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Old Mar 3, 2012, 2:13 PM   #1
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Default Backyard Visitors - 600 VR

A few around the feeder today.

Dark Eyed Junco



Waiting its turn



Pine Siskins are common this year. Wouldn't perch on anything natural for me.



New this year, Common Redpoll



Another



Then this guy put an end to the photography session. Now I know what has been beating up my sparrow trap . (Not great, but all I could get)







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Old Mar 3, 2012, 3:40 PM   #2
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Well, Greg, you can't be too unhappy after having taken these today.

They are simply wonderful;. great feather detail, perfect exposure and accurate colors. What lens are you using?

Thanks for bringing me back down to earth. As much as I like the D7000,
your set up is in another league.

Not to mention the guy holding the camera.........
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Old Mar 3, 2012, 4:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Well, Greg, you can't be too unhappy after having taken these today.

They are simply wonderful;. great feather detail, perfect exposure and accurate colors. What lens are you using?

Thanks for bringing me back down to earth. As much as I like the D7000,
your set up is in another league.

Not to mention the guy holding the camera.........
Hi Zig,

I saw the redpoll a couple days ago, and I've never caught a photo of one, so I'm happy to have gotten that accomplished. The hawk attacked the sparrow trap, almost landed on an open branch, then where I could get an ID type photo as you see in the posted pic. Kinda fun .

I'm glad about the "perfect exposure and accurate colors" comment because I'm running a cheap laptop that isn't calibrated. I had my fingers crossed .

The outfit was the D3s/600 f4/TC-14. As to the one holding the camera, that would happen to be the tripod .

Anyway, thanks for the comments. I hope the stocking cap can take the swelling!
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Old Mar 3, 2012, 5:05 PM   #4
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Default Session Two!!!

After things settled down after the hawk and I got to where I could feel my fingers again, I gave it another go-round.

Its nice to see some gold on the gold finches. Spring can't be too far off!!!



Always a few nuthatches.



Little bird in a big wind.



A couple taken for a positive ID. I tried to get a better pic a couple times, but when the chance happened, he'd take off before the shutter could be pressed. Turned out to be a tree sparrow. Careful fella, that thing is a sparrow trap intended for house sparrows.







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Old Mar 4, 2012, 4:03 PM   #5
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Hi Greg,

What a fantastic set of pictures you had posted.

The sharpenes and amount of detail is amazing... I noticed you shoot between f/7.1 and 9.0.

I was testing my 70-200mm and the pictures I shoot at 2.8 or 4.0 are not to sharp enough even with static subjects... defenitely I'm ussing the wrong settings.

I am used to have very sharp pictures with my Zuiko 50-200mm at 2.8-3.5 maybe I'm expecting to have the same results thank Oly with my Nikon D7000 but I know they work different for so many reasons.

Thank you for sharing your work and keeping the Exif data on it.

Have a great day.

Marcelo
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Old Mar 4, 2012, 8:40 PM   #6
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Hi Greg,

What a fantastic set of pictures you had posted.

The sharpenes and amount of detail is amazing... I noticed you shoot between f/7.1 and 9.0.

I was testing my 70-200mm and the pictures I shoot at 2.8 or 4.0 are not to sharp enough even with static subjects... defenitely I'm ussing the wrong settings.

I am used to have very sharp pictures with my Zuiko 50-200mm at 2.8-3.5 maybe I'm expecting to have the same results thank Oly with my Nikon D7000 but I know they work different for so many reasons.

Thank you for sharing your work and keeping the Exif data on it.

Have a great day.

Marcelo
Hi Marcelo,

There is alot to talk about DOF and aperture. The lens combo used here is 850mm f5.6 if I shot it wide open. I rarely would shoot it opened up unless the subject was farther away for DOF reasons.

Shooting the big Zuiko, the same thing generally applied. I'm going to post one shot with the 300 f2.8/EC-20 at f10. DOF shrinks with the super tele lenses.



Then there is the differences in format. The bigger the format, the shallower the DOF for a given field of view, aperture combination. There is also a difference in the diffraction characteristics.

The 4/3 lenses were generally sharpest around f4, and they started dropping off rapidly at f8. For my FX camera (full frame) the sweet spot is more like f8 and diffraction fall off is more like f12 - f16. I shoot alot at the f8 - f16 range. Its the sweet spot for the format.

For DX (1.5 crop) its right in the middle of the two prior formats. Its likely sharpest around f5.6, and f4-f12 will be good diffraction wise.

