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Thread: Sharp birding photos?

  1. #1

    Default Sharp birding photos?

    hey guys.. Was just wondering, what contributes to a sharp photo, may it be of birds, landscape or anything. Is a sharp photo just due to good focusing, or are there other factors involved? I can't seem to get very sharp photos when i went birding yesterday.. :/
    Canon EOS 500D | 18-55mm IS | 100-300mm f5.6 | Benro m-058 + KB-0 | Phottix BP-450D | Nissin Di866

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    If you mean by sharp. do you mean like this?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    yeah.. those sort lor..
    Canon EOS 500D | 18-55mm IS | 100-300mm f5.6 | Benro m-058 + KB-0 | Phottix BP-450D | Nissin Di866

  4. #4
    Senior Member GENO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfcry91 View Post
    hey guys.. Was just wondering, what contributes to a sharp photo, may it be of birds, landscape or anything. Is a sharp photo just due to good focusing, or are there other factors involved? I can't seem to get very sharp photos when i went birding yesterday.. :/
    if u mean those wild ones flying around, u need a higher shutter speed plus good glass to make it happen...if its just for fun, try bird park they are slow and not scare of humans.
    Take both its legs down first, then cuts its tail, next is shoot between its eyes:devil:

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    i was using a canon 400mm f5.6 lens.. when i went into 100% view, it wasnt tat sharp..
    Canon EOS 500D | 18-55mm IS | 100-300mm f5.6 | Benro m-058 + KB-0 | Phottix BP-450D | Nissin Di866

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Increase in camera sharpening, stop down from F5.6 to F7.1.
    Check if your lens have front/back focus issue. Try to use centre cross AF if possible. Make sure your sutterspeed is 1/600 or faster, if there is IS, on IS.
    My settings for that shot:
    Colour, sharpness, skin tone etc: OFF
    ISO: 80
    SS: 1/200
    F-stop: F3.5
    Focal Length: 650mm equiv with IS

    Another picture:

    My birds gallery is here if you are interested:
    http://www.printingsoon.com/index.ph.../14-birds.html
    Last edited by soons; 10th January 2010 at 10:50 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    for really uber bird shots expensive glass does makes a lot of difference..digital sharpening in-cam or in-post can help but nothing beats extracting sharpness on-scene.
    D3|Tokina 28-70 f2.6-2.8|Samyang 14mm f2.8|K-7|Tamron17-50 f2.8|manfrotto190XproB
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Sadly, this is one area of photography where the price of the glass makes the difference. Then again, I've seen brilliant results from commercial zooms as well (harder, not impossible)

    You may want to try asking in the Wildlife sections. The gurus there take really nice and sharp bird photos

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfcry91 View Post
    i was using a canon 400mm f5.6 lens.. when i went into 100% view, it wasnt tat sharp..
    That L lens is one of the sharpest lens in Canon's arsenal Due to f5.6, it is useful in good light condition though.
    It could be due to your handling and lighting condition. best is to post the pic for analysis.
    Last edited by JW73; 11th January 2010 at 10:59 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    A noob here too ...a stable tripod , wired remote and lot of practise do give you good result ,...but at the end of the day it is patience ...birding a not a easy genre of photogrpghy ...go world of nature section lot of expert there to guide you

  11. #11

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by soons View Post
    Increase in camera sharpening, stop down from F5.6 to F7.1.
    Check if your lens have front/back focus issue. Try to use centre cross AF if possible. Make sure your sutterspeed is 1/600 or faster, if there is IS, on IS.
    My settings for that shot:
    Colour, sharpness, skin tone etc: OFF
    ISO: 80
    SS: 1/200
    F-stop: F3.5
    Focal Length: 650mm equiv with IS

    Another picture:

    My birds gallery is here if you are interested:
    http://www.printingsoon.com/index.ph.../14-birds.html

    I was using f13 lehh.. i'll post my photos soon for 'analysis'..
    Canon EOS 500D | 18-55mm IS | 100-300mm f5.6 | Benro m-058 + KB-0 | Phottix BP-450D | Nissin Di866

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Just share some tips to aid your bird photos being sharper (note I said "aid" - its not 100% that it magically works - you just need to stick to it and keep on PRACTICING).

