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Shooting conditions on hot days

Discussion in 'Canon Conflab' started by colin fosker, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    Hi, just wondered about peoples finding of shooting on hot days. I recently spent a day with a professional photographer in a hide. We were shooting at range across grass & dry river bed to some water with herons. It was a practice day for me with the guy to learn technique etc. I want to make sure I know as much as I can about wildlife photography before I go away in a couple of weeks.

    I was using my 5div & 100/400ii. I took around 400 shots all of which were simply put not sharp enough for use. I was using a combination with and without 1.4 extender, bean bag and/or high shutter speeds. The image quality was poor enough that I have returned the combo to canon for looking at. Steve who I was with was shooting a d500 and 200/500, he clearly had a lot more reach than me but the quality of the images on his camera were so much better. Literally in a different league, not talking about framing or composition just clarity. You could zoom right into the eye with the d500 with little blurring yet the canon combo if you zoomed right in, it was considerably poorer.

    My question is do you think the issue could be the extra 10mp combined with the weather conditions or camera & lens issue or is it the Nikon is that much better in the conditions? If it was user I would expect at least to get a few sharp pics out of 400+. I cannot upload any pics as we are having trouble with out internet connection.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I doubt there is much difference in the lenses. Visibility is important, heat haze can be a significant issue. If it was a professional training day then the instructor should have advice on the results and reasons for any poor outcome. The main advantage of a crop sensor camera is that the viewfinder image is "larger". With birds and a full-frame camera the subject can be smaller than a single focussing square in the viewfinder. If you are using single point + supporting neighbours it can be harder to get precise focus. The 5Div probably has the option to refine the focussing point to be smaller than the focussing square, this can help. Also using back-button focussing can give sharper results especially if there is (eg) grass in between you and the subject. It helps to have focus tracking in A1Servo set to stick with the subject and ignore anything closer intervening - I assume the 5Div has a customisable setup like the 5Ds. If comparing from camera jpgs without processing beware that the camera setups can be different. I have never used Nikon so I don't know how Canon and Nikon defaults compare but contrast, sharpness and saturation are all chosen settings.
  3. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Pete has covered the main issues. Was IS on or off and if was on, did you use the correct setting? Heat haze can be a major issue, but it should be the same for the Nikon. Did the pro offer any advice, I assume that is why he was there? Have you had any issues with the camera and/or lens before this outing?

    I have seen pictures from set-ups the same as yours, and they are very good.

    If there are any faults with the equipment, Canon will find them.
  4. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    As far as I am aware all settings and technique are correct, I have been shooting with canon 5d's for around five years and have a good knowledge of settings, etc. The pro did not offer any advice regarding image quality except that the extender was not helping with the image quality. I personally think that the weather and the extra 10mp over the d500 body is the issue but cannot say for sure. Canon repair say that the body and lens checks out ok, the only thing with that is they would say that whatever the outcome because of financial liabilities in case all 100/400 lenses need to be returned.
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Colin,

    Test the camera/lens in the morning, or on a cool day, on a tripod.

    It seems unlikely that all 100/400 lenses are defective, but of course you may have a bad one. And indeed, extenders do no lenses any favours.


  6. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    On hotter days, especially when there has been prolonged high pressure in the weather systems, the visibility and clarity is markedly reduced by heat haze and atmospheric pollution. This becomes the more obvious when shooting a smaller subject at a distance. I can't reckon that there will be any significant differences in the final results between different makes of equipment.

    You say the results on a Nikon were much clearer, how were you viewing them? On the camera screen, or on something else? The next question, what pp have you carried out on the results?
  7. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    Hi, I ran the images through LR on my usual settings the pictures were very soft, but it could well be to do with the heat. You could not see a heat haze where we were shooting but there was one visible in the distance in other directions. On the Nikon you could literally zoom right into the herons eye with little distortion on the view finder, but on the Canon it was extremely blurry and obviously much smaller subject. I wonder if it could potentially be that the bird being so much larger with the crop body/lens was able to focus more effectively. The fact is it is a bit of a chalk and cheese comparison as with the 1.4iii extender I have 560mm and the Nikon 1.5 crop and 200-500 750mm reach, image quality did improve without the extender but not remotely comparable to the crop body.
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Need to see the picture(s) , but as I said above, it sounds like positioning of focus point. Post a link to yours if you can.
  9. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    What is the best way to link a file?
  10. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

  11. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    2 herons.jpg female yellow hammer.jpg male yellow hammer.jpg
  12. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    From memory there is little sharpening to these images. The herons were stationary, shot from a beanbag with the focus point set directly over the birds. Looks like some front focusing to the yellow hammers.
  13. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    I had not noticed before but the pic with the two herons, is there the line of focus in the water reflection way in front of the birds?
  14. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Approximately how far away were you from the birds? What were the camera settings?
  15. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Can't comment on the herons, but the second image,


    Plane of focus is about 2-4 inches in front of the bird?
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The herons look like shake and the yellow hammer looks like the focus hit the near side of the post in one and the barbed wire in the other.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  17. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    The third one looks like it has the best focus,


    Looks to me that with a bigger target area (the post), the focus hit the right spot.
  18. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Also, all of those birds are very small in the frame, and the JPGs look quite low quality so hard to comment on too much.
  19. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    The bird on the wire and the the bird on the stick do suggest a degree of front focusing...

    Have you cross checked these images in DPP with the display AF point option on? Assuming you haven't focused then recomposed the shots should confirm that the AF point was where it should be. If the AFpoints are in the right place then you may need to adjust the focus for this lens.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The post and wire offer some high contrast so focus can go for them, it doesn't necessarily mean the calibration is off, only that it can be tricky when the subject is small. DPP will generally indicate the selected focus point, not the point of focus, unless using auto-focus point selection which is a bad choice for bird shots except perhaps birds in flight against a clear sky.

    When depth of focus is only a couple of inches it has to be spot on the birds head.
    EightBitTony likes this.

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