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Help with focus question.

Discussion in 'Birds' started by james thiel, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. I have been out a couple of times now with my new D2X, mainly shooting Ospreys. While I am learning the camera, I am also questioning my technique. On many of my flight pictures the outside edges of the wings are blurry. At first, I thought this was a DOF issue due to shooting with a 500 lens with 1.4 TC. Since on many of the shots, the wings are on a parallel plane to the target, I am thinking it is either me or too slow a shutter speed. On checking the shutter speeds, they seem like they would be high enough to stop the motion. Between 1/640 and 1/1000. Could it be because I am not following through enough or camera shake? The body and heads seem to be in focus.

    I use a gitzo metal tripod not sure of the model, a Jobu gimbal mount and Kirk plates. Here is a sample shot.

    Any help is much appreciated.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    This was shot at f5.6 with Sigma 4.5 and Nikon TC14EII with a shutter speed of 1/640.[/img]
  2. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Jim...you are searching for perfection....and I am sitting here in awe of some great shooting. With regard to achieving perfection, the image was shot at f5.6 which should allow for plenty of DOF to get in focus wing tips, so I think that it is safe to say the aperture isn't the issue. Did you have enough available light to get a faster shutter speed? I would have thought that 1/640 sec. is quick enough to stop the movement, but I guess not.

    As I refer back to the image...which is absolutely outstanding I repeat, the only out of focus feather tips are at the distal area of the wings. Try to bump up the shutter speed to stop the action.

    And did I mention that it is an absolutely outstanding capture?????
  3. jaminphoto


    Jul 7, 2005
    SF Bay area
    Because you got the head in focus, it pretty much ruled out camera shake. Dont think its DOF either because there are other part of the bird that look to be in the same distance, and they're in focus.

    I think its just the wings flap faster than the shutter speed. Especially the tip of the wing move relatively fast. I'm not surprised you got the wing tip blurry even on 1/1000th.

    Its a great photo btw. I dont think the wing tip blur takes anything away from it. If anything it actually makes it more alive.

  4. Agree with the others, it's the shutter speed! Blurry wing tips is good in my book anyway! :) 

    Love this shot!!! :shock: :shock:
  5. drueter


    Apr 24, 2005
    Southeast Texas
    Fantastic shot, Jim! Agree with the others on the shutter speed -- the tips of the wings can move really fast in flight! BUT, I really like the shot, even with a little blur in the wingtips!
  6. Jim, I agree with your logic as stated about dof and in this case the wings being in about the same plane as the in focus parts of the body. Here's my 2cents worth based on what I see.

    Look at the 2nd feather on the left side of the bird (his right wing). The tip that bends upwards certainly looks like motion blur to me. Not from body shake but from too slow a shutter speed.

    I've noticed that the different birds that I frequently shoot flap at different rates. I think if you can get up to 1/1000 you should be pretty good. Ducks, on the other hand, are another story. Hummingbirds as well (obviously). I thought somewhere once I read to strive for 1/1500 to stop most bird wings. That's sometimes hard to do.

    In this example, I'd be thrilled with the result. It's a great shot. On the other hand, I'm a perfectionist and understand your striving for perfection. :) 
  7. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    James!! How could you be unhappy with this shot?? I'd give my left, uh, ankle for an Osprey shot this good. :lol:

    Seriously, I agree with almost all of the previous posters. The aperture setting and cam steadiness are excellent. The wingtips have a little motion blur due to a shutter speed setting that didn't quite freeze them, but again, as the others said, I think it actually adds life to the shot.

    This reminds me of the commercial on TV where the lady calls for help, and all the super-heroes respond, only to find that she has a Capital One card. Go get some more just like this one. :wink:
  8. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    You're complaining about that shot???

    It's wing tip speed....pure and simple.

    If you want to stop it dead with the X, from what I've seen you've got to be at 1/1200 AND UP.

    The issue is....if you're trying to get that much light and it isn't middle of the day stark brilliance, you either have to stop down which will kill your DOF or you need to bump the ISO up.
  9. Thanks for all the great replies. I thought it was shutter speed but am glad to have such great shooters confirm it. I am new to shooting these osprey's and was surprised to see what a fast shutter speed was needed to stop them. I am glad to see at least I think the camera is focusing just fine. Again thanks all for the support and compliments. It is sure fun to watch these birds.
  10. So, you didn't just have blind faith in me the other day :?: :?: :?: You had to come here and ask, I am just so hurt :cry:  :wink:

    Glad to see that others are of the same opinion, both on the cause as well as the merit of your image. You should at least have the decency to put up something crummy when you are complaing :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I tend to go by the old 1/focal-lenth rule myself whenever possible. Of course the trick here is to remember that we are dealing with 1.5 or 2.0 factor as well. So, in our case with the 500mm+TC14E+1.5 factor, for example, we have an effective 1050mm to deal with, or 1/1050 or reasonable facsimile thereof. I try to be at a minimum of 1/800th with this combination on my D2H, higher if light permits, which it most certainly did not when we met the other day.

    Darned nice shot, I'm going by today and those birds better be there. You promised me they would be.......
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