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Old Aug 14, 2010, 7:57 AM   #1
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Default [pics] White-faced Heron (low light comparison)

This White-faced Heron was perched upon the cliffs of Surf Beach on Phillip Island. The first shot was taken when the sun was out..

Olympus E620
Zuiko 70-300mm lens
focal length: 300mm
ISO: 200
shutter speed: 1/1000sec
aperture: f7.1

http://pixelatedempire.com/2010/08/white-faced-heron/




The second shot when the sun was hidden behind clouds..

Olympus E620
Zuiko 70-300mm lens
focal length: 300mm
ISO: 200
shutter speed: 1/800sec
aperture: f6.3



As you can see, the second image IQ isn't as good as the first.. amazing how much good light can help an image.

Cheers
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 8:49 AM   #2
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But is the second one a more faithful representation of the bird's gray color? In the first one the gray seems washed out, but I wasn't there...

Good photos though.

Ted
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 5:34 PM   #3
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Hi Adam,

Yes, you're absolutely right.

Your images are two good examples of the amount of light required by the 70-300mm especially at long focal lengths. That's why a lot of people shooting birds tend to shoot in Aperture mode as opposed to Auto.

By using auto, you're allowing the camera to dictate the aperture and shutter speed. The 1st image is good even though, I think that the 70-300mm typically is sharpest at f8. When the light, in the 2nd shot was reduced, the camera adjusted the aperture down to f6.3. Probably a wee bit too low (IMHO) to get as sharp an image.

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Old Aug 17, 2010, 4:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Your images are two good examples of the amount of light required by the 70-300mm especially at long focal lengths. That's why a lot of people shooting birds tend to shoot in Aperture mode as opposed to Auto.

By using auto, you're allowing the camera to dictate the aperture and shutter speed. The 1st image is good even though, I think that the 70-300mm typically is sharpest at f8. When the light, in the 2nd shot was reduced, the camera adjusted the aperture down to f6.3. Probably a wee bit too low (IMHO) to get as sharp an image.
Absolutely agree Zig.

These shots were taken a couple weeks after I first purchased the camera and lens combo, thus I had (have) a lot to learn. I now shoot in AV mode at F8 as I feel this does give the sharpest results (a tip I learned from you in a post on this forum )

Thanks for your explanation mate, certainly confirmed my understanding.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 9:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
I think that the 70-300mm typically is sharpest at f8.
Would it be advisable to shoot exclusively at f8 then (which I've been doing for a while now) ?

Actually, I'll be in manual mode, setting a 1/800 shutter speed and mucking around with ISO to get a good exposure...
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 10:30 PM   #6
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Would it be advisable to shoot exclusively at f8 then (which I've been doing for a while now) ?

Actually, I'll be in manual mode, setting a 1/800 shutter speed and mucking around with ISO to get a good exposure...
It all depends on the focal length, amount of daylight how far you're away from the subject wether or not f8 is the aperture setting that's best. Remember, the closer you are to your subject, the less depth of field you've got. Stepping down the aperture will establish greater depth of field. A good example is the flower shot below. where I set the aperture to 7.1. I should have tried stepping down one or two more stops to get more of the flower in focus. Instead, at the time, what I did was to set the ISO to 200 because I didn't want anymore noise than necessary. Today, I would have increased the ISO and dealt with the noise-if any- with anyone of a number of noise reducing software.

Actually, I pretty much shoot in manual mode most often when using a long lens - i.e. 50-200mm, 135mm-400mm, or the 70-300m. I like to be able to control the aperture, shutter speed, and film speed depending on the conditions I'm facing.
I have to point out that, most often, I'm shooting birds early in the morning or late in the evening. Light is changing fast at those times and I, personally, have better luck in manual.
As far as aperture is concerned, on a bright sunny day, with good light, I've found that f8 seems to be the sweet spot for the 70-300mm lens that I have when the focal length is set to 300mm. I try to get as close as possible, since that's the best way to get any reasonable feather detail and lastly, I try and keep the ISO down as much as possible to eliminate noise.

My basic rule of thumb( this applies to shooting birds) is to; set the mode to manual, set the aperture to f8, focal length at 300mm, the white balance is usually on cloudy or shady, I try and shoot no lower than a shutter speed of 1/800 (my hands shake a lot) I look thru the viewfinder and see how my exposure graph looks and then adjust the ISO up or down as, necessary.

But this is easier said than done since the light is always changing and sometimes your best opportunity to shoot an unusual bird or a shot of a lifetime, doesn't always happen under ideal lighting circumstances.


I don't know if I've helped you, answered your question,or simply confused you.

Zig
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Old Aug 18, 2010, 5:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
My basic rule of thumb( this applies to shooting birds) is to; set the mode to manual, set the aperture to f8, focal length at 300mm, the white balance is usually on cloudy or shady, I try and shoot no lower than a shutter speed of 1/800 (my hands shake a lot) I look thru the viewfinder and see how my exposure graph looks and then adjust the ISO up or down as, necessary.
I use very similar settings as my starting point with the 70-300mm lens as well for birding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
But this is easier said than done since the light is always changing and sometimes your best opportunity to shoot an unusual bird or a shot of a lifetime, doesn't always happen under ideal lighting circumstances.
Amen to that!
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