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What settings/technique do you use for wildlife photography?

photography settings Nikon

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#41 Peter Connan

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:06 AM

Good point @Geoff. It definately does, as the example I posted above has gone from 400kb to 100kb...


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#42 douglaswise

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 10:12 AM

Thanks, everybody.  My lens is designated VR.  The new bino technology sounds good - I don't get much benefit from conventional binos because I can't keep them still enough.  The focus-destroying effects of atmospheric haze are clearly much more significant than I had previously thought - I thought it was only a concern for for those attempting to take professional-quality photos.  I accept all that is said about RAW vs JPEG.  However, it may be too late for an old dog to learn new tricks, particularly one with so few computer skills. Typically, I put a selection of my pix in a  personal photobook as an aide memoire of my trip and a similar semi-post processed version on the computer.  Ex camera originals are deleted on returning home.  I also delete as I go while in the field because I only use one memory card/camera.  @:Tdgraves - I obviously agree about cropping.  However, with my limited focal length, it is seldom possible to get shots of small birds without.  Thus, as a box ticker rather than an artistic photographer, I'm somewhat irked that I feel compelled to include my rubbish picture of the white-fronted grebe in the photobook because it's the best of a bad bunch. I note that we are probably near neighbours in the UK.  If you feel that it might be worthwhile to meet, my number is in the Cambridge book - I live in Shingay cum Wendy.


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#43 Dave Williams

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 12:02 PM

Thanks, everybody.  My lens is designated VR.  The new bino technology sounds good - I don't get much benefit from conventional binos because I can't keep them still enough.  The focus-destroying effects of atmospheric haze are clearly much more significant than I had previously thought - I thought it was only a concern for for those attempting to take professional-quality photos.  I accept all that is said about RAW vs JPEG.  However, it may be too late for an old dog to learn new tricks, particularly one with so few computer skills. Typically, I put a selection of my pix in a  personal photobook as an aide memoire of my trip and a similar semi-post processed version on the computer.  Ex camera originals are deleted on returning home.  I also delete as I go while in the field because I only use one memory card/camera.  @:Tdgraves - I obviously agree about cropping.  However, with my limited focal length, it is seldom possible to get shots of small birds without.  Thus, as a box ticker rather than an artistic photographer, I'm somewhat irked that I feel compelled to include my rubbish picture of the white-fronted grebe in the photobook because it's the best of a bad bunch. I note that we are probably near neighbours in the UK.  If you feel that it might be worthwhile to meet, my number is in the Cambridge book - I live in Shingay cum Wendy.

 

There goes my theory about VR being the missing ingredient. That's a shame it would have been good to solve the problem.

Incidentally this old dog is prepared to learn new tricks but I hear what you are saying. Depends how much you want to. I still haven't mastered the washing machine, far too complicated so I have to leave it to my lovely wife.


Edited by Dave Williams, 04 January 2017 - 12:03 PM.

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#44 Tdgraves

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 01:08 PM


Incidentally this old dog is prepared to learn new tricks but I hear what you are saying. Depends how much you want to. I still haven't mastered the washing machine, far too complicated so I have to leave it to my lovely wife.

@Dave Williams that doesn't sound like the ability to learn, but the will to want to.... ;)

Edited by Tdgraves, 04 January 2017 - 01:09 PM.

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#45 xelas

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:42 PM

Related to images being downsized, yes, any image that is larger then 1000 pix and uploaded to Safaritalk is both downsized and compressed. Yet the impact on IQ is much less evident than expected.

The final IQ is a combination of so many factors; some can be solved and others not. Just keep taking photos and enjoy, and learn during the process.

#46 Dave Williams

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:54 PM

Incidentally this old dog is prepared to learn new tricks but I hear what you are saying. Depends how much you want to. I still haven't mastered the washing machine, far too complicated so I have to leave it to my lovely wife.

@Dave Williams that doesn't sound like the ability to learn, but the will to want to.... ;)

 

Irony,irony.....I haven't managed doing that either.   :rolleyes:


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#47 Dave Williams

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:04 AM

@douglaswise  Another improbable solution to your out of focus images couldn't be the simple need to clean the contacts on your lens and body could it?   Give them a good rub with a clean cloth and see if it makes a difference or try another lens and see what happens.



#48 douglaswise

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 12:42 PM

@Dave Williams:

 

I'm very interested that you should make the above comment.  In a past photography forum here, I complained that my red single point focus point didn't always come up on the viewfinder and that, in order to get it to appear, I would have to switch the camera off and on again.  @xelas suggested that this could be due poor contact points between the lens and the camera body  and that I should give them a good rub.  I did this and it appeared to have helped.  However, it never occurred to me that dirty contacts might cause blurring in long focal length shots, but not in short ones.  I will, however, rub the contacts again before using the camera.

 

You very kindly said in my Falklands trip report that most of my photos were OK and went on to ask which camera took which photos.  At the risk of being a bore, I'll assume that you really wanted an answer and, if you can tell me what's happening with the Panasonic DMC-FZ200, I'd dearly like to know.

