02-23-2017 12:01 PM
Yes, the 80D definitely has more focusing options and autofocuses faster than the PS. For insight, I bought the PS60X recently. My intention is to bring it on birding trips so that I don't have to lug my much heavier gear on airplanes. I also got it because of its reach, namely, the equivalent of 1335 mm with just the optical zoom. That reach is pretty good for getting a bird, like a belted kingfisher, perched in a tree that goes beyond the reach of my 400 mm lens (see attached image). However, I sometimes have this focusing issue that I've described. It very well might be because of interfering branches and foliage that the focus point is locking on and not the intended subject. I will be checking on that going forward but I was also interested in trying the focusing mode suggested by John.
02-23-2017 01:47 PM
I would rather have the focusing ability of a DSLR, than the optical zoom of a point and shoot. There were numerous branches between me and bird in the below photo.
The photo was taken with a 400mm lens, and has been cropped by 50%, and then "blown up" in post processing. i can always crop images, and do other tricks to an image in post-processing. Instead of focusing on the bird, I focused on the branch upon which it was perched.
02-23-2017 02:59 PM
I agree that a DSLR is better than a point and shoot or, in this case, a so-called bridge camera. I have both. However, I would rther have the optical zoom out to the equivalent of 1335 mm for a distant bird than my 400 mm even with the 1.4X extender. For me, doing a 50% crop and then more manipulation in post-processing almost always results in a less-than-quality image, even after sharpening. For a far-away bird, I would rather have the PowerShot SX60 than my Canon 80D with telephoto lens and extender. In fact, I called the PowerShot my "kingfisher" expressly because that species is quite skittish and often will not get close enough to get good, sharp images after cropping. As I also noted, the PowerShot is excellent for travel when one doesn't want to carry a lot of gear. It admittedly isn't good for BIF or trying to capture fast-moving warblers in a tree, but it is adequate for a lot of situations.
02-23-2017 04:05 PM
I'm attaching an image of the belted kingfisher captured with my Canon 80D with 100 - 400 mm II lens with a 1.4x extender (effectively, 560 mm). The bird was about 80 feet away. Compare the image quality to the PowerShot SX60 at an optical zoom equivalent to 1335 mm that I posted previously. That bird was about 200 feet away to the best I can remember. I think the image quality is better with the DSLR but I believe I had no chance to get a good image of the bird at 200 feet away with the DSLR. The PowerShot was my only chance for the far-away bird. You may have a better camera like a 7D Mark II or even better which might explain why you can crop more and still maintain good image quality. But for me, the far-away kingfisher was possible with the PowerShot but not with the 80D, even with the extender. Thus, the little PowerShot has a role for me.
Admittedly, this discussion is pretty far from my original question about focusing but still interesting and probably useful to others.
02-23-2017 05:15 PM
I used a 6D to take the shot that I posted. I was probably at least 50 feet away. I'm really not sure. Oh, did I mention that you can calibrate the lens performance to the AF performance of certain DSLR camera bodies, including the full frame 6D? I also use Adobe Lightroom, which is far superior to any Canon software package I have seen so far. But, the Canon software is free, and it does a pretty good job. I know some semi-pros use it.
I also have bought, used, and given away to my sons a 7D Mark II and an 80D. While the 7D2 may have the more sophisticated AF tracking of moving subjects, the 80D has the better IQ, most especially in low light and higher ISO settings. I think the 80D can produce images that rival the one that I posted because it has better AF system, starting with 45 AF points versus 11 AF points.
The more AF points you have, the smaller they become. The smaller the AF points become, the finer the AF points can resolve focus. The finer resolution of AF points, leads to the dark side of photography. . Seriously, though. It is the size of the AF points is what separates how well a DSLR focuses from a point and shoot, or a bridge camera. It is the size of the image sensors in DSLRs that produce the higher contrast and details.
An image sensor is an array of photo cells, that measure light. Imagine each photo cell as being a little bucket like a giant ice cube tray, with millions of little pockets to hold water. Instead of rain water, the image sensor collects light that falls on it in the little buckets. A larger sensor has larger buckets, so you can collect more light, which means increased dynamic range, which translates to more contrast and details.
Also, technique can help, too. I could not focus on the bird because i could not get an unobstructed view of it, because of branches were in the way. But, I could get a clear shot at the high contrast branch the bird was sitting on. I also use back button focusing, which separates the focus function away from the shutter button. So, that every time I press the shutter, the camera does not try to refocus itself. I must press another dedicated button to make it focus. Your 80D can do BBF with no problem. It is a really great camera.
02-23-2017 05:45 PM
Thanks for taking the time to provide your last message. It was helpful. I do like the 80D and its IQ. I haven't yet started using BBF probably because I think I'll need to get used to something that's new but it's only a matter of time before I consider it. I use the Canon Digital Photo Professional for now but purchasing Lightroom is in my plans. I do generally consider and often adjust contrast, brightness and other tools in DPP including sharpness and, of course, I crop. However, the images I like the most are the ones I really don't have to do anything but doesn't everybody. Anyway, thanks for developing this thread. I found it very helpful and I imagine that others might as well.
12-20-2018 11:51 PM
I have a similar request for technique suggestions. I have some trouble with autofocus with birds in branches. I know it is because the camera does not know a bird from the branch in front or behid but usually all is good and the sx60 takes remarkable images in favorable conditions.
I have tried the manual focus but using the buttons on the back is a sad experience and not in the least precise or fast. Think binocular focusing for comparison.
Is there any way to assign the assignable wheel to the manual focus function. That could be way better but I don't see any option for that.
I will try some of the other suggestions I read on this thread for auto focusing.
Generally it is very good at autofocus altough a bit slow when birds are involved.
01-04-2019 01:21 AM
01-07-2019 04:21 PM - edited 01-07-2019 06:57 PM
I'm no photography expert, but I have had pretty good success with my SX40 and SX60 when photographing birds that are in bushes or in front of "busy" backgrounds by using Program Mode (P) and Spot Focus so I can quickly zero in on my "target".
Attached is a bird photo I took at a zoo with my Powershot SX60. The bird was about the size of a crow and was inside a wire mesh cage. It took a while to get the SX60 to focus on the bird as it moved around, and not the cage, but after about a dozen tries I was successful. The camera tries to make an "intelligent" guess as to what you are trying to focus on, and often thinks it should focus on the area with the highest contrast. If you keep that in mind, you can sometimes move yourself to the right or left a little to change the relationship of your target bird and the distracting background so you can get the camera to focus where you want it to. Hope this helps a little!