While in Cades Cove I was shooting my D300 with a 80-400 and a 300 f4. I used (for animals) usually a monopod or held held. I set the auto ISO to go up to 1600 in an effort to keep my sutter speeds above 1/400 of a sec. I am not terribly pleased with ISO 1600. I shot in raw and plan to try to do some sharpening. What ISO do you let your D300 float up to??
I'm starting to have the mindset I would rather have an image with too much noise than an image discarded due to motion blur. So ISO 1600 sounds about right for a top end. I would also compromise depth of field to keep shutter speed up.
Earlier this year I was in the Smokies with Rick Walker and Jason O'Dell. Jason had some great images at ISO 3200 using his D3 - and may have even gone to ISO 6400. A couple of days later Rick and I had a wonderful opportunity for black bear images. We were keeping it at ISO 800 on his D3x - and ISO 1200 on my D300. In both cases the shutter speeds were not fast enough - we had minimal noise but subject movement. Almost all of our images were discards.
So until you start discarding a material number of images due to noise, I think it is best to prevent subject movement and get images that are sharp by using a fast shutter speed. What ISO is required will depend a bit on your gear, subject and the lighting. Athur Wolfe advocates 1/1000 sec or higher for birds. Black bears and deer are probably fine at 1/400 or so.
Thanks Eric. I am going to go through my photos with more in depth review and look at the data. I tried to find that perfect balance of speed and ISO. Our bear encounters were either 1) very far away 2) they were in deep thick woods so you only got bits and pieces of bear poking though the forests or 3) were running so fast accross the road that I never got my camera up(a 300 lb black bear ran accross the road up to Clingmans Dome I sware he was gone in less than 4 sec).
I had some good experiences with deer but my low low light elk shots (near cherokee) were less than great. Lucky for me we will plan another trip this summer. Man we love that area.
yes they can! I didnt even have time to get the lens cap off the camera sitting on my lap before it dove off the side of the road and down in some very thich woods. We had just finished the hike up/down clingmans dome and didnt expect to see wild life.
>So until you start discarding a material number of images due >to noise, I think it is best to prevent subject movement and >get images that are sharp by using a fast shutter speed. What >ISO is required will depend a bit on your gear, subject and >the lighting. Athur Wolfe advocates 1/1000 sec or higher for >birds. Black bears and deer are probably fine at 1/400 or so. > > >Eric Bowles >Nikonians Team >My Gallery
As Eric says, when you discover images that would've been great, but have too much motion blur, you tend to go for higher shutter speeds if you can, even if it means higher ISOs.
You can remove noise, but it is very hard to get an out-of-focus object in focus...
I use the D300 up to 1600 generally, but higher if needed. However, I got the D700 for the low-light work!
I let mine float to 3200. As long as the lighting/exposure is good (you are using the high iso to get shutter speed/DOF), then I don't think the noise is objectionable. Also, the texture of your subject has a bearing on how noticeable the noise is. For example, in this closely-cropped image of an Indigo Bunting, the noise isn't too apparent in the feathers: http://www.pbase.com/bb_etc/image/97206031
Thu 23-Jul-09 08:19 AM | edited Thu 23-Jul-09 08:20 AM by C_Otto
It was taken at a spring bird-banding operation and someone was holding the bird. The use of flash was prohibited so I let the ISO float to keep the shutter speed up while maintaining reasonable DOF.
If you go to the gallery that picture is in, you'll see a number of other "portrait" shots of a variety of birds that were banded, including a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in a bander's hand (not banded). http://www.pbase.com/bb_etc/banding2008
I let my ISO go to 3200, and sometimes even higher when the lighting is bad and I need the shutter speed. Yes, you can see the noise at ISO 3200, but it doesn't look really ugly, and sometimes ISO 3200 is called for to get a shutter speed fast enough for the shot.
The first weekend after I bought my D300 & 55-200mm lens, I went to see my nephew in a swim meet. Talk about dim lighting!! I let it go to 3200 but most pics were slightly below that. It certainly treats 3200 ISO better than Tri-X ever did! Of course, I am not waiting for a phone call from Sports Illustrated
What I did notice was that out of approx 300 people, I was the only one taking photos - but at least I got some great shots!
Nail the exposure, minimize the noise. Take care of the bad spots in post. I shoot normally at about 1600 max but have taken my D300 all the way to the top and have some exceptional photographs that I wouldn't have achieved otherwise. As in the indigo bunting above, the noise is least apparent where the image is most in focus and bust exposed. It most apparent in the dark slightly out of focus areas around the beak.
