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11-27-2015, 12:42 PM   #631
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An immature bald eagle image from earlier in the week.

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11-28-2015, 10:47 AM - 1 Like   #632
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Add another fantastic Norbet. Manual focus makes it all the more special
A Hamerkop in flight
11-29-2015, 12:01 AM   #633
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cross posted from the 300 club.

Grumpy parakeet in flight - glad I brought my 400 today. I'm still learning the BIF with the 560
12-05-2015, 07:20 PM   #634
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Parakeet? That's a Kestrel.

More ducks...



12-18-2015, 05:17 PM - 3 Likes   #635
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More eagles...

This was my first time out with the new K3II other than playing around close to home. Still getting used to it and trying to find the best settings.
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12-18-2015, 05:50 PM   #636
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Well, you sure nailed those shots!
12-18-2015, 06:15 PM   #637
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QuoteOriginally posted by wtlwdwgn Quote
Well, you sure nailed those shots!
+1 superb
12-21-2015, 07:00 AM   #638
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Working with my new K-3 and the DA*300mm (sometimes with the 1.4x TC) and I'm still not satisfied with my BIF shots. A lot of OOF shots and even when I'm close it's hard to get the whole bird in focus, given the available light and the shutter speed needed to deal with the movement of the bird. I do try to remember to turn off the shake reduction. More practice I guess.







12-21-2015, 07:20 AM   #639
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
Working with my new K-3 and the DA*300mm (sometimes with the 1.4x TC) and I'm still not satisfied with my BIF shots. A lot of OOF shots and even when I'm close it's hard to get the whole bird in focus, given the available light and the shutter speed needed to deal with the movement of the bird. I do try to remember to turn off the shake reduction.
What settings are you using?
12-21-2015, 07:48 AM   #640
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For these shots:

Spot focus with 8 adjacent points also selected

AFA (though I also tried AF Continuous)

Shutter priority

ISO between 200 and 400

Shutter speed 400 - 500/sec

Aperture between F8 and F10

Thanks for any advice you might have - I was hoping the K3 would improve my success rate!
12-21-2015, 08:37 AM - 3 Likes   #641
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QuoteOriginally posted by jacamar Quote
For these shots:
Spot focus with 8 adjacent points also selected
AFA (though I also tried AF Continuous)
Shutter priority
ISO between 200 and 400
Shutter speed 400 - 500/sec
Aperture between F8 and F10
Thanks for any advice you might have - I was hoping the K3 would improve my success rate!
I think you can make some improvements.

9-point Expandable AF is good for sports and for distant birds, but I would recommend 25-point (Expanded Area AF M) for birds that are close enough to fill a significant portion of the frame, as in your shots. The camera has to be able to follow the point it initially identified when the tracked point leaves the center of the frame.

AF-A is not recommended when you know there is going to be subject movement. In AF-A mode, there will be some hesitation while the camera decides whether AF-S or AF-C is most appropriate, and you don't want any hesitation for BIF.

Shutter priority allows the camera to take a photo when you press the shutter, regardless of whether your subject is in focus or not. This mode is sometimes recommended for sports shooting, where a blurry subject is better than nothing. Use Focus Priority for birds, because a blurry BIF photo is not useful.

I would definitely increase your shutter speeds. 1/500s is very marginal for BIF. I find 1/1000s is reliable and it is my default setting. I would compromise on ISO first and aperture second to keep shutter speeds up. Motion blur may be acceptable on the wings, but not on the entire bird.

You're being too careful with ISO. The K-3 noise is insignificant up to ISO 1300 according to DXOMark, and quite acceptable in my opinion until ISO 6400, assuming good noise reduction processing. You will rarely see really high ISO values because your camera is usually pointed at the bright sky. Are you shooting raw? What NR software are you using?

The DA*300 and 1.4X TC is sharpest at f8. Going beyond that will decrease sharpness. I think f8 is sufficient for single birds. I would only go smaller if I was trying to get more than one subject in focus.

You haven't mentioned AF Hold status, which is the control that leaves all previous Pentax bodies behind. I recommend AF Hold High for tracking, but you must be very careful to ensure that the subject is in focus before releasing the shutter, or else you will have a string of misses.

