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02-08-2018, 06:31 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
I took the lens we've been discussing in this thread, out for a more controlled testing. As was suggested by members of this community. I'll try to post some pictures of my results. I don't know if I did the 100% crop correctly, but I just cropped out a small section of the image and saved it separately.


In this semi-scientific (haha) test, I hand held my K-50, used autofocus, shake reduction on, and tried to focus on a singular subject. I used the lens (Sigma 100-300 DL) at multiple focal ratio settings.


My lens seems to be sharpest at the f9 to f13 range, most seem best at f9, but one at f13 was better. Although, in fairness, I wasn't using a tripod and was taking some relatively slow (for me anyway) handheld shots that could have caused a little blur on one particular f9 image that I expected to be better than the f13 shot.


Regardless, I have to say that I'm not as ready to send my lens to the bottom of the river any more. It isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but, it is better than my first impressions of it a week or so ago. I guess I'll give it another chance.


I think the image will show, as I named them with the subject, f/ratio, and shutter speed, but just in case, f67 is of course f6.7, I just didn't think I could put a period in the name?


Thanks for all the suggestions and tips and helpful criticism!


Scott
You cannot conclude much at 1/80s, iso 1600, and at 280mm in dim light. There will be softness due to noise reduction and motion. The images also may 'look' sharper when the subject is lit directly due to higher contrast light.

If you want to figure out how sharp your lens is, place it on a tripod, set an iso 100, set a timed release, and use live view focusing to ensure appropriate focus. Otherwise the lens sharpness will not be a limiting factor.

02-08-2018, 08:04 PM - 1 Like   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
Although, in fairness, I wasn't using a tripod and was taking some relatively slow (for me anyway) handheld shots that could have caused a little blur
I think you might be underestimating what a big factor this is. Telephoto handheld is really difficult even in good light. You get shake blur from handholding really easily. You can get shake blur if you are using a tripod and the wind is a tad too strong. Or if you walk around the tripod and shake it. The force of pushing the shutter button and holding the camera against it is easily noticeable with super telephoto. People use a heavy tripod, 2 sec timer, remote trigger, all kinds of things to ensure their telephoto photos are sharp. Of course this raises your own expectations, but it takes time to get to that level.
Oh and one more thing. IF you are handholding and using SR, you have to wait a little bit for SR to become fully active.When you half.press the shutter button, the camera will start SR. When SR is active, a little icon will appear in the LCD. Then you gently press the shutter button the rest of the way. Doing this carefully can help with shake blur a lot

But I think you came to the right conclusion. This is a good lens to get experience with. Once you get the best you can get from this lens, you can look around for something better. Once you know the limitations of your gear and your photography needs
02-08-2018, 08:22 PM - 1 Like   #33
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There have been many great suggestions already. There are two which you have not yet incorporated into your testing:

Tripod.

Focus carefully in magnified Live View.

That is the only way to exclude "crap photographer" from your list of confounding factors. Once you have done some test shots that way I suspect "crap lens" will still be the answer, but you won't know for sure unless you do.
02-08-2018, 08:56 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I think you might be underestimating what a big factor this is. Telephoto handheld is really difficult even in good light. You get shake blur from handholding really easily. You can get shake blur if you are using a tripod and the wind is a tad too strong. Or if you walk around the tripod and shake it. The force of pushing the shutter button and holding the camera against it is easily noticeable with super telephoto. People use a heavy tripod, 2 sec timer, remote trigger, all kinds of things to ensure their telephoto photos are sharp.
agree all the way I would just add they also use mirror lock up, even mirror vibrations can matter, let alone hand holding.[COLOR="Silver"]

---------- Post added 02-08-18 at 10:00 PM ----------

btw, Astronomersmith. do you have a flash? Flash duration is very short, so if flash is the major source of light, it can be used to get a sharper photo even while hand holding. It doesn't work very well for objects that are far away due to limited power, but people do use them for let's say small birds or insects. For distant objects a good tripod, with three separate legs, and a solid ball head is the way to go.


Last edited by randomstuff; 02-08-2018 at 09:05 PM.
02-08-2018, 09:58 PM   #35
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Not to push amazon.com specifically, but here's a 50" tall tripod for $17 bucks. Has a quick release plate and a bag. $17.

amazon.com : AmazonBasics 50-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&

Stop putting this on your car or trying to hand hold and get a cheap tripod if you're at all serious about this. Get the thing off ISO 1600. Focus using Live View and a few steps of magnification to really nail focus. Try it with both the 50-200 and the Sigma and compare.

