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Need fucus advice for lions
(?)
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Apr 18, 2012 12:42:54   #
Joechalmers
 
Just returned from Safari in Kenya, and I got a lot of great pix. But some from my first day wre out of focus and I can't figure out why.
Gear is a Nikon D3100 with their Nikkor 55-200 lens with VR on. I used P mode and autofocus AF Atea Mode.
Light was bright, outdoors, with a Polarizing filter. A number of them were not satisfactory. See "4 lions". The second, "1 lion" was taken 5 minutes later, but a lot closer (zoom @ 135mm).
On day 2 I removed the filter, pushed up the ISO and changed mode to A so I fould force better depth of field, and I changed to AF Single Point (See "good lion")
The last, "bird" is included only to prove that I do know how to focus the camera!
Any ideas?
4 lions, F5.6, 1/80, ISO 320, 200mm
4 lions, F5.6, 1/80, ISO 320, 200mm...
1 lion, F5.0, 1/80, ISO 360, 135mm
1 lion, F5.0, 1/80, ISO 360, 135mm...
good lion, F16, 1/100, ISO 800, 200mm
good lion, F16, 1/100, ISO 800, 200mm...
Bird, F11, 1/100, ISO 800, 190mm
Bird, F11, 1/100, ISO 800, 190mm...
 
Apr 18, 2012 12:46:35   #
photogrl57
 
Joechalmers wrote:
Just returned from Safari in Kenya, and I got a lot of great pix. But some from my first day wre out of focus and I can't figure out why.
Gear is a Nikon D3100 with their Nikkor 55-200 lens with VR on. I used P mode and autofocus AF Atea Mode.
Light was bright, outdoors, with a Polarizing filter. A number of them were not satisfactory. See "4 lions". The second, "1 lion" was taken 5 minutes later, but a lot closer (zoom @ 135mm).
On day 2 I removed the filter, pushed up the ISO and changed mode to A so I fould force better depth of field, and I changed to AF Single Point (See "good lion")
The last, "bird" is included only to prove that I do know how to focus the camera!
Any ideas?
Just returned from Safari in Kenya, and I got a lo... (show quote)


I would try setting the shutter speed to 1/focal length
Apr 18, 2012 13:06:15   #
rpavich (a regular here)
 
they all appear to be blurred as a result of camera shake.

As you pointed out....you fixed it by taking off the filter and upping the shutter speed.
Apr 18, 2012 15:21:48   #
MT Shooter (a regular here)
 
Anytime your shutter speed is less than the focal length of your lens (irregardless of ISO), you have to be VERY careful of camera shake. Simply pressing your shutter button too hard or quick will seriously effect your focus, and never in a good way.

As a second question, were you using a tripod in any of these shots? If so, VR needs to be turned off as it will blur your shot also.
Apr 18, 2012 15:45:14   #
birdseyeviewphotos
 
Focus Advice I would suggest you use a bean bag resting the camera on it and on the vehicle you were in. There is a possibility that if the vehicle had its engine running you would get that effect. Look at some of my shots most of them are using a tripod or a monopod. Picking a higher ISO speed would have given a higher shutter speed. Another tip I was told when younger was to breath in and press the shutter before you breath out.
I run PhotoSafaris to Africa and suggest because of the distance involved you can not come to the lessons I give here in the UK but I am happy to advise on line here or on birdseyeviewphotos@yahoo.co.uk
It is not so common to see 3 males together they must be brothers
It is not so common to see 3 males together they m...
Can you imagine opening the door to find this one on your step
Can you imagine opening the door to find this one ...
I got back indoors a shot through the window when I stopped shaking
I got back indoors a shot through the window when ...
Apr 18, 2012 21:10:30   #
loyalpentaxfan
 
Another possible factor- was your filter a circular polarizer, or the older linear type? Most AF cameras do not work well with the linear type.
 
