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06-05-2008, 04:01 AM   #31
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AF could not do the job for you as your subjects were hiding behind the trees, which should be in focus if using AF. So, that's why there is a focusing mode called the MF.

Nonetheless, with an A lens, I bet you have no other choice to track any object even it is not a "difficult" one for the AF system.

QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Rookery in Toronto: first batch of shots
The first two were done in the same second. All were from A300mmF4 in
its panning shots with focus being adjusted continuously. I doubt the
best AF of any make (incl the best of Canon/Nikon) can manage this


06-05-2008, 02:30 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by RiceHigh Quote
Nonetheless, with an A lens, I bet you have no other choice to track any object even it is not a "difficult" one for the AF system.
In similar situation with interference (branches) the best AF (read Mk3 or D3 in current market) would have snapped to the branches while panning and refocusing constinuously.

It was impossible (for AF) in this rare case, not difficult. These two shots were done in the same second while I was focus tracking manually the bird.



QuoteQuote:
AF could not do the job for you as your subjects were hiding behind the trees, which should be in focus if using AF. So, that's why there is a focusing mode called the MF.
They were in and out of open area. I cannot afford the AF longer lens anyway. Even if I have , the AF( in this case Pentax) still cannot cope with it .









Details of my manual focus method (for BIF) which is radically different from the traditional 'focus trap' method (both AF/manual) is detailed in here.

BIF ok with manual focus lens: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review


I usually give up focusing the first second of BIF shots. When I see the flying subject within my range of around 70 ft, I raise up my camera and fire already. As I have set MF, the camera just keep firing not in focus. I only concentrate on the focus of the 2nd ..3rd..4th ...second while panning and focusing/following the bird in constant motion.

One great benefit over that of the focus trap method is that my subsequent shots have less vibration impact than the first one which is given up already (bound to be OOF) .




Daniel

Last edited by danielchtong; 06-05-2008 at 07:26 PM.
06-06-2008, 02:50 AM   #33
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I think I have to comment further that you have very good skills and techniques which overcome the limtations of your gear. Congrats!
06-06-2008, 12:40 PM   #34
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Interesting technique, Daniel, I'm looking forward to trying it at my next sports shoot.

I'm curious what settings you are using on the camera visa-via image file size? (I'm wondering about the interval between shots that the gear is able to support.)

re-t

06-06-2008, 02:34 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by tpeace Quote
Interesting technique, Daniel, I'm looking forward to trying it at my next sports shoot.

I'm curious what settings you are using on the camera visa-via image file size? (I'm wondering about the interval between shots that the gear is able to support.)

re-t
Thanks RH & tpeace for the positives. We poor Pentaxians got to improvise and our predictive focus tracking system is still in its infancy.

Here are the setting. Full size jpg (no raw) , a fast sd card, all manual incl metering (that gives you one more fps), 1/1000s or faster, F number further stepped down the better depending on light situation , MF , burst mode, focus on subject (coming sideway not towards you) around 70 ft away for a 300mm lens, fire when subject comes to within range and adjust focus ring as far as you can see on the viewfinder.

For my K100D only full manual will give me around 2 or 2.5 fps.

I did quite a few practice on motorcycle on a roadway which goes with predictable path. BIF will be a challenge in the beginning.

Practice by focusing on the helmet of a motorcylist crossing sideway. It does not cost anything and it gives you good visual and manual practice. After a little while you will turn your focus ring in the right direction and at right pace.

Here is another clear example of a focused 2nd and 3 rd shot . The 1st one was not in focus. See the exif for the time taken. It would have been impossible with exising Pentax AF focus trap method. The camera could have been stuck when the bird would be gone.





The bird was so fast that I could not even have the bird centred in my frame. A Pentaxian (Kjell) commented that in this way the only thing that I can blame is myself for losing the subject - and I was not fast enough.

But if I use Pentax AF system and let the bird go, I would have thought: "hey, MkIII or D3 would have saved my day".

A lot of you guys can do better than me-I am 58 and wear glass. All my gears were AF until I could not find a good F/FA300mm 2 yrs ago and ended up with an A300mm. After around 10k trial & blurry shots I got it.



Daniel

Last edited by danielchtong; 06-07-2008 at 04:10 AM.
06-06-2008, 04:07 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Rookery in Toronto: first batch of shots
The first two were done in the same second. All were from A300mmF4 in
its panning shots with focus being adjusted continuously. I doubt the
best AF of any make (incl the best of Canon/Nikon) can manage this
I tried the Sigma AF 170-500 on my MZ-S, and kept the manual focus 400/5.6. The extra reach was offset by the lens being soft at the long end, and every time I tried to use AF, the braches were perfectly in focus, and the bird was fuzzy. There was no gain to the lens for me.
06-06-2008, 07:51 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I tried the Sigma AF 170-500 on my MZ-S, and kept the manual focus 400/5.6. The extra reach was offset by the lens being soft at the long end, and every time I tried to use AF, the braches were perfectly in focus, and the bird was fuzzy. There was no gain to the lens for me.
Wow telelens on film body! 4-500mm lens has even thinner DoF and that could be the reason for softness.
I thought FF or BF is less serious in film body?
I guess the wastage must be horrendous in shooting film . I recall in good old film days, it had never been cheap shooting wildlife in motion. Typically I get nowaday just 20% of ok shots with A300mm when doing BIF.

Daniel

Last edited by danielchtong; 06-07-2008 at 03:44 AM.
06-06-2008, 08:59 PM   #38
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All I can say is that these are awesome, Daniel! I'm not sure my reactions are fast enough to handle your method - I usually only manage one or maybe two shots of birds in flight at one time, but then I haven't tried to use burst mode much. I think I've only had one panning shot work, too.

