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Case Study: Frankman on birding

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    Posted: 24 November 2010 at 08:23

Brian - I wish I had an opportunity to try out the A55 AF speed. From all reports, it's better than the A700. Nevertheless, I've found the A700 OK for 95% of situations. Once you're aware of the limitations of your gear you can find ways of improving your hit rate through technique and lots of practice.

Once you've had your A55 for a while, it would be interesting to get a detailed report from you. I'm sure others would be interested too.

Cheers, Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Quote chito beach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 November 2010 at 16:12
Frank great write up thanks for sharing with us.

I use the same process as you when shooting the A100. Center weighted or spot focus and AF-C for lens I use either the Tokina 80-400mm or the Sigma 50-500mm.

I have just recently purchased the A55 and from reports you can not track fast moving birds in the EVF. Well that's not true it is different but it is doable and the AF system in the A55 is much faster and accurate.

I have only had the chance to try it several times due to weather in the Pacific Northwest, but did not have any issues.

Maybe start up a BIF training thread and give pointer to those of us less experienced?

Thanks again for your work here!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2010 at 11:06
Thanks Jan

I'll update this article when I have a bit more time. The best advice I can give in brief is "the more I practice the luckier I get".

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Janneman1967 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 June 2010 at 09:26
Thank you very much Frankman. Very usefull tips for BIF and i'm going to practice right away.

Do you have any new tips since the last post?

Jan
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hans Toom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 December 2008 at 17:52
Hi Rich again,

WOW!! Stunning photographs. I will get into detail on this later. Thanks.

Hans


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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2008 at 16:06
Frank, I'm using a Sony 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 (SAL75300). I'll have to try the focus limiter idea. Thanks... Brian
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2008 at 15:05
Hi Brian. I'm glad you found the article useful. You mentioned that you use an A100, but didn't mention which lens you use. I find that the lens is just as important. There are 2 BIG factors in getting good focus on BIF. The first is the focus limiter on the lens - set it to 5-10 metres so that if you miss the focus, the lens doesn't have so far to travel when it searches. The second factor is finding a nice open area, and locking focus when the bird is at a distance, and just track it until it's close enough to shoot. I still have lots of misses when I catch a nearby bird out of the corner of my eye and quickly try to lock on. Stay alert and keep scanning the distance for birds.

Most of the photos at the beginning of this article were taken with the KM 5D, which from all accounts is slower to focus than the A100 (which I've never used). Yes, the A700 is faster to focus than the 5D, but the 5D was good enough for me. Lots of practice helps.

I also get "that" look from my wife. I just tell her that if I wasn't chasing the feathered birds, I'd be chasing the non-feathered variety .

Cheers, Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bms44974 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2008 at 14:40
Frank,

I just found the Dyxum web site two days ago (joined immediately!) and was instantly drawn to your BIF article. Birds have been my favorite subjects for many years, so much so that my wife groans a little every time I point my lense in that direction. As the AF on my A100 is rather slow, most of my best shots of birds are stationary, but I do get lucky once in a while with a BIF. Do you have any advise for those of us with cameras that are not so quick to lock on with AF?

Thanks... Brian

P.S. I too use AF-C. Most often the opportunity for a good shot is gone in a moment and, with AF-C, I just have to center the bird in the frame and don't have to worry about accidently focusing on some nearby foliage.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2008 at 00:31
Jim - I use auto WB settings with RAW. When I open the image, I do warm up the colour temperature a tiny bit until it "looks right" on my monitor. Since writing the article, I've only been using CS3 for raw processing.

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Quote revdocjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2008 at 17:58
Thanks for the helpful and well written info, Frank. I may have missed it but I don't recall any mention of WB settings. Do you just go with Auto or do you make in camera adjustments depending on the lighting?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2008 at 13:07
I PM'd Dynax - he's in Melbourne, I'm in Perth, 4000km away. The tyrany of distance. Perth's not a great place for meet-ups .

Frank
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dynax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2008 at 06:07
Frankman,

Thank you for your experience write-up about shooting BIF with an A700. I still use my good old 7D, but am thinking of upgrading to the A700 for BIF photography. Or maybe the A700 replacement if news reaches me in time, but i think that with firmware V4, the A700 is a very good camera.
It seems there are a few APO 300/f4 G + 1.4x converter users around in Oz, maybe we need to get together for a shoot?.

Regards,

Rob

Edited by Dynax - 15 October 2008 at 06:09
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dutboom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 July 2008 at 23:42
Thanks, Frank.

I will try. Hope to put more birds here soon
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Frankman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 July 2008 at 18:13
Dutboom

Thanks for the nice feedback - glad it was of help.

No such thing as a silly question! I have them all the time .

Yes, I lock on the bird with a half-press when it's far away. Just keep tracking it as it's getting closer. Actually, I've found with eyestart, you don't even need a half pres. Just keep your eye to the viewfinder and tracking continues. This allows you to chance settings on the cam with your right hand (if necessary) - e.g. if the bird is very dark, use positive aperture compensation. That's why I like eyestart.

The centre focus point is actually quite bit. The only time I have a problem is if the bird is flying towards me fast. I'm experimenting with multifocal points, but haven't made a strong conclusion yet. I'll keep experimenting.

Your situation sounds like there's lots of independent objects moving. The camera doesn't know which one you are focussing on - remember that the centre spot focus are is still quite large from what I have heard from others.

I don't have any experience with the A300. I think that it has less focus points than the A700, but the lens drive motor is similar. Others may be able to help.

I suggest that you start with simple subjects against a stationary background. Seagulls gliding in the wind ar good, easy to find subjects UNLESS they are moving fast towards you. I struggle with those too. If you can find Pelicans, they are great subjects. Big, slow moving and photogenic (IMO).

It's all practice. I must admit that I started off with the 5D and was getting decent shots after only a few attempts. You just need to get "in the zone".

Keep at it, and just make small adjustment to settings and technique. What works for me may not necessarily be the best. I'm still learning too. Can't wait for spring when there are more birds about!

Cheers, Frank
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