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Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea)

By FeatherFriend
The Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea) is a member of the Old World babbler family. Amongst aviculturists it goes by various names: Pekin Robin, Pekin Nightingale, Chinese Nightingale and Japanese (Hill) Robin, the last being a misnomer as it is not native to Japan. It is native to Southern Asia and has also been introduced on the Hawaiian Islands and small populations of escapees have existed in Japan since the 1980s. (courtesy of Wikipedia).
I really struggle with low light and 400mm lenses, and in this case there was no alternative but to use 'flash' to capture this little guy. However, for some reason this has created 'noise' and a strange effect on the lower chest area. I am baffled by this because the ISO was set at 100 and I normally get an excellent noise free shot at this setting. I realise that this is not an ideal situation to use flash, what with light bouncing off leaves and branches etc but would appreciate any advice (if you can spare the time) from anyone who could tell me where I'm going wrong and what I could do to improve my technique.
For the 'purist's, I might add that the birds in this aviary are born into an environment where they experience flash photography on a daily basis, and go about their daily lives quite undisturbed, and to my eye completely stress free. The last thing I would do is intentionally cause harm. If anyone could help, I would be most grateful, after all, I joined EPZ to learn.
Many thanks for your votes and comments on my 'Nuthatch', I really appreciate that, and also your continued support.

f/5.6 1/100sec ISO 100 Flash.

Tags: Wildlife Birds Zoo Wildlife and nature Pekin robin

Voters: proz, christabella, Angi_Wallace and 108 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes


proz 15 205 United States
20 Jun 2008 2:37PM
excellent Geoff

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challicew 11 1 1 South Africa
20 Jun 2008 2:52PM
Well I can't help with the problem of the noise, but I will come back to this photograph to see if anyone has advised you as I would also like to know. However, I find this a very pleasing and well presented photograph. Your detail and colours are lovely!
graceland 14 2.5k 2 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 3:08PM
Super Close up !!
20 Jun 2008 3:15PM
looked at the larger version and to me its just fine feather textures.. theres no noise in the actual background, that's often the telling signs, black would be the first colour to pick up noise..!! (( but no expert ))

Think you have a superb result and beautifully taken...!!

Nikki !
Cormy 11 3 England
20 Jun 2008 3:23PM
This is really good,what a wonderfully coloured bird,and captured so very well.
Shroomer 12 14 167 England
20 Jun 2008 3:27PM
I really like the effect of the flash here Geoff it brings out the colours of the plumage well.
On techniques with flash cant help, but without try bracketing the exposure or taking the ev down and trying that.
Not too sure with Nikons, sorry but principles must be the same whatever body you use
MickyMc 11 8 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 3:30PM
I think he really is rather beautiful
imander 12 388 7 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 3:31PM
Have to agree with Nikki, i cant see noise in the large version, the feather detail could be what looks like noise due to the fineness of them ????? Its a beautiful looking bird, one that i haven't seen before, the open mouth is very sharp and looks so good
buxton 11 England
20 Jun 2008 3:37PM
I think its an excellent image.
20 Jun 2008 3:47PM
Super image,
harrattp 12 11 4 England
20 Jun 2008 3:55PM
Have to agree with all of the above, no noise appears visible to me. As for ISO the only solution is to upgrade to the Nikon D3 this beauty will push to 6400 and stil show little or no noise in low light situations. Cracking camera!

This bird is superb viewing large is stunning.
Bob_V 11 1 2 United States
20 Jun 2008 3:57PM
What a fantastic capture, superb work. Large is a must see for everyone.
Guillaume 12 119 2 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 4:09PM
Full of colours! Nice capture
deavilin 15 352 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 4:15PM
Lovely colours on this bird, the noise well I can't really see a lot of it on here but I had the D200 and found that the black areas were ones to watch, now I have the D300 it is a different story I can pump up the iso and not suffer much at all it is amazing Smile

Beautiful shot anyway I love it Smile

RubberBullets 18 1 6 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 4:38PM
Hi Geoff,

I can't see any noise on even the large version, but this may just have disappeared as part of the resizing for the web. The only thing that I did wonder about was a hint of moire on the head, but I'm not even convinced of that, once again it could simply be a slight artefact due to resizing.

That issue apart it is an absolutely cracking shot, with stunning detail.

