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Thread: Custom setting for bird/wildlife photography Canon 7D

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    Member hee's Avatar
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    Custom setting for bird/wildlife photography Canon 7D

    I'm wanting to set my first custom setting and make it suitable for bird/wildlife photography in good light. I found an article on AP somewhere (haven't been able to find it since) which I think recommended going with ISO 400 and setting aperture at one or two stops back from maximum setting to get "the lens sweet spot". With this advice in mind I did a backyard test on a sunny day with ISO 400, aperture priority with aperture set at 6.3 (only realised later that 6.3 is in fact the maximum aperture at 500mm for this lens) and lens at 500mm focal length. I have to admit to shooting through a UV filter (Sigma) just because having it on makes me feel that my expensive lens glass has some protection over it (yes I have read the post from the NO UV FILter side). Below is the result
    I used a monopod and shutter speed came in at 1/800. Any tips from the experts out here? Would coming back a stop on the aperture be a good idea?

    Question 2 relates to a general setting for action photography in good light at longer focal lengths. Do I need a seperate custom setting (say shuter priority) or will the bird one do the trick? A couple of days later I tried the same settings while watching the 18 footers on a cloudy day. This picture is at about 300mm focal length (still ISO 400, aperture 6.3) and shutter speed came in at 1/2500. Hand held with OS on 2


    At the risk of displaying m ignorance ....
    The shutter speed seems good for the action shot but why was the shutter so much faster than the magpie picture when this was a cloudy day?
    Why was the bird picture only 2.4MB as compared to 3.4MB for the sailing one?

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    no pic displayed sorry - red X

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    there is no 'one size fits all' approach. It can vary not only between shoots but between times on the same shoot. As the light changes (sunny to overcast) or from dawn to sunrise to full sun in the sky, you will need to accommodate that. Remember what you are capturing with photos is light. You will need to learn (and you will learn as you practice) that you have a constantly changing environment around you and as such you will have to constantly change camera settings. So I would start by getting back to basics and understanding how to get a good exposure under a range of conditions, this base knowledge will serve you well for a huge range of photographic opportunities.

    re aperture, you need to use what is appropriate for what you want to achieve, and in some cases what the lens will let you or the light at the time dictates. As you found 6.3 was the largest you have available to you with your sigma at the zoom length you had. So you have to work with that. However, in general, most lenses are not their sharpest at the maximum or minimum apertures, most are sharpest between about f8 and f14. So again it is a fluid moving target as to what settings you can/want/need to use. There is no ISO 400, F8, Shutter speed 1.250th that will be right. There is only a huge range of variables that come into play and only getting a good understanding of how your camera works, how the settings interact with each other, and actual experience will help you with that.

    re filesizes, they change depending on the content of the photo. A photo with a lot of black/white/ any single colour does not take up as much data as a photo with a heap of different colour and shades/brightnesses. This affects the final filesize.

    PS, get rid of the UV filter, you are doing your photography an injustice by using it!
    Last edited by ricktas; 28-02-2013 at 6:11am.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    I mostly use Manual mode, especially for birds-in-flight (BIF). My Custom setting for BIF are as follows:

    • Shutter speed: 1/1600 sec
    • Film speed: ISO 400
    • Aperture: F5.6 (this is wide open in my case with the 400mm F5.6)
    • Centre point Auto Focus
    • AI Servo Mode (continuous auto-focusing).
    • 3 frames per second


    This is for a mid-toned bird against blue skies between 10:00am and 3:00pm in the summer months. If the tones of the bird are more predominantly black or white I will adjust accordingly, as well as for early morning and late afternoon as the light is then weaker.

    In my experience auto exposure has not produced consistently acceptable results vis-à-vis:
    • Black coloured bird against bright blue skies.
    • White bird against cloudy skies.
    • White or black toned birds flying from bright skies background to dark tree background...etc.


    Cheers

    Dennis

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    Ausphotography Regular agb's Avatar
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    You might be interested to read this article.
    http://www.deepgreenphotography.com/...-new-canon-7d/
    The age of entitlement isn't over, it's just over there where you can't get to it.
    When several possibilities exist, the simplest solution is the best.
    "There are no rules" Bruce Barnbaum, The art of Photography
    Graham


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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hee View Post
    Why was the bird picture only 2.4MB as compared to 3.4MB for the sailing one?
    Start using Raw to get large file sizes to do processing with!
    Though it's been a long time since I read it, this may be useful .... http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...Hints-and-Tips
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
    60D, Canon 28-105, Sigma 150-600S, Sigma 120-400, a speedlite, a tripod, a monopod, a remote release and a padded bag to carry things in.

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