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03-31-2020, 02:53 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Garry Conway Quote
I have worked as a professional photographer for many years and I almost always used a tripod and still do. It's an absolute, as far as I'm concerned, if you want sharper images. I would guess that over 85% of my photos where taken with a tripod. It gives maximum flexibility in controlling motion allowing me to shoot at very slow shutter speeds to get that milky look of water or getting the f-stop up higher to obtain greater depth of field and keeping the ISO low for better quality images.

Most people don't like carrying a tripod and while I would prefer not to, it makes an enormous difference. When I can, I also use a remote shutter release or shoot with the 2 second timer especially when I'm using slow shutter speeds. By the way if your using a tripod turn the camera's SR off

There are also technics I use for photographing moving animals and birds which helps me a lot. It takes a bit of practice but it's a skill worth learning. In tracking animals especially birds I always use the Viewfinder and not Live View. I find I have more successes tracking using the Viewfinder. Using the Viewfinder I keep both eyes open, one eye is watching for the bird inside the camera frame the other eye is looking at the overall scene outside of the camera, that way if the bird goes beyond the camera frame the other eye picks it up and I can then reposition the camera to get the bird in the frame again and it can happen very quickly it almost happens automatically.

When I'm shooting I usually use the spot focus setting. When photographing moving subjects (with the background a long way from the subject like birds against a sky) I change the focus setting to Expanded Auto Focus (getting the 33 focus points) and to Continuous Focus, this almost works like a focus limiter on a telephoto lens and reduces the amount of hunting the camera has to do as the subject moves through the image frame.

I also use the USER settings on the camera, and save such features to different USER numbers, I have one set up for photographing birds as I mentioned above, another set up for using my older lens and using the camera similar to having a motion sensor with Catch-In-Focus and another for Astro. It is so much faster to use the USER settings then to try and dig through the various menu settings to find what I want.

When I'm finished a shoot I always put the User setting back to my normal settings so when I pick up the camera another day I know what it is set for. I learned this the hard way after having been at a shoot and couldn't figure out why the camera was not doing what I had expected and I missed some very important shots all because I had changed a setting the previous shoot and forgot.

Getting sharpe images is part camera functions and part photographer ability.
Thanks so much Garry, your advice is what I wanted from you pro's. It's these little secrets that gives experienced photographers the edge over others.

03-31-2020, 02:55 PM - 2 Likes   #32
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If no tripod, why not monopod ? Less obtrusive, less weight, less obvious.
03-31-2020, 03:40 PM - 1 Like   #33
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My comment on tripods:

I have two very good ones, light, and equipped with well-reviewed heads. Also have a compact and convenient monopod. Know how much they get used? Maybe a half dozen opportunities in a year.

I find myself shooting alongside tripod-toting photogs fairly often and here's what happens. They spend a fair amount of time setting up, moving a bit forward, then back, maybe to the left, Bogarting a spot in effect while the light slowly changes which late in the day can be significant. But they do generally get at least a couple of well-focused images. As often than not though they aren't great images, or at least as good as they could have been. Moving just a few inches in some direction can make all the difference, and the tripod can hinder that.

So in the same amount of time I take several shots, maybe three or maybe 13 or even rarely 30, different angles and positions and compositions. A third of those will be perfectly focused while most will be reasonably so. Only a few will be discarded for missing focus entirely and instead discarded for "other reasons". But I'll generally get one very good shot at just the right angle and at just the right moment more often than not and still be moving on to the next shot and maybe the next too while the tripod photog is still in place.

Now there's a big exception to this, low light/evening shots where a good tripod can be essential. I ALWAYS have one available for night shots and TBH there's always one in the truck "just in case". A monopod too. For daytime good light I've not ever found a need for one outside of using an ND filter which is increasingly rare.

Personally I've found single point focus, back-button, and recompose while maintaining good grip, one hand on the camera and the other under the lens, elbow braced against my body if possible to equate to really good focus results. "Sony Eye-focus" quality LOL. I become a human tripod so to speak.

IMHO a tripod slows things down for me to the point where even tho I catch focus I miss the shot I might have captured if I'd not been setting up for a tripod shot. Out of a half dozen shots I'll be catching perfect focus anyway in all likelihood.

My 2 cents, but tripods have been pretty useless for me in decent early morning and daytime light, even in-studio stuff. Far more hindrance than help, something to get in the way, trip over, fall down and generally slow things down. YMMV of course. Whatever works for you.

