I have been playing around with my new camera and lens (100 – 400mm lens) to try to get familiar with them. I am concentrating on using AV – no more auto!!
1. I want to shoot moving subjects and freeze the motion. Can you please comment or make suggestions?
2. Aperture is the amount of light the lens lets in – the wider open (f4) the shallower the depth of field.
Shutter speed (the time the shutter stays open to let light in. The depth of field – the depth that is infocus on either side of the focus point (ie shallow of deep). I need some depth of field (I have been playing with aperture (mainly between f4.5 – f7) Is this a reasonable assumption?
3. What about White Balance? I leave this on AWB auto. But there are different types of light. (Direct light, indirect/reflected light, hard light, soft light, cold and warm light)
4. I need a fast shutter speed – but how fast? I decided this is going to be set by the camera (set on AV) and will be related to my AV setting and ISO setting BUT I want to check it – guessing it should be 1/250. But how much faster? Can it be too fast? For example if my shutter speed is 1000 + should I change the ISO down?
5. I might need to increase the ISO – but by how much and when is it too much? What about noise? It has been cloudy and dull so I have played with the ISO set at 400 – 800, probably mostly 640. Originally, I thought a rule of thumb might be 100 for v sunny, 200 daylight and 400 cloudy. Then I thought that because I am shooting a fast moving subject I might need the ISO to be higher (more sensitive). So do I need to increase the ISO if I am shooting fast-moving object?
When do I increase the ISO?
Hi Tan. Great to hear that you are off Auto. That is the way to go.
1. Shooting moving subjects with Canon. You need to use AiServo mode and continuous shooting. Select a narrow number of focus points. Say 9 to concentrate the focus power in the centre of the image.
2. Aperture priority is a good way of working. But if you want good depth of field you will need to go up to f11 to f22. Small aperture is big number.
3. White balance relates to colour temperature. It is how white looks in different light source conditions. I suggest you shoot in WBA, but Yyou will want to be able to set your white balance after shooting. This is one of the reasons why I suggest that you shoot in RAW format.
4. Your shutter speed depends upon your subject and the effect you are after. To blur a waterfall you need 1/30th second. To capture a bird in flight, pin sharp, you need to go above 1/2000th of a second. A slow shutter is the number one problem with wildlife images. If you want sharp images, push your ISO to 2000 if needed to keep your shutter speed up. The longer your lens the higher shutter speed you will require for sharp subjects. For your 400 mm lens you need 1/200th of a second at least if you are hand holding. If the subject is moving then even more. Yes, ISO does increase noise, but his is only really an issue beyond ISO 100 and in some cases its the only way to get images sharp.
I suggest you experiment…. Happy practicing and look forward to doing more on the workshop
Also suggest you start shooting RAW. Then you can change white balance after the fact.
Thanks, it is a lovely sunny but cool day in Melbourne so I am off to experiment.
Please could you verify the following from your 4th point. …. Noise is only really an issue above ISO 100… – did you mean ISO 100 or ISO 1000?
HI Tan — noise is usually only a problem above 1000 ISO. But its more of an issue with older model cameras. Also full frame sensors are much more forgiving when shooting at high ISO. My Nikon D700 (and the D3s) have virtually no noise at 1000 ISO and produce great results up to 2000 ISO. How a camera behaves wrt noise is an important decision when purchasing a camera. If in doubt check out test reviews.
When photographing wild animals that are directly approaching you, on what should you focus? The eyes or nose? Please can you also confirm that the faster the shutter speed the better.
Hi Jannie — typically would use CS (Continuous Focus) on Nikon or AIFocus (Canon) so that the camera tracks the movement of the approaching animal. Then set up continous shooting so that it fires off lots of frames. If you find that this is not working too well you can also use Single Servo and then “pump” the shutter. But this is likely to work less well. You should lock onto the eyes if possible. Shutter speed should be at least 1/400th of a second with a 400mm lens to freeze the action – and faster if possible. With a shorter lens you might be able to get away with a slower shutter — eg 1/3ooth for 300mm lens. My suggestion though is to try to get speed up to 1/1000th if light permits. Use your ISO to help you here. Obviously having a smaller aperture (eg f8 rather than f2.8) will give you a better depth of field because by focusing on the eye with a wide open aperture (f2.8) will give you a faster shutter speed but will also give you a shallower depth of field so while the eye can be in focus the nose may start to blur. its all a bit of a balancing act. Also remember that depth of field is also improved by going a bit wider rather than full zoom and will also give you a faster shutter speed — you can always crop in later. Hope this helps. By the way, I took my son to the water slide the other day and took pictures of him shooting down the slide towards me. Its a great place to practice your skills. You can do the same at a sports event or a motor car race. Have fun.