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Author Topic: 5D3 focus for birds in flight  (Read 4558 times)

jthomson

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5D3 focus for birds in flight
« on: October 26, 2012, 12:20:49 PM »
I expect that using single point expansion is the the way to go  but what AF Case is best for birds in flight ?
And are there any adjustments to the default case setinngs that help?
 

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5D3 focus for birds in flight
« on: October 26, 2012, 12:20:49 PM »

GuyF

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 02:58:13 PM »
That's a good question - last week I tried some birds in flight (not really my main interest but thought I'd try something slightly different) and was using the 5D3 with 300mm f2.8 IS and Kenko DG 300 1.4x TC, 9-point expansion, silent shutter continuous drive and AF tracking mode 5. I didn't take too many shots but didn't get any keepers. I put this down to:

1. Need more practice - I normally do portraits/city/landscape type stuff so flying things are harder for me.
2. Using the 1.4x TC maybe slows the communication to the lens meaning it isn't responding quickly enough using AF mode 5. I used the same body/lens/TC at an airshow and AF mode 2 after reading about airshow photography on another site. Whilst I did get some very good shots, overall I wasn't impressed by that tracking mode for aircraft (prop and jet).
3. Uh....something less obvious.  ???

Hopefully our friends on this site will share their wisdom soon!

keithfullermusic

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 04:36:04 PM »
this depends:

if there is a busy background i usually use zone or center expansion, but typically zone.

if i am shooting birds with the sky as the background i just use straight out full auto focus.  this works flawlessly in those cases because the only thing for the camera to focus on is the bird.
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keithfullermusic

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 04:37:24 PM »
That's a good question - last week I tried some birds in flight (not really my main interest but thought I'd try something slightly different) and was using the 5D3 with 300mm f2.8 IS and Kenko DG 300 1.4x TC, 9-point expansion, silent shutter continuous drive and AF tracking mode 5. I didn't take too many shots but didn't get any keepers. I put this down to:

1. Need more practice - I normally do portraits/city/landscape type stuff so flying things are harder for me.
2. Using the 1.4x TC maybe slows the communication to the lens meaning it isn't responding quickly enough using AF mode 5. I used the same body/lens/TC at an airshow and AF mode 2 after reading about airshow photography on another site. Whilst I did get some very good shots, overall I wasn't impressed by that tracking mode for aircraft (prop and jet).
3. Uh....something less obvious.  ???

Hopefully our friends on this site will share their wisdom soon!

i would not use silent mode for this.  it just slows down the shot.  i only use silent when i'm close to animals or at a quiet event.
5Diii - 50D - 100mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.2 vii - 50mm f/1.4, 20mm f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8 vii - 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, 430 EX II, YN560, YN568, Bowen's 500R's
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GuyF

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 06:15:52 AM »
Good point Keith. I did consider "full machine gun" mode but didn't want to spook the birds with the noise. I also covered the big white with the cut-off sleeve of an old sweatshirt to give me full "stealth capabilities"  ;). I've mentioned before on this site that without the lens covered, people flock to you asking questions but with it covered, it's like you don't exist!

neuroanatomist

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 06:51:29 AM »
Agree on the single point with expansion for birds against a background, full auto does work with blue sky behind.  I find that Case 1 works ok, but I prefer Case 4 with Tracking Sensitivity set to Locked On.
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Kernuak

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 07:34:42 AM »
It's something I still need to play around with some more, but choosing the right case scenario does make a significant difference. The problem is, the best scenario will depend on the species and what the bird is actually doing to some degree. As Neuro said, Case 4 seems to work well for some birds, but others may work better with other cases (I think it was Case 2 that I found useful for straightforward flying birds, but I don't have the camera in front of me to check which it was and I'm too lazy to go and get it out :P). I haven't played with it enough yet to remember the different case scenarios. Reading the descriptions for each case scenario does help to decide the most likely starting point, assuming you know the expected behaviour of the target species and have time to change or set up beforehand. Single point with expansion does seem to work well, unlike on the 7D, where results weren't good.
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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 07:34:42 AM »

jthomson

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 10:10:37 AM »
Thanks  for the replies.

They give me a place to start from.

kidcharles

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 10:49:31 AM »
i would not use silent mode for this.  it just slows down the shot.  i only use silent when i'm close to animals or at a quiet event.

I have to second this. I don't think I've ever seen a bird act differently once the shooting starts. If they hear it at all it probably just sounds like an insect chattering or something. Now if the shutter sounded like a rustling in the brush that would be a much more serious problem. Also, I'll bet birds in flight mostly hear wind over their ears and can't hear anything on the ground unless it is really loud.

drjlo

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 03:01:00 PM »
As improved Al servo is on 5D III, I still find one shot AF to be much more reliable.  Since things like birds mostly don't change pose, unlike sports capture, I have better luck with one shot mode, in Tv mode with high shutter speed. 

degies

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2012, 04:42:27 PM »
I normally only do nature and scenery type stuff, but I was asked by a friend to shoot his soccer tournament. I used a 5D3 with a 70-200 and a 2xiii
I had some problems understanding the case scenario's. Many shots had the background in focus and not the players or was just out of focus. It was a cloudy day, but I could not figure out why my AF was not locking onto what I perceived to be the subject. So I did bit of reading and found this article.

http://www.garyluhm.net/bio/tips_0512.html

I suppose the major thing where I went wrong is I used AI Focus and Case2. Ai focus is my old habit of not changing the settings on a new shoot from the previous shoot, but Case2 I thought would be good as I do not want to change the AF focus if other players move in front of the lens. Not the case cause the here since the Case indicate you want the background so the players is the obstacle not the subject

I should have used AI Servo and either Case3 or Case5. It seem to better suit moving subjects
I think Case4 is for a very specific shot if the subject is approaching the camera

Understanding this will probably help with the wildlife as well. I will definitely go try it today
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 04:45:59 PM by degies »
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Mr Bean

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 05:33:22 PM »
....So I did bit of reading and found this article.

http://www.garyluhm.net/bio/tips_0512.html

Nice article. I've been interested in photographing birds in flight since I got my 5D m3, but the list of focus options seemed fairly long. This article does a nice job of matching the options with examples :)
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GuyF

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 10:49:51 AM »
Went out yesterday with 5D3 and 300mm f2.8 IS plus Kenko DG300 2x convertor. Used AF case 4 with tracking set to -2 ("full" locked on) and got the attached shots. I was just a bit too far away to get decent shots of ducks in flight but I'm quite pleased with the one below (luck more than skill). I really will have to get FoCal and tweak the focusing of the 300mm when I've got convertors attached.

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Re: 5D3 focus for birds in flight
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 10:49:51 AM »