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Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2018
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Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

I am using Canon 750D with Sigma 150 - 600mm f5-6.3 DG lens, tried to capture flying bird but never get success to capture them in frame or get in focus. As hand held panning is difficult due to heavy weight of Sigma lens, I bought 2nd hand canon 400mm f5.6L lens to free panning to cover subject on frame. Using continuous mode in AI servo with single point focus spot metering. Please suggest what and how to do that.
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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,021
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame


@Vineetgarg_99wrote:
I am using Canon 750D with Sigma 150 - 600mm f5-6.3 DG lens, tried to capture flying bird but never get success to capture them in frame or get in focus. As hand held panning is difficult due to heavy weight of Sigma lens, I bought 2nd hand canon 400mm f5.6L lens to free panning to cover subject on frame. Using continuous mode in AI servo with single point focus spot metering. Please suggest what and how to do that.

Wow...hard to know where to begin on your question. To fully answer your question, one has to cover the entire course on how to capture birds in flight which as you found out is one of the harder forms of photography.

 

Like everything you need to build up your skills...you don't start at 600mm or even 400mm to acquire and lock target, especially with a single point focus.  Even experts don't do single point unless they have to.

 

Focus points: 

1. start out with all 19 points.  You will have some successes and a few failures (camera focuses on wrong part).

2. reduce the number of points slowly as you get better.  At your skill level, I think 9 point is your best bet.  There is no reason to go down to a single point for BIF, except for a few cases where you want to precisely nail the eye.

 

Focal length and techniques:

 

1. What you want to do is to start out at 150mm range then work up to higher focal range.  The higher the FL, the harder it is to acquire target.

 

2. Technique is to hold the camera an inch or so below your eye level so you can see the scene without looking through the viewfinder.  Your aiming eye should be right next to the viewfinder.   Same with camera on tripod, the camera is a bit lower than your eye level.

3. Pre-focus on the distance you think the bird is going to be.  This will decrease focus time...spare lens from hunting.  I use the back button focus so when I press the shutter button it doesn't refocus on me and ruin my preset focus. But it's not a prerequisite.

 

3. When the bird flies by you track it with your eye then switch over to the viewfinder.  With the pre-focus, you should be able to see the bird right away. I usually keep both eyes open so the eye not through the viewfinder can see the scene better.  Press the focus button, acquire focus and continue holding the focus button to track the bird.  The 9 point or more will help you if you miss centering the bird, which is really easy to do.

 

With practice, you won't miss the focus too much.  It's impossible not to miss some from time to time but I rarely ever misses all of the shots...especially the shots that count.

 

Good luck Smiley Happy

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,939
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

[ Edited ]

@Vineetgarg_99wrote:
I am using Canon 750D with Sigma 150 - 600mm f5-6.3 DG lens, tried to capture flying bird but never get success to capture them in frame or get in focus. As hand held panning is difficult due to heavy weight of Sigma lens, I bought 2nd hand canon 400mm f5.6L lens to free panning to cover subject on frame. Using continuous mode in AI servo with single point focus spot metering. Please suggest what and how to do that.

Using spot metering it is amazing you have any properly exposed photos. Use Evaluative Metering.

 

Also for birds in flight don't use single point focus. With a 19 point AF system you want to use the Zone AF or even the all 19 auto AF point selection. In AIServo 19 auto AF point selections starts off with the center AF point, but, hands off the focus to the other AF points if the subject moves off the center.

 

For birds in flight you want at least a 1/1600 shutter speed.

 

Wear camo or subdued clothing it will let you get closer to the birds.

 

Ideal poisition is upwind of the birds and sun at your back. Up wind because birds normally takeoff into the wind and then they take off towards you.

 

16586885_10158181984085693_1517571621069334547_o.jpg

 

A00A8938.jpg

 

 

New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2018

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

Thanks for providing me trick to capture BIF, I will surely try this and hope this time I will get success.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎04-08-2018

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

One thing to add to the two above (Both very good instructions.) Try using multi shot setting to increase the chance of at least one good image out of the group. Less chance of missing a good image.

 
New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2018

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

Yes that for sure, in burst mode. Please tell me which is best body for burst mode photography. Is 750D is missing that speed which is needed for BIF. For wildlife photography which is best body to use.
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎04-08-2018

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

[ Edited ]

For an answer to which body to use I will defer to others on here, I am barely familiar with the T6I/750D and have not used any other cameras from the canon line. (This is my first serious camera from the canon line, I am more familiar with the Fujica line of pre digital 35mm cameras.)

 

 
 
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,021
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame


@Vineetgarg_99wrote:
Yes that for sure, in burst mode. Please tell me which is best body for burst mode photography. Is 750D is missing that speed which is needed for BIF. For wildlife photography which is best body to use.

For Canon, the best burst rate, not surprisingly, comes from the 1DX mark II...it can do up to 14 fps in non-liveview mode.  The next best camera is the 7D Mark II which can do up to 10 fps.  Higher frame rate does help but not essential.

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎08-01-2015

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

[ Edited ]

The 750D can shoot at 5 frames oer second which is just fine for getting great BIF pictures.

And I guess I'll be the dissenter here.....I  shoot a lot of BIF and I have the greatest success  using center focus only as I want the camera to focus on what I want it to not what it thinks would be best to focus on. I also use either spot or center weighted metering as I am exposing for the bird, not the entire scene.

I can tell you that it takes a tremendous amount of practice. The first time I tried shooting BIF I had a gull nearly stationary above me and I couldn't get a sharp picture to save me.

 

The suggestion above regarding shooting at a shorter focal length initially is good as it will allow you to develop the feel for tracking the birds and staying locked on target. This is a great part developing your skills. Granted, your pictures at shorter focal lengths may not be as satisfying but as you progress you can start shooting longer.

Good luck to you.

 

IMG_2391 PSCR.jpg

 

IMG_6135 PSCR.jpg

 

IMG_4713 PSCRNW 2.jpg

New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2018

Re: Want to capture bird in flight but always miss the frame

Above BIF capture is really great, please share the setting, it will further improve my skill.
Which lens and body you are using?
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