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05-01-2013, 01:55 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Newbie w/ K-30 - Best settings for wildlife, outdoor photography

Bought my K-30 to level up from my point and shoot for taking pictures of any and all animals I can find out and about.
I was using an SMC Pentax M 50mm 1:2 from my step father's old camera. It can be pretty clear if focused right, but I'm still learning, so getting that focused shot can be tough.

Now I've upgraded to something more fitting for outside animal photography I think, SMC Pentax DA 55-300mm and got a good deal on it.


I know when I was shooting with the older manual lens, there were a couple suggested settings, such as changing P-line to TV-shift, for the green button.

I'm wondering if in general, there are some ideal settings for people who will more often than not be photographing subjects that may be fast moving as opposed to portrait like faces.
Should I change up auto focus settings? Right now it's on 'Auto 5' but there are others. Things like this.. Basic settings that aren't constantly variables like aperture, iso, etc, that can be found in the extensive menus.

And anything else that might be suggested.


I went out today to test it out, hand held, and got some shots about 15 to 20 feet away from the target.
Here are the results. I was also adjusting the aperture all the while and you can probably notice it from the background blur. Seemed the lower aperture number shots were a little clearer and brighter.
This was all on auto by the way, excluding the changes I was making to aperture.












Tips and advice are much appreciated.
Thanks.

05-01-2013, 02:12 PM   #2
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A far as AF settings, I suggest using single center point so the system will have a better chance of focusing on the critter vs the background.
Also suggest trying to use M (manual setting) with ISO set to Auto, then select a good aperture for your lens, possibly F8.
Keep shutter speed as high as possible so the moving critter will still be sharp, at least 2x your focal range. So at 300mm use 1/600 or higher speed.
Some bird shooters say no less than 1/1000 for sharp birdie shots.
This all assumes a bright day, if the lighting is dim you will have to compromise on aperture or shutter speed as you dont want ISO to go too high and get a noisy picture.
Look at some of the shots in the 300mm Plus Club and look at the exif data to see what the folks are using to get sharp shots of birds and other critters.
05-01-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
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crewl1 gives good advice. The biggest problems are motion blur as birds constantly twitch even when they're fairly stationary, and not being near enough!

If it helps, I've had better photos shooting through glass so as to get nearer without scaring off, compared with keeping my distance with no glass. Get that bird feeder as close as you dare.

Through glass....
Attached Images
 

Last edited by SteveB; 05-01-2013 at 02:52 PM.
05-01-2013, 02:45 PM   #4
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Awesome, thank you, that makes sense.

What about..:

AE Metering: Multi-segment; Center-Weighted; and Spot
Contrast AF: Face Detection; Tracking; Select; and Spot

And a quick question about quick shift. If additional focus is needed, when exactly does one do that after an auto focus? After pressing down halfway and after the auto focus, but before pressing down all the way, correct?

05-01-2013, 03:04 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Polioliolio Quote
Awesome, thank you, that makes sense.

What about..:

AE Metering: Multi-segment; Center-Weighted; and Spot
Contrast AF: Face Detection; Tracking; Select; and Spot

And a quick question about quick shift. If additional focus is needed, when exactly does one do that after an auto focus? After pressing down halfway and after the auto focus, but before pressing down all the way, correct?
I prefer center weighted for most shooting but you can always override it with the +- exposure comp button if you don't like how it is metering on a particular scene.
Contrast AF refers to the AF in Liveview. You can set it to whatever you want, if it is for bird shooting use Spot because it may not see the bird as having a typical face

For quick shift, assuming you probably have not changed the AF functions your method is correct.
05-01-2013, 03:20 PM   #6
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These actually turned out pretty well, great start. Crewl1 already covered any advice I could give. It will be difficult getting great shots with a 300mm, but it can be done. There are a lot of great shots on this forum.
05-02-2013, 05:21 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot guys. I'm going to have to get a feel for all the little settings to really understand when I should and shouldn't change certain parameters.

I should also start using that monopod.

Now, for your help, some fresh cow pics





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