06-07-2008, 03:43 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
All I can say is that these are awesome, Daniel! I'm not sure my reactions are fast enough to handle your method - I usually only manage one or maybe two shots of birds in flight at one time,
Well. Initially try to take a slow moving subject moving sideway, e.g. a kid, pet.....instead of the unpredictable flight path of bird. As I said it does not cost anything and it is immensely rewarding if you make it. Just more practice.
Chance is high that all will be in focus for slower subject if you have good light at F8 - F11 as the depth of field is larger.

Success/keeper rate drops exponentially for faster moving subject , smaller aperture or longer lens.

QuoteQuote:
I haven't tried to use burst mode much. I think I've only had one panning shot work, too.
Hmm although my method involves panning (following the subject), it does not fall into the traditional definition of a normal 'panning' mode. Normally panning mode involves slower shutter speed under 1/500s with the background completely blurred up. This stresses the motion particularly the background.

My method requires high shutter speed (faster than 1/1000s) freezing the action. And my background is usu clear without sign of motion


Here is another series of a geese landing





Because of low light I had to use iso 1600 1/3200s and F5.6. See the exif re the timing. All three were taken within 2 second. As you can see there is zero motion of the background at all. The high shutter speed is needed for me turning the focus ring and panning


Daniel

Last edited by danielchtong; 06-07-2008 at 04:40 AM.
06-07-2008, 05:05 PM   #40
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Knowledge, technique and practice.

Knowledge of the subjects movements and behavior.
Technique - turn the auto stuff off and use what you know rather than leaving up to automation.
Practice - working at getting these types of shots over a reasonably long period of time.

Who would have thunk it!

So what to we get from the likes of the measurbaters? "I coulda done that if I wasn't using a Pentax - because we all know that Pentax 'has issues'". Translation - "I could not do this do to the fact that I have no skill, no subject knowledge, no technique and I do not even know how to use anything but green/autoeverything mode, therefore it is the fault of the camera not my lack of knowledge."

Nice images Daniel,well done and thanks for the clear description of the technique used.

The Elitist - formerly known as PDL
06-08-2008, 03:47 AM   #41
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PDL ,
Thanks for the input.

QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
All I can say is that these are awesome, Daniel! I'm not sure my reactions are fast enough to handle your method - I usually only manage one or maybe two shots of birds in flight at one time, but then I haven't tried to use burst mode much. I think I've only had one panning shot work, too.
I want to elaborate further on the pro and cons of these two methods.

Traditionally, for BIF image, it is called 'focus trap' method. You do AF and try to predict where a bird may appear. You press the shutter and it will only fire when the subject is in focus. Best scenario : Bingo you have got a great shot. If the bird comes in too fast the camera does hesitate and it is over and you back focus a lot. While your AF is still on and the camera is searching to refocus for the 2nd shot , you have to pray that your AF does not do the notorious with the focus ring going the wrong way in which event the AF can only snap back to the subject one round later. The bird will be just gone.

In this process, both Canon/Nikon have big advantage over Pentax in that their refocusing time is a lot faster. And for any missed great shot, you will decide that the other camera system will give you the image. Whether that is true is something else. You just believe in it. You are held captive by the automation process. If your AF is not fast enough buy the Mk 4 or Nikon D3 version 2. Before you know, your upgrading processing is in your hardware and nothing else as the camera is supposed to snap to the image you so desire. You are suppposed to point your camera to the general direction of a flying bird. And it is supposed to snap the image and lock focus of the subject jus tlike that.
The latest gear from Canon/Nikon are really tech marvel. The process (mirror slaps up, focus and meter the moving subject, morror slap down) is repeated 10 times in a 10FPS burst all in a single second. And no wonder their circuit heats up fast indeed.

Manual focus method for BIF The 'focus trap' method excels (if you get that) in the first shot and you place all the bet on it as far as Pentax is concerned. My manual method (all MF, M metering, burst, 1/1000s or faster) actually forgoes the first second. When the bird comes within my range (around 70-80 ft) , I raise up my camera and fire blank (off focus) the first second. My camera will not hunt. It just fire non-stop even blank. And I spend all the effort on focusing in the 2nd , 3rd 4th....second while panning and following the flying bird. That I have to say is the most technical part. But bigger DoF (small F number) and of course , practice, help.

To sum it up: it has been all fun and pretty rewarding

Daniel
06-08-2008, 10:38 AM   #42
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wow look at the...

Wow look at the drumsticks on that fifth shot.

As for impossible, spot focus would probably do the trick since the camera would only focus on what the little dot was aimed at.

None the less interesting shots. Not great, too much tree in the way. Nothing I would print or frame, but interesting.

Robert
06-08-2008, 06:17 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robert Barnett Quote
As for impossible, spot focus would probably do the trick since the camera would only focus on what the little dot was aimed at.
None the less interesting shots. Not great, too much tree in the way. Nothing I would print or frame, but interesting.
Robert
Robert

I agree that these are ok shots at best. But they do illustrate that AF would not work even with spot focus. See image below. When I was panning, the focus spot would have just snapped to the any of the branches in front. Worse still, the camera just could not cope with it (almost 100% ) and hunt just for one round. For a long lens, one round (from min. distance to infinity) takes a while. For a BIF shooters, the game is over and the bird is gone . For manual shooters like me, we can see through the minor interference and still lock the subject in focus. That is why I said that the best and most sophisticated AF system (read C&N) cannot cope with such special circumstance (re interference)




Daniel
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