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Old 24th November 2009
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: help with bird photography

Originally Posted by crimbo View Post

Well folks the black guillemots are feeding in Lerwick small boat harbour again...I want to try and get a decent image...was using the 40-150 in a 620 with auto ISO...several times focus lock was not achieved...should I put C-AF on and multiple shot?...should I use the 70-300?...any help gratefully received
Hi crimbo,

Shooting birds in flight is not as easy as we feel it should be. The first thing is focus lock must obviously be achieved whether shooting S-AF or C-AF. Things to consider -
1. What is focus pattern you are using. Centre target is not normally suitable for a moving object. I would recomend using the centre cross targets.
2. Accurate focussing depends on the camera being able to see sufficient contrast to lock onto. What is the background against which you are trying to capture the bird. If it is dark with a dark bird, or vice versa, you may not be able to focus lock.
3. Focus acquisition time is also affected by the light gathering performance of the lens. The aperature size will also effect this. Use a higher ISO setting to allow you increase the aperture size.

I would recommend you try this for birds in flight

Camera Settings
1. Mode - Aperature Piority
2, C-AF
3. f 6 - 8
4. ISO 400 or 800
5. Cross AF Target (5 point) centre
6. Single shot until you get used to the settings
7. Not sure about your camera but look up Wrotniak and check to see if you can set the camera to ignore sudden focus changes. I can on the E3 and am pretty sure it is available on your camera.

Note use settings 3 and 4 to get an acceptable shutter speed - say 1/800. This obviously will vary depending upon speed of wingbeats etc.

Shooting method
Track and focus on the bird and ensure you get the confirmation beep before fully releasing the shutter. This is important even when you go for burst shooting later as this will ensure best focus throughout a sequence of shots.

Once happy with these settings and the method, go into burst mode and see how you get on.

Note: Olympus recommends that you switch off IS in the direction you are panning. I do not and see no reason why this advice is given - but I could be wrong.

Good luck and I hope the above helps
Best Regards

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