Last edited by pres589; 02-09-2018 at 07:50 AM.
02-08-2018, 11:50 PM - 1 Like   #36
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With K30 I think that up to ISO400 is good. ISO800 is OK if needed, but I rather avoid. Above that I usually don't bother to shoot.

When shooting 300mm handheld I always use burst mode and take minimum of 3 shots. The sharpest one is usually somewhere in the middle of the burst. 1/200 is the minimum speed I can get sharp shots this way.

K30 M*300/4 ISO100 1/200s Hand held Not sure about f, but probably f8:
02-14-2018, 06:22 AM   #37
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I have two Sigma 70-300 lens. One a DL and the other a DG APO. Both were a little lacking on the sharpness side of things. I've also got a Samsung 50-200 lens (basically a DA lens rebadged) and tended to get better results than both the Sigmas.
I've treated myself to the latest DA 55-300 WR PLM blah blah and certainly the sharpness at longer focal lengths is much better than both the Sigmas and at least as good at the 50-200 lens.
I got both Sigma lenses secondhand, so whilst I can't vouch for their condition, they seemed to be well looked after. They are also quite heavy lenses, so that may well be a factor.
Sadly with so many things (particularly lenses!) you get what you pay for.

Last edited by bigyinn; 02-15-2018 at 02:25 AM.
03-12-2018, 10:08 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by randomstuff Quote
agree all the way I would just add they also use mirror lock up, even mirror vibrations can matter, let alone hand holding.[COLOR="Silver"]

---------- Post added 02-08-18 at 10:00 PM ----------

btw, Astronomersmith. do you have a flash? Flash duration is very short, so if flash is the major source of light, it can be used to get a sharper photo even while hand holding. It doesn't work very well for objects that are far away due to limited power, but people do use them for let's say small birds or insects. For distant objects a good tripod, with three separate legs, and a solid ball head is the way to go.


I have a small flash, the one that came with the K50 Kit when I originally got it a few years ago. I am in the market for a better one, but it is fairly low on my priority and budget list.


Right now, my current 'obsession' is with birds and wildlife. So, everything I'm shooting is long distance (100 feet plus). So, I've not even thought about using a flash. I have been away from the forum for a little while and just got back on and saw your response. Thanks for your suggestion, and I hope to get a better tripod as well...eventually.


When your hobby is lowest priority on the family budget, it's hard to spend much except maybe birthday...which is coming up before too long? Hmmm.




Astronomersmith

---------- Post added 03-12-18 at 12:24 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by iheiramo Quote
With K30 I think that up to ISO400 is good. ISO800 is OK if needed, but I rather avoid. Above that I usually don't bother to shoot.

When shooting 300mm handheld I always use burst mode and take minimum of 3 shots. The sharpest one is usually somewhere in the middle of the burst. 1/200 is the minimum speed I can get sharp shots this way.

K30 M*300/4 ISO100 1/200s Hand held Not sure about f, but probably f8:


First of all, nice shot!


I'm still stumbling and fumbling around with lower end equipment, and having to make due with what I'm somewhat limited to, but that doesn't stop me. I enjoy photography, always have. And I also enjoy learning from other people's experience. I definitely apply all the advice and suggestions I get from this forum. It is so nice to be able to learn without being humiliated and insulted!
I realize I'm not going to get "the best" images with low end/budget equipment, but that won't keep me from doing "the best I can" with what I've got. Thank you, and thank everyone else who has helped me!


Astronomersmith

---------- Post added 03-12-18 at 12:32 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Not to push amazon.com specifically, but here's a 50?tag=pentaxforums-20&" tall tripod for $17 bucks. Has a quick release plate and a bag. $17.

amazon.com : AmazonBasics 50-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&

Stop putting this on your car or trying to hand hold and get a cheap tripod if you're at all serious about this. Get the thing off ISO 1600. Focus using Live View and a few steps of magnification to really nail focus. Try it with both the 50-200 and the Sigma and compare.