 

I took most of the photos with the Nikon D3200 and 70-300 lens, but found that most taken at long focal lengths were blurry.  Below, I list some examples of photos taken with the Panasonic and shown in the TR in post 26.  (some of which were cropped).  I also show the properties of each as indicated by the Picasa programme used to edit the original JPEG images from the camera.  Note that I was not conscious of ever having moved the mode dial off "intelligent auto" (though I've got big, clumsy hands so it's remotely possible that I did so unconsciously!).  The focal lengths given are in 35mm equivalents, but I'm puzzled to get some up to a max of 686 when this camera shouldn't get me above 600 (25FL and 24x zoom):

 

Elephant seals

 

Photo 1.  3263 x 2672 pixels. FL 214 mm. 1/2000 sec. F4.5. ISO 400. Exp.mode Aperture priority.

Photo 2.  4000 x 3000 pixels. FL 592 mm. 1/200 sec.   F8.0. ISO 200. Exp.mode Aperture priority

Photo 3   4000 x 2672 pixels. FL 456 mm. 1/640 sec.   F4.0  ISO 160. Exp.mode Programme

Photo 4   3727 x 2672 pixels. FL 686 mm. 1/500 sec.   F4.0. ISO 100. Exp.mode Programme

Photo 5   4000 x 2672 pixels. FL 86 mm.   1/250 sec.   F4.0. ISO 100. Exp.mode Landscape

Photo 6   4000 x 2672 pixels. FL 686mm.  1/1000 sec. F4.0. ISO 100. Exp.mode Landscape  

 

The Panasonic also took the rock cormorant pix plus the meadowlark, tussacbird, adult Cobb's wren and the adult heron among others in earlier posts of the TR

 

121-P1090685.JPG

123-P1090785.JPG

124-P1090834.JPG  

125-P1090875.JPG

127-P1090928.JPG

129-P1090922.JPG

 

 


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#49 Dave Williams

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:27 PM

@douglaswise I beg to differ, I didn't say the majority of your photo's were OK, I said they were excellent which indeed they are.

 

I am no expert on camera gear particularly bridge cameras so I can't answer your question. The only observation i can comment on is that for the first two shots that were in Aperture Priority you should have chosen f8 for the first for greater depth of field and f4 for the second one where you didn't need DOF but a higher shutter speed to avoid the motion blur.


Edited by Dave Williams, 10 January 2017 - 02:28 PM.


#50 amybatt

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:19 PM

@douglaswise I'm just following along on the thread generally and I have to say those shots are pushing me to go look at your TR from the Falklands.  I generally don't read non-Africa regional trip reports for fear it will only make my bucket list longer, but your photos have swayed me.  I'm impressed!



#51 douglaswise

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 04:04 PM

@amybatt:  Thank you.

 

@Dave Williams:  I entirely agree that a higher F number would have improved the first and a lower number the second photo.  However, I was unaware, as mentioned previously, that the camera was operating in this mode.  Perhaps I moved the mode dial from "iA" to Aperture priority by mistake (they're next to each other, but I most certainly didn't deliberately rotate the wheel to go between F4.5 and F8.0.  I supposed that it was all down to the magic of "iA".  Furthermore, I most certainly couldn't have got into landscape mode by accident as it would have demanded too much clumsiness even for me (I would have needed to go to SCN on the mode dial and then to have made  further adjustment to select landscape from a list of possible choices.



#52 Peter Connan

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:36 PM

@douglaswise, in all the EXIF data you have posted, I have not once seen "Auto" mode, despite you saying that you use that most of the time.

 

I believe some/most cameras' auto modes work by choosing between other modes, and the mode may be reported as such in the EXIF data. It would be interesting to know if "Auto" is reported in any of your photos?

 

In other words, if the camera is on Auto, it may be that it is evaluating the scene and deciding that it wants to use Aperture Priority or Programme or whatever (although I would not have expected it to report "Landscape" mode, as that is not one of the major modes.

 

It also seems strange that "Landscape" mode would select the fastest possible aperture, as I would assume a landscape  mode to do exactly the opposite and tend toward small apertures?

 

Furthermore, I would suggest that, if all the above photos (as it seems to me you are saying) are indeed taken at relatively long or maximum focal lengths, then the cause of un-sharp photos with your nikon (at half the effective focal length and similar shutter speeds) may not be your shaky hands.

 

But this is just my two cent's worth.


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#53 douglaswise

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:14 PM

@Peter Connan,

 

No, I have not ever seen "Auto" in the EXIF data for this camera.  I assume, as you do, that the auto mode is actually deciding which other mode to use.  As to landscape, perhaps the camera decides that I'm attempting to photograph relatively distant objects and that, in consequence, DOF will be OK even at large apertures?

 

I am a bit puzzled as to the shaky hand issue, particularly as I rarely if ever shoot long focal length pictures with the Nikon at less than 1/1000 sec.  Perhaps, my single focal point wobbles off target at the critical moment?  If so, would AFA be better than AFC?  You may suggest giong back to back button focusing and thus using focus lock.



