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01-07-2013, 07:04 PM   #16
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Catching squirrels running around at F8 doesn't seem that great :\ That usually put me into the ISO 1600 category for any decent shutter speed unless it was super bright outside.

I must admit the camera loved to front focus. I would face it at the groundhog, for example, and the focus square would like to pick the grass in front.

I'll make sure to keep an eye on that when i get my K-30

Great post calculator. I must admit I was biased towards pentax combo over nikon combo (hence why im posting the question here i guess ) but when you said you think that combo is a little bit better than the d7000 combo... i just went ahead and bought the k30. i dont necessarily need to spend another 150 for the k-5 in my application i think.

Last edited by teylix; 01-07-2013 at 07:09 PM.
01-08-2013, 05:37 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You want to shoot 300mm hand held? You might get lucky every now and then, but probably a waste of time. Use a tripod.

that is one honk'in big telescope you have there
I never seen a *300 before and likely will never see one in person either
I think for squirrels I would get an old manual 300 f4 or 5.6. they are quiet a bit smaller so you can at least hand hold it. old 200 would likely be ok as well.


01-08-2013, 08:57 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
I think for squirrels I would get an old manual 300 f4 or 5.6. they are quiet a bit smaller so you can at least hand hold it.
A monopod can work very well also and it is a lot more flexible than a tripod if you move around a lot. Just remember to leave SR on when on a monopod.
01-08-2013, 10:56 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
Originally posted by teylix
It seems alright but I don't seem to get that extra clarity I'm seeing in the Da* 300mm photos.

It appears to me that your images are front focused. You can calibrate the camera with the 55-300 lens to nail focus and then the images will be much sharper.

Also the 55-300 at the 300mm end benefits significantly if you stop it down a bit. Even at F6.3 or F7.1 you can see a difference. If conditions allows try F8.

From my experience, if you do not go all the way to 300 and stay around 270mm (where the max F stop goes from 5.6 to 5.8) you get sharper images.

A tripod (or monopod) of course will provide the most benefit along with a strong flash.
ditto - and regarding the front focus, you will need to check if that really is a needed camera calibration, or what the camera is selecting as the subject. Any time your subject is surrounded by high contrast scene elements (grass, twigs, rough bark are good examples), you have to be especially careful. I prefer to use not let the camera select the focus points. I either stick with the center point or select the focus point myself.

And to be blunt there are just sometimes when it is faster to just manually focus. In my case, I gave up using auto-focus on squirrels in trees some time back; I had too many photos of razor sharp branches just above or below the squirrel.

01-09-2013, 10:50 PM   #20

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Hi teylix,

Some pretty good advice here. I end up shooting squirrels for practice when there aren't birds around because the little devils are challenging. I usually like to shoot longer than 300mm because I can stay outside their safety radius and still get pretty good close ups. Even though the squirrels around here are pretty used to people, it's still hard to really get close.

I also find handholding is more effective than using either a tripod or monopod because I generally need a bit more freedom in camera positioning than most support will give me -- like getting low even though my aging knees protest vigorously. Of course, for really big glass, there is no other way to go, but up to 510mm, with an FA* 300 f4.5 and Pentax F 1.7x Auto Focusing Adapter, I'm good handheld. Different people have different capabilities, but with the higher ISO capabilities of the K-5 and K-5 IIs (and your new K30), it's easier to get higher shutter speeds, even with slow max aperture combinations like I use. I've found with SR, I'm pretty confident on getting a good percentage of usable images handheld at 1/125 or faster with the 510mm kit.

Here are two examples -- the first is a melanistic black-gray squirrel. I've been trying without any success to get a good shot of one of these guys for over 6 years. Got this one first day out with the K-5 IIs right after I set it up as I like -- who woulda guessed. . .

K-5 IIs, FA* 300 f4.5 + F 1.7x AFA, f8 (lens wide open), 1/250, ISO 4500. PP'd with very light applications of Topaz Denoise, Topaz InFocus, resized for posting. No cropping, handheld, shot in jpeg ***.

A plain gray snacking from the same day.

K-5 IIs, FA* 300 f4.5 + F 1.7x AFA, f8 (lens wide open), 1/250, ISO 6400, PP'd with very light applications of Topaz Denoise, Topaz InFocus, resized for posting. No cropping, handheld, shot in jpeg ***.

Congrats on your K30! and good luck in your squirreling!

01-10-2013, 03:30 AM   #21
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Your No.1 shot is truly excellently sharp and well focused. I can just about pat him through my screen!

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