws of physics are involved, nothing you can do about it. The problem here is that the entire subject might not be in focus. With wildlife photography you need at least the face/eyes in focus, and hopefully more. But to get enough shutter speed to stop the action you might need a large aperture which means a small DOF (making it hard to get enough in focus.) Does that make sense?

This is partially why wildlife photographers buy the expensive lenses because they are usually optically quite good with larger apertures.

But you also brought up ISO, and this is one of the BIG wins for wildlife photographers. Depending on your camera, the higher ISOs look good (with Canon Digital Rebel family, 10D & 20D had decent ISO400 and good ISO200 quality.) So you'll end up shooting at ISO200 or ISO400 (hopefully ISO200) and that will give you a nice shutter speed advantage that you can get a decent shutter speed. If you didn't know, a switch from ISO100 or ISO200 will let you double your shutter speed at the same exposure. Every jump in ISO doubles (or halfs) the shutter speed. Same with a change to the aperture.

So as an example, lets assume this was the proper exposure:
ISO100 1/250 f5.6
You could also get exactly the same exposure with:
ISO200 1/500 f5.6

And where 1/250th might not stop the action 1/500 might actually do it. If the quality of ISO200 is good enough, then trade the (hopefully) minor quality drop for the extra shutter speed.

Does this help answer your question? Please ask a follow up if you have more question.

Eric
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Old Apr 8, 2005, 1:14 PM   #3
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This definitely helps me out - thanks a lot for taking the time!
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Old Apr 9, 2005, 7:03 AM   #4
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well done eric, i enjoyed reading it, its a good thing to see people taking the time to help out others, well done.
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Old Apr 9, 2005, 9:32 AM   #5
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That was a great explanation! Helped me alot too!
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Old Apr 9, 2005, 1:49 PM   #6
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I'm glad you all found it helpful.
And I appreciate that you understood the time it took to write it. I come here because I like to teach and share... but it also warms the heart to know that others appreciate what I write.

Eric
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Old Apr 14, 2005, 8:51 PM   #7
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Eric,

I have taken what you have said and been playing around a bit with my camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ5). I do have a followup for you...

How does one determine the proper exposure in terms of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO value. I understand that for wildlife photography (in particular -birds) I would want a high aperature of around F5.6 without going too high (F8) which could cause blur? and I know you also said a high shutter speed is necessary. My camera seems to allow me to use a 1/1600 shutter speed with F5.6 aperture value. Would that be optimal?

Thanks again for your time.
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