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Old Jun 16, 2012, 9:31 AM   #1
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Default 70-300mm FT lens - looking for birding tips

Looking for tips on using this lens better, my shots so far with this lens are below. I am guessing I just need to use the 14x focus box and put it right in the right spot?

capturing birds with the leaves out is tough as the camera seems to grab focus on the leaves and not on the bird.

should I be switching into MF mode?

bluejay 1/500

P6103647_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr

scarlet tanager 1/500

P6153661_1 by ramcewan, on Flickr

a crop of a shot that I was happy with (except for the backlighting which is the birds choice) 1/640

P6083592_2 by ramcewan, on Flickr
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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Yes, I think with that backdrop you should try manual focus or the single focus box. I tried doing that yesterday, I selected one focus box but when I went to magnify (magnifying glass symbol), nothing happened so I didn't play around anymore with no manual nearby. Maybe this only works in certain modes, don't know.
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 6:30 PM   #3
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Hello ramcewan

I use AF for my 70-300 bird shots .
AF on my E-520 and E-PL1 with the FT 70-300 is fairly quick and birds do not sit still .
With my E-PL1, I only use 14X box
Your birds look a little out of focus. Camera shake and or bird movement ?
At 300mm shutter is at 800 or greater
All my bird shots are hand held ( to time to set up a tripod )
so shutter at + 800 is almost a must.
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 10:33 PM   #4
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I use a Panasonic, but have you tried the AF+MF. I just half-press to get a quick focus lock and then manually zero in on the target. I don't like the focus assist/image magnification for that situation. It's too easy for me to lose the target.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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RA, I don't try photographing the small birds but I would suggest the small focus box in spot mode. As for MF vs AF I believe it is near impossible to manually do better than the camera set to AF so MF for me is useless given the 43 lenses I use.

Sorry I don't really have much in the way of suggestion except to keep working at it and shoot lots of files to learn from.
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Old Jun 18, 2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will keep plugging away. I think the key will be getting the focus box on the target.

To that end I am wondering if there is a way to lock it in the center?

I have been keeping the 70-300mm mounted to the camera just in case... keeping the camera in shutter priority at 500 or higher. This way I can grab and shoot when the opportunity arises. The only thing is when I fire up the camera the focus box is back to the larger 7x size and it is often times somewhere off center. I'd like to find a way to have the camera set so that the focus box is 14x and always at center. Even if it was 7x but at center I think it would help.

Otherwise I am grabbing the camera, snapping a quick shot, then hitting the magnifying glass button twice, turning the wheel to get to 14x, hitting the magnifying glass button again, then using the directional function of the wheel to position it in center, by which time the bird is gone. The first shot is often my best chance and as you can see I'm not getting the focus right on the first shot.
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Old Jun 18, 2012, 12:36 PM   #7
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Seems to me I recently read something to that effect in the manual where you can use the Fn button to do this. I think you can also do that with the My Set feature but I don't know if that feature is on the E-PL1.
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Old Jun 18, 2012, 3:48 PM   #8
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RA, try this......... set the focus box at x14 the normal way (mag + info + mag)

Now turn the camera OFF, then ON... then just one time PRESS THE MAGNIFY

That should set the focus box to what it was when the camera was turned off. This will work each time you turn the camera on.

What does happen to me is that I don't always do this and sometime later will turn the focus box on then mess around with the info button or whatever, maybe touch the magnify button again ...... well you see where this is going, it usually will take a full focus box redo to get it back.

But do try the simple approach above, it will work for you.... I'm certain.
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Last edited by boBBrennan; Jun 18, 2012 at 11:03 PM.
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Old Jun 18, 2012, 8:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boBBrennan View Post

But do try the simple approach above, it will work for you.... I'm certain.

BoBB is right
That also works for me .
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 11:53 AM   #10
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I haven't seen it mentioned, so I'll bring it up. The reality is, in your first two shots,you are simply too far away from your subject for the focal length you're using. You really need your subject filling a larger portion of the frame. That's easier said than done. But regardless of how you change the parameters of the camera, trying to capture a good photo with subject so far away isn't going to go very well. You need to be closer to your subject for good shots of such small birds.
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