FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Sharp Flying Birds

Page  12>
Author
JonB View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: 19 June 2013
Country: United Kingdom
Location: Bucks
Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Post Options Post Options   Quote JonB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sharp Flying Birds
    Posted: 19 June 2013 at 21:31
Hi all, I'm new here so I apologise if this is in the wrong place.

Basically I've had an interest in photography for a while but only recently have I finally managed to afford my first DSLR (Sony A57). I shot this today in a nearby nature reserve, and whilst I am fairly happy if you look closely it's not as sharp as I'd like, and I ideally want to crop it down further than this but it just looks terrible if I do.

I've also taken various other images throughout the day and they all have the same problem. I accept that some of this is probably due to the cheap lens and the fact I have to crop a fair bit most of the time to make the bird the focal point of the image, but I will not in a position to invest in a lens with more reach for quite a while (looking at a Tamron 200-500).




This has been partially cropped (represents about 75% of the image "as shot"), and was shot with the following lens +settings:
Minolta 75-300 D (the silver plasticy one) @300mm, f/18, 1/250sec, 800 ISO, Continuous AF (on "Spot" mode). Shot in Manual mode. I'm using the lens hood as supplied and a UV filter

There is almost certainly something wrong with my technique and/or settings, and I'd appreciate some tips on how to improve the sharpness really. I do find that this lens is a real pig for purple fringing, on bright days such as today even stopping down to f/10-12 produces intolerable levels of fringing I can't edit out, and I shot this as wide as I dared (and it's still there if you look at it's head!)

Thanks in advance.
 



Back to Top
MichelvA View Drop Down
Alpha Eyes group
Alpha Eyes group
Knowledge Base Contributor

Joined: 26 April 2008
Country: Netherlands
Status: Offline
Posts: 17632
Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2013 at 21:44
Welcome to Dyxum Jon. Quite brave to start in the Critics Corner with a first post as the reactions here are less friendly compared to normal threads. To the photo: it is unsharp, although you probably know that. It looks like you tried panning the bird as the white birds are even more unsharp. My suggestion would be a shuttertime a lot higher, up to 1/1000s or 1/1250s. A lens like you mentioned should give a reasonable image at f/8 to f/10, a smaller aperture will take the shuttertime down. If this doesn't help enough, up the ISO to 1600.
Panning is a difficult technique where a lot of skill is needed, and that is only achievable by training. Hope that helps.
Back to Top
Wang TH View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 27 November 2011
Country: Singapore
Status: Offline
Posts: 1241
Post Options Post Options   Quote Wang TH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2013 at 21:45
For birds in flight, try a faster shutter speed. Depending on the type of bird, shutter speed may need to go as high as 1/1000s or faster to get it really sharp. If I am on aperture mode, I would keep my ISO higher than shooting a bird on perch. Also use spot or centre focus and follow to keep the bird in centre. With the evf, u may need to use lo drive for drive mode to get live view. Getting in pin sharp needs some practice and a little luck. Hope this helps.
Teck Heng
Back to Top
skm.sa100 View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 08 January 2009
Country: United States
Location: Charlotte, NC
Status: Offline
Posts: 3619
Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2013 at 21:53
F/18 is unnecessary and undesirable here. More than anything else, the 1/250s is probably the biggest culprit for you.
You can take wonderful shots with cheap lenses.

You did pan a bit and cropping out the lower part will perhaps improve the shot. The blurry birds are quite distracting to me.
Nice shot!
Back to Top
rickztahone View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 June 2011
Country: United States
Location: Pacoima CA
Status: Offline
Posts: 4856
Post Options Post Options   Quote rickztahone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2013 at 21:54
to be completely honest your settings are not that bad considering. f/18 is just a tad bit too stopped down but I think your main problem here is technique and the slow shutter speed. BIF (birds in flight) are some of the most difficult shots to get, even with proper gear, trust me, I own an a77 + 70-400 and I still have problems nailing down focus because everything happens to quickly while the subjects are in the air.

I do shoot continuous from time to time but I also use the focus lock button on my 70400 because sometimes, just like in your picture, there are distracting elements behind the subject that want to pull the focus away. So, what I usually try to do on the fly is lock focus and then do low speed burst shots.