I always use TAv mode and high speed continuous shooting for action. I recommend CW metering and +0.5EC for birds in flight.

You are correct, SR should be off for panning.

I have User1 mode preset for all of the above, so I can go from shooting stills to BIF action with just a couple of clicks of the mode dial and never miss changing a setting. HTH.

Last edited by audiobomber; 12-21-2015 at 11:06 AM.
12-21-2015, 09:08 AM   #642
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Greatly appreciated, thank you, and I'm sure there will be others who can use this advice. I'm still learning the K-3 and haven't explored some of those functions.
I have just started shooting RAW with this new camera. There is noise reduction software in Photoshop Elements and I will try using that.
Now all I have to do is take a flight back to Florida and try to re-shoot some of those Storks, Ospreys and Pelicans! In the meantime I will look for raptors and waterfowl here in southern Ontario.
If you see improved BIF pics here from me in the future you can take a lot of the credit. I'm pleased with most of the non-flight shots I've been getting with this camera.
12-21-2015, 10:12 AM   #643
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I think you can make some improvements.

9-point Expandable AF is good for sports and for distant birds, but I would recommend 25-point (Expanded Area AF M) for birds that are close enough to fill a significant portion of the frame, as in your shots. The camera has to be able to follow the point it initially identified when the tracked point leaves the center of the frame.

AF-A is not recommended when you know there is going to be subject movement. In AF-A mode, there will be some hesitation while the camera decides whether AF-S or AF-C is most appropriate, and you don't want any hesitation for BIF.

Shutter priority allows the camera to take a photo when you press the shutter, regardless of whether your subject is in focus or not. This mode is sometimes recommended for sports shooting, where a blurry subject is better than nothing. Use Focus Priority for birds, because a blurry BIF photo is not useful.

I would definitely increase your shutter speeds. 1/500s is very marginal for birding. I find 1/1000s is reliable and it is my default setting. I would compromise on ISO first and aperture second to keep shutter speeds up. Motion blur can be acceptable on the wings, but not on the entire bird.

You're being too careful with ISO. The K-3 noise is insignificant up to ISO 1200 according to DXOMark, and quite acceptable in my opinion until ISO 6400, assuming good noise reduction processing. You will rarely see really high ISO values because your camera is usually pointed at the bright sky. Are you shooting raw? What NR software are you using?

The DA*300 and 1.4X TC is sharpest at f8. Going beyond that will decrease sharpness. I think f8 is sufficient for single birds. I would only go smaller if I was trying to get more than more subject in focus.

You haven't mentioned AF Hold status, which is the control that leaves all previous Pentax bodies behind. I recommend AF Hold High for tracking, but you must be very careful to ensure that the subject is in focus before releasing the shutter, or else you will have a string of misses.

I always use TAv mode for action. I recommend CW metering and +0.5EC for birds in flight.

You are correct, SR should be off for panning.

I have User1 mode preset for all of the above, so I can go from shooting stills to BIF action with just a couple of clicks of the mode dial and never miss changing a setting. HTH.
Thanks for posting these tips - you posted them elsewhere when I've asked and your settings have helped me. If I can get good with the current Pentax AF.C system I should be a real sharpshooter if Pentax catches up to the other AutoFocus systems - maybe even surpasses them with the forthcoming Pentax cameras
Either way your tips have really helped - thanks again.

Last edited by RockvilleBob; 12-21-2015 at 11:38 AM.
12-21-2015, 06:52 PM - 1 Like   #644
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QuoteOriginally posted by wtlwdwgn Quote
Well, you sure nailed those shots!
QuoteOriginally posted by RockvilleBob Quote
+1 superb
Thanks for the nice comments! I've had very little time with the K-3II but I'm finding it focuses faster than the K-50, hunts less and just seems to take sharper pictures all around. I'm hoping my BIF photography will improve.

I also enjoyed reading audiobomber's excellent tips (thanks!) and I'm looking forward to trying them out.

Here is another one from last week.
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12-23-2015, 03:43 AM   #645
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