I have been given or bought really cheap, several tripods. I finally had to sell 3 of them because I never used them! I kept the heaviest and sturdiest of the lot, and think it is pretty good. Also I'm going to employ an old telescope tripod trick I learned years ago for spindly legged wooded tripod I used to use (still have it too) on my old Jason Empire 60mm Alt/Az refractor. I've moved way up to better telescopes, but this 1969 model was my first, and I've kept it well, and everynow and then drag it out to look at the moon or planets. I've actually used it afocally and taken a few pics of the moon and an occultation. Not too bad for a nearly 50 year old "el cheapo" telescope?


That 'trick' is, to put a relatively heavy weight attached to the center of the tripod, hanging down. Looks stupid, but it definitely helps dampen out vibrations!


Thanks for the link though, and for thinking enough to respond!


Astronomersmith

03-12-2018, 05:22 PM - 1 Like   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
Right now, my current 'obsession' is with birds and wildlife. So, everything I'm shooting is long distance (100 feet plus).
If the wildlife in question is big (bear, ostrich, etc), maybe. If it's not, shooting at a distance with a xx-300mm consumer zoom and a 16mp camera is a recipe for frustration and disappointment.

Say you want to shoot a medium-size bird 100 feet (say 30 metres) away with your lens at 300mm. The bird is going to fill less than 10% of the frame. Crop the image down from your 16mp and you have 1.6mp or less. You would be testing the limits of even a really sharp prime (like the DA*300) in trying to resolve a lot of detail with an image like that. With a consumer zoom the best you can hope for is an image that will enable you to tell what species it is. The attachment at the end of this post illustrates the sort of thing you'll get. It was taken with a K-30 (the twin of the K-50) and Pentax DA-L 55-300 (which is one of the better consumer zooms). I only kept this shot as a record - nowadays I would have deleted it.

---------- Post added 2018-03-13 at 11:45 ----------

There is only one cheap way to get decent shots of small-medium sized birds or other wildlife, and that is to get close. Then your consumer zoom can do fine. Here are some more examples with the K-30 and DA-L 55-300 to illustrate the point.

















From memory, I'd say all of the above shots were taken from no more than 10-12 metres (say 30-36 feet) and most a lot less than that. The kookaburra was possibly the most distant and that's why it's the weakest of them.

Working out how to get closer to wildlife is a worthwhile and richly rewarding skill anyway.

Of course you often can't get closer. Then you have two choices. Spend a lot of money on photography gear, and a lot of time learning to use it effectively; or just enjoy seeing the wildlife through binoculars or a scope!

One point to remember is that even with the biggest meanest most expensive camera setup in the world, obstructions, atmospheric conditions (e.g. haze, mist, etc) and light will often defeat even the best photographer trying to shoot at a long distance.
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-30  Photo 

Last edited by Des; 03-12-2018 at 05:58 PM.
03-15-2018, 10:56 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
If the wildlife in question is big (bear, ostrich, etc), maybe. If it's not, shooting at a distance with a xx-300mm consumer zoom and a 16mp camera is a recipe for frustration and disappointment.

Say you want to shoot a medium-size bird 100 feet (say 30 metres) away with your lens at 300mm. The bird is going to fill less than 10% of the frame. Crop the image down from your 16mp and you have 1.6mp or less. You would be testing the limits of even a really sharp prime (like the DA*300) in trying to resolve a lot of detail with an image like that. With a consumer zoom the best you can hope for is an image that will enable you to tell what species it is. The attachment at the end of this post illustrates the sort of thing you'll get. It was taken with a K-30 (the twin of the K-50) and Pentax DA-L 55-300 (which is one of the better consumer zooms). I only kept this shot as a record - nowadays I would have deleted it.

---------- Post added 2018-03-13 at 11:45 ----------

There is only one cheap way to get decent shots of small-medium sized birds or other wildlife, and that is to get close. Then your consumer zoom can do fine. Here are some more examples with the K-30 and DA-L 55-300 to illustrate the point.

From memory, I'd say all of the above shots were taken from no more than 10-12 metres (say 30-36 feet) and most a lot less than that. The kookaburra was possibly the most distant and that's why it's the weakest of them.

Working out how to get closer to wildlife is a worthwhile and richly rewarding skill anyway.

Of course you often can't get closer. Then you have two choices. Spend a lot of money on photography gear, and a lot of time learning to use it effectively; or just enjoy seeing the wildlife through binoculars or a scope!

