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04-06-2017, 06:28 AM   #91
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ian Stuart Forsyth Quote
I like to select an AF point to better reflect the area I want to focus on for BIF, cars and bikes.

One of the reasons why I like to use this approach is if I am using the center point often times that puts the back half of the target closers to the outer frame of the photograph and give a chance of clipping the target.
OK, thanks!

04-06-2017, 12:32 PM   #92
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
My angst is about the huge number of opportunities of bird photos I have missed because the DA*300 suddenly decides to hunt wildly in the wrong direction, and the same lens doing the same thing when presented with something as large as an F18 Super Hornet at point blank range filling the entire viewfinder.....
Pentax software seems to start its process by trying closer, and sometimes it doesn't think to try farther at all. I noticed this issue when I was photographing running squirrels at a nearby campus; remembering words I read here at the PF {from Norm, I think}, the next time I tried to take a photograph like that, I manually moved it out to infinity ... and this time it focused correctly. Anticipating that kind of behavior is what people sometimes mean when they talk about importance of the part behind the viewfinder ... but I do agree that having smarter, or more flexible, software would be nice.
04-08-2017, 12:43 PM   #93
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I have a K-5 and K10D that I use with my Sigma 150-500 and old, first edition 55-300. I take pics of wild birds particularly Owls, Pelicans, etc...also drag racing car running down the track.

I photograph with the Sigma during the day, use F 10, 1600 ISO, motor drive, continuous focus, spot meter settings on the K-5...aim for the eye of the birds. I get a few shots where I've blown it, but mostly this outfit works very well at these settings. With flying pelicans I 'lead'....an old hunter's trick I use sometimes, is where I keep the lens just in front of the flying bird . Works for American White Pelicans as they usually are consistent...not so much with smaller birds that dart all over the place.

I have a K-1...haven't tried it for fast action...for static shots...it's wonderful. That big Sony full frame 36. something sensor in the K-1 is hard to beat. Only the Nikon 800 series, Sony and the K-1 have it. I also have Canon but feel that the Sony sensor is tops, IMO.
,
04-08-2017, 01:25 PM   #94
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There is no perfect camera. I suggest you rent a Canon to see if you get better results.

06-23-2017, 01:39 AM - 1 Like   #95
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Thanks for the input from everyone. I had planned to hire a Canikon to try, but CRK offered a 15% discount for EOFY and I bought the DFA 150-450. I have only taken a few photos so far - after sunset - and my comment right now is that it feels like I have a whole new AF system on the K3. I was getting focus lock on fast moving Starlings in very poor light, and despite the conditions, the lens never hunted even once. I have also decided to get the 55-300 PLM as a travel lens, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it also behaves on the K3.
06-23-2017, 08:06 AM   #96
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You mentioned you also were using a teleconverter....might be impacting the AF?
As others mentioned, pre-focusing it at infinity often solves hunting on my long lenses. Those seem to be my "more hunting" lenses. And usually when I'm using the sky as a background. I use Center Spot Focusing and that seems to help the hunting problem.
06-23-2017, 08:57 AM   #97
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QuoteOriginally posted by f22 Quote
You mentioned you also were using a teleconverter....might be impacting the AF?
As others mentioned, pre-focusing it at infinity often solves hunting on my long lenses. Those seem to be my "more hunting" lenses. And usually when I'm using the sky as a background. I use Center Spot Focusing and that seems to help the hunting problem.
Yes, the DA*300 focuses a bit better without the HDDA 1.4x TC, and I almost always use centre spot AF. Yes, clearly prefocus can help too, but the DA*300 has a tendency to suddenly focus short, then hunts all the way to the shortest focal length, making finding correct focus slow and painful. I tried the DFA 150-450 this evening after sunset and in low light, it still found lock every time. No hunting. The viewfinder is also brighter, which helps. I haven't tried the TC but at 450mm the lens is already at the focal length of the 300+tc.