FeatherFriend 11 38 217 England
20 Jun 2008 4:46PM
Well, thank you for your comments so far and also a big thank you to Boboson for the User Award, thanks Bob, I really appreciate that.
20 Jun 2008 5:11PM
1st class image that ticks all the boxes, Superb
Scaramanga Plus
11 57 6 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 5:23PM
Wonderful capture, fantastic colours and superb details.
GalleryGirl 12 4 2 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 5:31PM
Wonderful detail and superb coloured little chap
Marilyn x
lonely_oryx 11 61 55 England
20 Jun 2008 5:42PM
Super colours and detail
Gezina 12 3 6 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 6:26PM
Hi Geoff Lovely shot you caught the vibrant colours beautifully, did you mean the ISO was set at 100 or 1000 - 100 isn't patricularly high and shouldn't give you any problems as though a 1000 is a diffirent strory - as an amateur this shot in my opinion is just fine. Ina
Gaucho 17 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 6:33PM
Absolute cracker! No noise as far as I can see. That is a really lovely photograph. Stop worrying!Smile
FeatherFriend 11 38 217 England
20 Jun 2008 6:51PM

Quote:Hi Geoff Lovely shot you caught the vibrant colours beautifully, did you mean the ISO was set at 100 or 1000 - 100 isn't patricularly high and shouldn't give you any problems as though a 1000 is a diffirent strory - as an amateur this shot in my opinion is just fine. Ina

Hi Ina, the ISO was a 100.
User_Removed 11 78 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 7:10PM
Another cracking shot Geoff.. exp and detail spot on M8

dmhuynh72 11 44 3 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 8:04PM
stunning as usual. excellent lighting and you caught it at a great moment too. well done
pennyspike 16 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 8:06PM
I particularly like the bird's attitude.
robway 14 318 Wales
20 Jun 2008 8:24PM
Superb capture in every way, detail and lighting are wonderful.
peter_oak 14 1 England
20 Jun 2008 8:57PM
Super shot well taken.As you know Geoff I am useing a D3 NO noise but you might try a softer flash by useing your handkerchief or similar.

photophantom 11 108 3 Philippines
20 Jun 2008 9:11PM
Marvelous colors and details!!! Award winning picture. Very well done Geoff. Bravo!
gary_d 11 576 13 Wales
20 Jun 2008 9:13PM
Agree with Dennis, super shot. - gary
microchip 12 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 9:27PM
I find this an excellent capture,the flash sets the off the colours
superbly, a great capture,
bunbeam 13 2 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 10:19PM
what a beautiful little bird, lovely capture
FeatherFriend 11 38 217 England
20 Jun 2008 10:31PM

Quote:Super shot well taken.As you know Geoff I am useing a D3 NO noise but you might try a softer flash by useing your handkerchief or similar.Peter..

Thanks Peter, I did try the defuser that came with the SB800, and also pointing it slightly away from the bird, but couldn't achieve enough light. Thank you for your suggestion, it's most appreciated. Can't even consider a D3, but am giving the D300 a lot of thought.
GillyB Plus
14 317 8 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 11:01PM
Fabulous colour and detail Geoff, any noise etc would not detract from such an excellent image.

I have no idea about using flash .... I got my 580ex over 2 years ago and have not used it yet Sad
goso 13 2 1 Australia
20 Jun 2008 11:07PM
lurksalot 12 332 1 England
20 Jun 2008 11:11PM
Ive spent ages trying to get a decent shot of these little beauties , they are very quick ,but I hadn't used flash . I do have some reasonable ones but the colours and feathers always seem blurred but the wing detail and beak sharp. It certainly appears to be an odd bird to get perfect.
abtuie 15 7
20 Jun 2008 11:35PM
Hello Geoff - This is an excellent shot of a very beautiful bird. Very well done. As far as noise is concerned, my screen shows nil - though there does seem to be some moire in the head feathers, which also seems to happen to me when I capture a lot of detail and resize for the web.

All in all a very fine picture with great detail and colour.

taggart Plus
15 47 13 United States
21 Jun 2008 12:15AM
Absolutely, 100 % gorgeous shot!

nickyv32 12 135 England
21 Jun 2008 8:50AM
As Jennn says 100 % perfect, amazing colours and detail.