One point to remember is that even with the biggest meanest most expensive camera setup in the world, obstructions, atmospheric conditions (e.g. haze, mist, etc) and light will often defeat even the best photographer trying to shoot at a long distance.






I completely get your point, and agree. I am trying to get as close as I can, and for my current use, I do not plan on selling, or even giving away any of my pictures. I also will more than likely never enlarge them anymore than 4x6" maximum. They look okay on my phone and laptop wallpaper, so I'm content.


Well, maybe 'content' is not 100% true - naturally, I'd like to have better equipment and better images, but I'm happy just taking them (that's the fun part for me!) and getting any half way decent results.


I'm in a very small, local photo club, and I enjoy the monthly challenges of something new each month. It gives me a goal, and something to think about, work on, and mostly, learn about my camera and improving my skills. I can't complain, I'm doing what I like!


Oh, and BTW, awesome pics! Wow, they are quite lovely. Thank you for sharing.


Astronomersmith
03-15-2018, 03:20 PM - 1 Like   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
completely get your point, and agree. I am trying to get as close as I can, and for my current use, I do not plan on selling, or even giving away any of my pictures. I also will more than likely never enlarge them anymore than 4x6" maximum. They look okay on my phone and laptop wallpaper, so I'm content. Well, maybe 'content' is not 100% true - naturally, I'd like to have better equipment and better images, but I'm happy just taking them (that's the fun part for me!) and getting any half way decent results. I'm in a very small, local photo club, and I enjoy the monthly challenges of something new each month. It gives me a goal, and something to think about, work on, and mostly, learn about my camera and improving my skills. I can't complain, I'm doing what I like! Oh, and BTW, awesome pics! Wow, they are quite lovely. Thank you for sharing. Astronomersmith
Thanks for such a thoughtful reply, Scott

If you've got realistic expectations, and you are enjoying learning and improving your skills, that's the main thing.

I've suffered from unrealistic expectations myself, and we often see it in new members - we see published images and think, "How hard can it be?"! ;-) We forget that the shots were taken by pros with multi-thousand dollar equipment, who have spent years and years of practice honing their skills, and who have devoted serious effort to get the perfect image (including post-processing).

I don't want to be discouraging - on the contrary, I think it's amazing what you can do without spending a lot of money, or even a lot of time. The photos above were taken with a <$100 lens and an entry-level camera. They were processed pretty quickly with DxO Optics Pro. As absolutely Joe Amateur, I'm quite pleased with them (even though I see the imperfections more starkly now than I did when I took them!). Even after 24 years of using a film SLR and 6 years of using my first DSLR, my photos improved a lot after I got the K-30 in 2013. Some of that was because of the camera, and some because of the lenses I got, but mostly it was from three other things: (1) concentrating on technique, (2) learning to get more from the gear, and (3) shooting in RAW (DNG) and post-processing. I have to say, I owe a lot of that to advice from this forum.

So, some quick tips on those:
Technique: Everyone says use a tripod, remote shutter release and self-timer (automatically locks up the mirror to avoid mirror shake). Great advice - particularly for landscapes - but not always practical, especially for wildlife. If you are going to a fixed location to photograph wildlife, tripod is ideal. But (at least for me), a lot of wildlife photos just happen. You have to take the opportunity when it arises. That means handheld. Here's a great article about how to get more steady shots when shooting handheld. (It talks about long exposures, but it's applicable to any exposure.) I keep coming back to it from time to time. Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles

The other thing about technique is getting the focus right. That's possibly the most important thing with wildlife (or portraits). I tend to use single spot AF for more control and generally more accuracy, and for wildlife, focus on the eyes.

Getting more from the gear: You need to work out the optimal combination of shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity (ISO) for your camera/lens combination in each situation. The thing to remember is the interplay between these things. If you double the shutter speed, say from 1/250th second to 1/500th second, the reduction in light hitting the sensor that comes from reducing the exposure time by half is the same as if you narrowed the aperture by 1 aperture stop, say from f4 to f5.6, or from f5.6 to f8. The exposure of the image (assuming the same conditions) would be the same. Sensitivity is treated as equivalent. Each step in going from ISO 100 to 200 to 400 to 800 to 1600 is treated as the equivalent of one stop. You get a grainier image as you increase the sensitivity.