06-24-2017, 06:13 AM   #98
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Yes, the DA*300 focuses a bit better without the HDDA 1.4x TC, and I almost always use centre spot AF. Yes, clearly prefocus can help too, but the DA*300 has a tendency to suddenly focus short, then hunts all the way to the shortest focal length, making finding correct focus slow and painful. I tried the DFA 150-450 this evening after sunset and in low light, it still found lock every time. No hunting. The viewfinder is also brighter, which helps. I haven't tried the TC but at 450mm the lens is already at the focal length of the 300+tc.
It probably is losing subject acquisition with the enhanced magnufication of the TC, due to the fast moving subject, and then gets confused by the sky background. It's going to require some practice, learning what works, and getting in a position where you can pan with the subject's path so the spot focus stays trained on the subject. I wouldn't proclaim this a Pentax-specific problem or the lens shortcoming. It's sort of inherit with longer focal length lens in general and taking pics of fast moving, far-away object's. Seems like you've already seen improved focus lock without the TC.

Last edited by f22; 06-24-2017 at 06:18 AM.
06-24-2017, 06:58 AM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by f22 Quote
It probably is losing subject acquisition with the enhanced magnufication of the TC, due to the fast moving subject, and then gets confused by the sky background. It's going to require some practice, learning what works, and getting in a position where you can pan with the subject's path so the spot focus stays trained on the subject. I wouldn't proclaim this a Pentax-specific problem or the lens shortcoming. It's sort of inherit with longer focal length lens in general and taking pics of fast moving, far-away object's. Seems like you've already seen improved focus lock without the TC.
Yes, the DFA 150-450 is a whole different ballgame. It achieves lock far more quickly and almost never hunts. It also has a focus limiter so the sort of hunting that drives me crazy on the DA*300 can't happen. At an effective focal length of 675mm, the TC becomes unnecessary for most situations. I'll try it just out of curiosity, but I imagine that it would only be useful in very bright daylight.
06-24-2017, 08:06 AM   #100
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I shot tens of thousands of birds in flight photos from 1999 to 2014. Mostly swans, geese and ducks. I started using Nikkor manual focus prime lenses on Nikon bodies. Transitioned to AF Nikkor telephoto primes.

Shoot thousands of birds in flight with a MF lens, and your skills in time will greatly improve and so will your keeper rate. The sharpness and IQ of an in focus image taken with a quality MFlens is just as good as the IQ of an in focus image taken with an AF lens. HOWEVER, when I switched to AF after years of MF experience, my keeper rate went way up.

The quality of your images and your keeper rates are largely a function of how much money you spend on your equipment. I had Nikon equipment that was moderately priced. Where I shot BIF there were many other photographers (even some National Geographic ones). Some shooters I got to know personally shot the best and most expensive Canon cameras and prime telephoto lenses. Their rigs were much more expensive than mine. They took slightly better images and they had higher keeper ratios than I.

It's not only the lens, but also the body it's on that dictates how well a lens will perform for fast action and BIF (buffer, etc.). Shooting fast, one always uses the continuous mode (AKA machine gun type shooting). The more images you can capture in a burst, the better chances of obtaining the shot where the subject in the perfect pose. For example, a flock of birds would fly in front of me. I'd shoot continuous mode with my Nikon equipment and get 10 - 15 images. The guys shooting top of the line Canon gear next to me would get many more photos (maybe 50 or more) during that same pass than I would.

I can't comment on the Pentax DFA 150-450 with the new PLM motor in it. Maybe it's the equal to the best from Canon. I don't know and I suspect few would have extensive experience with both.

But from over 10 years of shooting tens of thousands of BIF photos next to my professional Canon shooter friends this is what I've learned. The top of the line, expensive AF Canon primes on the best Canon bodies have proven themselves over the years when it comes to fast action sports and birds in flight. I don't shoot birds in flight seriously anymore and even recently sold my Nikon system so I don't even have that anymore to shoot BIF with. But, if I had unlimited money to spend, I would absolutely go with the top of the line Canon equipment to shoot fast action and BIF. While the DFA 150-450 very well might be adequate or even superior, I don't believe it's got the years of experience proving itself like Canon lenses have.

P.S. Just as important as the lens is, the body may be even more important. No Pentax body can shoot in the continuous (machine gun) mode as fast for as long as the top Canon bodies can. Also, there's been much written about how fast and accurate the Canon auto focus system is. Conversely, much has been written about shortcomings of the Pentax AF system. You can research this further if you choose.

I love my K1 bodies and Pentax in general. But no one camera maker is best at everything. When it comes to BIF and super fast action, there's a clear winner between Pentax and Canon and it's Canon. Heck, Canon is even better than Nikon's best when it comes to super fast action.

DAVE

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Last edited by Fenwoodian; 06-24-2017 at 10:10 AM.
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