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Best settings for shooting wildlife with a canon 90D

Dmcd3055
Contributor

Any recommendations for the best settings for shooting wildlife with a canon 90D using 100-400 zoom

Just not getting crisp sharp photos

11 REPLIES 11

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

Are you close enough that you are not having to crop excessively?  Extensive cropping combined with high ISO will result in loss of sharpness.

If the subject is stationary, then you can use the lens stabilizer and drop shutter speed to provide a lower ISO.  If the subject is moving, then shutter speed has to be fast enough to freeze the subject and that may be getting you into higher ISO with resultant loss of sharpness due to noise reduction.  If you can keep ISO low, you can crop heavily and still retain a good quality image but if ISO is forced too high then it starts with less detail and that loss is made more apparent with severe cropping.

Woody posed for me a couple of weeks ago, shot with Canon 1DX II with EF 800 f5.6 @ 1/1250 ISO 250 and this image was cropped from about 1/4 of the total captured image.  Fairly heavy cropping but it retains good detail. The second image is about the same crop percent but was captured at a slightly higher ISO (1,600) but the optical performance of the EF 400 f2.8 lens combined with the 1DX III sensor still provides a decent image.

Rodger

AQ9I4625.jpgAS0I0800.jpg

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

Not knowing any more that you provided which was pretty sparce makes it difficult to advise.

Two things or three come to mind. One is keep the SS at or above 1/500 and 1/1000 is probably better for that lens. BTW, 400mm isn't the best FL when it is the top end you have for wildlife depending on what wildlife you are shooting. Small birds are going to be tough with 400mm and I consider it the lowest FL that's acceptable. However if your wildlife is elephants 400mm is sufficient. My goto wildlife lens is my Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens.

Now the most important part no matter what lens you have is raw and a good editor. Don't do both of these you are never ever going to get the best wildlife photos. Neither of these cost any thing so there isn't any excuse for not doing both except post editing requires some learning. Raw is a setting in camera and Canon offers DPP4 for free to do editing. You can d/l it from the web site and did I mention it is free.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

Additionally, the 90D is a fantastic camera. Top of its class. It is very capable but someone will mention it is a crop sensor so you benefit from that for wildlife. This debate has gone on as long as there have been crop sensor cameras. Is it better to use a crop sensor for the tele gain or simply crop a FF camera to the same aspect ratio. The answer is yes and no. It can be and just as likely to not make any difference at all. Just use what you have and pay little to no attention to that.

Where this can be a difference is the SS. Your 400mm acts like a 640mm lens on a 90D and that makes the recommendation of keeping the SS at 1/1000 even more important. So, 1/1000, raw and DPP4 and you are good to go! Come back and show some samples.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

@Dmcd3055 wrote:

Any recommendations for the best settings for shooting wildlife with a canon 90D using 100-400 zoom

Just not getting crisp sharp photos


Welcome to the forum!

Unfortunately, that is not exactly how it works.  There isn’t a “one size fits all” combination of camera settings that works for all shooting scenarios.  

To use the camera most effectively, there are two learning curves involved.  One is learning about the basics of photography, which includes “The Exposure Triangle”, “Depth of Field”, and to some degree “Composition.”  Number two is learning the basics of how a DSLR camera works and how to apply the basics of photography to improving your camera settings for Autofocus Mode, Drive Mode, Exposure Settings, and more.

I like to compare learning to use a camera to learning how to drive a car.  You begin with learning the rules of the road and taking a written test.  One you pass a written test, then you can begin learning how to operate an automobile in preparation for a road test.  

Learning the rules of the road is the most important part, which I compare to learning the basics of photography.  If you cannot read a street signs, observe lane markings, and traffic lights, then you will not be able to get from Point A to Point B successfully very often, if at all.

Learning how to operate a motor vehicle is the easy part.  Most motor vehicles all work in pretty much the same way.  It is the same with DSLR cameras.  They all pretty much work the same way.  The main difference between one car and the next is how the dashboard is laid out.  Same with camerss.

Another good analogy is learning how to play a musical instrument like a piano.  If you do not first learn some music theory, then you will almost certainly never be able to play your new piano.  Again, all keyboard instruments work in pretty much the same way, just like cars and cameras.

