I'm new to photography and have only recently bought my first decent camera, a Sony NEX5 w/ the standard 18-55mm lens. I enjoy photographing animals, but have difficulty achieving good exposure. To my surprise, even in bright sunny days shooting fast and often irregularly moving animals seems to require unreasonably high ISO so that a high shutter speed can be used to minimize motion blur. Oftentimes the only way to avoid a completely useless blurry or excessively noisy photo is to severely under-expose the picture. In all cases I was forced to accept the shallowest DOF. Flash not feasible because it scares animals away, not to mention being outright harmful to their eyes. Is this predicament due more to the technical limitations of my camera (49mm of lens diameter too small?), or my own fault?
squirrels in the backlit side of a tree looking for food. Moves in rapid bursts and extremely cautious. ISO 1600, aperture F5.6 (maximum), shutter 1/100 sec. The first one captured while the guy's moving and hence useless, the second one although stationary is very noisy because of high ISO. Also am forced to focus manually (hence slowly) because a shallow DOF made any auto focus error prominent. I suspect trouble-free shots are only possible with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 sec.
Rabbits eating away: Although sometimes stationary, mouth always restless. The headon photo shows how an aperture setting of F4 under bright sun light in the middle of the day led to only a patch of the guy's forehead being in focus... Shutter 1/160, ISO 400. Note this is not a macro shot, is cropped from a much larger original. The group shot showing one light brown and an albino seems good, but upon closer inspection the mouth region is blurry. Shutter 1/200, aperture F6.3, ISO 400.
Any suggestion is welcomed. Thanks in advance.