Last edited by gatorguy; 03-31-2020 at 04:27 PM.
03-31-2020, 04:12 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Only true if the bird is accelerating.
No, it applies to shooting static subjects as well.
Increased polar moment of inertia reduces the yaw accelerations of the end of the lens resulting from normal handheld shake.
The camera/lens movement is principally a rotation about an area near the eye, resulting in larger movements at the lens hood end.
If the acceleration/velocity of these small movements can be reduced the SR can manage much better.
If you can hold the camera perfectly still (eg on a tripod) then SR isn't needed. Reducing the magnitude of the handheld shake moves closer to that ideal.
It's basic physics, but damned tricky to devise sound experiments that would yield results sufficiently accurate to show the advantage of any particular change to the polar moment of inertia.

Cheers,
Terry

03-31-2020, 04:38 PM   #35
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Well, basic physics applies to any protruding mass, camera, lens or whatever else. Just take a short strait pointer and hold it out by the near end by your body and try to keep the unsupported far end of it as still as you can. Now take a much longer pointer and do the same and see how much more difficult it is to keep the tip as still as was possible with the shorter pointer. By adding weight to the tip, the amount of weight is effectively magnified by the distance to the point of support, putting more stress on the support.

It really depends on where the support is relative to the tip. So you could use a long piece and just shorten it by moving the support point closer to the tip. This is also true of course with a camera/lens combo. Proper holding technique is VERY important for sharp results, as is holding the breath for the shot. With the left elbow braced against the torso, holding with the left hand from underneath for support with fingers on the lens body, or with longer lenses from underneath by the lens itself for better control, which also shortens the distance from point of support to the end. Also, with longer, heavier lenses, a bulkier, weightier camera body, as with the case of an added battery grip, can also act as a counter-weight, taking some stress off of the point of support. But this can vary depending on the camera body and the lens. The right hand is for added stability and to operate the shutter and certain other controls.
03-31-2020, 05:39 PM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
My comment on tripods:

I have two very good ones, light, and equipped with well-reviewed heads. Also have a compact and convenient monopod. Know how much they get used? Maybe a half dozen opportunities in a year.

I find myself shooting alongside tripod-toting photogs fairly often and here's what happens. They spend a fair amount of time setting up, moving a bit forward, then back, maybe to the left, Bogarting a spot in effect while the light slowly changes which late in the day can be significant. But they do generally get at least a couple of well-focused images. As often than not though they aren't great images, or at least as good as they could have been. Moving just a few inches in some direction can make all the difference, and the tripod can hinder that.

So in the same amount of time I take several shots, maybe three or maybe 13 or even rarely 30, different angles and positions and compositions. A third of those will be perfectly focused while most will be reasonably so. Only a few will be discarded for missing focus entirely and instead discarded for "other reasons". But I'll generally get one very good shot at just the right angle and at just the right moment more often than not and still be moving on to the next shot and maybe the next too while the tripod photog is still in place.

Now there's a big exception to this, low light/evening shots where a good tripod can be essential. I ALWAYS have one available for night shots and TBH there's always one in the truck "just in case". A monopod too. For daytime good light I've not ever found a need for one outside of using an ND filter which is increasingly rare.

Personally I've found single point focus, back-button, and recompose while maintaining good grip, one hand on the camera and the other under the lens, elbow braced against my body if possible to equate to really good focus results. "Sony Eye-focus" quality LOL. I become a human tripod so to speak.

IMHO a tripod slows things down for me to the point where even tho I catch focus I miss the shot I might have captured if I'd not been setting up for a tripod shot. Out of a half dozen shots I'll be catching perfect focus anyway in all likelihood.

My 2 cents, but tripods have been pretty useless for me in decent early morning and daytime light, even in-studio stuff. Far more hindrance than help, something to get in the way, trip over, fall down and generally slow things down. YMMV of course. Whatever works for you.


I am in full agreement with you. A tripod will reduce camera shake in most cases but is it worth the effort in setting it up and carrying it around? Not for me. I only use a tripod when I want to be in the photo with family and friends. Thanks for your comment and also helping to increase my vocabulary. I had never heard of the word "Bogarting" although I suspected it was about Humfrey. I checked the dictionary and now I know

---------- Post added 03-31-20 at 08:51 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
Thank you father (or mother).
God Bless You my Son.

Last edited by psoo; 03-31-2020 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Added text
03-31-2020, 06:37 PM   #37
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1) A good quality tripod.
2) Use a remote release.
3) Use Live view with focus magnification and focus manually.
4) Use mirror lock up.
03-31-2020, 06:38 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Well, basic physics applies to any protruding mass, camera, lens or whatever else. Just take a short strait pointer and hold it out by the near end by your body and try to keep the unsupported far end of it as still as you can. Now take a much longer pointer and do the same and see how much more difficult it is to keep the tip as still as was possible with the shorter pointer. By adding weight to the tip, the amount of weight is effectively magnified by the distance to the point of support, putting more stress on the support.
I agree that the force/moment required to hold the longer stick is greater, but the torque required to move it is also greater, and in the case of a handheld camera and long lens, this translates into smaller lower velocity movements. The tightrope walker with his long low weight pole is probably the best example. The rotational inertia of those poles is so high that it is difficult to shake them, the inertia resists sudden movements.
The whole point of moving mass away from the point of rotation is that the polar moment of inertia increase in proportional to the increased distance squared.
I'm not in basic disagreement with your comments. There is a price to pay for adding mass at a distance from the support, but I'm saying that the benefit in reduced vibration can be a plus. That benefit will not be useful if you add that much mass that it too heavy to handle.