StevenPrice 14 30 2 England
21 Jun 2008 9:43AM
Excellent work Geoff
piccy 13 8 Wales
21 Jun 2008 11:47AM
Such a pretty bird - beautiful shot.
jdh2 13 1 1 United States
21 Jun 2008 1:02PM
perfect shot. Could not be any better. Jerry
21 Jun 2008 3:44PM
21 Jun 2008 4:15PM
Looks sharp, like the touches of orange.
Also like flash for freezing detail.
Pegon 14 78 1 England
21 Jun 2008 4:41PM
This is a real beauty.
MandsH 12 England
21 Jun 2008 5:09PM
You have a stunning collection of bird shots and this is another one to add to it - wonderful
LuzDeNoche 11 2 France
21 Jun 2008 5:55PM
A magnificent shot, Geoff. Really really good!
Smile Lucy
whiteswan01 11 13 England
21 Jun 2008 8:29PM
wow what a beauty nice colours and tones
ChristineL 14 39 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2008 9:20PM
I agree with everyone else who can't see any noise, it's just fine feather detail. A super capture with lovely colours,
Maiwand 12 3 73 England
21 Jun 2008 10:40PM
Lovely shot Geoff. A real beauty.
digiray63 12 4 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2008 10:58PM
A excellent shot Geoff, looks great.
rmr 12 1 Wales
22 Jun 2008 9:46AM
stunning capture geoff
greatdog 11 21 England
22 Jun 2008 11:24AM
Great shot Geoff,love the color,sorry for the late comment and vote ,but computer is now fixed and back on line!!Dane.
Dugud 11 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2008 5:39PM
Wonderful shot.
franfoto 11 2 32 England
22 Jun 2008 7:45PM
This is beautiful Geoff, congrats on the two well deserved user awards.
Fran x
pluckyfilly 13 351 33 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2008 10:19PM
As you know Geoff I am no pro but I do know what I like and this image is a good one you have retained the colour well and you have a good use of DOF I dont think you have too many worries but like me you are trying for good better best if your good is better make your better best. That wont help you much but its a good aim
gerrymac 12 10 1 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2008 1:48PM
I think this is a fabulous shot,one looks at it and one goes wow.....Like music one will never get it perfect cos theres no such thing, or like painting or drawing,when you go back to it you always think..mmmmmm could have had that bit better...the mind is never satisfied, accept it for what it is Geoff a beautiful shot of a beautiful bird...10 out of 10 from me.....but then ..what do I know...
23 Jun 2008 4:06PM
Wonderful presentation and detaild image.
dianah 12 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2008 5:04PM
That is my first shortlist of the day Geoff..everything about this is superb. Wonderful colour and perfect detail. Oops I have just read there is no such thing from Gerry !..Well perfect in my eyes this afternoon ! Smile
helenlinda Plus
12 366 22 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2008 11:02AM
Beautiful colours
26 Jun 2008 8:01PM
Just perfect.
brownsilent 12 7 2 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2008 6:32PM
A very beautiful shot, great bird, fantastic colours,
baxster 11 England
28 Jun 2008 8:05AM
great shot geoff,spot on.
29 Jun 2008 5:12PM
KangaGal 11 66 Australia
30 Jun 2008 9:03AM
I missed this. Absolutely spectacular.
Photogooru 11 4 Northern Ireland
30 Jun 2008 3:28PM
Lovely detail - nice presentation well done.


30 Jun 2008 7:31PM
A really outstanding photo. JNC
dweezil 11 1 England
30 Jun 2008 10:36PM
Fantastic shot nice one
kitty83 13 11 England
12 Jul 2008 8:40PM
Have 100 votes on me. Smile This image deserves it. Absolutely stunning.
fwatts 11
19 Jul 2008 10:02AM
what a stunning photo bob well done
sandrish 15 36 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2008 7:24PM
Beautiful shot.

tigertimb 11 40 66 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2008 8:17AM
Excellent shot Geoff, I love the composition and the pose and the colours are beautiful.
I agree with you that there's something unusual about the feathers and just wondering if the flash if the harsher light of the flash is giving more reflections and deeper shadows than normal; but the overall level of detail looks great
videotec 11 8 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2008 5:19PM
Cracking Shot--Brilliant work

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