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06-11-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
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Settings for Bird photography with KR + 55-300mm lens

Hi

Next week i am planning to for a Bird photography for the first time ! so i would like to know what are the better settings(mode,AF type,exposure..etc)
to achieve good bird photos?
I will be carrying KR with PENTAX 55-300MM lens.

Thanks
Ajaya

06-11-2012, 11:22 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Use Tv mode with Auto ISO (100-3200) and set the shutter speed to at least 1/320. Use center point AF and try to make the head the point of focus. With a 300mm lens you are going to be cropping anyway.

If you are going to try to catch a bird in flight use multi point AF and AF-C.
06-12-2012, 12:32 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajaya Quote
Hi

Next week i am planning to for a Bird photography for the first time ! so i would like to know what are the better settings(mode,AF type,exposure..etc)
to achieve good bird photos?
I will be carrying KR with PENTAX 55-300MM lens.

Thanks
Ajaya
I haven't shot 55-300 for almost two years. As I remember, the sharpest output is at f/8-f/11. Try to use TAv mode. Set shutter speed as fast as possible for your light conditions. It is not easy to keep 1/1000-1/1250 at f/8, I know. However, for the fast moving small birds you'll get a lot of smudged images, if shutter speed is slower; especially for the BIF. Don't forget to check what ISO your camera is selecting. Drop the shutter speed, if ISO is going higher than 800 (I shoot K-5, so for K-r it might be lower) or switch to A-priority. If the bird is sitting still, you can use even 1/250-1/320 in A-mode and low ISO for better noise control.
The real secret of taking decent shots of small birds is to get as close as 10-12ft. to it at least. For larger birds shooting distance is longer, of course.

Last edited by Greyser; 06-12-2012 at 12:42 AM.
06-12-2012, 01:39 AM   #4
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Agreed ...

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Use Tv mode with Auto ISO (100-3200) and set the shutter speed to at least 1/320. Use center point AF and try to make the head the point of focus. With a 300mm lens you are going to be cropping anyway.

If you are going to try to catch a bird in flight use multi point AF and AF-C.
Bonjour,

Another suggestion could be to try a few shots in CIF mode ... 'Catch In Focus' ... My wife seems to have some success here.

Salut, J Frog


06-12-2012, 02:31 AM   #5
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thanks for all the tips. i am interested in taking photos of Flying birds ! so i will try the settings which is mentioned. hope will come up with something better
06-12-2012, 08:06 AM   #6
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i have found that with the ever improving high ISO capabilities of the cameras that I am using auto ISO, and TAV mode, where I set the shooting aperture and shutter speed I want and let the ISO go where the camera needs to get the exposure, I would also consider here using spot metering, because what is all important is the subject, not the background,

set the AF point to the center one (most accurate any way) and will be focusing on the point you are metering to.

As for shutter speed, I would set to at least 1/300 but try for a little more, maybe 1/500. the reason for a high shutter speed is as follows.

Unless you are using a rock solid tripod, you will be hand holding. While I find SR is good (with good technique) given you are shooting with only 300mm, you will be cropping in quite a bit more than some other birders, and as a result the rule of thumb for hand holding does not really apply. a fast shutter takes care of the blur
06-12-2012, 08:15 AM   #7
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No TAv on a K-r, I guess.
06-12-2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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If you are shooting at the long end (300 mm) make sure you stop down the lens a bit. The DA 55-300 produces good results at 300mm wide open (F5.8) but if you stop even at F6.3 or F7.1 you get a noticeable improvement both in contrast and, with the extra DOF, in sharpness. If the lighting conditions allow, set it to F8 for overall best image quality.

Also check the lens for front/back Auto focus issues and calibrate as needed.

06-12-2012, 12:56 PM - 1 Like   #9
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A few more things

As I remember the 55-300 hunts a lot at 300mm. The most reliable is Center focus choice. Also when shooting BIF (and quick birds in general) switch the camera to continuous mode. As I said above use f/8 at least. It is sharp and also helps to maintain more forgiving wider DOF. Regardless of the shooting mode, use the shortest shutter speed possible, maintaining ISO with no or acceptable noise.
Good luck.
06-12-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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If you're trying for birds in flight, realize that you're going to have a lot of misses, and don't be disappointed. Shooting BIFs is a skill that takes time to acquire.
06-12-2012, 11:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
i have found that with the ever improving high ISO capabilities of the cameras that I am using auto ISO, and TAV mode, where I set the shooting aperture and shutter speed I want and let the ISO go where the camera needs to get the exposure, I would also consider here using spot metering, because what is all important is the subject, not the background,

set the AF point to the center one (most accurate any way) and will be focusing on the point you are metering to.

As for shutter speed, I would set to at least 1/300 but try for a little more, maybe 1/500. the reason for a high shutter speed is as follows.

Unless you are using a rock solid tripod, you will be hand holding. While I find SR is good (with good technique) given you are shooting with only 300mm, you will be cropping in quite a bit more than some other birders, and as a result the rule of thumb for hand holding does not really apply. a fast shutter takes care of the blur
i dont have TAV mode since its been while i bought my KR i need to buy an tripod. But is Tripod very much required for Bird photography ?
06-12-2012, 11:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Greyser Quote
As I remember the 55-300 hunts a lot at 300mm. The most reliable is Center focus choice. Also when shooting BIF (and quick birds in general) switch the camera to continuous mode. As I said above use f/8 at least. It is sharp and also helps to maintain more forgiving wider DOF. Regardless of the shooting mode, use the shortest shutter speed possible, maintaining ISO with no or acceptable noise.
Good luck.
Thanks,Yes i will try to maintain f/8 as much as possible.
06-12-2012, 11:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
If you're trying for birds in flight, realize that you're going to have a lot of misses, and don't be disappointed. Shooting BIFs is a skill that takes time to acquire.
yeh. i know its very hard to catch flying bird. i want to capture"bird eating fish" photo its my Fav hope i will get at least one good pic
06-13-2012, 02:55 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajaya Quote
yeh. i know its very hard to catch flying bird. i want to capture"bird eating fish" photo its my Fav hope i will get at least one good pic
What birds are you watching?
If it's say, a heron, They're a slow mover on the hunt wading through water.
A tripod is a recommended piece of kit as you can generally follow the bird and keep your shutter speed a bit slower.
Harder to do if you're watching a small bird fly from branch to branch, then you'll have to go handheld.

I'd use the Camera on Tv.
Depending on conditions, I usually shoot from 1/500 - 1/1250.
You'll miss a lot, keep checking your results and see whats working; if the photos are looking blurred, you'll need to up the shutter speed.
I would also use F8.

It takes time, and I often get a lot of misses, but by sticking with it I always end up with some keepers.

Last edited by mickey; 06-13-2012 at 03:05 AM.
06-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mickey Quote
What birds are you watching?
If it's say, a heron, They're a slow mover on the hunt wading through water.
A tripod is a recommended piece of kit as you can generally follow the bird and keep your shutter speed a bit slower.
Harder to do if you're watching a small bird fly from branch to branch, then you'll have to go handheld.

I'd use the Camera on Tv.
Depending on conditions, I usually shoot from 1/500 - 1/1250.
You'll miss a lot, keep checking your results and see whats working; if the photos are looking blurred, you'll need to up the shutter speed.
I would also use F8.

It takes time, and I often get a lot of misses, but by sticking with it I always end up with some keepers.
Thanks for the tip
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