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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

    The herons were shot off a bean bag, 800, f8, iso 400 at 560mm and the yellow hammers hand held, 1600,f5.6 iso 500 at 400mm. I would hazard a guess that the herons 30 meters plus away and the yellow hammers 6 meters. Unfortunately I deleted the images from the camera so I cannot check actual focus point position.

    I really need to get out and use it more but work is off the scale at the moment so getting out in the field is a problem.
     
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It is possibly the worse time of year for photographing birds so your work timing is perfect!
     
  3. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I think you may be expecting too much given the size of the subjects and the distance from the camera. Hopefully you find the time to practice. Keeper rates for bird photography is low.
     
  4. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    I did wonder if I was on the fringes of success with the animal size and distance, especially with hot weather on the day. The guy I was out with was keen to keep the ISO low, I have found my 5div gives great pictures with high ISO’s so may have been able to have much higher shutter speeds.
     
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It is a shame you didn't swap cameras at some point. That would be the test of experience over equipment.
     
  6. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    Hi Pete, I know hindsight is a wonderful thing I had thought the same to.
     
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Just keep practicing. I tend to use central focussing point, with supporting AF points, A1-Focus and low frame-rate burst (I can't be bothered to sort through dozens of out of focus shots with it on high), unless the bird is in cover when I'll use single focussing point and back button focus. So I'd have shot the yellowhammer and the herons center frame and cropped for composition. Even though the camera is set for multi-shot I rarely use it - I'll take 2 separate frames rather than hold the shutter release down. I find I often get a sharper result if I do two consecutive frames - it makes me hold the camera still. It can help to support a heavy lens like the 100-400 ii although you lose some flexibility to move. I use a monopod with a tilting head (Manfrotto) though some people use small ball-heads.
     
  8. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    I agree more practice with the longer lens needed, when I went out with the pro I think because of the distance the wildlife was at I would never really get a shot that would be a keeper as they were to far away and not good for me to practice on. At Blue house farm there was a long stretch of grass then a stretch of dry river bed to a small body of water on the far side and 30 degrees plus, it was fun on the day to go out but in reality probably did not help me that much. At least in Borneo where I am going next week the animals tend to be larger. I am still surprised that there were not really any sharp shots out of 400 plus despite using bean bag, focus definitely over stationary animals in shots as well as lots of misses on flying birds.

    And thanks for the tips will give them a try, when you describe supporting central focus with supporting do you use just the four points around the centre point?
     
  9. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    It's probably not the issue - but it might be worth the half hour of effort just to confirm the focusing is all fine and you're not getting any front focusing. Find a metal ruler, lay it against something so it's at about a 30 degree angle. Shoot both short and long shots, camera steady (tripod or table, mirror lock-up, 2 second or 10 second timer), focusing on a specific number on the ruler with the smallest focus selection area you can. Then check the shots, that'll help decide if the camera focus is missing. As I say, it's probably not that, but it might be.
     
  10. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    Canon have the lens and camera at the moment as its only a few miles from me and they have checked the MA and they have said it is in parameters. Whether or not they can check the sharpness and/or would divulge if the lens is a soft copy or not I cannot say. I do not have anything similar or no anyone with anything similar for comparison, I found the lens sharpness @ 400 end is not in the realms of a 24-70ii or 35ii. In the same way the 70 end of my 24-70 was not as sharp as my 70-200ii@70, I traded the 70-200 for 100-400 at WEX after my daughter stopped running.
     
  11. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    I picked my lens up from Colchester canon repair service the other day after they supposedly checked the MA and ran the lens with body through focal software on my daughters laptop and it was showing up it needing an adjustment of -3 for the 100 end and -6 for 400 respectively which I thought means it is back focusing not front focusing, so not to sure what they did to the lens. I initially thought it was front focusing but who knows, one thing I have found in this industry is a total lack of professionalism and control you find in other industries. I asked to find out if they did anything to the lens and they refused to state anything.
     
  12. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    How disappointing. Will you return the lens to them or are those adjustment levels deemed to be within acceptable tolerances?
     
  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

  14. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    Thankyou for a great article slightly different to what is recommended by focal they put the test distance at 8 meters for a 400 not 20 meters. I do know that the lens and software would not pick up the focal target at 20 meters in an internal environment and said try a larger target. I will try again today outside and see what results I get I do not think -3 makes much difference but not sure about -6 at 400mm according to focal test results. I do not imagine that the service shop can be testing at the canon recommended lengths as they would be longer than the building, just thinking about people who take even longer lenses, pay to have them calibrated as potentially would be outside canons guidelines.
     
  15. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    20 meters does seem a long distance to test a lens. If a lens is out at say 10m would it also be out by the same amount at 100m?
     
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    For bird photography you aim to get closer than 30 m but, for larger birds, up to 100 m can work. You are still quite constrained by dof even at that distance as lenses are invariably used wide open. I suspect the focus error if one exists is linear rather then absolute.
     
  17. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    I had time to run my lenses through Focal yesterday but had to get the pro version as they only go up to 400mm. Not run it for a while and found out that you can calibrate the 100-400 with and without the extender attached. I ran the tests several times outside, lighting was not the best varying from overcast to bright:

    100-400ii &1.4iii wide -3 tele +9,
    100-400 wide -2 tele -4,
    24-70 wide -3 tele 0,
    100mm l macro -2,
    35mmii -6.

    I wish I had noted the previous ma settings, I thought before they were on + side. Also I noted that this software carries out a comparison between my findings and other people testing with the same equipment, if I am reading it correctly all my lenses fell into the same brackets as everyone else except for the long end of the 100-400, which was below but I have not fully studied the info and could be wrong. I will go out and try all lenses at some point today but think now they should at there optical best performance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  18. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Let us know how you get on.

    Do you find Focal easy to use and reliable? I am tempted to buy a copy than calibrate manually.
     
  19. colin fosker

    colin fosker Active Member

    I have found it works well, have had some issues connecting and getting my daughters MacBook to recognise the camera from time to time. Getting enough room for the system to work with enough light can also be an issue. I went to one of the factories I look after and despite being under a line of bright LED panels the light level was not strong enough.

    You can probably do it just as easy with a ruler but I like the features, it lets you know if you have a good connection between camera and lens and I noticed if you gently connect the lens to body it can show that up as opposed to a positive click into place. I always run it multiple times for each lens, sometimes you will go through all the settings and the light or movement changes and it lets you know. The pro version shows movement during the tests.

    I will run the 24-70 again today as I am not sure about the long end result, but its a starting point and I would definitely use it as a guide only.
     
    Bazarchie likes this.
  20. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    I've been away for a few days, and have come to this thread somewhat late.
    1. Hides
    I've come across hides (on highly reputed bird reserves) which were probably fine on cool or overcast days, but suffered from very bad heat shimmy on sunny days - due to the upper windows/openings being above the dark coloured roof of the ground floor, which extended out from the building, and the hot air went upwards totally destroying the integrity of any wavefronts..My camera simply didn't focus properly, although other birders seemed to be getting results.
    2 AF-MA
    My main birding lens is the well known Canon EF 500 F/4L IS, and I use it with a 1D MkIV, or a 7D Mk II. I've also spent many hours optimising the AF-MA settings at different distances, starting in my garden and then at the local lake at much longer ranges, against typical water birds and floating hardware provided by the yachting fraternity. It's been worth it, and when I have found birds worth snapping and there hasn't been heat-shimmy, the kit has worked faultlessly.
     

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