It isn't something you will get the first time out. Practice is key here and I can not comment on the lens you are using as I have never used it. I know it isn't the BBC (big beercan) because it isn't silver so that may have something to do with the you not liking this shot as much.

You can get a lens such as the Tamron 70-300, which I have owned in the past, for around $350 new and get great shots. It is a very light lens as well and probably will not need to be tripod mounted. Many avid BIF shooters here have gimbal heads and all the works to catch these beautiful creatures in flight.

Lastly, there is the 'Open views' section of the forum which may generate more replies just due to the fact that this section only really gets used when you need some really in depth analysis of a shot on how to better your photographic skills and comp and such things of that nature. A bit more involved.

Welcome to the forum and I wish I also had an a57, might get one if the right deal comes along at some point. TFS
a99+VG|a77+VG|a55|Nex6|HVL-56/58|minO|58 1.2|24|Tam|90|SAL||16-50|70-200|∑|50 1.4|∑| 24-70 2.8
[URL=http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickztahone/]Flickr
Back to Top
tigertimb View Drop Down
Alpha Eyes group
Alpha Eyes group

Joined: 22 November 2007
Country: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Posts: 5630
Post Options Post Options   Quote tigertimb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2013 at 22:55
Welcome to Dyxum Jon - and this a perfectly friendly place to start if you welcome the feedback.

Actually I don't think you're far away here with the level of detail you have captured as small changes in technique have a big impact on result.

A quick bit of very crude maths if I'm allowed - lets assume the bird flies the width of the shot in about a second and that the shot is 4000-6000pixels wide - so if you want the freeze the movement of the bird, your shutter speed needs to be a lot higher and getting close to the 1/4000sec.

So a better solution in my opinion is to have the shot move with the bird, as you've done, and then you're speed of 1/250sec is sounding perfectly reasonable to me. And even slower works too, just as long as you perfect your ability to pan the camera in perfect sync with the bird.
(but I would drop down from f18 to maybe f8/f10 where your lens will perform better)

Practice is the key with this - it's all too tempting to move the camera a bit quicker than your subject, and then compensate by panning too slowly. The technique only really works when you get it just right.
And practice using the shutter without upsetting your motion at all - you'll want to be squeezing the trigger finger, rather than pressing down!

Bikes and cars might make good subjects to practice with!
this was my attempt going much slower at 1/30sec - you'll have to decide if you like the background to be quite that blurry, but it does make your subject look sharper
Tim
If you appreciate comments on your photos, how about returning the favour to others . . .
 



Back to Top
JonB View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: 19 June 2013
Country: United Kingdom
Location: Bucks
Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Post Options Post Options   Quote JonB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 June 2013 at 23:53
Thanks for all the feedback, at least I know I'm going in vaguely the right direction, and I'll have to practice my technique a bit more.

My main concern with widening the aperture though is chroma problems. I've tried similar shots at f12 and It's been so bad that I can't remove (or even minimise) it in pp. Admittedly it wasn't as sharp as it could be, but I guess I'll just have to keep at it. Any tips for minimising it? Keeping the birdies away from high contrast backgrounds isn't always possible.
Back to Top
rickztahone View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 June 2011
Country: United States
Location: Pacoima CA
Status: Offline
Posts: 4856
Post Options Post Options   Quote rickztahone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 01:09
Originally posted by JonB JonB wrote:

Thanks for all the feedback, at least I know I'm going in vaguely the right direction, and I'll have to practice my technique a bit more.

My main concern with widening the aperture though is chroma problems. I've tried similar shots at f12 and It's been so bad that I can't remove (or even minimise) it in pp. Admittedly it wasn't as sharp as it could be, but I guess I'll just have to keep at it. Any tips for minimising it? Keeping the birdies away from high contrast backgrounds isn't always possible.


