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08-06-2011, 07:00 AM   #16
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You have one of the best tools to use with your k-5 which is TAv mode; set the aperture to f5.6 (that is more than enough to cover the DOF), then use shutter speed high enough say 1/2000 or faster, let the camera determine the lowest iso to use. Also, use center-weight metering and EV +.7 (or lower depending on the background) to ensure you have enough exposure on the underside of the bird. Use auto-select focus point to let the camera do the focus since there is nothing in the sky to focus other than the bird.

The example below is from k-7 in TAv mode (1/2000, f4, iso200)....and this is even harder because for this one, I use the vivitar 200mm f3.5 MF m42 lens (bought it with the Sears 55/1.4 for a bargain price). Enjoy one of the finest APS-C DSLR camera ever made by Pentax!

I forgot you have the 55-300mm lens, try not to use the 300mm end which is probably a bit soft, I would not go beyond 250mm and max aperture (say f5.8 to f7.1 at that end should be okay).

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Last edited by aleonx3; 08-06-2011 at 07:59 AM. Reason: need to add the limitation of the lens
08-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by briankabat Quote
Okay, so I want to thank all of you who have responded so far. Your tips have been helpful. I went out this morning and got some shots of a Great Blue Heron. I have two of the pix here. It was a bit cloudy, so I know this will cause some exposure problems, but the pix just seem to have a lot of noise. I shot them both in Shutter Priority mode on my K-5. The settings for the first pic were: 1/1250, f/16, ISO 400, 260mm. The file format was jpeg. The second shot had the same settings, except that the aperture was at f/18. The file format for this one was RAW. Any suggestions? As I mentioned the other day, I am just starting to learn the technical aspects of taking pix, and I obviously have a LONG way to go! Any constructive tips are much appreciated.
To test your equipment for faults, either camera or lens, chasing birds in mid flight is the wrong way to go about it.
You need a setup which will allow you to do repeatable experiments and then start off your trials by setting up a set of controls figures to which you can refer back to.

And one more thing, don't assume camera shake is not to blame because a shot was taken with high shutter speed. In my lifetime I have come across some pretty talented camera shakers.

08-07-2011, 10:38 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
Just one point--SR switched on is not the same thing as SR being engaged. If you don't see the hand in the viewfinder when you press the shutter, SR is not engaged.
Cool. I didn't know that!
08-12-2011, 06:30 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by briankabat Quote
The settings for the first pic were: 1/1250, f/16, ISO 400, 260mm. The file format was jpeg.
It would be interesting to see the original file for that picture. Some of the "grainyness" looks like JPEG compression artifacts to me, but it's hard to tell. Also, the original file would include all the EXIF info other posters have been requesting.

08-12-2011, 07:36 AM   #20
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If you are shooting in JPEG, you might check your sharpness setting. The higher it is, the more noise you will see at relatively low ISO. I shoot RAW, but I often find noise at ISO 320 & 400 if I sharpen.

I should add that I had the K-7 and the K-x before the K-5, and I find that the K-5 is just about as noisy as the K-7 at ISO 200 or thereabouts, and noisier than the K-x at the same ISO.

Last edited by Designosophy; 08-12-2011 at 07:44 AM.
08-12-2011, 07:43 AM   #21
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You might consider joining my Club.....I can take the worst of photos with the best of cameras. We have a lot of Members, but most of them want to remain anonymous. It is a fun place, we spend hours explaining how our gear failed us, and those with all those great shots just somehow cheated or photoshopped away the "ugly".......

Otis and a quartet of violin playing Squirrels join in and play 'Cry Me a River" as we look over our most catastrophic images....

08-12-2011, 09:54 AM   #22
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I'll jump in to share some thoughts:

I take 90% + of my shots with the K5 + DA*300/4.

Once in a while, I will encounter lighting conditions which will certainly render the pics as "grainy" and "noisy".

Yesterday, I am taking some shots of a duck family quite far away on a pond. My setting ... TAv, 1/1000s, ISO is at about 1600 (quite late that day before sunset and the pond is getting rather dark). Aperture was F4 to F5.6.
So far so good and the pics are OK.
Suddenly, a small hawk flies over the hill behind the pond and comes almost directly overhead.
I quickly aim at it, take several burst shots and "hope for the best" because .... I never had time to "adjust" the EV, which should have been anywhere from +0.7 to +1.0 in order to accomodate for the now "backlit" condition. (The sky is still fairly well lit )

Results: nearly all of the shots are way underexposed, "grainy" and "noisy", of course!
Lucky enough, I shoot RAW and could recover some of the underexposed pics in CS5, but certainly not as well as I wished.

So, underexposure is one very important aspect to try to control when shooting wildlife, especially birds near/on water.

I find that using TAv with the K5 gives the best results for this type of photography but one always have to make sure that the shots are not underexposed.



Last edited by jpzk; 08-12-2011 at 10:06 AM.
08-12-2011, 10:02 AM   #23
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If you upload the files with exif and they don't get scaled by the forum, then the exif will automatically show up in your post, fyi.

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08-12-2011, 10:14 AM   #24
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Point 1. Have these shots been cropped at all ?

Point 2. As Aleonx3 said above: when shooting birds I use f5.6 to f8 and shoot in TAv mode with shutter speeds of at least 1/800 but I prefer 1/1250 to 1/1600. Keeping the ISO from 1,000 downwards if the light permits.

Point 3. Sometimes the light is so bad you'll still get grainy shots on occasion !

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