Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Feb 27, 2010, 10:57 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
snooked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: South Florida
Posts: 1,411
Default How I Do BIF's

Have gotten many questions on my BIF photos. I am no pro, just do what I have found to works best for me. I am fortunate to live in an area where I can get a lot of practice.

I have found using spot focus on BIF's frustrating. I have more success using multipoint focus. With multi point I find if you have the subject anywhere near the middle it will focus on the closest object. The trick is to not depress the shutter half way until the subject is near the center, you can tell if focus is on the subject or the background. I do use spot focus when there are objects in front of the subject, or in a congested area, but it is tough if you do not have a large slower subject. Fast darting birds are hit and miss.

I generally shoot aperture priority and select ISO on conditions. Shutter priority can give suprises in aperture for sharpness. Aperture and shutter priority can give suprises in ISO for sharpness. In some conditions it is always hit and miss.

I like to use at least F8, conditions permitting. This will usualy get even large birds totaly in focus. F2.8 sounds great but gives shallow dof and heavy lens usually requiring tripod. I usually shoot hand held, I find tripod limiting in range of coverage and miss many shots. You will loose some photos but hand holding is more flexible. Shutter speed of 1/800 sec. works well but is not always achievable.

In exposure compensation I use + 2/3 to 1 1/3 for dark birds against light background, for white birds I use - 2/3 to 1 stop compensation. Black and white birds? Your guess is as good as mine.

Commentys and ideas are welcome.

Ed
snooked is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Feb 27, 2010, 4:23 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
danielchtong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,890
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snooked View Post
Have gotten many questions on my BIF photos. I am no pro, just do what I have found to works best for me. I am fortunate to live in an area where I can get a lot of practice.

I have found using spot focus on BIF's frustrating. I have more success using multipoint focus.

Ed
Pros and cons about multipoint focus. I am for spot focus and MF only as typically DoF is little for long lens and it is a focus critical exercise.

That is my take

If you are used to AF and you have a lot of practice, that is the method for you

Daniel
danielchtong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 27, 2010, 5:04 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
snooked's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: South Florida
Posts: 1,411
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielchtong View Post
Pros and cons about multipoint focus. I am for spot focus and MF only as typically DoF is little for long lens and it is a focus critical exercise.


Daniel
If manual focus works best for you then use it. Do you pre-focus to a certain distance? I know my auto focus is faster and more accurate then I can manual focus for BIF's. I am not using a blind and I never know from where an opportunity will come. I have found my fastest auto focus is with my AF 1.7X adapter on my DA* 300mm lens. If I set the lens to infinity it will focus very fast from about 75 feet to infinity due to the short, light element. When I have tried manual focus my percentage has gone down, but that is just my experience.

Ed
snooked is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 27, 2010, 6:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

Hi Ed,

I shoot comparatively few BIF, though the great majority of shots are of birds. I don't have the variety of interesting species as you have, and most of the BIF opportunities are gulls and pigeons. . . good for practice, but even the best shots are pretty ordinary.

I've found that with the K-7, the frame rate slows with multipoint vs center or select point mode for the AF. I assume that the processing needed by the AF system to choose the focus point detracts from the continuous shooting speed. Center point or select point allows the full frame rate, but my technique usually isn't good enough to keep the moving bird in the focus area. I also shoot mostly handheld.

I also found that my FA*300/4.5, Tokina 80-400 4.5-5.6, or either of my consumer grade 70-300 f4-5.6 zooms all work better than either of my AF 300/2.8s, not because they're lighter and easier to handle (which they obviously are) but because of the DOF advantage of the slower max apertures over the very thin DOF of the f2.8s for AF purposes since the camera focuses with the lens wide open.

I've heard a number of top bird shooters say that the best BIF lens is a 400/5.6 for 35mm film -- which most closely translates into a 300mm with a max aperture of f4-f5.6 for our APS C DSLRs. I try to shoot at f8-f11 to get more DOF, and use ISO 400-1250 even in bright sunlight to keep the shutter speeds up to freeze wing motion.

Another point to consider when shooting BIF with a Pentax is that you need to get the bird pretty much in focus for the first shot of a continuous string. If you do this, the whole string will probably be in focus, as the AF C mode can keep up but usually isn't fast enough to gain focus in the middle of a string.

Another thing that might help is a Red Dot sight to initially acquire the birds in the viewfinder.

That's about all I can add. . .

Scott
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 27, 2010, 7:29 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
danielchtong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,890
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snooked View Post
If manual focus works best for you then use it. Do you pre-focus to a certain distance? I know my auto focus is faster and more accurate then I can manual focus for BIF's. I am not using a blind and I never know from where an opportunity will come. I have found my fastest auto focus is with my AF 1.7X adapter on my DA* 300mm lens. If I set the lens to infinity it will focus very fast from about 75 feet to infinity due to the short, light element.

Ed
Same idea. I set my MF A*300mm to around 150 Ft as it is worthless for anything further away from it. And if subject comes within range, I raise the camera and fire non-stop. my first 1-2 seconds will be off focus. And I am supposed to track focus the subject the 2nd or 3 rd second visually on my focus screen. Wastage is high like all BIF shots

Daniel
danielchtong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 27, 2010, 7:34 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
danielchtong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,890
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snostorm View Post
Another point to consider when shooting BIF with a Pentax is that you need to get the bird pretty much in focus for the first shot of a continuous string. If you do this, the whole string will probably be in focus, as the AF C mode can keep up but usually isn't fast enough to gain focus in the middle of a string.


Scott
I know quite a few Pentax bird shooter use AF and focus trap method with very admirable results

Daniel
danielchtong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 27, 2010, 9:42 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Goldwinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Posts: 6,515
Default

Thanks for the tips Ed, I'm going to try them.
__________________
GW

Life's a breeze on a Goldwing...
Goldwinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 28, 2010, 11:01 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: East Central Vermont
Posts: 1,890
Default

Can't wait to try these tips! Thanks Ed for starting this thread, and thanks to everyone else who contibuted suggestions. This is one more example of why this is such a great forum!
mtnman is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:19 AM.