September 21, 2014, 08:27:13 AM

Author Topic: What could I do better?  (Read 5038 times)

sagittariansrock

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 12:11:19 AM »
Here is a picture I took with the 70-300@300mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6 1/250s on a 50D (100% crop).
No post processing, converted directly to jpeg from RAW.
IMO, the lens is capable of sharper images than you got.

Yes, I agree your shot looks sharper, particularly considering it is at ISO1600.

We'll see what I get on future opportunities.

I'm quite sure I'm part of the problem.

Also, it is a 100% crop.
All I am trying to say is that the 70-300 is a pretty good tool, and no worse than Tamron in spite of the rumors (as far as IQ is concerned).
I didn't post those, but I have images from the same event as above, Federer and Nadal playing, and the AF was spot on in spite of not being ring USM.
Don't lose heart because of one missed opportunity when you hardly had time to act.
Keep this lens and you will be able to take many excellent images when you have the time to focus correctly :)
Cheers


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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 12:11:19 AM »

bholliman

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2014, 01:25:12 AM »
I realize the OP is asking about technique, not equipment recommendations.  But, after just borrowing the EF-S 55-250 STM lens from a friend to use on my EOS-M over the weekend, I think the OP would enjoy a nice bump in IQ if he sold his 70-300 to fund the purchase of the newer, smaller/lighter and optically superior EF-S 55-250 IS STM.  The 55-250 is especially sharper at mid frame and the corners.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=358&Camera=736&Sample=0&FLI=3&API=2&LensComp=856&CameraComp=736&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=1

Yes, you give up 50mm on the long end, but the 55-250 is only 375 grams vs 630 grams for the 70-300.  From Canonpricewatch information, it appears you should be able to sell your 70-300 and buy the 55-250 with little, if any money out of pocket.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 01:32:01 AM by bholliman »
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Hillsilly

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2014, 04:13:48 AM »
You're settings look fine to get a sharp, high quality image (1/1000, ISO 400, F8.0).  But I'd still suggest trying to bump the shutter speed up.

I've often thought that Canon cameras have trouble focusing on furry animals.  (At least they do for me...a quick google search suggests that I might be the only one...).  But, like you, I  use lenses with smaller apertures and know that the camera's AF system is not at its peak - I suspect that is the reason I get more than the occasional improperly focused photo.  Using AI Servo mode and taking a few shots helps with getting a higher number of keepers.
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RGomezPhotos

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2014, 06:09:40 AM »
You know when you ask 100 photographers for an opinion, you'll get 100 different ones. Right?  ;)

I thought the first one was fine. I like the bars because it personalizes the image more because you KNOW it's in your backyard rather than some arbitrary image you took somewhere else. I think it's also more 'candid' looking too with the bars. But it depends on what you are going for. A personalized image or an image of deer.

Yes, focus looks to be on the bushes rather than the animals. Lightroom can help you fix that a bit. I've only used LR4 and above so can't tell you about LR3. I saw a special for snagging LR5 for about $70. Totally worth it. But to get it right the first time? AF isn't always going to nail it. You'll have to figure out which AF point selection will work for you. And that will change depending on what you're photographing.

I like the coloring you did in the second picture. Very tasteful. Often people go overboard with that.

The general rule is that to minimize blur for hand-holding a camera, your shutter speed needs to be 2x focal length. So if you are using a 100mm lens, you should be shooting at 1/200 sec at least for digital. In the film days, it used to be focal length = shutter speed. Even shooting at 300mm, 1/1000 should be plenty.

There are definitely wild life photographers that use tripods. Maybe not on the back of a jeep. But if they are watching animals from a distance: definitely. You see it all the time from those types of photographers. They'll be camouflaged out in the bush for hours waiting for that particular animal to come walking by or come out of their shelter. You bet your ass they'll have their camera on a tripod.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 06:11:21 AM by RGomezPhotos »
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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2014, 07:56:19 AM »
For 282$ (-150 for the resale), the lens surely delivers. I bought mine whilw it was 650$ refurbished so I always felt I should have gone with the 70-200 f4 L instead, which was not that much expensive.

As for the Tamron, my experience comparing a friends Tammy to my Canon showed quite similar results, but with the Tamron stabilization having a big jump on initialization as opposed to the Canon. Colors also had a different rendition with the Tamron. Pretty similar lenses in the end.

In general, I'd say that small aperture, good light and an object that is not to far are required for decent pictures with this lens. I've had a few good ones but in general, I don't like the way it renders out of focus weeds, bushes and other high details area particulaaly highlights).
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2014, 08:15:04 AM »
It’s good to read the helpful feedback, advice and thoughts in this thread.  I’ll keep my input quite brief – though I could easily write pages about tele lenses, and my experiences.
 