And that could probably be minimized with a bit of Noise Ninja and Focus Magic.
I agree with the others - let it go as far as you need it. If it needs 6400, you clearly didn't have much light, and there wasn't much alternative. Concentrate on getting the exposure right, and if possible, perhaps even slightly over-exposed. (It's not costing you film!) Once you have the shot - and I've had my D3 all the way up to Hi-1 (12800) already - process it carefully. I encounter high-ISO a lot, which is why I have a D3, and I use Neat Image for noise reduction. I also do more than one pass with Neat Image, as some parts of an image often take and/or need more noise reduction than others.
A last resort is to convert the image to B&W if the noise remains strong after all of this effort. B&W images are significantly more tolerant of noise, in my experience, and a fine B&W is definitely better than no image or an unsatisfactory color one.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
What min. speed do you recomend for deer/elk / bears ? I read that people keep the speed over 1/1000. I guess I have worried too much about ISO and need to ramp up my min speed as it was low light and I feared too high of a ISO.
>What min. speed do you recomend for deer/elk / bears ? I >read that people keep the speed over 1/1000. I guess I have >worried too much about ISO and need to ramp up my min speed as >it was low light and I feared too high of a ISO.
If they are not moving, you don't need that high shutter speed. I haven't had the opportunity to shoot any yet, but I would guess that 1/640 or faster is a good start if they are moving.
I had the deer set at 1/500 and they werent moving that fast but that speed did leave some motion blur and ISO was cranked up so there was some noise for the later in the day shots. Will crank up the min speed for my next trip.
The bears moved a lot faster than I would have guessed. Will have to crank up the min speed for them as well.
Was kinda shocked of fast these animals moved even with them being used to people and cars.
>I had the deer set at 1/500 and they werent moving that fast >but that speed did leave some motion blur and ISO was cranked >up so there was some noise for the later in the day shots. >Will crank up the min speed for my next trip. > >The bears moved a lot faster than I would have guessed. Will >have to crank up the min speed for them as well.
Are you sure it was motion blur? It might be camera shake or something else.
Well, the animals were walking but who knows it could be camera shake. I used a mono pod a fair but but not all the time. At times I had to bail out of the car to try to get a shot and there was no time for the mono pod. This trip to Cades Cove is proving very educational even if my photos wont be on the cover of National Geographic. My flower and bug shots did turn out nice though LOL
>Well, the animals were walking but who knows it could be >camera shake. I used a mono pod a fair but but not all the >time. At times I had to bail out of the car to try to get a >shot and there was no time for the mono pod. This trip to >Cades Cove is proving very educational even if my photos wont >be on the cover of National Geographic. My flower and bug >shots did turn out nice though LOL
As Eric points out, 1/400 should be ok for bears. Especially walking ones. I think you have to practice long lens technique, and monopod technique too. Check out the tutorials on this site.
It really sounds like camera shake, or that the focus is not spot on. Do you have any examples?
> It really sounds like camera shake, or that the focus is not spot on.
You can distinguish camera shake from subject motion by inspecting the rest of the frame. If the subject is blurry, but things in the frame that are stationary (rocks, tree trunks, buildings) are sharp, you have subject motion. If the stationary stuff is blurry too, you probably have camera motion. Of course, one has to look in the area of DOF to evaluate this - I usually try to look at the feet of the animal, since that's going to be the same distance away. You can also tell in this region if you missed the focus: sometimes the grass or plants behind or ahead of the subject are in sharper focus than the ones right below. In that case I generally then have to evaluate where the AF sensor was positioned, if it was locked in, and if so, what it locked in on.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
One of the things I have learned is that you can take your time to get tripod or monopod and appropriate gear. If you don't you'll end up with a bunch of bad images. Take your time and anticipate the animal's behavior. Position yourself to get the shot that has not developed yet.
You are right - it's a lot tougher than you would think. I shoot 100% of my bear images on a tripod. It seems they are always in shade, so getting a fast enough shuter speed is a real challenge.
And if you do everything right, sometimes you still just have an ugly bear.
A question that was posed in this thread was "What minimum speed do you recommend for deer/elk/bear?" White tails and bear can reach speeds up to 30 mph and elk 45 mph. Although not likely to get injured by a deer or elk one cannot say the same for bear. I would recommend that your minimum speed be at least faster than the person your with.
Two guys are out camping and hear something snuffling about outside their tent. One looks out and sees a grizzly rummaging through their gear. he comes back in and tells his tentmate about it and starts to put on his sneakers. His tent mate reminds him that he cannot outrun a grizzly to which he replies..."I don't have to...I just have to out run you..."