You can "spend" your stop of light on shutter speed, aperture or ISO. So a shot taken at 1/250th f5.6 and ISO 100 would be exposed the same as a shot taken in the same conditions at 1/500th f4 and ISO 100, or 1/500th f5.6 and ISO 200. Each involves a compromise. Slower shutter means more risk of blur (either from subject motion or camera motion). Wider aperture means less depth of field (which may or may not be what you want), but also may affect the ability of the lens to resolve detail. (Consumer zooms generally don't provide nearly as much detail at their widest aperture; their best is usually one or two aperture stops down.) Higher ISO reduces the quality of the image - not much when you go to ISO 400, but progressively more after that.

So here's the dilemma. For shooting birds at 300mm, if possible, keep your shutter speed above 1/500th, preferably higher. I definitely got better shots when I inched up my default shutter speed from 1/320th or so to 1/640th. For most bird shots, each increment above that is worth it, up to about 1/1000th. After 1/1000th (unless you are trying to freeze the movement of wings, or catch a really fast bird like a swift in flight) the returns diminish IMO. OK, so what does that mean for aperture? Well, a consumer zoom at 300mm will always resolve much better at f8 or f9 than at f5.6 or f6.3. So your ideal combination for birds (not in flight) is going to be something like 1/800th, f9, ISO 100. That's a narrow aperture and a fast shutter speed. OK in really bright light, but in anything less, you would have to push the ISO to 1600 or 3200. Then you will start to see real degradation in the image quality.

There's no pat answer to this. It's overcast, there's a bird hopping around, a strong wind blowing making it hard to steady yourself. You need to shoot at your longest reach, 300mm. The ideal setting is out of the question - it would severely under-expose, let's say by 4 stops or so. So what do you do? Slow the shutter to maybe 1/180th or 1/250th? Widen the aperture? Bump up the ISO? The only way to find out is to try different settings, look at the results, and make a note of them. With the DA-L 55-300, I tend to hold the line on aperture, and compromise on shutter and/or ISO. But I'm not even sure whether that's necessarily the right approach - I just lost confidence in its performance wide open. The K-30 was pretty good at 1600 ISO, and often tolerable at 3200 ISO, but I'd only use more than that if I was desperate. As for the shutter speed, sometimes with a slowish shutter, the answer is to fire a burst of maybe 5-6 shots. One will often be better than the others. But they might all be blurry. It's just about trial and error.

Post-processing: Not clear whether you are shooting RAW or not. If not, switch to RAW+jpg straight away. Even if you don't post-process now, file away the images and one day you might dust them off and process them. My biggest regret now is that I didn't do this when I had my first DSLR.

If money is an issue, there are decent free software options, and help available. For example, there a whole thread here about RawTherapee.

Happy shooting!

Last edited by Des; 03-16-2018 at 12:33 AM.
03-16-2018, 01:42 PM - 1 Like   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Thanks for such a thoughtful reply, Scott

If you've got realistic expectations, and you are enjoying learning and improving your skills, that's the main thing.

I've suffered from unrealistic expectations myself, and we often see it in new members - we see published images and think, "How hard can it be?"! ;-) We forget that the shots were taken by pros with multi-thousand dollar equipment, who have spent years and years of practice honing their skills, and who have devoted serious effort to get the perfect image (including post-processing).

I don't want to be discouraging - on the contrary, I think it's amazing what you can do without spending a lot of money, or even a lot of time. The photos above were taken with a <$100 lens and an entry-level camera. They were processed pretty quickly with DxO Optics Pro. As absolutely Joe Amateur, I'm quite pleased with them (even though I see the imperfections more starkly now than I did when I took them!). Even after 24 years of using a film SLR and 6 years of using my first DSLR, my photos improved a lot after I got the K-30 in 2013. Some of that was because of the camera, and some because of the lenses I got, but mostly it was from three other things: (1) concentrating on technique, (2) learning to get more from the gear, and (3) shooting in RAW (DNG) and post-processing. I have to say, I owe a lot of that to advice from this forum.

