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Old Jun 19, 2012, 3:40 PM   #11
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Just use spot focus and AF+MF. You need to punch through the leaves and branches and focus on the bird. Lock in close and then tweak with the manual focus overide.

These aren't BIF's. They're little birds in trees.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 5:28 PM   #12
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You aren't trying to do this with the multi-focus are you? That would move all over the place. The center focus points should stay in the center until you move them.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 9:54 PM   #13
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BobB - tried that and it works.

BBbuilder - I experimented and what happens is that if you do not bring up the focus box before the first shot the camera will choose a point and focus on that. When I then bring up the focus box it is now shifted to wherever the camera chose to focus that first shot.

So long story short if I hit the magnifying glass button first before taking a shot it stays center and small. Works for me

caught this guy digging in my lawn yesterday - taking a break outside the edge of the excavation - still has dirt clinging to his fur.

- ISO 1600 was picked by the camera because it was getting dark and light was lower.


P6183714_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 9:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
BobB - tried that and it works
......always good when a suggestion works. Shoot and have fun, that is what really counts, the other stuff happens if it becomes relevant.
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 1:35 AM   #15
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Well, I'm glad you got it figured out, but I really don't understand why the center focus doesn't stay in the center. Is that some kind of feature like "tracking"? And then it stays off-center?
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 8:26 AM   #16
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Mmm, the single focus box stays put on my E-PL2, or at least I'm pretty sure it does. I'll have to try it.
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 2:16 PM   #17
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James,

I could be causing the confusion because I'm using a Panasonic and don't recognize the terminogy or a feature you guys are using.

I would just reduce my center focus to "spot", focus on the bird or chipmunk and take the shot.
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Old Jun 20, 2012, 2:47 PM   #18
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I probably caused the confusion. :-)
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 7:44 PM   #19
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To echo John G's comments. The best way to improve your bird photos is to get as close as you possibly can. Now, that may sound rather obvious, but there are a few tricks to help you get there.

One is to set up a bird feeder, preferably one that accepts sun flower seeds. Reason being, you'll attract a wider variety of birds.

I have a feeder set up directly outside the window in my home office. The feeder is literally 4ft away from my lens/camera mounted on a tripod. I shoot thru my storm window (which I wash almost daily). I use a black foam board on each side of the window to eliminate glare.

By the way, you'll get lots of Black Capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse which are difficult to capture as they are so fidgety. But, the Cardinals, goldfinches and house finches are more predictable and will allow enough time for you to snap a picture.

To make the photos more natural looking, I cut holly branches and mount them to a little board on the other side of the window. Many of the birds alight on the branch to wait their turn. Call me crazy, but this set up works.

Shutter speeds are 1/800 sec minimum with 1/1000sec a better choice.
Using this kind of set up, you can actually manually focus as the birds are in a predictable location, so you can focus the camera to one spot. By using manual focus, you can speed up the shutter.

Be prepared for failure, as these critters are fast. But, with practice you'll increase you're success rate to 10-15% or better.

A couple of pics taken using this set up. To be fair, I used the E-510 and 50-200mm Olympus lens. However, you can get very close to these results with your set up provided, you try manual focus which should eliminate shutter lag.



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Old Jun 26, 2012, 9:54 PM   #20
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zig - thanks for the tips. I do have a feeder in a tree outside the kitchen window in a tree that I feed and take photos. Right now I am just feeding in the winter as the squirrels and chipmunks eat all the food. This was one of my last shots before I had to stop putting out food in the feeder. Tripod mounted, through a slight opening in the window, manually focused with a big 300mm f4.5 Tair 3 Grand Prix (an old russian lens) before I had the 70-300mm ( I still keep this lens though)


Female Downy Woodpecker 20120407 by ramcewan, on Flickr


I need to get a squirrel proof feeder for the summer. I will also have to try your trick with a waiting branch.
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