At times there simply is no opportunity for a ‘Wow!’ or powerful photo, even with the best gear around.  That’s when I aim to be satisfied with a photo as a ‘memory snap’.  I think you had one of those opportunities… and interestingly I’ve had the same scenario with deer a few times when I lived in Europe (ie “cool some deer” – and taken a few photos before they ran off)– though never in my backyard!
 
My first telezoom lens with the Canon 100-300mm USM. No IS, soft and low contrast above about 180mm. Stopped down at 300mm with some careful post-processing I could coax decent image outcomes… but most time the lack of IQ (and lack of IS) was a real disadvantage.  (Though to be fair I bought the lens new, on a good deal, and it is sharp & contrasty between 100mm – 180mm – and the USM motor was very quick and reliable). The 70-300mm IS nonL had just been released, but many copies were having the ‘portrait orientation issue’). Plus it was over double the cost, and I was on a limited budget back then (being an international charity worker).
 
Some years later (back in Australia) – I was looking at the Tamron 70-300mm VC USM or the Canon 70-300mm IS nonL to replace my Canon 100-300mm. I was leaning to the Tamron- though even its IQ is ‘decent’ (but not stellar) at 300mm from all the tests I show and reviews I’ve researched, IQ quite similar to the 70-300mm nonL’s. Right at that time, the 70-300mm L then was released – and I thought to myself ‘nah… too big, heavy & expensive’ – but I went into 2 shops with my 7D to try it anyway… and I was ‘sold’! The size / weight was a big consideration – it’s a very portable lens, with outstanding IQ – even at 300mm f/5.6. So I bought it – received a very good deal and a decent 67mm Hoya CPL to boot (every lens I have ever bought I have received some sort of discount / good deal).
 
If the 70-300mm L wouldn’t suit me, I would have bought either the Tamron 70-300mm or the Canon 70-300mm nonL. As I result of buying the L version, I sold my Canon 100-300mm (only lost about $150 for several years use) – and am very happy with my 70-300mm L. I like getting as close to wildlife as I can, and expect to keep using my 70-300mm L on high-end APS-C bodies for such sort of photography  eg 7D and future 7Dmk__‘s   It’s IQ, matched in a very portable body with USM and 4-stop IS make it a great set up for me.. which I can keep in my Lowepro shoulder bag – where it fits suitably with my 7D with 15-85mm USM IS.
 
Here is an example photo of a kookaburra taken a week ago, in the wild.  At a photo outing that I organised for a group of about 8 friends. (which I do a few times a year – mainly as an encouragement to get involved in photography, and learn their cameras, learn new skills and socialise). The photo is slightly cropped (though note, this is definitely not at 100% yet). I have received lots of views of this photo, many friends are impressed. Others took photos with their gear (including 4xNikons DSLRs, another Canon, Sony RX-100, even an iPhone) and lenses ranging from various Nikon 18-55mm and 55-200mm, to Canon 100-400mm L IS USM.  I certainly don’t mean to be proud – but this photo was by far the best of the ones taken by the group on that day, probably because I have most experience, and the 70-300mm L was the best lens (though I expect the 100-400mm L could have produced a close image, but the person who had / used that lens was new to photography – it was on his Canon 700D body).
 
Perhaps the best ‘bang for the buck’ lens of today is Canon’s recently released EF-S 55-250mm STM IS.  It is a great lens for the price, producing very good images (though note- it won’t work on FF).  It might lack the build quality, full USM, bokeh quality, micro-contrast and speed of some higher lenses, but for it's price - it's image quality is more than great: particularly raw sharpness.  The 18-135mm STM IS is also a great all purpose lens I often recommend.  Actually Canon haven’t produced a bad STM lens yet, eg the 40mm STM, 22mm STM and 18-55mm STM!  Good on Canon for setting the bar high with STM lenses thus far.
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old-pr-pix

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2014, 11:09:49 AM »
I have the same lens/body combo and have tried to make similar shots... "Oh look, deer in the backyard!" but have not had good results.  In my case it was overcast and dusk.  I needed ISO 3200 to get anything close to usable shutter speed.  As was said above, sometimes the shot just isn't there!  Your shot looks really good compared to mine!

Noise/grain seems much higher than I would expect for 60D at ISO 400.  Alternate software may get you better results.   Shot does seem to be focused on weeds, not deer.  60D lacks AFMA, but you can do some testing to see if back focus is a consistent problem.  Also it is easy to slip off the shutter just enough to release the focus lock when doing 'lock focus and recompose' with the 60D.  The 70-300 non-L is older technology and likely doesn't have full closed-loop control over the focusing.  (Some great articles by Rodger Cicala at LensRentals on the subject.)  Try shooting short 'high' speed bursts - well 5.3 fps anyway.  My experience is that the first shot is not as well focused if the lens has been idle for quite a while.  I tend to use my 100-400L more so my 70-300 does sit for long periods.
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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2014, 11:09:49 AM »

hgraf

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2014, 11:22:12 AM »
Looking for constructive feedback.

