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05-06-2013, 12:27 AM   #1
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Advise - What lenses are good to shoot these beautiful birds...and portraits as well.

Hi! I recently got a K30 and have got 18-55WR and 50-200WR kit with it. Off late been trying to take some good photographs of humming birds!! I know its not an easy subject and add to that I am an amateur photographer. No previous DSLR experience. I do read articles here and there and try to learn basics, buts not up there. I've been shooting humming birds in neighbourhood but not very happy with my shots. I am not sure if kit lens are enough for it.

Would be great if you guys could suggest me some good lens not bomb expensive ones. Old would also be fine. That can help me take very good portrait photographs and humming birds!!!

Attaching a few sample shots I took with K30, for reference. These are taken in dark shaded patio, and have been post processed in Adobe Lightroom. Shutter speed was 1/1000 and ISO 400-800. Lens 50-200 WR at 200mm.

Sam

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05-06-2013, 01:15 AM   #2
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I would say you're doing pretty darn well.
Anything much better will cost you a bomb.
05-06-2013, 01:43 AM   #3
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Judging by jour pics you don't need anything more right now .
05-06-2013, 02:18 AM   #4
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Nothing wrong with those shots. You could give me a lesson!

05-06-2013, 03:42 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Very nice shots!

You could experiment with using a higher shutter speed and higher ISO that would allow you to freeze the wings. Also save up and get a fast telephoto prime lens that would allow you to use a higher shutter speed but because it lets in more light you could still keep your ISO lower for less noise.

Your shots are great though!!
05-06-2013, 04:55 AM   #6
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Very nice work. Flash is your friend. Even lower power settings will result in sharper images. C an't seem to find it now but there was a long thread a while back on power of flash and freezing humming birds in flight. You might look around the forum and see if you can find it.
05-06-2013, 05:08 AM   #7
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Hm, some people say the 55-300mm is better than the 50-200mm (others say they are practically the same). You can try adding a polarizing filter to change the contrasts a little. But those photos you posted are basically the best you can get from that lens without using flashes and post processing a lot. Those photos are pretty great, the focus seems to be right on
Thing is, with tele lenses the kit lenses are the best bang for buck. Anything significantly better will cost a lot more. You can try looking into Sigma lenses. Did you check out the lens review section on this forum? They also have sample photos, so you can search for tele primes
05-06-2013, 05:14 AM   #8
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Looks great!

05-06-2013, 06:08 AM   #9
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I also think these look just fine and would agree with the previous posters that the next step to better pictures would be improved lighting. Better lighting would mean lower ISO which might make the colours pop more and faster shutter speeds to prevent motion blur (or freezing motion if you use a flash).
05-06-2013, 06:26 AM   #10
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I wish I could have taken these pictures. These are really good.
One question though. If you are using K-30 at ISO 400, you shouldnt have that much noise.
How much have you cropped?
05-06-2013, 08:28 AM   #11
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I know I'd be happy if I got shots like that just starting out! What I will suggest is bumping up the ISO so you can use a smaller aperture to increase your depth of field (DOF). Keep your shutter at this high speed. The feeder is in sharp focus, but the birds are quickly moving in and out of the available DOF. If the DOF was deeper, you would likely get sharper focused images of the birds themselves.
05-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Culture Quote
I wish I could have taken these pictures. These are really good.
One question though. If you are using K-30 at ISO 400, you shouldnt have that much noise.
How much have you cropped?
I am not very sure what level I cropped them, but yes most there was always too much noise in all pics I take. These shots of humming birds were taken off neighbors patio and its dark shaded area most of the time so may be pics have too much noise. But I've noticed that even the indoor pics show excessive noise. That is why I'm not excited because most of the pics I take indoor have noise and I try to keep below ISO 400. At times the screen ISO indicators start flashing while composing a shot indoor and I've to bump up ISO max upto 800to compensate
05-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #13
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Thanks are for your suggestions and boosting my morale, I'll try to implement these suggestions. But I did try to use the in-built flash to take birds shot, but those did not come well.
05-06-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
I know I'd be happy if I got shots like that just starting out! What I will suggest is bumping up the ISO so you can use a smaller aperture to increase your depth of field (DOF). Keep your shutter at this high speed. The feeder is in sharp focus, but the birds are quickly moving in and out of the available DOF. If the DOF was deeper, you would likely get sharper focused images of the birds themselves.
Hi! Jim, thanks for suggestions. I am not being able to read in between not very techy with camera terminologies. When you say increase DOF then do you mean that to blur the other area in background and achieved bokeh kind of effect? Also does that mean to use custom AF square dots to focus only on birds?
05-06-2013, 08:03 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Hm, some people say the 55-300mm is better than the 50-200mm (others say they are practically the same). You can try adding a polarizing filter to change the contrasts a little. But those photos you posted are basically the best you can get from that lens without using flashes and post processing a lot. Those photos are pretty great, the focus seems to be right on
Thing is, with tele lenses the kit lenses are the best bang for buck. Anything significantly better will cost a lot more. You can try looking into Sigma lenses. Did you check out the lens review section on this forum? They also have sample photos, so you can search for tele primes
Hi! Thanks for suggestions.
Question: If I want to keep myself in budget line and use this lens :S-M-C/Super Takumar 200mm F4, would it give me better shots? I am getting this lens for $60 from someone. If not then what are alternative lens. Please name them may be I can make up mind to afford them.

Also, those shots were taken hand held and I've very very shaky hands (I am not old but may be I don't have control on that), that is one of main reason I chose Pentax because of shake reduction technology built in body. I am sure if I take pics using mono-pod or tripod it would be bit better, but I don't own one at this point of time.
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