YouTube is a great resource for learning about these topics for free.

You should download a copy of the full user guide if you have not alread done so.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

The term 'wildlife' covers a wide range of applications.  The focal length you are using might work well for some kinds of animals, but could well be short for others: from the point of view of filling the frame for good composition, not scaring off the subject, or in the case of large mammals, causing them to become aggressive.  That is one element, but technique is also significant.

As my colleagues have alluded to, understanding the relationship between the "holy trinity" of exposure: shutter speed, ISO, and aperture and their impacts of composition and sharpness.  These have huge impacts depending upon the amount of light, the distance to subject, the need prevent motion and the isolation of the subject from other elements that might be a distraction.   For some applications, using a hide and a tripod, or a monopod might be beneficial to allow for slower shutter speeds, where a subject is in low light and relatively static (allowing for slower shutter speeds to the benefit of a  more open aperture and higher ISO to get enough light); but in other cases getting a sufficiently high shutter speed might be the priority to stop motion of moving subjects, but demanding that ISO and aperture support that.  Any image is a playoff between these, often competing factors.

What could cause lack of sharpness could be one, or a combination of several factors:  shutter speeds not compensating for either camera or subject movement, not focusing on the subject, or having too shallow a depth of field to cover what you want to be in focus.

So, some idea of the kinds of wildlife you want to capture, and how you currently approach that would be helpful.
If you want us to provide more specific support by providing feedback on your images, then I suggest posting a link to your original images (RAW if you shoot in that format) so that we can evaluate the images and setting you shot with.


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Hello Trevor,

More than glad to share any pics I have. The challange appears to be RAW files are to large to upload. Can you tell me how to post(create) a link to some of my pictures

No worries.
To do so, you need a file sharing interface, such as Microsoft OneDrive (for which you need an Outlook or MS ID), Google Drive, SHAREit or Dropbox.  Others may have programs that they prefer but off the cuff, those ones come to mind.  You connect to the program, probably have to sign up (most are free), then follow the instructions, which usually involve in uploading the files to the program,(perhaps within a folder you create), then the menu system will offer you to create a link to the folder or the files as individuals - check the permissions as you do so.  You then post the link in your post to us.
You might find the Google Drive Program the easiest:  you may need a Gmail account for this, but it's an example.

Tronhard_0-1709418919900.png

Alternatively, go to Dropbox.com and open a free account.

 


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

March411
Rising Star

There is some great advice but from a personal perspective Trevor made one statement that I can very much relate to, it's vital.

"filling the frame for good composition"

When I began wildlife photography that was my downfall. I thought that with the improvement of technology I could push the limits. I was incorrect!

I shoot with a 90D and have captured some incredible images. ISO, Apeture and Shutter speed and Focus absolutely need to be the driving factors but if you are filling a very small portion of your frame with your subject you'll never get the desired results.

This image is OK, a little soft because I again pushed my luck, the subject was moving, I was hand folding my 100-400mm and @ ISO 100 - f7.1 and 1/100, I should have bumped up both the ISO and shutter speed. Arrogance that you can do something because of experience is never a good thing, I should have followed some basic rules.

Golf-Crane.jpg

On youtube there is a gentlemen I think can help. He is a little windy but his channel is pretty good. His channel is Simon d'Entremont and most of his topics apply across any camera and he walks you through the vital steps.



Be a different person on the web, be kind, respectful and most of all be helpful!

90D ~ 5D Mark IV ~ R6 Mark II ~ R50 and way to many EF lenses
Photoshop and Topaz Suite for image processing
http://commonhangout.com/piwigo/

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

""filling the frame for good composition""

However that is only half of the solution. DPP4 and/or Photoshop is the other half and is the most important part. If you are not using one or the other or both you will never get the great shots you see in Nat Geo, etc.,and the like. Raw and an editor is more important than even the camera/lens. Do not gloss over or dismiss that fact.

BTW you don't need a file sharing utility to share. You can convert your photos to web size in DPP4 and/or Photoshop. That way you will have easy access to this forum for photo sharing.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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