So, some quick tips on those:
Technique: Everyone says use a tripod, remote shutter release and self-timer (automatically locks up the mirror to avoid mirror shake). Great advice - particularly for landscapes - but not always practical, especially for wildlife. If you are going to a fixed location to photograph wildlife, tripod is ideal. But (at least for me), a lot of wildlife photos just happen. You have to take the opportunity when it arises. That means handheld. Here's a great article about how to get more steady shots when shooting handheld. (It talks about long exposures, but it's applicable to any exposure.) I keep coming back to it from time to time. Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles

The other thing about technique is getting the focus right. That's possibly the most important thing with wildlife (or portraits). I tend to use single spot AF for more control and generally more accuracy, and for wildlife, focus on the eyes.

Getting more from the gear: You need to work out the optimal combination of shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity (ISO) for your camera/lens combination in each situation. The thing to remember is the interplay between these things. If you double the shutter speed, say from 1/250th second to 1/500th second, the reduction in light hitting the sensor that comes from reducing the exposure time by half is the same as if you narrowed the aperture by 1 aperture stop, say from f4 to f5.6, or from f5.6 to f8. The exposure of the image (assuming the same conditions) would be the same. Sensitivity is treated as equivalent. Each step in going from ISO 100 to 200 to 400 to 800 to 1600 is treated as the equivalent of one stop. You get a grainier image as you increase the sensitivity.

You can "spend" your stop of light on shutter speed, aperture or ISO. So a shot taken at 1/250th f5.6 and ISO 100 would be exposed the same as a shot taken in the same conditions at 1/500th f4 and ISO 100, or 1/500th f5.6 and ISO 200. Each involves a compromise. Slower shutter means more risk of blur (either from subject motion or camera motion). Wider aperture means less depth of field (which may or may not be what you want), but also may affect the ability of the lens to resolve detail. (Consumer zooms generally don't provide nearly as much detail at their widest aperture; their best is usually one or two aperture stops down.) Higher ISO reduces the quality of the image - not much when you go to ISO 400, but progressively more after that.

So here's the dilemma. For shooting birds at 300mm, if possible, keep your shutter speed above 1/500th, preferably higher. I definitely got better shots when I inched up my default shutter speed from 1/320th or so to 1/640th. For most bird shots, each increment above that is worth it, up to about 1/1000th. After 1/1000th (unless you are trying to freeze the movement of wings, or catch a really fast bird like a swift in flight) the returns diminish IMO. OK, so what does that mean for aperture? Well, a consumer zoom at 300mm will always resolve much better at f8 or f9 than at f5.6 or f6.3. So your ideal combination for birds (not in flight) is going to be something like 1/800th, f9, ISO 100. That's a narrow aperture and a fast shutter speed. OK in really bright light, but in anything less, you would have to push the ISO to 1600 or 3200. Then you will start to see real degradation in the image quality.

There's no pat answer to this. It's overcast, there's a bird hopping around, a strong wind blowing making it hard to steady yourself. You need to shoot at your longest reach, 300mm. The ideal setting is out of the question - it would severely under-expose, let's say by 4 stops or so. So what do you do? Slow the shutter to maybe 1/180th or 1/250th? Widen the aperture? Bump up the ISO? The only way to find out is to try different settings, look at the results, and make a note of them. With the DA-L 55-300, I tend to hold the line on aperture, and compromise on shutter and/or ISO. But I'm not even sure whether that's necessarily the right approach - I just lost confidence in its performance wide open. The K-30 was pretty good at 1600 ISO, and often tolerable at 3200 ISO, but I'd only use more than that if I was desperate. As for the shutter speed, sometimes with a slowish shutter, the answer is to fire a burst of maybe 5-6 shots. One will often be better than the others. But they might all be blurry. It's just about trial and error.

Post-processing: Not clear whether you are shooting RAW or not. If not, switch to RAW+jpg straight away. Even if you don't post-process now, file away the images and one day you might dust them off and process them. My biggest regret now is that I didn't do this when I had my first DSLR.

If money is an issue, there are decent free software options, and help available. For example, there a whole thread here about RawTherapee.

Happy shooting!


I appreciate your time and response. My 'problem' is that with my job and busy home life, I rarely have time to devote to photography or astronomy - my two favorite hobbies! So, being a part time enthusiast, it is difficult to do a lot, but I sure do enjoy shooting and reading and watching videos to learn how to do things better - if and when I ever get to do them!


I had purchased a real cheap lens 100-300 lens because I wanted a longer lens than my kit 70-200 that came with my K-50. I really do understand the old saying, get what you pay for...but this was more of an experiment and learning lab to try it out, than it was me actually 'expecting' to get a great quality lens at a steal of a price. I've been around the block a few times and I know better. But, it has been very educational, I've played with it some, and learned a lot here by asking questions. so all in all, my experiment has been very successful in my opinion.