Now, as to the sharpness of your lens, is it the Nikkor? I shoot the VR2 version, Zig shoots the VR1. On DX i don't think you would be able to thell them apart. Here's one fron the VRII/TC-14 near open at f4.5 and 280mm for comparison.



Now the extreme for my setup. The following was shot with the 600 f4/TC-17 wide open at f6.7 very near its minimum focus of 16 ft.



And the crop. The tip of the beak is clearly out of focus, as is the area behind its head. DOF gets pretty narrow! Its about half an inch. For a fun fact, hyperfocal distance is over three miles .



I wish I had the answer for you. I'd be checking for front/back focus and test the setup on a tripod. It just doesn't sound like its quite right.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 5:49 AM   #7
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Hi Greg/Marcelo,

Thought I'd chime in on the conversation. My experience with the VRI version is pretty much as Greg has already mentioned. f5.6 seems to be the sweet spot as far as sharpness is concerned.

However, with the use of a tripod or monopod, I've had really exceptional results IMHO with the lens wide open. The following image being a case in point. It was taken with the 70-200mm + TC14E at f4.0 (wide open) using a monopod.





This image is a good example as I didn't crop it or do any major pp to it. It is pretty much OOC.

Calibrating the lens as Greg mentioned may be required.

Zig
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 3:56 PM   #8
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Default Thank you Greg and Zig,

I'm practicing and adapting to my new gear, last weekend I went to the park next to my house and I was testing the AF speed and accuracy for moving subjects and the seagulls and ducks are the perfect target.

The AF-C tracking of the D7000 in comparison with the Olympus system is just amazing.

Don't judge the composition in the following pictures, I was just learning how the camera behave in this situations:










I shoot like 600 pictures and only 5% are keepers, I know this percentage will raise with more practice.

Shooting some static subjects I notice my pictures are a little soft or don't have the sharpness I expect but reading Zig recommendation I think he is right. I have two examples, the ducks were shoot hand held at 2.8 and 4.0 and the squirrel with a tripod at 2.8 :





100% crop






This one is at 4.0:




100% crop






This little guy posing for me at 2.8 and tripod:






Thank you for your time and explanation.

I really appreciate.

Marcelo
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 5:10 PM   #9
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Hi Marcelo,

Thanks for posting your photos because, I think it helped explain why your photos aren't as sharp as you would like.

I took a look at the EXIF data of the 100% crop image of the Canadien Goose (just before the squirrel). The shutter speed @ 1/250sec. is way too low IMHO for you to consistently get good sharp results. I then took a look at the EXIF data of the mallard. It is a lot faster at 1/800 sec. That helps explain why that particular shot is sharper.

When I shoot BIF, my minimum shutter speed is 1/1000sec. and most times it is 1/1600 sec. or higher. Coming from using Olympus bodies, you no doubt, are concerned with introducing noise. Well, it has been my experience that you can get very high quality images with the D7000 at ISO1600 and I regularly use ISO3200 if that is what's necessary.


If you keep your shutter speed up around 1/1000sec. (hand held), I do believe that you'll see a significant improvement in image quality and sharpness.

hope this helps.

Zig
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Old Mar 6, 2012, 6:24 AM   #10
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Hi again.

I'm pleased to see you pics. I think your lens is as good as mine .

First, I'd like to agree with Zig. You have at least a stop of additional ISO to use over the Olympus. You can use it for more shutter speed when necessary. Play around with the higher ISOs to determine what you are comfortable with.

Back to depth of field. Your poste pics are a great illustration of what I want to point out. Look at the goose pics, and more to the point the area of sharp grass under the bird. Its generally narrower than the bird is wide. The head appears in focus, while the closer part of the body is not sharp. I think if light would have allowed, something like f5.6 or f8 would have helped the photo, but would have also changed how the background birds would look. Just something to consider. Its nice to have the eyes and everything closer (of the bird that is) sharp.

Now about the keeper percentage. A dirty little secret. Most of mine end up on the chopping block too. I won't say its because of focus, but between that and choosing the besy of similar shots, of subject motion, or stupid human tricks of other degrees all add up to scrapping photos. I guess I'm saying that don't feel bad about it.

The autofocus configuration of todays cameras can be quite complex. The one thing I'm wondering is if you might be shooting on "Auto Area" configuration. That is the one I wouldn't recommend for wildlife. The camera would choose the focal point instead of you. The rest of the configurations allow you to choose the home point. That allows you to place that point and the other settings offer various support from the rest of the focus points.

I don't have the D7000, so I'm not the best source as to the remainder of the choices, and the interface is likely different than my camera, but that is the one thing that came to mind when you mentioned low percentage in focus.
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