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07-08-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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BIF Photography


I'd like to know about Pentax shooters doing Bird In Flight photography. I've began posting in another forum and I found very few people using Pentax gear. Almost all the people are using Canon or Nikon stuff. Are any of you interesting in this type of photography? I'd like to share impresion about how Pentax gear behave for this discipline.


MODERATOR NOTE: This thread is a combination of two that have been merged.

Last edited by Damn Brit; 07-26-2009 at 02:49 AM.
07-08-2009, 10:11 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Yes we have plenty of BIF shooters in the forum for you, me included. Existing threads are here for you to search and find. Sorry, searching for "BIF" does not seem to do anything. Maybe its too short for the search engine, I don't know. But the threads are out there. Join up. Check the pics and add a few.

Maybe somebody smarter than me will jump in and explain how to search for "BIF" across the Forum.
07-08-2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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since BIF is too short for the way the site's search is setup try this one: - Search Results

I used BIF bird I did not look further but it's a start.


Here is a collection of birding shots from a Pentax user I just happened across here:

The user name here is the same as the SmugMug ID...

Last edited by brecklundin; 07-08-2009 at 10:34 PM.
07-09-2009, 07:27 PM - 3 Likes   #4
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Birds in Flight

Taken with K100 and K10.

07-14-2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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First at all, I want to thanks all of us for your quickly responses. I've seen some good pictures here, especially I like the numbers 1 and 4 from jmc7104, but also some post on the link Chris MacAskill : photos : Friends,
that becklundin have indeed, and finally the herons from imtheguy gallegy. I've started this thread one week ago, and only you have post a reply. It seems like there's no much Pentax shooter interested in this type of photography it make me think that Pentax gear isn't been design for that. I bought my K10D 2 and a half years ago and when at that time I was not thinking about birds photography, but it engage me and when I talked to other photographer they recommeded me change my camera to a D300 or 50D because of the faster AF speed and the range of long lenses avaible, but I'm not sure because I love my K10D, the build quality, the ergonomics and handing, the image quality but I'm not sure about the AF perfomance compared with D200/D300 or 40D/50D. Can you help me? Any of you have been using N or C and can do a comparison?

I'm looking forward to hearing you.


I'm sorry if I make mistake in writting, but I'm not a English speaker.
07-14-2009, 01:30 PM   #6
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I guess very few can be bothered to once again start a mayhem regarding af-speed and long lenses. It has been discussed so many times on this site that it's now just plain boring.

Can't beat canon if you're looking for a gigantic lens lineup and since most DSLR cameras out there is a Canon, you'll obviously also find most pictures from those cameras. Pentax is a very small brand with very few photographers in comparison. I think the "lack of lenses"-argument is rather exaggerated. You can for instance buy a Sigma 500/4.5 in Pentax mount. If you have the money to by an Canon EF 800/5.6L or 600/4 you're probably not in the same market segment as Pentax anyhow.

When it comes to BIF however, AF-speed is not as important as you might think. When using a long tele I think you'll have to be pretty good to follow the bird in a way that the AF sensors will get a good enough basis to work with. Obviously a lens with a focus limiter will be of great help there. I for one actually prefer to do BIF with manual focus. Assuming that you actually plan how you'll be able to catch the shot of course.

A couple of BIF from me (just click on them to view larger size on flickr):

If you expect to shoot a random bird that just happens to fly past you as you walk along the street you'll might be better of with some Canon or Nikon with built in radar, laser guided tracking and built in Auto BIF-mode.

The cool thing if you buy a Canon or Nikon is that you'll have no reason to complain on the equipment since there are so many others that have made great pictures with that brand already.
07-14-2009, 08:19 PM - 1 Like   #7
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It's hard
first of all tuern off shake reduction, unless the bird is coming straight on, the panning causes blurr

For ospreys, get them hovering

07-14-2009, 09:05 PM   #8
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Though not exactly a pretty shot...

K100D with 300mm zoom.