BTW, I've got some amazing little blue birds that have taken up residence in a little bird house I setup for them, and I've gotten a few not terrible pictures - with camera hidden in my backyard on a tripod. I've always heard that 'Patience is a virtue', and that is so very true when it comes to bird watching and photographing in particular! I hope to post a few of my pics soon, and birds are the subject of my little club's project this month.


I have a few pictures of a Blue Heron and a red shouldered hawk as well, but he/she is very skittish and I can't get close at all to him. I have managed a few long distance flight shots, hand held, and they are not that good. Some are not terrible, and could definitely be worse - but it certainly is lacking in focus and steadiness due to being hand held and having to crop so much to get any decent sized image of the little birdies!


Oh, and a little about my history...I'm almost 57, started enjoying photography when I was about 15, have had Pentax gear my entire "career", from ME-Super, K-1000, to *ist Ds, and now a K-50. I did a lot of film photography over the years and even took a class in college. It was fun doing B&W photography and developing and printing while in school!


I have an old version of Photoshop Elements that I use to do some editing/enhancing, and I'm still learning about it. And I've played around a little bit with Irfanview too. I've got a LOT to learn about both of those programs and am a little overwhelmed at what all they can do. But, I like learning things, so, I guess that's good!

Anyway, thanks again for responding and encouraging me and motivating me to try hard and not give up and to keep on learning!


Astronomersmith

Last edited by Astronomersmith; 03-16-2018 at 01:45 PM. Reason: add more information
03-17-2018, 02:46 PM   #43
Des
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
I had purchased a real cheap lens 100-300 lens because I wanted a longer lens than my kit 70-200 that came with my K-50. I really do understand the old saying, get what you pay for...but this was more of an experiment and learning lab to try it out, than it was me actually 'expecting' to get a great quality lens at a steal of a price. I've been around the block a few times and I know better. But, it has been very educational, I've played with it some, and learned a lot here by asking questions. so all in all, my experiment has been very successful in my opinion.
Good to hear.

QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
BTW, I've got some amazing little blue birds that have taken up residence in a little bird house I setup for them, and I've gotten a few not terrible pictures - with camera hidden in my backyard on a tripod. I've always heard that 'Patience is a virtue', and that is so very true when it comes to bird watching and photographing in particular! I hope to post a few of my pics soon, and birds are the subject of my little club's project this month. I have a few pictures of a Blue Heron and a red shouldered hawk as well, but he/she is very skittish and I can't get close at all to him.
Look forward to seeing some shots.

QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
I have managed a few long distance flight shots, hand held, and they are not that good. Some are not terrible, and could definitely be worse - but it certainly is lacking in focus and steadiness due to being hand held and having to crop so much to get any decent sized image of the little birdies!
Birds in flight aren't easy. Mostly you need a fast shutter speed. Try 1/800th second or faster if possible, even if it means a wide aperture and high-ish ISO.

QuoteOriginally posted by Astronomersmith Quote
Oh, and a little about my history...I'm almost 57, started enjoying photography when I was about 15, have had Pentax gear my entire "career", from ME-Super, K-1000, to *ist Ds, and now a K-50. I did a lot of film photography over the years and even took a class in college. It was fun doing B&W photography and developing and printing while in school! I have an old version of Photoshop Elements that I use to do some editing/enhancing, and I'm still learning about it. And I've played around a little bit with Irfanview too. I've got a LOT to learn about both of those programs and am a little overwhelmed at what all they can do. But, I like learning things, so, I guess that's good! Anyway, thanks again for responding and encouraging me and motivating me to try hard and not give up and to keep on learning!
Yes, keep at it Scott. It's good to keep challenging yourself - as much as the other demands of life allow.

regards
Des
04-28-2018, 09:39 PM   #44
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I think its the lens. Ive owned the same one in the past and very rarely got a decent photo from it.
04-30-2018, 01:55 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by randomstuff Quote
Photo looks fine to me. It is however focused at infinity (trees) by the loos of it. Was that the goal? It could be back focusing.
Without knowing the point used to fokus, the lens can have back-focus or the photographer did focus the wrong area.
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