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Thread: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

  1. #1
    Photon Hacker's Avatar
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    What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    Hello.

    I was trying to photograph individual isolated flying birds with my bridge camera Fujifilm FinePix S3300. But the subject in question would be farther away of where it used to be (As seen in the EVF) when I pressed the shutter button.

    I don't know if this is due to the live view delay, the shutter delay/lag or it's just my reaction time. Here is a sample representative of my results:

    What to expect from an entry level DSLR
    There was a seagull just going to land when I pressed the shutter, but it's already in the ground here.

    What to expect from an entry level DSLR
    It was in the center of the image.

    Will a DSLR like the Canon T3i or Nikon D5100 make it easier to make this kind of images?.

  2. #2

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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    Yes, I think you would take much better pictures with a DSLR. First, I think your main concern is the type of autofocus your camera uses: it is called contrast detection autofocus. This works fine, but its considerably slower than the phase detection autofocus used in any DSLR. Interestingly, some of the new DSLR also have the contrast detection method when shooting using the LCD screen, especially for movies. However, for the type of photographs you want to take, you should rather use a viewfinder with the phase detection autofocusing. It is just very fast compared to your camera. Of course, there will always be a small time lag even with a high-end DSLR, but if your tracking you're object on the viewfinder, it won't be a problem in most of the cases.

    If you are not sure how a DSLR would work for you, just consider renting one for a weekend of so. Also, many people nowadays will be talking about mirrorless cameras, in my opinion, a real DSLR is still far superior.

  3. #3
    John C's Avatar
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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    For bird photos or other photos with a moving subject, it often helps to set the auto-focus to continuous mode. Rather than locking the focus, it will change as the subject moves. The FinePix S3300 has this function (p. 82 of the manual). What Chris says above may also be a factor, depending on how fast the subject is moving. Also consider that if you are panning the camera, you might need to turn off image stabilization or the sensor might keep trying to compensate for your motion.

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    krispix's Avatar
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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    Hi Mario,
    All perfectly valid comments. I think it's quite clear that that shutter lag is the principal cause of your problem, although this can be overcome to a great degree by half pressing the shutter button, this locks the focus/metering so that when you press fully the lag is minimal. The other obvious problem is that you're not panning with your subject. I know this is very difficult with birds as they tend to fly off in whatever direction takes their fancy, but if you'd panned the second shot it would, at least have remained in the centre of your frame. Apart from the subject movement, the subject is also out of focus, another reason to half-press but, as John says you'll need to switch to continuous as well.

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    You should be able to get better captures with a DSLR --- IF --- If you use eye level viewing and don't depend on liveview using the LCD. Using liveview for action photographs is very, very inefficient and the DSLR actually doesn't attain focus and shoot any faster than a slow P&S...

    Live view is O.K. for static subjets, especially when tripod mounted, but it doesn't work very well with hand held shots of moving subjects. Some DSLR cameras can take over a second to lock on to the subject. That is, IMO, TOTALLY INADEQUATE, when trying to shoot moving subjects.

  6. #6
    Photon Hacker's Avatar
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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    Thanks for all your replies.

    Chris: Agreed. I was already locking the auto focus.

    John: I have previously tried the continuous focus mode but it is slow and useless for this situation as it's contrast detection type. Thanks for taking the trouble to read the manual.

  7. #7

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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    For the first shot I probably would have tried to prefocus. Usually you can see a bit ahead of time when and where a bird will land. Focus on that spot by half pressing the shutter, wait for the bird to come in to land then fully press the shutter.

    Second shot is a matter of tracking. btw keeping your camera's focus on infinity between shoots helps. Cameras focus faster from infinity to say 30 meters than from the tip of your toes to that same distance.

    For both shot I recommend using continues shooting mode. it's very saddening to have a perfectly sharp picture of a bird in a very dull or weird pose.
    Last edited by Hero; 18th January 2012 at 04:56 AM.

  8. #8
    Photon Hacker's Avatar
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    Re: What to expect from an entry level DSLR

    Thanks Hero!.

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