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Old Jul 18, 2004, 10:46 PM   #11
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Here's 2



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Old Jul 18, 2004, 11:08 PM   #12
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Thanks for posting that second crop, Eric! Like I thought, we are looking at the Yellowthroat's right side here, the first crop was the same bird but the left side of the bird. This appears to be the same mouthful in the two pictures.

I can see what appears to be a grasshopper or cricket, a caterpillar, and another larva of some other insect. So, that's at least 3 things in the bird's mouth at one time. I'm pretty amazed it was able to snatch all the insects up like that.

The definition is unbelievable. You weren't kidding when you said that your lens was shooting sharp that day. Just to enlighten me again, what was your lens setup and how far were you from this bird?
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Old Jul 18, 2004, 11:17 PM   #13
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3 insects and yet he carries chirpping at the female, LOL. I have no clue how can they be loud like this with the beak close. Must be a secret.

What I've noticed is, the AF is pretty good unless there's insufficient lights. Or if the bird is in the shade with a strong backlight, then AF is so and so.

The #2 shot was taken at about 28 feet, 500mm focal length and I always use F/8 with this lens, it gets really sharp at that aperture. The other shot were at 22 feet about. I was very stable and I noticed also the lens likes 1/640 sec at that distance. At shorter distance you can go lower, but results can be inconsistent. I'm talking even using a tripod. Just pressing the shutter induces a slight vibration, the further away you are, the more amplitude that vibration gets. Keep that in mind when you'll have the camera/lens. Took me a while to master this.

F/8 has another advantage, which is quite important. The closer you are to a small bird less DOF is available, so this gives a little extra. My preference would be using F/11 all the time, but there's simply not enough light available in most circumstance for 1/640 sec. In a few years, CMOS will get even better (already is with the 1D Mark II) and we'll be able to use ISO800 like its use now for ISO400, hopefully dynamic range will be on par with lower ISO too.

Also, everytime I do a lens swap, when I go back with the Bigma, I always do a camera reset, turn off and then set all my parameters before starting using it. I noticed its sharper this way. Don't know why though.

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Old Jul 18, 2004, 11:33 PM   #14
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Eric CAN wrote:
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3 insects and yet he carries chirpping at the female, LOL. I have no clue how can they be loud like this with the beak close. Must be a secret.
Ventriloquism?

Quote:
What I've noticed is, the AF is pretty good unless there's insufficient lights. Or if the bird is in the shade with a strong backlight, then AF is so and so.
In at least this one respect, low light AF, the dslr/lens combo sounds like it has the same difficulty as the P&S cameras. My camera is not good at all in low light AF. For AF in these digital cameras I'd bet that this is more a failing of the current state of the art of the focusing algorithms in the firmware rather than the hardware.

Quote:
The #2 shot was taken at about 28 feet, 500mm focal length and I always use F/8 with this lens, it gets really sharp at that aperture. The other shot were at 22 feet about. I was very stable and I noticed also the lens likes 1/640 sec at that distance. At shorter distance you can go lower, but results can be inconsistent. I'm talking even using a tripod. Just pressing the shutter induces a slight vibration, the further away you are, the more amplitude that vibration gets. Keep that in mind when you'll have the camera/lens. Took me a while to master this.
This is really good to hear. I was worried that to get really decent up close shots I was going to have to be in the focal length range that Eric S and Norm have been experimenting with - something like 1000-1500mm. No way can I hope to afford the equipment for that. When I get a 10D sometime next year I expect I'll also get a Bigma or equivalent focal length lens for my bird shots.

The sensitivity to even the smallest vibration is troubling. You seem to indicate that the lens is prone to internal vibrations unless you use the shutter speed that doesn't cause some sort of sympathetic vibrations within the lens. I'll benefit from hearing about Norm and your experiences with the Bigma.

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Also, everytime I do a lens swap, when I go back with the Bigma, I always do a camera reset, turn off and then set all my parameters before starting using it. I noticed its sharper this way. Don't know why though.
Well, this sounds like a firmware problem to me - some internal calibration data table not getting automatically reset upon changeout to a different lens.

Thanks for all your willingness to tell me about this stuff!

One more question for you: do you ever use a monopod? I'm going overseas this fall for two weeks and will not try to bring a tripod. A monopod sounds like the thing to bring but I've never used one and don't know which ones are decent and which are the ones to stay away from. Any advice appreciated.
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Old Jul 18, 2004, 11:40 PM   #15
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Don't have a monopod Geoff, can't really comment. I presume if you can steady enough the horizontal movement you'll be able to get the same results as a tripod. Just remember the longer the focal length, the more shutter speed you'll need. About the reset on the camera, seems from what I read that this is happening with all sorts of lens with the 300D. Again this is quite apparent at long focal length.

My ideal lens would be a Canon 100-500 F/5.6 L with IS, but that doesn't exist yet. I would be curious to see how it behave without a tripod. How many times I've missed shots of birds because I was right in front of them, but I was not set to take it.

Cheers Geoff, time to hit the bed.
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Old Jul 18, 2004, 11:41 PM   #16
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Very special photographs and experience Eric. Your interpretation of what's going on certainly makes sense too.
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 12:00 AM   #17
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Wow. Those are amazing photographs!! Sorry if you already mentioned this, but what lens were you using? Those are just amazing!!!
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 12:02 AM   #18
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Hi Amy. Eric mentioned to me a few posts above that he was using a Sigma 50-500mm lens. It costs about $900. I want one eventually.
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 12:04 AM   #19
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Whoooosh 500mm?!?! crikey! That's a big zoom! niiiiice.
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 12:07 AM   #20
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Yes, Amy, that is a big zoom by our standards. It's small by Eric S's standards though :-) (Eric S has a very high quality and expensive 600mm lens that I think he uses in combo with other equipment to get up to 1200mm or so focal length - yikes!)
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