Focus

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Headsie
Headsie's picture
Focus

Just starting a thread on to discuss focussing issues.

As I use a canon eos my prefered sttings for birding is to use spot focus and A1 servo mode.

I select the centre dot as my spot focus which means what ever is in the centre of my screen when I press the shoot button the camera will focus on that, this eliminates the camera focussing on branches or other distractions in the frame.

I also select A1 servo so that if the bird moves I keep the button pressed down half way and the camera automatically adjusts the focus for the new position. This is very helpful for birds in flight as you can hold the shoot button half way down and track the bird and the camera will do its best to keep the bird in focus.

I have brushed over this topic very briefly but I will try to answer any questions or find a way to find the answer.

Windhover
Windhover's picture

Agree, AI-Servo (not A1 smiley  ) is the best for moving subjects. I always select center AF point as that has the best AF sensitivity on most models in the Canon range and makes it easier to compose when you are struggling to keep a bird in your viewfinder. The longer the lens the harder it is to keep track of a moving subject and the smaller the subject (generally) the harder they are to follow. You would want to keep this center AF sensor on the head of the bird in flight. Otherwise you get a sharp wing and not a head especially if the bird is close and you usually have minimal depth of field due to the focal length used. I try to use f/8 where possible and even bump ISO to 800 to get a good shutter speed, which I try to keep above 1/1600th when hand holding my 500/4 and 1.4x combo. I find that bigger birds are hard to get sharp edge to edge, especially if very close to me.

Owen1
Owen1's picture

Different lenses will have their 'sweet spot' at different apertures. I find at the 500mm end of my siggy It is only sharp at around f/8 while f/6.3 or f/10 onwards is quite soft. There's a good test you can do is to place a $10 in good light and take photos of it at different apertures and see which ones you can read the poem behind the old man's head. 

Cheers, Owen.

Headsie
Headsie's picture

I used to the Siggy 500 Owen and I put it in for a service before a trip to Africa and they lost it' I bought the Canon 400 prime for the trip and when I returned they replaced my siggy with a brand new one but I sold it because I grew attached to the canon.

Owen1
Owen1's picture

Which siggy was yours out of interest. Was it the 150-500mm like mine or was it the fixed focal length 500mm?

Cheers, Owen.

birdie
birdie's picture

I find servo can be annoying  sometimes as I often use the AF to pic the eye for example as the central focus point (and I too only use the central point to select) then when I want to reframe the subject the AF keeps changing , and I especially dont like that when I am doing something like my Mistletoe bird which has black around the eye so I like to lock it on and then choose my composition. ANy suggestions Headsie or others? Obviously servo is good for tracking. I wear glasses and my eyesight is not that good so I do rely on AF  lot. ( except of course in dense twiggy foliage etc

Just edited my typos ..ha ha ha swervo...I think the title will remain that way cheeky

I can be  a little swervy at times ha ha

Sunshine Coast Queensland

Windhover
Windhover's picture

With birds that are dark, like your Mistletoebird male, I try to compose so the AF point picks up the edge of the head (not eye) and background. Usually I can get enough contrast along this edge line to get AF to work. Servo focus is a must and I use it pretty much all the time, except if I shoot with a 2x, then I use the extra button on my 500 (at the front) to change to one-shot, if the subject is static. But AI-Servo generally is best for birds, as they rarely sit still. IMHO anyway.

Owen1
Owen1's picture

Is servo just Canon's word for the AF mode? My Pentax just names them AF.C (continuous), AF.S (single) and AF.A (auto) which I assume does the same thing as your Canons.

Cheers, Owen.

Windhover
Windhover's picture

Hi Owen, I think continuous is the same as servo.

Qyn
Qyn's picture

This tutorial on focus was posted by someone on the Ausphotography forum and may be of use to people who do not know these tips

Focus tips

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

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