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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:43 pm 
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I need help to get better pictures of birds/animals.

For me it is very difficult to get sharp photos of birds or animals as they are usually restless in nature (mostly).
I have a Nikkor 70-300 G series lense which will not autofocus on the D5000 and by the time I can get proper focus manually, the subject has shifted position.
So, was pondering is it that autofocus is the way to go and then which path to proceed.... to get a body that will help to autofocus with the exiting lense or to get a lense that would autofocus on the D5000.
Quality wise I quite like the pictures from D5000.

Or, is it that with more practice it is possible to get sharp images of birds and amimals even with a manual focus lense at par with autofocus ones?

Any advise would be very much helpful.

Thanks.

Regards,

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:21 pm 
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Manual focus can certainly be used, but AF will help at times. With manual focus, can you get away with pre-focus on a spot? Then wait for the subject to move into focus. If you reduce the aperture to increase depth of field, that can help too. Don't be afraid of higher ISO if needed to maintain an adequate shutter speed to prevent any motion blur.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:17 am 
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I enjoyed the pictures you posted, over in the feathered friends section.
I had a look at your iso data, you have used a high shutterspeed and they look to be in reasonable focus. I could imagine how hard it would be to spot focus on an eye in manual focus.

Maybe you are cropping them a bit too much and the lighting is a bit drap in some shots, which doesn`t help.

It looks like there is a lack of sharpness from the lens, but hard to tell. Try using it at f9-f10 when at 300. Even try it at f9-11 at 200 to see if it is shaper there.
Like popo said it will increase your depth of field and hopefully get sharper photos.They remind me a bit of the results I get from my old Sony A100 and its kit 75-300 lens.

Would like to see a picture of a bird or any object in brighter light, not cropped, at f9-11, just to see what the lens can do under better conditions :) :)


Ultimately you may benefit form a newer lens that will autofocus, I am not that familiar with Nikkor lenses, and you will gain the benefit of VR.
The Nikkor 70-300 VR or Tamron 70-300 SP VC should be a good option.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:26 am 
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Location: Gold Coast Australia
I have the same lens and the AF works on the D7000. Your bird shots are sharper than my surfing shots in bright sun and not soft and dreary as my lens is at 300mm. (I did read, "don't blame the lens blame yourself'" so I'm looking in to it.

I can't tell the difference of not in focus or camera shake. Looking at some of the exif's, I thought they may be low on shutter speed for 300mm and in the excitement of capturing the shot you may induce camera shake.

Not sure why you shoot manual in low light forest conditions, I would try shutter priority at a higher speed with auto ISO at 300mm. If everything is set you only have to concentrate on the focus.

I read on the forum from the wildlife shooters, for black/dark coloured birds use +EV and white/light birds -EV. You don't have to wait for birds for your trials, just shoot branches with character but in similar lighting. If I could get my lens to work as yours it would give me more encouragement to take it out more. :oops:

The above two posting are also valid.


Cheers

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:20 am 
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Thank you very much for the valuable guidance popo, maxjj and 4xxxx.

Yes popo, it is an alternative to pre-focus on a spot and wait for the subject to move into it but for me usually when I expect the subject to move in right, it will make a u turn and shift to the left leaving me stumped :) So that option does not work too well for me, but willing to give it a try.

maxjj, you are right… some of the pictures are cropped a bit more than should have been :) would be eaiser to manual focus if they glare or stare at me.... which they are never ready to oblige :?

Very true 4xxxx… as the camera tries to freeze the moment… the heart races lest I miss that very moment :) Camera shake may be one big factor I need to be careful about.

Planning to try out soon the one common guide line you all have mentioned….. to increase f stop and shoot.
Actually when subject is ‘comparatively’ closer, f5.6 or f6.3 at 300 mm is not good idea it seems. But at longer subject distance, the increased DOF should take care of this issue.
Please rectify me if mistaken.
ISO is kept on auto because lighting keeps on changing as there are breaks in the canopy and D500 will not allow one touch adjustment… assigned burst to the Fn button.

4xxxx, I would rather try aperture priority – fix it at f8 or above to take care of increased DOF and adjust the shutter speed.

So plan is to try out at f8 and above in aperture priority, with high ISO and higher shutter speeds. Hope to improve :)... Post soon.

[and this time no cropping ;) ]

Thank you all once again.
Regards,

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/89030952@N04/
http://s1229.photobucket.com/albums/ee472/Jagadish_c/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/46710427@N07/


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:42 pm
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Location: Surrey, England
hi, I see you've already had your questions answered but I hope I can add something.

In much the same way as many IQ enthusiasts suggest that a lens always performs better when used 1 - 2 stops away from fully open or fully closed, the same can be said of focal length on a zoom lens.

Try using your 70-300 as a 85 - 285!

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