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Old Apr 9, 2005, 11:36 AM   #1
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I am using a sigma 135-400mm APO 4.5-5.6 for wildlife shots, unfortunately i couldnt afford the IS version which i would of loved, but however, even with a tripod or monodpod with shoulder brace i am finding alot of the images blurred is this something i am going to have to put up with? or is it something im doing (or not in my case)? i have had some good pictures from it but majority not. regards. Bev.
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Old Apr 11, 2005, 3:44 PM   #2
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Chances are that you have camera shake from slow shutter speeds or poor focussing and depth of field. The next time you are out and about, watch the speeds. With that focal length (135-400mm) and small apertures (F4.5-5.6) depending on the light, I would say you may be shooting at 60th/sec or less at 100ISO. With telephoto lenses you really have to watch the speed as even with a tripod you could end up with poor shots. Also, if you are shooting wide open (I.e. at F4.5), you are going to get shallow depth of field which is accentuated or magnified when using a telephoto lens, or not much is in focus so you need to watch your focussing too. It takes practice but try to use a tripod more and "Squeeze" the shutter gently as not to move the camera, watch your focussing points to make sure they are on what you want in focus. Try using just the central focus point, that way you know what you are "Aiming"at!

With wildlife shots, I assume you are moving the camera to track any movement. Try upping the ISO to 400 or 800 to give yourself a faster shutter speed. You need about 250th to 500th/sec minimum for what you are doing.

All the best,

Nick

http://www.all-things-photography.com
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Old Apr 11, 2005, 3:50 PM   #3
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Another question is whether or not your tripod/head is sturdy enough for the lense. Monopods are tough - I have a lot of problems keeping my 70-200 2.8 with 1.4x steady enough on a monopod to produce good results of birds. More experienced people may not have the same problems. So, I try to use a tripod as much as possible. But it's a pretty sturdy Bogen 3021Bpro with 488rc4 ballhead. The old $30 tripod from 15 years ago just couldn't handle the load.
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Old Apr 11, 2005, 5:22 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for advice will put all into practice tomorrow especially upping the ISO and try using the central focus point instead.I also think that my tripod has not got the strength or sturdiness for this lense as its an ordinary make with a swivel and tilt head, i experimented with a make -shift beanbag instead, and the results were amazing. I have heard that the Ben-V beanbag is very good as it has polypropolene beads and not polystyrene and also has straps on it to attach it to camera bag etc but can i find it anywere! NO, so any ideas on that would be appreciated (i understand its not the answer to my prob but might help) many thanks once again. regards. Bev.
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Old Apr 11, 2005, 5:29 PM   #5
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Hi, the answer to your question re the tripod head is ashamingly NO! its a basic tripod and swivel and tilt head, had no probs using it with the 75-300mm lense but i think thats its limit! so perhaps its time to upgrade the poor thing. I tried using a makeshift beanbag and the results were much much better. Once again thanks for help, much appreciated. regards. Bev.
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Old Apr 11, 2005, 5:34 PM   #6
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Hi, sorry but forgot to say what a great website www.all-things-photography.comis that you showed with your message. Its very informative and a great help to newbies like myself. Thanks. bev,
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 11:40 AM   #7
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Read these two articles:

http://www.naturephotographers.net/bh0201-1.html
http://www.naturephotographers.net/ejp0801-1.html

And then read them a second time. And then do what they talk about. And then read them a third time to make sure you are really doing what they talk about. I didn't find it "hard" per say, but it is a lot of little things that add up.

I shoot with a 600mm (and often a teleconverter) all the time. I read and digested both those articles when using my 400mm and found that my transition to 600mm was easy. I already did all the right things.

What Freefly says is right. Look through your images that are not sharp enough and see what the shutter speed is. He lists 1/250 to 1/500. You can get pictures of stationary subjects at that speeds, but 1/500 is more the limit for things that might move (like birds.)

Eric
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 12:07 PM   #8
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With slow shutter speeds, movement can come form both ends of the picture...from the camera and shaky hands and from the subject if they are jumping around (not unheard of with wildlife).

If you couldn't afford IS then you were right to go for a tripod to eliminate shake at your end. Of course, as others have pointed out, the stability of the tripod is the key point. If it is carrying too much weight...well it can't do its job...very well.

A monopod is a good option too but, I find most people don't use them correctly. The monopod has only 1 leg (by definition) and a tripod has 3 legs (by definition) but even when you only have a monopod you STILL have 3 legs! You have 2 legs and the monopod has one...that makes 3.

Most people use the monopod by holding it straight up and down so that it is balancing on the tip. Did you ever wonder why Monopod heads swivel in only one direction? That is so you can angle the monopod leg and keep the camera straight. If instead of holding the monopod straight up and down...put the leg on an angle in front of you...spread your own legs apart (so they form an angle too!) and by bracing the camera against your face...you have a 'tripod' which is remarkably stable.

As you have seen, even the most stable platform can't guarantee a great picture but you are on the right track and a heavier tripod might just be the answer.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 2:42 PM   #9
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Thanks eric for your advice and the web site of which i have been on and read both several times, and will do so again later, i found them extremely helpful and informative. I have been through shots of mine and i will now be more focused on my shutter speeds!! as you suggested. many thanks. Bev.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 2:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for help and advise on tripods and monopods, i have taken what you say on board and will be looking into getting a more suitable tripod. Thanks Bev.
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