    1) Use a good tripod & ballhead

    2) Employ good long lens techniques

    3) Ensure that you have a fast enough shutter speed (recommend at least 1/500 for statics and 1/800 to 1/1000 for action and birds in flight - BIF)

    4) Make sure your plane of focus is around or on the bird's eyes

    5) Stop down to 2/3 or 1 stop down from max aperture if the light permits

    6) Shoot RAW, to extract max quality from your pictures

    7) Avoid heavy cropping (to me anything smaller than 50% of the original image is no go unless you have 15 MP or higher to begin with)

    8) Employ smart sharpening in your pictures....give it another round of USM once its resized to final size

    9) PRACTICE PRACTICE and MORE PRACTICE!

    10) If all else fails - buy a longer, faster prime lens... = $$$$$

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Here's one of my photos:





    Settings:
    Shutter speed: 1/400
    Aperture: f8
    ISO: 400
    Canon EOS 500D | 18-55mm IS | 100-300mm f5.6 | Benro m-058 + KB-0 | Phottix BP-450D | Nissin Di866

  14. #14
    Senior Member knpan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Long lens technique.
    The elements that adds together for a sharp picture :
    Shutter Speed,
    No shake when going slow shutter speed. ( Use mirror up ), i normally use that when shuter goes around 1/20 or slower.
    Stable tripod.
    Stable head.
    No Wind.
    Self TImer. Try not to touch tripod at least 2 -5 secs before fire. For me i know my limits i set to 2secs self timer is enough.
    Always focus on head. means the Dof at that certian distance, and fire. If it moves before fire, refocus again to get the head in the DOF zone.
    Aperture does not really apply if the lens is sharp, can even shoot wide open, techniques correct can be sharp.

    Not necessary need the huge lenses for sharp pictures, the sigma 150 500, tamron 200 500 are very sharp. I used to use the 150 500, and was able to shoot wide open, it was a good copy.
    Last edited by knpan; 12th January 2010 at 11:49 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Canon 400mm f5.6L is one of the sharpest lens in its category. You got to know how to handle it well. A few factors I could think of that affects the sharpness of bird photos.

    1. The subject (bird) moves --- you have no other option but to increase shutter speed.
    2. You moves. (hand shake) -- Use a stable tripod, MLU or increase shutter speed.
    3. Your AF alignment.---- if all things fail, use manual focus.
    4. Flare and glare -- Use lens hood, know the direction of the light source etc
    5. Lighting -- As in your example, your subject is places against strong backlight. Try to shoot with light source behind you. choose an angle where the BG is not so bright.


    I only manage to dig out this shot of mine with the 400mm shot handheld at 1/40s, ISO800 wide open at f5.6. Not the best I have from this lens but usuable in nailing this rare Blue ear kingfisher 2 years ago when I'm out without my birding gears. Its already 100% cropped.





    And heres a link to a post my son shoot with 40D + 400mm when he was 8 yrs old.

    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=404249
    Last edited by DeSwitch; 13th January 2010 at 01:43 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfcry91 View Post
    Here's one of my photos:





    Settings:
    Shutter speed: 1/400
    Aperture: f8
    ISO: 400
    If your focus is on the background leaves, yes they are not sharp ! If it's the bird, then only a 100% crop can tell if it's sharp. Look alright to me.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garion View Post
    10) If all else fails - buy a longer, faster prime lens... = $$$$$
    Yes sure. And get one with IS or VR too.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfcry91 View Post
    Here's one of my photos:





    Settings:
    Shutter speed: 1/400
    Aperture: f8
    ISO: 400
    I believe is your lightings and exposure control that is not really correct.... as what deswitch has mentioned on point 5. keep practising.....

  19. #19

    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reno View Post
    I believe is your lightings and exposure control that is not really correct.... as what deswitch has mentioned on point 5. keep practising.....
    in what way(s) is my lighting and exposure control not quite correct? please enlighten.. thanks.. (:
    Canon EOS 500D | 18-55mm IS | 100-300mm f5.6 | Benro m-058 + KB-0 | Phottix BP-450D | Nissin Di866

  20. #20
    Senior Member knpan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sharp birding photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfcry91 View Post
    in what way(s) is my lighting and exposure control not quite correct? please enlighten.. thanks.. (:
    your pic is approximate about 1 stop dark or more. Use higer ISO, if dont want noise, then lower shutter speed, or open the aperture to bigger hole, that will have shake, so use tripod, and MLU, remove distractions like the twigs etc.

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