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Thread: its taken 4months to get one to come

  1. #1
    stardelta's Avatar
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    its taken 4months to get one to come

    its taken 4months to get one to come


    Hi guys, I have had my bird feeder station up for 4 months now and this is the 1st visitor I have had.

    While I am excited about my guest, I am not happy with the shot.Is it the lens that as let me down.
    I was approx 20-25 ft away, at 300mm, on tripod, with remote shutter release to help with shake.
    The lens is a sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro.
    Now don't get me wrong,i know this is a cheap lens and does not have image stabalization,but because it was on a tripod I dont think that matters. I was just hoping for better results.

    So what would be a better lens for this scenario, bearing in mind i am in this for the long haul.
    I just wish my pockets were as deep as my passion to learn.

    Oh and also before i forget the most important part, what type of bird is this and which sex.
    Many thanks guys.
    I would really appreciate some advice on this thread

  2. #2
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Bernard Boyle

    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Hi Glen,can,t tell you bout the lens the bird is a sparrow,male they seem to be disappearing a bit think the magpies have something to do with it......

  3. #3
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    "While I am excited about my guest, I am not happy with the shot.Is it the lens that as let me down.
    I was approx 20-25 ft away, at 300mm, on tripod, with remote shutter release to help with shake.
    The lens is a sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro.
    Now don't get me wrong,i know this is a cheap lens and does not have image stabalization,but because it was on a tripod I dont think that matters. I was just hoping for better results.

    So what would be a better lens for this scenario, bearing in mind i am in this for the long haul.
    I just wish my pockets were as deep as my passion to learn".


    Hi Glenn,
    there is nothing that bad with your picture, as shot. I cannot see your EXIF, so here are my thoughts.
    If I was shooting it using your lens (no IS) I would have set the shutter speed, to about 1/450 (300mm focal length X 1.5 = 450). If you were using tripod then perhaps mirror lock in conjuction with the remote release would have helped to; just bring that slightly better sharpness to the shot.
    (If you are using a Canon Camera then the shutter speed would need to be 1/480 of faster (300mm focal length X 1.6 = 480)
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by JPS; 6th May 2012 at 07:21 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    I see from the EXIF that -

    Shutter speed is 1/1000, that is usually a good startup speed for birds.
    ISO - 5000, am I reading this correctly?

    If true, at that high an ISO images will come out softer then they would be at lower isos.

    For next time -
    - always focus on the eye or as close to it if that is not possible.
    - angle the shots in such as way that you get some catchlight in the eyes and if possible some light falloff on the feathers.
    - use a smaller aperture to get a deeper DOF that will ensure that more of the bird is within focus.
    - use a lower ISO. I personally do not go above 1600.
    - for stationary birds one can get pretty good results @1/500 to 1/800. That will help reduce the need to up the ISO.
    - for more natural looking shots avoid getting the feeder in the frame. Best option is place the feeder within a clump of bare(ish) branches. Alternatively you could try "installing" branches around the feeder area.

    Since you are using a tripod there is no need at this time to get a new lens. Just improve your skills. You will know when it is time to upgrade.

    Hope this helps.

    Looking forward to your future pics.

  5. #5
    stardelta's Avatar
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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    I see from the EXIF that -

    Shutter speed is 1/1000, that is usually a good startup speed for birds.
    ISO - 5000, am I reading this correctly?

    If true, at that high an ISO images will come out softer then they would be at lower isos.

    For next time -
    - always focus on the eye or as close to it if that is not possible.
    - angle the shots in such as way that you get some catchlight in the eyes and if possible some light falloff on the feathers.
    - use a smaller aperture to get a deeper DOF that will ensure that more of the bird is within focus.
    - use a lower ISO. I personally do not go above 1600.
    - for stationary birds one can get pretty good results @1/500 to 1/800. That will help reduce the need to up the ISO.
    - for more natural looking shots avoid getting the feeder in the frame. Best option is place the feeder within a clump of bare(ish) branches. Alternatively you could try "installing" branches around the feeder area.

    Since you are using a tripod there is no need at this time to get a new lens. Just improve your skills. You will know when it is time to upgrade.

    Hope this helps.

