How do you focus on a small bird using auto-focus?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Man-wai Chang, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Seems that my digital camera couldn't do it...

    I could auto-focus on the stand on which the bird rested, but not the
    bird directly.... :)

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    Man-wai Chang, Feb 5, 2013
    #1
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  2. Man-wai Chang

    Joel Guest

    It sounds you are little too close or long zoom with slow lens (slow focus)
    + not steady hand?

    Also, are you talking about P&S or DSLR camera?

    I haven't done much long zoom photography in the past 6-7+ years to know
    if my old hands still be able to handle the distance or not. But before I
    had no problem with 700-800mm+ range without tripod.

    And if you are talking about P&S then you may need to do little research
    on the IS (Image Stabilization) lens (camera). I have a feeling that you
    are talking about P&S camera
     
    Joel, Feb 5, 2013
    #2
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  3. Man-wai Chang

    DanP Guest

    I remember you have a P&S camera, you have no control on where the focus will be with autofocus. The only thing you can do is close the aperture (higher f number, I believe 8 is the limit) so the depth of field is maximized.

    Or try manual focus.


    DanP
     
    DanP, Feb 5, 2013
    #3
  4. Man-wai Chang

    PeterN Guest

    Actually manual focus is not a bad idea. For many small birds I prefocus
    on a likely spot, and wait for the bird to come into focus. Takes a lot
    of patience and good luck.

    <https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghszozti76i3rii/woody woodpecker1.jpg>

    and my newest:

    <https://www.dropbox.com/s/ppf4z96xjy78a9i/wont work for Geico.jpg>
     
    PeterN, Feb 6, 2013
    #4
  5. Man-wai Chang

    PeterN Guest

    PeterN, Feb 6, 2013
    #5
  6. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    Note to Peter:
    While both of those shots are great captures, I have other issues with
    the quality.
    Given both cameras used, your D300 for the first and the D800 for the
    second, the images are ruined by the loss of detail in the plumage and
    the noise in both. Again I have a feeling that you are still locked
    into using high ISO settings and wide open when not prescribed or
    necessary.
    There might be other reasons for the noise, perhaps over sharpening in
    post, or JPEG compression.

    I just feel that when you need to capture detail you should make the
    appropriate preparation for the shot and not insist on high ISO and
    wide open fast lens because you have equipment capable of such.
    If that is the best your D800 can do, I am happy to stick to my D300S. ;-)

    Here is a D300S shot using my 70-300mm VR at ISO 400 @ f/6.3 1/1600;
    Compare that with yours and you tell me which of the three would better
    qualify in the PSA nature & wildlife category.
    < http://db.tt/yLvl3xvg >
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #6
  7. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    You need to provide more information on the camera you are using so
    that we can provide useful assistance.
    Knowing the type can help, P&S, Compact, 4/3, Super-Zoom, DSLR?
    Preferably make and model would be best.
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #7
  8. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    Just to help you here is a 100% crop of some of that detail, and a
    different shot of the same bird.
    BTW; it was a D300 being used not the D300S.
    < http://db.tt/ffkmYpIE >
    < http://db.tt/Fi4QMIVj >
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #8
  9. Canon Powershot SX30, maximum zoom (35x), auto-focus. I think it's a P&S
    camera.

    Sound like that I can't rely on auto-focus for taking long shot on a
    small rounded object like tiny birds...

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    Man-wai Chang, Feb 6, 2013
    #9
  10. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    It is quite a bit more than a P&S.
    You should be able to auto-focus quite reasonably with that camera.

    I took a look at the manual. Check pages 84 to 89:
    < http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/5/0300004195/01/PSSX30IS_CUG_EN.pdf >

    From what I can see, you need to read those pages carefully, and then
    practice and refine your technique. With a little care, time, and
    practice you should start to get those birds in focus.
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #10
  11. Man-wai Chang

    PeterN Guest

    Nice sharp image. Now downsize just to show the head, go at 72 ppi with
    a maximum size of 750 pixels and post a low res copy. Then we can
    compare. I am too lazy to look up the originals, but the above
    description applies.
    As for my over-sharpening, you may be right. I just got my 70-200 back
    from Nikon repair, because of focusing issues.
    All that aside, I have a personal prference for higher ISO, that is me.
    I prefer to get some usable image and let noise be a fact of life. Noise
    doesn't really bother me.
    That said, possibly I have a vision issue and am used to higly sharpened
    images, possibly some people simply don't like any noise. It may simply
    be a matter of taste. Anyway I have juse purchased some NIK software and
    will see how it works.
    As always, your comments, either way are appreciated.