Cheers,
Terry

03-31-2020, 07:16 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Only true if the bird is accelerating.

More direct to the matter of heavy kit for BIF (birds in flight), two words:
  • Tripod
  • Gimbal
FWIW, the same two words may apply to lighter kit too.


Steve
Nearly all of my birds are accelerating. When I approach a sitting duck it takes off and accelerates. As I pan my camera the camera also accelerates.
03-31-2020, 09:07 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Nearly all of my birds are accelerating. When I approach a sitting duck it takes off and accelerates. As I pan my camera the camera also accelerates.
Sorry for not making the WINK emoji a double WINK.

The intended take away is that if you want to increase sharpness on a pan, don't rely on your your own strength and smoothness to support the camera and lens. Of course, that requires that one is set in anticipation of where the birds will be flying and not shooting from the hip. I have a number of friends that shoot birds in flight and very few approach it in a manner similar to street photography. Those that get the shot almost never do. I also know a few that make their living photographing birds and other wildlife; they work exclusively on tripod and usually from a blind or vehicle or from a distance.

That does not mean that one might not get lucky, only that one is not likely to win any prizes for sharpness.

BIF, Gonzo Style




Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-31-2020 at 09:21 PM.
03-31-2020, 09:21 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
I am in full agreement with you. A tripod will reduce camera shake in most cases but is it worth the effort in setting it up and carrying it around? Not for me. I only use a tripod when I want to be in the photo with family and friends. Thanks for your comment and also helping to increase my vocabulary. I had never heard of the word "Bogarting" although I suspected it was about Humfrey. I checked the dictionary and now I know
A tripod will have the single greatest effect on sharpness that is available. Frankly there isn't much purpose in pursuing an attempt at maximizing sharpness if a tripod isn't part of the conversation.
03-31-2020, 09:52 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
A tripod will have the single greatest effect on sharpness that is available. Frankly there isn't much purpose in pursuing an attempt at maximizing sharpness if a tripod isn't part of the conversation.
You're right, if only shooting static subjects.
Trying to shoot birds perched or flying is a useless exercise using a tripod or monopod, in my experience.
The perched bird has gone by the time you have set up, and the flying bird comes along when you least expect it, and again no time to set up.
I have a lot of success shooting handheld, and I have my my techniques at maximising sharpness for the way I shoot, but that's my experience and no doubt others find things different.

Cheers,
Terry
03-31-2020, 10:36 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by tduell Quote
You're right, if only shooting static subjects.
Trying to shoot birds perched or flying is a useless exercise using a tripod or monopod, in my experience.
The perched bird has gone by the time you have set up, and the flying bird comes along when you least expect it, and again no time to set up.
I have a lot of success shooting handheld, and I have my my techniques at maximising sharpness for the way I shoot, but that's my experience and no doubt others find things different.

Cheers,
Terry
Iím not sure if that activity was mentioned. I thought he was looking for information on how to get sharper images in generic situations.
03-31-2020, 10:50 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by psoo Quote
Hi Wasp, let me see if I understand you. By hyperfocal distance do you mean the actual distance from the camera to the chosen image? If so, are you saying that an auto focussing camera could latch onto the horizon instead of say, the swan on a pond, which is your intended image. Thus the horizon would be in focus instead of the swan. Maybe the camera should be set to manual focus for these situations so that you focus on your intended object.
Yes, you focus on the swan instead of the horizon. Of course you stop down to f/8 or f/11. Focusing manually means that you are in control, and not some AI. Focusing on the swan means that more of the pond in front of it is in focus.

You could just dial the focus to the hyperfocal distance, but this is easier on an old school prime than a modern zoom. Some of them have markings for that. For instance, my olde 28mm shows that everything in focus from two meters to infinity when focus is set to three meters and aperture to f/8. On full frame, that is. On crop frame, the numbers are different and the markings aren't accurate anymore. Better crunch the numbers in such a case. There are resouces on the interwebs for that. Or juts focus on the swan.
03-31-2020, 11:18 PM   #45
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One thing to take into consideration with tripod use is wind. A substantial breeze can screw things up considerably.
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