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Old May 10, 2010, 11:39 AM   #1
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Default 70-300mm and high ISO settings

There has been a bit of interest in the 70-300mm lens and more than a few questions on it lately. So, I thought it might be a good thing to show what you can get out of it in spite of the lighting presented to you.

Lighting is key to getting a good shot with this little performer. But that doesn't mean that if it's a cloudy day, you pack up your kit and go home. You just deal with what mother nature handed you.


The 2nd element in getting good feather detail and resolution in your shot is distance to subject. The distance from the lens to subject is 4ft on this shot.
Yes, I know, getting close is difficult. But, if your serious in capturing a sharp image of a small songbird, you have to put yourself in the best position. It's really no different than the macro shots that Greg posts or the flower shots that Gary posts or the great racing images that Greg Chappel posts. All take planning, thought and experience.


Here is one quick shot that was taken this morning using the 70-300mm.
It very cloudy, overcast, and just a dreary day. It's the perfect day for taking out and using a tripod.

The shot was taken with an E-30, 70-300mm both mounted on a 3001 Bogen Manfrotto tripod and 3030 head unit.

Settings were Manual mode, 1/200 sec., f-8, focal length 202, ISO800,
S-AF, single point-center, natural color mode, large superfine jpeg,
WB-auto. NR low,

I used Adobe's ACR5.6 to post process. Adjustments made were to WB, added a little exposure value. Then USMask in Elements 8.0. Cropped unwanted right half of original.

NO NOISE REDUCTION EMPLOYED.

I'm just taking a minute to try and show that ISO above 400 are there to be taken advantage of not to be avoided.

ZIG
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Old May 10, 2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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A 2nd image: This was @ 125mm focal length, 1/200sec., ISO1000, f8.
Same parameters apply for this shot as well.

My apologies on the composition and framing. But, my goal was to show a detailed blur free and relatively sharp image.
Again, with nor noise filter software being used.
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Old May 10, 2010, 1:10 PM   #3
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Hi Zig,

Good to know the 70-300mm lens can perform so well with the right setting by the right user. Due to the bad performance at low light of the lens, I have not touched it for a while. Looks like it's time to dust off and start using it again. Thanks for the good tips, I know I can always get better solutions from members like you on here
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Old May 10, 2010, 2:13 PM   #4
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Hi Zig,

Good to know the 70-300mm lens can perform so well with the right setting by the right user. Due to the bad performance at low light of the lens, I have not touched it for a while. Looks like it's time to dust off and start using it again. Thanks for the good tips, I know I can always get better solutions from members like you on here
Thanks Jacob.

I have to admit that I've had a bit of a love hate thing going with the 70-300mm. This is currently my 3rd time owning one. I sold off the 1st two because I got frustrated with a couple of idiosyncrasies that the lens has.
I've learned to overcome them and use it in the right circumstances.
It's a fun lens to use again. And, you don't have to take a 2nd mortgage out to get one.

Zig
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Old May 10, 2010, 2:44 PM   #5
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Hi Zig,
There is no way without post processing I can get those results from my 510 in poor light without a ton of noise. I see you do it a lot and I shoot a ton of small birds in canopy late day environments and the only way I can get a good shot is lower the ISO and use a tripod and about 1/30 on the shutter speed. I don't know exactly how low of light we're talking here so I may be shooting darker surroundings than you but these are very good and if used the same settings in low light mine would basically suck : ) I wonder if the camera itself has a bit to do with it.
Eric
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Old May 10, 2010, 3:01 PM   #6
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Hi Eric,

It's hard to tell without seeing the photos. But I do think that part of the answer is the E-30 does a better job of focusing, captures more detail- so that if you had to post process and use noise filter software there is simply more information to work with.

As for low light, if you're shooting into a canopy in the late day sun or evening, it just may be too dark for the 70-300mm. That's why I did get a 50-200mm as it's just that much sharper and faster.

Also, I made a point of saying that the key is getting as close to your subject as possible. To me, thats less than 10ft. and the samples I posted were taken at 4ft. Big difference.

Zig
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Old May 10, 2010, 3:18 PM   #7
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Hi Zig,
I'm sure the camera makes a big difference but after reading your post I think distance is a huge factor. Let me say you must be part bird to get 4 foot away : ) I guess I can do that on chickadees but most of the time 10 feet is really pushing it and I find to get a variety of them to come in and be comfortable I'm usually 20 to 30 feet away. Most definitely shooting at 70 to 100mm helps a whole lot in sharpness with the lens. I scare blind bugs at 4 feet : )
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Old May 10, 2010, 3:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Hi Eric,

It's hard to tell without seeing the photos. But I do think that part of the answer is the E-30 does a better job of focusing, captures more detail- so that if you had to post process and use noise filter software there is simply more information to work with.

As for low light, if you're shooting into a canopy in the late day sun or evening, it just may be too dark for the 70-300mm. That's why I did get a 50-200mm as it's just that much sharper and faster.

Also, I made a point of saying that the key is getting as close to your subject as possible. To me, thats less than 10ft. and the samples I posted were taken at 4ft. Big difference.

Zig
Isn't part of the problem the 510 itself? I know on my 500 I can't really use anything over 400 most of the time. 800 works but the noise is bad, it has to be a shot where i can hide or incorporate the noise into the composition. High ISO is one area the new generation of E series camera are vastly superior to the old ones. If I posted a small bird pic at 1600 I'm not sure you'd even be able to tell what type it was.

john
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Old May 10, 2010, 4:03 PM   #9
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Absolutely John, I mentioned that to Zig when I saw what he was using. But there is no substitute for close when it comes to shooting birds like Zig shows and that is also a big difference. As he mentioned shooting under a canopy vs in the open makes a huge difference as well.
Eric
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Old May 10, 2010, 4:29 PM   #10
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Awesome pics Zig! I have that lens and I figure I'm at 4-5ft from my feeder. Judging by your pics, I just need to fiddle the settings to get the same shots. Right now, I'm out a tripod thus they're all hand held @ 1/500, f8.

Thanks for sharing!
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