    PeterN
     
    PeterN, Feb 6, 2013
    #11
  12. Man-wai Chang

    PeterN Guest

    No you really can't if the bird is moving. As I said earlier, try to
    prefocus. Birds are creatures of habit, and will often return to the
    same spot. (Especially if someone places some wild bird seed near that
    spot.)
     
    PeterN, Feb 6, 2013
    #12
  13. Man-wai Chang

    PeterN Guest


    See my prior comment. BTW I like the last shot best. Is that a cuckoo?
     
    PeterN, Feb 6, 2013
    #13
  14. I took a look at the manual. Check pages 84 to 89:
    It's the P Mode... Thanks.

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    Man-wai Chang, Feb 6, 2013
    #14
  15. No you really can't if the bird is moving. As I said earlier, try to


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    Man-wai Chang, Feb 6, 2013
    #15
  16. Thank you all for the replies!

    --
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    Man-wai Chang, Feb 6, 2013
    #16
  17. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    That is OK, but understand that refers to the "Exposure" metering mode
    not the AF mode.

    As I said you need to read the manual carefully, understand what you
    are reading. The apply what you have read.
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #17
  18. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    You do understand that the 72 ppi is irrelevant when it comes to screen
    display, but i will play along.
    Here is my image cropped for your comparison, and a side-by-side
    comparison of the three.
    < https://dl.dropbox.com/u/1295663/FileChute/DSC_3491A-750crop.jpg >
    There is no need to admit to character faults. ;-)
    ....and I certainly didn't present an original.
    Not really. When you make a claim as to the quality of a particular
    capture, and in this case you certainly made a claim which I believed
    you did not substantiate. Instead of presenting a quality image you
    presented two noisy, and in the case of the D800 image, an obviously
    OoF image. I would not consider either of your images worthy of
    selection for a PSA nature & wildlife category.
    Over-sharpening in post is not going to provide the detail needed, and
    in the case of both of your captures only introduces noise.
    If your focusing issues with your 70-200 were present when you made
    those captures, why bother using them to demonstrate what you believed
    to be well focused bird captures for the purposes of this discussion in
    this thread?
    Obviously. For me your high ISO and post over-sharpening has become
    your signature for me.
    Note: it is not appropriate for all circumstances, and is in fact for
    many situations, uncalled for.
    ....but it doesn't have to be, as you have equipment which is quite
    capable of producing finely detailed images. As I have said there is a
    time operator induced noise is contra-indicated.
    Obviously. However, unnecessarily introducing noise in a type of image
    (nature & wildlife) which is more documentary than artistic can be
    distracting to the viewer.
    ....but surely (and I am not calling you Shirley) over-sharpening to the
    point that sharpening is counter effective, producing an undeniably
    "unsharp" image is undesirable. (artistic expression aside.)
    There is a big difference between unnecessarily introduced noise,
    unavoidable noise because the the circumstances of the image capture
    required extreme exposure settings, and grain as found in fast B&W film.
    The NIK software is very useful, and I am sure you will find it so.
    However, it is not going to change your high ISO all the time, for
    every situation, shooting habit.
    Until you start exporting the other aspects of your cameras you are not
    going to realise the full potential of the NIK products.
    I am just here to serve & entertain.
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #18
  19. Man-wai Chang

    Savageduck Guest

    BTW: Your D300 woodpecker looks as if it contains plenty of detail and
    is in focus. It is the over-sharpening which muddies the captured
    detail. The ISO 800 setting should not introduce too much noise, if
    any. This is a shot where I would like to play with your NEF to see
    just what the difference would be using my work flow as opposed to
    yours.
     
    Savageduck, Feb 6, 2013
    #19
  20. Man-wai Chang

    peter.new Guest

    Here's a version I ran through NIK Dfine2.

    I deleted the other.
    Thanks, I will look for the original
     
    peter.new, Feb 6, 2013
    #20
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