Apr 18, 2012 22:24:06   #
Joechalmers
 
Thanks, everyone. So I'm getting that the consensus is that camera shake is the culprit, not focus. Would I have been better off using shutter speed of 1/focal length, suggesting 1/200 for the longest zoom on my lens. Should I have just pushed up ISO as needed, or opened up aperture, losing some depth of field?
Apr 19, 2012 00:58:49   #
usaellie101
 
birdseyeviewphotos wrote:
Focus Advice I would suggest you use a bean bag resting the camera on it and on the vehicle you were in. There is a possibility that if the vehicle had its engine running you would get that effect. Look at some of my shots most of them are using a tripod or a monopod. Picking a higher ISO speed would have given a higher shutter speed. Another tip I was told when younger was to breath in and press the shutter before you breath out.
I run PhotoSafaris to Africa and suggest because of the distance involved you can not come to the lessons I give here in the UK but I am happy to advise on line here or on birdseyeviewphotos@yahoo.co.uk
Focus Advice I would suggest you use a bean bag re... (show quote)


My goodness what a huge animal. I never realized just how large a lion is. You got some really candid ( LOL) shots of this big cat.
Apr 19, 2012 01:04:14   #
MT Shooter (a regular here)
 
Joechalmers wrote:
Thanks, everyone. So I'm getting that the consensus is that camera shake is the culprit, not focus. Would I have been better off using shutter speed of 1/focal length, suggesting 1/200 for the longest zoom on my lens. Should I have just pushed up ISO as needed, or opened up aperture, losing some depth of field?


I am just curious as to how long you had this camera before the trip, and how much experience you had shooting wildlife with it? Africa is a very expensive trip to take with inexperienced equipment so I would have thought you were well versed in all its capabilities before going. The exposure info included with the first 2 images actually makes no sense if it was a sunny day, even with a polarizer attached. F5.6, 1/80, ISO 320 should have left you a seriously overexposed shot, yet the exposure actually does not look that bad, only the focus.
Apr 19, 2012 03:23:28   #
rpavich (a regular here)
 
Joechalmers wrote:
Thanks, everyone. So I'm getting that the consensus is that camera shake is the culprit, not focus. Would I have been better off using shutter speed of 1/focal length, suggesting 1/200 for the longest zoom on my lens. Should I have just pushed up ISO as needed, or opened up aperture, losing some depth of field?


That would be a creative decision of yours based on what you want to accomplish.

I would think that in the bright sun you'd not have to do that....you'd have latitude to up the shutter speed considerably without having to change the f/stop much.

On a bright sunny day using the "sunny 16 rule" you get this:

f/16
1/400
ISO 400

You could have also used this combination:

f/11
1/800
ISO 400


Or even:

f/8
1/800
ISO 200


So your DOF isn't changing that much but you are gaining a LOT of shutter speed.
Apr 19, 2012 07:19:38   #
Gary Truchelut
 
I agree, change the f-stop to whatever it takes to get the shot and the ISO could be kept fairly low to limit noise. As long as the subject is in focus, the foreground and background doesn't need to be. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Please post more of your shots.
 
Apr 19, 2012 07:58:27   #
asimodulex
 
Here are my pictures of Lion in Tanzania






Apr 19, 2012 10:01:20   #
mdeman
 
Could it be that you get a bit excited shooting lions? Did you use image stabilization. I managed to get some pretty sharp shots even with a slightly too slow shutter speed. This was hand held from the vehicle (with vehicle motor off). F/4 1/100 ISO200 240mm (35mm equivalent) focal length for first picture. But I found it also essential to use smallest spot focal area. The grass around the lions (usually) being almost the same color, wider auto focus has problems. Until I figured that out, I was getting focus in front of the subject. Bean bags are a good suggestion.
F/4 1/100 ISO 200 240mm equiv.
F/4 1/100 ISO 200  240mm equiv....
F/4 1/250 ISO 200 75mm equiv.
F/4  1/250 ISO 200  75mm equiv....
Apr 19, 2012 10:06:17   #
mdeman
 
asimodulex, loved your lions, especially the third pic
Apr 19, 2012 11:29:48   #
silver
 
Joechalmers wrote:
Just returned from Safari in Kenya, and I got a lot of great pix. But some from my first day wre out of focus and I can't figure out why.
Gear is a Nikon D3100 with their Nikkor 55-200 lens with VR on. I used P mode and autofocus AF Atea Mode.
Light was bright, outdoors, with a Polarizing filter. A number of them were not satisfactory. See "4 lions". The second, "1 lion" was taken 5 minutes later, but a lot closer (zoom @ 135mm).
On day 2 I removed the filter, pushed up the ISO and changed mode to A so I fould force better depth of field, and I changed to AF Single Point (See "good lion")
The last, "bird" is included only to prove that I do know how to focus the camera!
Any ideas?
Just returned from Safari in Kenya, and I got a lo... (show quote)


For most situations a polarizing filter is un necessary.
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