Unfortunately that is a major problem and a problem of the lens alone. You need to try to avoid the angle of flare from the sun. This is easier said than done, especially while trying to capture BIF. Just keep trying and do not be discouraged. You will get there.
a99+VG|a77+VG|a55|Nex6|HVL-56/58|minO|58 1.2|24|Tam|90|SAL||16-50|70-200|∑|50 1.4|∑| 24-70 2.8
[URL=http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickztahone/]Flickr
Back to Top
Atgard View Drop Down
Groupie
Groupie

Joined: 06 June 2013
Country: United States
Location: South Florida
Status: Offline
Posts: 90
Post Options Post Options   Quote Atgard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 03:58
I definitely agree that you need 1/1,000 or faster shutter speed for sharp BIF.

And f/18 is probably too high -- even cheap lenses (I use a super cheap one) should look decent at f/8-f/11 or so.

As for flare, you generally want to be shooting with the sun at your back if you can to get sharper-looking shots anyway. I know, sometimes easier said than done if the birds don't cooperate!

Stick with it, and I think you'll see the improvement you're looking for. Good luck!
Back to Top
rickztahone View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 June 2011
Country: United States
Location: Pacoima CA
Status: Offline
Posts: 4856
Post Options Post Options   Quote rickztahone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 04:16
Originally posted by Atgard Atgard wrote:

I definitely agree that you need 1/1,000 or faster shutter speed for sharp BIF.

And f/18 is probably too high -- even cheap lenses (I use a super cheap one) should look decent at f/8-f/11 or so.

As for flare, you generally want to be shooting with the sun at your back if you can to get sharper-looking shots anyway. I know, sometimes easier said than done if the birds don't cooperate!

Stick with it, and I think you'll see the improvement you're looking for. Good luck!


If we are talking high and low here then f/18 would be too LOW.
a99+VG|a77+VG|a55|Nex6|HVL-56/58|minO|58 1.2|24|Tam|90|SAL||16-50|70-200|∑|50 1.4|∑| 24-70 2.8
[URL=http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickztahone/]Flickr
Back to Top
bms44974 View Drop Down
Moderator Group
Moderator Group
Assignments Deputy

Joined: 18 October 2008
Country: United States
Location: Cary, NC
Status: Offline
Posts: 4533
Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 04:32
Welcome, Jon! You may want to take a look at Frankman's BIF article.

Cheers... Brian
A7rIV; A7rII; A6500; A77; SEL2470Z; SEL90M28G; SEL100400GM; SELP1650; SAL70300G; CZ1680; LA-EA4
Back to Top
brettania View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Dyxum factotum

Joined: 17 July 2005
Country: New Zealand
Location: Auckland
Status: Offline
Posts: 20650
Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 04:55
Originally posted by rickztahone rickztahone wrote:

If we are talking high and low here then f/18 would be too LOW.


I am not sure if that is what is really what you mean -- AFAIK high aperture is f18-32, and low is f1.4-2.8.

Back to Top
rickztahone View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 June 2011
Country: United States
Location: Pacoima CA
Status: Offline
Posts: 4856
Post Options Post Options   Quote rickztahone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 05:32
Originally posted by brettania brettania wrote:

Originally posted by rickztahone rickztahone wrote:

If we are talking high and low here then f/18 would be too LOW.


I am not sure if that is what is really what you mean -- AFAIK high aperture is f18-32, and low is f1.4-2.8.



If you think of it in terms of SMALL apeture (stopped down) and LARGE apeture (wide open), wouldn't it correlate to small apeture being low, and a large apeture high?



Back to the drawing board as always...
a99+VG|a77+VG|a55|Nex6|HVL-56/58|minO|58 1.2|24|Tam|90|SAL||16-50|70-200|∑|50 1.4|∑| 24-70 2.8
[URL=http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickztahone/]Flickr
Back to Top
Atgard View Drop Down
Groupie
Groupie

Joined: 06 June 2013
Country: United States
Location: South Florida
Status: Offline
Posts: 90
Post Options Post Options   Quote Atgard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 June 2013 at 06:13
Yes, to be more precise, f/18 is probably too small of an aperture (too "high" of a number). As I said, f/8 to f/11 may yield better results.
Back to Top
Dyxum main page >  Forum Home > Dyxum Photographs > Dyxum Critics Corner Page  12>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.066 seconds.

Monitor calibration strip

Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer

In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania

Feel free to contact us if needed.