#54 xelas

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 11:33 PM

@douglaswise

After reading and looking again at your photos both here and on Falkland trip report, and based on my own experiences with similar camera and same lens, I think that the main culprit of bad photos is cropping.

The hobby lenses are just not good enough to resolve enough detailes at long range, and when the subject is already far away, and thus small on the original photo, at any serious cropping the image just fell apart.

I have had taken so many of those photos. When close enough to fill up the frame, results were good, sometimes even excellent. But as soon the subject was small, and I have to crop to 50% or more, there were no more details, bird was looking smudged. I also blamed myself and my handholding technique. But the mistery was solved when I bought the second hand AF-S 300f/4. Suddenly there were fine details even at heavy cropping. I suggest you to hire that lens, or the new version, or even better the 200-500 zoom. Plus another D3200 body. Just for one weekend. Go out and take same photos, once with one camera once with second one. Put both on P mode, don't worry about, camera will know what to do. Take shots at closer range, and then those further away. Back home compare results, specially results when subject is far away and heavy cropping was needed.

I know every step is important: the focus acquisition, the shutter speed, the f-stop, and each adds its little something to final result. Yet now I am more than assured your main problem lies with using the wrong lens at wrong settings at wrong distances. That 70-300 lens is good one but quality control is only half as rigorouse as for pro lenses, and it has to be used with discretion. Never fully extended to 300mm, never at max aperture (best is stopped down to f/8), never at subjects that are too far away.

I have no comments on your bridge camera as I have never used them.

Please do the test mentioned above, even if you do not attend to buy new gear. At least you will pinpoint the source of your unsatisfaction.

Edited by xelas, 10 January 2017 - 11:36 PM.

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#55 Peter Connan

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 02:42 PM

@douglaswise, personally I don't like AF-A. Back-button focussing does help here, but I think @xelas is right.

 

Unfortunatley there really are reasons some lenses are more expensive than others, but there are now some pretty good reasonable-cost options, and the lenses he mentions are probably the best of them. 


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#56 xelas

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:50 PM

AF-C + back button is the way to go for wildlife photography, without a hint of a doubt. Whenever the camera offers such option, either by direct button or by reprogramming the AF-L one.

#57 Dave Williams

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:06 PM

I'd like to know what the advantage of back button is.



#58 douglaswise

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:42 AM

I'd like to repeat my thanks.  Reluctantly, I am beginning to believe that @xelas and @Peter Connan are correct in suggesting that I won't get good results at long focal lengths, particularly if cropping, with my existing lens.  However, it is said that a good workman doesn't blame his tools, but I suppose @xelas is actually saying that the tool is OK and that I am trying to push it beyond its design capability.  I was lucky in the Falklands to find the wildlife so confiding that maximum focal lengths were rarely required.  However, on the occasions when they were, it would seem that the cheap bridge camera outperformed the mid-priced DSLR, both in terms of IQ and magnification.  Do I need to get better images when I'm only going to put the great majority into photobooks, printed at no more the 7 x 5?  I'm reluctant, at my age, to spend more on photographic equipment, particularly when the lenses suggested are going to be much bulkier and heavier.  Notwithstanding, you have made me so intellectually curious that I'll not only do the trial suggested by @Peter Connan with the existing lens, but will seriously consider @xelas' lens comparison test as well. 

 

@Dave Williams asks what the advantage of the back button is.  I, too, would like to know.  As I understand it, if I focus with my thumb on the back button and then remove it, the focus will stay locked on the initial target.  If I leave my thumb on said button, the focus will continue to track the target even if it moves.  From my perspective, my focus point can easily wobble off target, but, if I remove my thumb at a moment when I'm on target, it will lock and, hopefully, I'll be able to take a sharp photo even though the focal point may no longer be on target when I fully depress the front button.  This theory will only work if my target is stationary.  Is my understanding correct? 


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#59 Dave Williams

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 09:53 AM

The camera will continue to track the subject only if you are using more than one focus point and for the majority of the time I only use one to more accurately focus on what I want not what the camera might think I want. For example a big bird in flight I want the head and body not the nearest wing tip.

 

Using back button you still have to take your finger off to re-focus from what I have found which means it's no different to the front shutter button. I would love to know why it's the preferred option of so many. There has to be a good reason otherwise the back button wouldn't be there!

When I have used back button I haven't isolated the front button to just taking shots, does that make a difference to performance?

 

My biggest problem is that I still haven't figured out how to return the focus point to the centre of my shot when using all the focus points (which I rarely do) , the camera simply picks up where it thinks you want to focus.

 

@ douglaswise As for the 70-300 lens, a friend has just recently returned from The Gambia  and he has a great portfolio taken with a D5200 which you can see here

https://www.flickr.c...th/30691062244/

 

Maybe over ambitious crops are indeed the main culprit to your shots ? I think I mentioned in an earlier post if you look at the pictures posted you can see parts that look sharper and they are not the parts that you probably wanted to be, the less you crop the less evident they will be and the more in focus everything will appear.



#60 xelas

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:03 PM

http://www.google.co...5lLAC2uuXZAcmew

An excellent videosession about AF-On and back-button focusing by Steve Perry on YouTube.





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