Camera is a 60D with a 70-300 IS non L @ 300 mm.

1/1000, ISO 400, F8.0.

When I zoom in to 100%, the deer are soft and grainy.

First look: the image is back focused. You can see it in the grass, the front limit of "in focus" appears to just be on the edge of the deer, it's clear to me that the central focus point was slightly behind the deer.

Note that this might NOT have anything to do with your technique, it could be that your lens on that body back focuses slightly. Of course, it's also possible that your camera focused on the shrubs behind the deer. When in a rush these things can happen.

As for the softness otherwise, I don't know that lens too well, so I don't know what it's typical sweet spot is at that focal length. I know with my 55-250IS it sharpens alot going from 5.6-8, and sharpens a little more at 11, so for my lens I try to shoot at 11 whenever I can. In your case I think you could have got away with shooting at 1/500 f11 and might have gotten a slightly sharper shot (ignoring focus issues).

I'd recommend putting your camera on a tripod and shooting something with good contrast at various apertures and focal lengths to find the sweet spot for your particular lens.

The grain/noise you see has to do with the ISO. Frankly, I'm surprised at ISO400 you get that much noise on a 60D? Did you pull the shadows up a bit? In any case, carefully apply some noise reduction in LR to clear it up, I don't think it'll impact the image too much.

TTYL

tntwit

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2014, 12:29:47 PM »
I realize the OP is asking about technique, not equipment recommendations.  But, after just borrowing the EF-S 55-250 STM lens from a friend to use on my EOS-M over the weekend, I think the OP would enjoy a nice bump in IQ if he sold his 70-300 to fund the purchase of the newer, smaller/lighter and optically superior EF-S 55-250 IS STM.  The 55-250 is especially sharper at mid frame and the corners.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=358&Camera=736&Sample=0&FLI=3&API=2&LensComp=856&CameraComp=736&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=1

Yes, you give up 50mm on the long end, but the 55-250 is only 375 grams vs 630 grams for the 70-300.  From Canonpricewatch information, it appears you should be able to sell your 70-300 and buy the 55-250 with little, if any money out of pocket.


Actually, when I bought the lens, I was initially directed to Canon's 50% off sale regarding the 55-25 non STM lens.  Then I found the 70-300 also at 50% off.  So, the 55-250 was $119 and the 70-300 was $259 (plus tax).  I read reviews of both back and forth and the reviews tend to be mixed as to what is better, but in the end I opted for the 70-300 primarily because of FF compatibility. 

I realize you are referring to the STM version, and I don't know how that compares, but that wasn't on sale anyways and it's still not FF compatible.

This was intended to be a "for now" lens until I get a 70-200 F4 IS and it was a cheap upgrade, so no real complaints and I wasn't expected radical improvements over what I had.

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2014, 12:35:39 PM »
Hi TNTWIT, great question.  I'll try to address the two major questions you asked...

1)  Would a 6D and or a 70-200L lens made a big difference?
- Higher quality gear will always produce better images from the pixel-peeping perspective (considering focus and camera shake is controlled.)  However, getting a better image with your current gear should be your concern at the moment. 
- A 6D with 70-200 lens would NOT have provided you with as much zoom as you currently obtained, which means you would have most likely had more window sil and door frame in the image, requiring more cropping and less available pixels. 

Gear-talk aside, I think you can improve your next deer encounter with these steps...

2)  "... I was in a hurry to make settings on the camera."
- Set up the scene before disturbing it.  Get your camera settings nailed, high speed shutter setting, focus point (maybe not center point if you anticipate them moving.)
- It appears you did focus on the brush.  If you aimed for the nose, that's a tight spot to hit.  Next time, try aiming for the rump/tail of the front deer (only because the back deer is blocking the brush too.)
- Once you open the door, start the rapid fire shooting.

Good luck!
~T

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tntwit

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2014, 12:54:22 PM »
But I'd still suggest trying to bump the shutter speed up.

Interesting - have to try it.

I've often thought that Canon cameras have trouble focusing on furry animals.  (At least they do for me...a quick google search suggests that I might be the only one...). 

Good to know - but apparently you're not the only one!  8)

Using AI Servo mode and taking a few shots helps with getting a higher number of keepers.

I think this is good advice.  My fear was that the thing would hunt around - but that might be a good thing if you fire of several shots that end up at slightly different focus points.

If you want something more exceptional, it might take a better lens and definitely a better opportunity.

Yes, this is what I am wondering.  I might try renting the 70-200 F4 IS and see how it compares.  It'll help motivate the process.

-  Upgrade to LR 5, you'll be glad you did.