I'm a beginner at "BIF".
07-16-2009, 04:39 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Jabiru (Australian Black necked Storks)

K20D Schneider Kreuznach TeleXenar m42 360 F5.5 Manually Focussed

Royal Spoonbill

K20D DA 16-45 at about 45mm Sometimes we are forced to use whatever is on the camera. :-)
07-16-2009, 05:32 AM   #10
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I used to do a fair bit of bird photography and have just recently gotten back into it again. This time, I'm doing flight shots instead of perched birds.

A couple of things I've learned so far:
-no matter what species of swallow you're trying to photograph, by the end of the day you're ready to beat your head against a wall. They make crows, hawks and herons seem like a walk in the park.
-there is no magic setting that works in all circumstances. I've hit shots by manually focusing, using single-shot AF and AF-C. About the only constant is you're better off (if auto-focusing) sticking to one AF sensor instead of using them all.

One of my humble attempts so far (and I acknowledge I've got a fair bit of room for improvement):
07-16-2009, 05:39 AM   #11
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I've done a little, but am still learning. I have a few on Flickr from our last trip to the Volo Bog. My wife took the series with the swallows, I'm not sure what the camera was set for, but it looks like it might have been in green mode. It was her first experience with continuous shooting, and I spotted for her, letting her know when to start shooting. Had I checked the settings earlier, I would have set to Tv with a much faster shutter speed, but you take what you get.

I'm hoping to do more in-flight photography.

My photostream, scroll to the bottom of the page and the swallows start:
Flickr: TER-OR's Photostream

Some other good photos on flickr with the names Scooter 72 and emace. They're not Pentax shooters, though emace has some dragonflies in-flight!
07-16-2009, 06:31 AM   #12
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I should have responded to your post if I have seen it earlier.

Anyway, I think you already know that wildlife photography has been always dominated by C & N but don't let this you down. You have a very fine and capable K10D camera. I'm using it with a sigma 100-300mm/F4 + sigma 1.4x teleconverter and I'm very happy with the IQ.

In the Philippines birding forum where I'm also a member, I'm the only one using a Pentax body and a member commented that he appreciates by the image quality of the pictures that I'm posting. To me that was a good compliment since I've been shooting wildlife only for about 4 months and on weekends. So far this is the method I'm using for BIF.

-AF-C for focus mode
-Center focus only (you can use multi-point if sky is clear)
-ISO400-600 (to ensure high shutter value)

-Hyper manual metering mode, green button is good for this (pre-meter on any mid-tone object on the ground to get correct exposure, make additional adjustment to aperture/speed if necessary or meter to the sky and expose to the right)
-SR off
-Continuous shooting drive mode

-If using a zoom, start at the widest and slowly zooming in as the subject approaching, then fire away if you're happy with the framing. I find the K10D to acquire faster focus with this method.

Hope this helps.

07-16-2009, 06:33 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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BIF with Pentax

BIF shots can be done with Pentax gear and good results can come from it, but those types of shots are easier with Canon or Nikon gear. They focus faster and have focus limiters so the lens doesn't have to hunt as much if it looses focus on a flying bird. This is especially true if the bird is flying at you, which can be very frustrating with Pentax gear.

BIF shots with Pentax gear is always a compromise, but it is not impossible. Here is a shot I took with a K10D, hand held using AF that came out fairly well.

07-17-2009, 10:46 PM   #14
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If someone is looking to find a nice site dedicated to BIF shooting I really recommend the Birds as Art site here:

Arthur Morris / BIRDS AS ART

I am not a dedicated BIF shooter but I still subscribe to their newsletter and enjoy it a lot.
07-18-2009, 12:45 AM - 4 Likes   #15
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Can I add my (few) BIF pictures here? It's something I like to do, but I don't have the good gear up to now, let alone my poor skills.... In the future, I hope to get some longer glass. And some better skills, of course....

Super-Takumar 200mm f/4.0

Pentax-DA 70mm f/2.4 ltd.

Super-Takumar 200mm f/4.0

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