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Wet Feathered Duck

By StephenBrighton      
Recently I have been thinking about how what I believe (or do not believe) holds me back when I attempt to create a photograph. Over the years of using my various digital cameras I have moved from fully automatic to fully manual use of my cameras controls. Except when it comes to focussing.

I wear spectacles with vari-focal lenses because I have astigmatism (that's odd shaped eye balls).

This means that I have just about always relied upon the camera's autofocusing mechanism. Obviously, because I believed that, even after adjusting the diopter setting, I could not focus accurately with my eyes then I never really tried to seriously test this belief. My "I can't focus belief" was reenforced many times over the years because, believe me, I have produced a lot of unintentionally out of focus photographs.

Last month I bought a x2 teleconverter for my biggest lens, a Canon 100-400mm zoom. It wasn't until afterwards that I discovered that, while the teleconverter is designed to flawlessly incorporate auto-focussing, the exception is for my lens! [The technical reason is that the autofocus stops above f/6 and with the x2 teleconverter attached the minimum aperture is f/11).

Yesterday I took my Canon 5D mkII with one lens, the 100-400mm zoom with the x2 teleconverter attached to London's WWT at Barnes.

When I got there I realised that while I had the monopod quick release plate attached to the lens that I had left the monopod at home. So what was I to do? Give up? Go home and kick myself?

This photograph of a wet feathered duck was created by handholding the camera and lens, with zoom fully extended. The details from the EXIF date are:

Aperture f/11
ISO 1000
Shutterspeed 1/640th of a second
focal length 800 mm

What the EXIF data does not say is "Stephen your belief is clearly wrong!"

Tags: Wildlife and nature

Voters: Ade_Osman, mikbee,

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Ade_Osman 14 4.5k 36 England
8 Sep 2012 8:38AM
Works for me......

Don't discount the camera with your focussing issues even though you state it's a problem you've had over many years. I've just had one of my cameras repaired with a full Canon reset, including a focussing calibration test and a new focussing screen and it has made a whole world of difference. It might well be worth getting the camera serviced and checked out. Don't use the local retailer down the road though, make sure it goes to someone who knows what they're doing and are an authorised Canon specialist. I use Colchester Camera's, but a quick check on Google will point you in the right direction. It might be worth it, you never know.


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mikbee 11 3 8 Scotland
8 Sep 2012 2:09PM
Even back in the ''old film'' days Stephen,I was never one for that ''rule'' of hand holding at your focal length should equal your shutter speed.(eg,a 200mm lens should be a shutter speed of at least 1/200 sec,and so on ).It did not matter if it was auto focus or manual focus either.Far better to take the shot anyway and if you were not happy with it,bin it,or if you were happy with it, keep it !!
Worth keeping this one I think.

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