This advice has been put out a few times here, so I'll have to give it a shot.  I've been pretty happy with LR3, so I wasn't previously motivated.  My only concern is my computer struggles with LR3 as it is.

You know when you ask 100 photographers for an opinion, you'll get 100 different ones. Right?  ;)

Yes, but I really appreciate all of the feedback!   :)

I like the coloring you did in the second picture. Very tasteful. Often people go overboard with that.

Glad to hear since I really do it by eye.  I really need to read through some tutorials on proper workflow (what steps to do first) and recommended settings.  I never know if I am over doing it or not and suspect I do at times.  I also think I am missing the boat on optimizing noise reduction.  I left the settings at default on this on because I was afraid it would soften the image even more.

The general rule is that to minimize blur for hand-holding a camera, your shutter speed needs to be 2x focal length. So if you are using a 100mm lens, you should be shooting at 1/200 sec at least for digital. In the film days, it used to be focal length = shutter speed.

I knew of the 1 over the shutter speed rule and that you need to multiply by 1.6 for crop, but I have not heard of the 2X rule.  Is that a short cut, rule of thumb, to compensate for the crop instead of multiplying be 1.6?
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mackguyver

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2014, 01:05:14 PM »
I'm late to the party and don't have much to add, but it looks like the white balance in the original capture is a bit cool and having used the 70-300 for a while, be careful of using it at 300mm, it tends to be a bit soft.

Otherwise, it's a nice shot and if you want to improve your work, keep practicing, and as you've done here, keep asking for advice.  It takes a lot of practice to get good photos, and with wildlife, you have to throw in a healthy dose of luck.  Knowing the best settings for your camera and having them set and ready when you see wildlife is the real secret, so keep practicing.  Ask anyone here - the number of shots that we've missed due to poor focus or having the wrong settings is something we've all done many more times than we'd care to admit.
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tntwit

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2014, 01:12:12 PM »
However, getting a better image with your current gear should be your concern at the moment.

It is, because my real fear is spending the bigger bucks on FF and L glass and having similar results!   :o

I know I have not optimized me!
 

2)  "... I was in a hurry to make settings on the camera."
- Set up the scene before disturbing it.  Get your camera settings nailed, high speed shutter setting, focus point (maybe not center point if you anticipate them moving.)
- It appears you did focus on the brush.  If you aimed for the nose, that's a tight spot to hit.  Next time, try aiming for the rump/tail of the front deer (only because the back deer is blocking the brush too.)
- Once you open the door, start the rapid fire shooting.

Both great points!

Thanks!

I’ll keep my input quite brief – though I could easily write pages about tele lenses, and my experiences.

Your idea of 'brief' is as bad as mine!  8)  However, I really appreciated the details about the process that led you to your decisions and what you learned along the way, so it's a good thing!  Thanks, Again!

In my case it was overcast and dusk.  I needed ISO 3200 to get anything close to usable shutter speed.

This was an unusual occurrence.  Typically, they show up around dusk and I experience what you did.  I think I have my dog to thank as she was freaking out in the window when she saw them.

Also it is easy to slip off the shutter just enough to release the focus lock when doing 'lock focus and recompose' with the 60D.  The 70-300 non-L is older technology and likely doesn't have full closed-loop control over the focusing.  (Some great articles by Rodger Cicala at LensRentals on the subject.)

Interesting, didn't know that.  I'll have to check them out.  I like his articles and way of looking at things.

Try shooting short 'high' speed bursts - well 5.3 fps anyway.  My experience is that the first shot is not as well focused if the lens has been idle for quite a while.

Goes along with using AI Servo and giving yourself multiple attempts to get focus right.  I try to not use such techniques normally, but for these situations it might be a better strategy. 
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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2014, 01:12:12 PM »

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2014, 01:12:38 PM »
I looked back at the original picture from my desktop instead of my mobile and I realize that I might have exaggerated a bit in my original post. The lens should be capable of a bit more, and some PP should further improve the results. Here is an example of a muskox shot occupying a similar amout of the frame with some PP in lightroom 4 done. Basically levels, clarity, contrast and sharpening and exported to 70% jpegs at 120 dpi (file size limited to 6000kB) for screen output. I think there is a bit more details in there...

Edit: Uncropped image with a 60D and the 70-300 IS USM

Edit2: wrong picture (not 300mm) and I can't find the one I wanted. Sorry about that. I'll find another...
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 01:19:38 PM by IMG_0001 »
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2014, 01:32:56 PM »
Ok not a very good picture because of the cluttered foreground but still gives an idea of the nervous out of focus areas and of the resolution from the lens. Again, the subject is about the same size as yours in the frame and the lightroom post processing is like the other image and there was no cropping. From 60D with 70-300 IS usm.

Sorry again for the first image being at the wrong focal length.
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

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Re: What could I do better?
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2014, 01:32:56 PM »