Having trouble with moving objects

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Mikeminnich, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Mikeminnich

    Mikeminnich TPF Noob!

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    hello everyone, I'm completely new to the world of photography and to this website. I purchased my first camera (Rebel XSI) in October of 2009 and just recently purchased a Canon 7D which I now exclusively use. I have noticed a bit of improvement with the pictures but I seem to have a hard time focusing in on my subjects. I don't know if its just the lens I use (Sigma 170-500mm which I borrowed from a friend) and a kit lens which came with the 7D (28-135mm USM w/ IS). I tend to take the majority of my pictures with the Sigma because most of the subjects are and I can't get all that close. I have decent success with the kit lens for flowers and insects. I want to take pictures of the birds in flight but i just can't get it to focus or be very sharp. Are my problems due to the lenses, my focusing or my camera settings? Any help that you may be able to offer will be greatly appreciated. (Below are some examples; all pics were taken on a sunny day with no clouds)..

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  2. Fedaykin

    Fedaykin TPF Noob!

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    What AF mode you using?
     
  3. Groupcaptainbonzo

    Groupcaptainbonzo TPF Noob!

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    Hitting a moving animal (Especially in flight) with the focus point is NOT easy. I am sorry to say that practice is the only answer. once focused (a good fast (f2.8) lens helps). you should be fast on the shot, but not to the point where you cause camera shake by hitting it too hard.

    Also there are different modes of auto focus Because we both use Canon I am assuming (first rule of life ... Assume NOTHING !) that we have the same AF modes although I know nothing about the EOS 7.Mine are ONE SHOT - for still subjects, press the shutter release button halfway and the camera will run into focus and then hold that focus range. AI Servo - for moving objects where the camera will continually alter the focus to keep whatever you are tracking in the viewfinder, in focus (Which is covered by the RED focus aiming square) while you have half pressure on the shutter release button. And AI FOCUS. In this mode the camera will focus as for ONE SHOT. But if the target then moves the camera will automatically change into AI SERVO mode and will track the target until you fire the shutter release.BUT all this relies upon YOU tracking the Bird/Bee /etc acurately. Practice, practice, practice and er.... practice.
     
  4. Mikeminnich

    Mikeminnich TPF Noob!

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    thanks for helping guys. Fedaykin, my AF mode is AI Servo. Gropucaptainbonzo, I'm also in one shot, should I change to something like the high speed continuous? Would that help stop the movement a little quicker?
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My first advice is to open up the lens a little - it is true that a lens like the 150-500mm will perform better at a smaller aperture than wide open (remember f numbers go backwards - bigger number smaller aperture) but at f13/14 I think you are no longer getting any benefit and are possibly even getting marginal softness from diffraction starting to occur ( though f13 should be perfectly usable).
    Give yourself more shutter speed then and use f8 - shutter speed is key for this kind of work because you not only need a fast shutter speed to counter the motion of the animal, but also a fast shutter speed to counter your own handshake - the general rule being that your speed should be at least 1/focal length of lens (so 1/500sec at the slowest for your 500mm). IF you can use a tripod, beanbag, monopod or any other support this will greatly help counter handshake, though you will still need the fast speeds for motion capture.

    Taking shots I would tend to stick to continous shooting and take a short burst of shots - some people prefer single shot and it should be said that even with a burst you need to time your first shot to the best possible moment to capture the action.
    AF wise I tend to always be in AI servo mode with the af point set to the middle point only - for action this means one can define where the AF point is to be - however it can backfire in that a lot of ones shooting can appear rather centrally focused. Outer af points are usable, but for fast action the XSI camera bodies don't have brilliant outer AF points (you have to move up to a 7D or better type body for those sadly) but the middle point is good enough for most things. Also for a bird in flight you can try letting all the AF points be active - the idea here is that the bird is the closest thing to focus on in the shot and thus the camera should lock onto it - however its risky should the bird be too small in the frame (eg in your flight shot you show here) as then the camera might miss and then lock onto the trees behind for example.
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's all down to user error (technique) and shooting on auto letting the camera choose all the settings
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ahh I totally missed the camera shooting mode (and also the ISO)
    Certainly if you are shooting in auto - stop - and change over to aperture priority mode. There you have control over the aperture and the ISO whilst the camera balances the shutter speed to the scene. This way you can set your aperture to a nice f8 for sharpness and then use your ISO to ensure that your shutter speed remains fast enough for a sharp shot.
    ISO you generally want as low as you can get it - the lower the better since a higher ISO generally results in softer finer details and less resolution in your images. The 7D has an impressive ISO performance and so you should be able to go to ISO 800 without too much trouble if pushed - and can go higher still with reasonable results if you expose the shot well and use a bit of noise reduction in editing.
     

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