    Looking forward to your future pics.
    Thankyou bobo. I can't believe i missed the iso setting,it is because i was in tv mode, so i set my shutter speed to 1/1000 but the camera set the iso. The feeder is sheltered between my shed and fence, which creates a darkish area, so i'm guessing the camera tried to compensate for that.
    thankyou for your advice and comments.

  6. #6
    stardelta's Avatar
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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    "While I am excited about my guest, I am not happy with the shot.Is it the lens that as let me down.
    I was approx 20-25 ft away, at 300mm, on tripod, with remote shutter release to help with shake.
    The lens is a sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro.
    Now don't get me wrong,i know this is a cheap lens and does not have image stabalization,but because it was on a tripod I dont think that matters. I was just hoping for better results.





    So what would be a better lens for this scenario, bearing in mind i am in this for the long haul.
    I just wish my pockets were as deep as my passion to learn".


    Hi Glenn,
    there is nothing that bad with your picture, as shot. I cannot see your EXIF, so here are my thoughts.
    If I was shooting it using your lens (no IS) I would have set the shutter speed, to about 1/450 (300mm focal length X 1.5 = 450). If you were using tripod then perhaps mirror lock in conjuction with the remote release would have helped to; just bring that slightly better sharpness to the shot.
    (If you are using a Canon Camera then the shutter speed would need to be 1/480 of faster (300mm focal length X 1.6 = 480)
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks,john for the reply and thoughts . My shutter speed was set at 1/1000 in tv mode .The camera chose the iso which as bobo noticed was at 5000, I am embarrased to say i didn't pick up on this.
    Thanks again.

  7. #7

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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Auto Iso can often cause excessive settings which go unnoticed.

    I always shoot with this in manual mode so I have to consider it as part of the main adjustments.

    But lowering this to something more realistic like 800 or preferably slightly less would mean losing something else, which would also cause problems.

    Your aperture of F5.6 is going to give a shallow depth of field and most lenses tend to suffer from some quality loss when fully open. Ideally, I would like to work with F8 in this situation so as to have a bit of leeway. But that can sometimes mean including parts of the background which you might prefer to blur out.

    For a stationery bird shot on a tripod, you could probably get away with reducing the shutter speed by around half; but that still wouldn't allow you to use ideal settings in all other areas.

    So I would put your main blame on the lighting conditions which were forcing you into a no win situation.

    Just take note of the previous bits of advice offered in these replies and look for better conditions.

  8. #8
    stardelta's Avatar
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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Auto Iso can often cause excessive settings which go unnoticed.

    I always shoot with this in manual mode so I have to consider it as part of the main adjustments.

    But lowering this to something more realistic like 800 or preferably slightly less would mean losing something else, which would also cause problems.

    Your aperture of F5.6 is going to give a shallow depth of field and most lenses tend to suffer from some quality loss when fully open. Ideally, I would like to work with F8 in this situation so as to have a bit of leeway. But that can sometimes mean including parts of the background which you might prefer to blur out.

    For a stationery bird shot on a tripod, you could probably get away with reducing the shutter speed by around half; but that still wouldn't allow you to use ideal settings in all other areas.

    So I would put your main blame on the lighting conditions which were forcing you into a no win situation.

    Just take note of the previous bits of advice offered in these replies and look for better conditions.
    Thankyou geoff. i will try to take the advice on board for future shots.

  9. #9
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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Excellent advice above from Bobobird. Learnt something too, so thanks.

    If you have Goldfinch in your area then another good trick is to get some dried Teasal, stick them in the ground (or to a log), sprinkle some Nyger Seed over them and with time you should have the goldfinch visiting regulary. This gives you the benefit of being able to get place them in an area that will give you a good picture.

  10. #10
    stardelta's Avatar
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    Re: its taken 4months to get one to come

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1975 View Post
    Excellent advice above from Bobobird. Learnt something too, so thanks.

    If you have Goldfinch in your area then another good trick is to get some dried Teasal, stick them in the ground (or to a log), sprinkle some Nyger Seed over them and with time you should have the goldfinch visiting regulary. This gives you the benefit of being able to get place them in an area that will give you a good picture.
    Thanks for that andy,will give it a go. I'm off out tomorrow to get some mealworm and other treats to try and entice the little fellows in.

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