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Flight shots are always too soft..


MikeRC e2
9 3.5k United Kingdom
10 Apr 2011 8:05AM
Hi....when I take a shot of a bird of prey on a perch, invariably, 99 times out of 100, while no masterpiece, it is sharp and well defined.
However when I shoot a bird in flight it is exactly the opposite,99 times out of 100 it is always fuzzy and too soft, rarely sharp.

....how do I get this sharpness that I see in the best shots in the gallery's ?

many thanks.....Mike

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hobbo e2
3 816 2 England
10 Apr 2011 8:40AM
I am no expert in this skill....but I have learned via tuition and practice.........................Is to to set...

Shutter speed to not less than 1000..........Aperture and ISO to suit ambient conditions.......set focus to Constant..........learn the pattern of the bird's flight if you can...................get it into the viewfinder on approach then pan to match its speed and direction...............some say switch off the image stabiliser:

Focus on the eyes especially

Others more expert than me might have other advice:

hobbo
cameracat 10 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
10 Apr 2011 10:14AM
hobbo has summed that up perfectly......Grin

The only bit I can enlarge on is the " IS " or " VR " option....!

According to a tip from one of Nikons chosen few, If your using a shutter speed above 1/500s, There is little point in having your VR/IS running.

Firstly at 1/500s the shutter speed is faster than the IS/VR can kick in.....!

Secondly, It can cause image blur as it tries to kick in whilst the shutter is actually moving, Because its way ahead of the VR/IS speed wise.

Last word on that, Whilst the VR/IS is " ON " it drains your battery faster.....!!!

Just to emphasis " hobbos " words, I find its the follow through that helps, Same as when shooting aircraft in flight, Use the old " Shotgun " approach, Come from behind your target, Overtake it, As it starts to fill the viewfinder, Hit the trigger......Grin When you have a composition you like the look of, But keep following the target smoothly.

Off course you can dial in a burst of exposures, Aka machine gun stylee.....Smile If thats your preferred method, But still follow your target through until your frame has fired.

Wink
Gaucho e2
12 2.3k 2 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2011 11:16AM
All good advice. I would only add that the 70-300, which I also have and love, is a tad soft at the long end and it may be that you're having to use it at 300mm in order to get the in flight shots.

Malcolm
MikeRC e2
9 3.5k United Kingdom
10 Apr 2011 3:10PM
Thanks people...after reading Hobbo's post I checked on some of my sharp'er flight shot's and found that many were shot at 1/2000 and above, some with a high 1000 ISO setting.
I've read that before about switching off the VR above 1/500 th. I'll have to try to remember....not easy Smile
...'gonna try get out tomorow to practice this some more

many thanks all.....Mike
User_Removed 4 4.6k 1 Scotland
10 Apr 2011 3:59PM

Quote:
I've read that before about switching off the VR above 1/500 th. I'll have to try to remember....not easy Smile



Maybe easier than you think if you reverse your practice.

Keep VR permanently switched off. Most of the time it is either unnecessary or even counter-productive. Just switch it on when you positively do stand to benefit from it - e.g. when taking a hand-held shot of a stationery subject in low light at slow shutter speed.
11 Apr 2011 3:24PM
Yes, as has been said, always shutter priority - at least 1/1000 + with IS off. Adjust the ISO to give you an aperture to cover the birds DOF - an f5.6 will usually do the trick. Oh and use multi shot, on my 7D I use it on the faster >8fps and then - hopeWink

By the way, what camera?
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
11 Apr 2011 3:32PM

Quote:Shutter speed to not less than 1000


Quote:always shutter priority - at least 1/1000

I am sorry, I can't say I agree to that.
It is not all about shutter speed.
Have you set the focusing to al servo or equivalent?
Try to use the centre focus point only, as it normally focus faster than other AF points.
Also, switching VR/IS off would speed up the focusing (as have been said)
ade_mcfade e2
10 14.8k 216 England
11 Apr 2011 5:01PM
Could always just choose a more interesting subject to photograph so you don't have to worry about all this gubbins Wink
bfgstew 8 668 105 England
11 Apr 2011 5:02PM
Aye, buildings, they don't move very fast............Tongue
ade_mcfade e2
10 14.8k 216 England
11 Apr 2011 5:05PM
here here!

Smile
lawbert 7 1.7k 15 England
11 Apr 2011 6:09PM

Quote:Could always just choose a more interesting subject to photograph so you don't have to worry about all this gubbins Wink


What could be more interesting than a small passerine inflightSmile

It also helps you understand how your camera works far much better than letting it take a picture of an immovable object where the only clever person involved was the architect or the clever people who interpreted his plans and bought them to fruitionWink
bfgstew 8 668 105 England
11 Apr 2011 6:31PM

Quote:Could always just choose a more interesting subject to photograph so you don't have to worry about all this gubbins Wink

What could be more interesting than a small passerine inflightSmile

It also helps you understand how your camera works far much better than letting it take a picture of an immovable object where the only clever person involved was the architect or the clever people who interpreted his plans and bought them to fruitionWink



OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!
ade_mcfade e2
10 14.8k 216 England
11 Apr 2011 8:20PM
at least something clever was involved at some point - birds are as thick as pig s...... Wink
lawbert 7 1.7k 15 England
11 Apr 2011 8:33PM

Quote:At least something clever was involved at some point - birds are as thick as pig s...... Wink


And they have a longer history on the planet than us mere egotistical humansTongueWink

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