>I couldn't resist this one from Cades Cove - of a bear - on a >pink cell phone. > >The guy was a marine - the phone his girlfriend's. They >forgot the point and shoot. > >The bear was 30 feet away - and completely ignored us. > >My bear images were weak - but my cell phone images were >decent. > > >Eric Bowles >Nikonians Team >My Gallery > >Nikonians membership — my most important photographic >investment, after the camera > >
> Love this shot!!!
Appreciate and record the beauty of the natural world
I agree - I would use a wide aperture in most circumstances for wildlife - f/8 or wider.
I like the first one. The last one of the bear is typical of the park - but a slightly better exposure might have helped.
As you found out, these animals seem to have their head down eating all the time if they are not moving. And if you wait until they raise their head, they are still chewing which creates odd facial expressions.
My biggest suggestion would be to concentrate on backgrounds and lighting. Sometimes it is simply better to grab a snapshot and then work to a better position to try to get a great image. And sometimes it's okay just to watch.
I do have a couple better shots of deer #2...will post them later. That deer walked right in front of one of the cabins...which was pretty cool. I wanted to give you one of my bad shots to show the lack of detail/blur and basic boringness so I can get some good advice.
Thanks for the dont go smaller than f11...on a D300 tip. never heard that. I shoot people at small aps. I guess I should have used that same thought pattern for the animals. I will plan on my next trip to shoot more wide open. Live and Learn
Eric, I do have lots of weird shots of deer standing up looking great except for that chewing thing which gives them a really wierd expression.
Have a few photos that are keepers, had a ball, and now have even more respect for folks like Moose Peterson who make a living at shooting animals. Its not easy!
In landscapes I have quite often shot at f14 with no problems. Am I just lucky. How does diffration manifest itself? Also I do not follow what you mean: On e.g. a D70. This may sound like I want to pick a quarrel but absolutely is not the case. I am sincerely seeking to learn. Thanks for your patience, Tom
>In landscapes I have quite often shot at f14 with no >problems. Am I just lucky. How does diffration manifest >itself? Also I do not follow what you mean: On e.g. a D70. >This may sound like I want to pick a quarrel but absolutely is >not the case. I am sincerely seeking to learn. Thanks for your >patience, >Tom
Diffraction in terms of photography means that the light hitting the sensor is spread out due to the small opening it has to enter, leading to a softer image.
For digital photography, it is therefore related to the pixel density on the sensor. A D300 has more pixel on the same size sensor than the D70, therefore the D70 should be less diffraction-limited than a D300.
You haven't been lucky, but rather might have gotten more detail if you would have used f11 instead of f14, given that you would have had enough DOF. That is a trade off you always have to consider. Often a problem with landscape photography and macro too.
"The optimal exposure is always hard to find. Knowing how much DOF you have at certain f-stops and distances to the subject given a certain focal length is useful."
Where / what is the best place to learn that information? I understand ap/f stops in the big general sense but dont have knowledge of specific DOF (in feet or meters)... IIRC older prime lenses used to have it on the lens but now that we all use zoom I dont see that information any longer.
>"The optimal exposure is always hard to find. Knowing >how much DOF you have at certain f-stops and distances to the >subject given a certain focal length is useful." > >Where / what is the best place to learn that information? I >understand ap/f stops in the big general sense but dont have >knowledge of specific DOF (in feet or meters)... IIRC older >prime lenses used to have it on the lens but now that we all >use zoom I dont see that information any longer.
Tom, I am actually starting to fall in love with prime lenses. Its all I had when I got my first SLR in the early 80's. Quickly became a fan of zoom for convenience...but I have really learned how fantastic the 50 1.4 and 150 2.8 and to a slightly lessor degree my 300 f4 is so I see more prines in my future.
Alicia, You might want to take a look at the Nikkor 20mm f2.8. It is a great landscape lens, I think. I will say that as a result of these posting I am going to give more consideration to small f stops. For landscapes I have been focusing on something in the near foreground at f14 and firing away. The results have been breath taking but perhaps I am easily short of breath. I will now modify that to f11 and see how that works. I also think that d9 and a tripod will address a lot of concerns expressed here. D9, of course, doesn't work with animal or bird photos but landscapes, oh yes. Tom
I don't think I would say to avoid f/11 on a D300.
Most lenses are a bit sharper stopped down from their widest aperture. The exceptions are the long primes - 400mm and longer - which are designed for use wide open.
For wildlife in general, unless you really need a large depth of field, wider apertures tend to provide a faster shutter speed resulting in improved sharpness. It is also common that you want to blur the background to isolate your subject, so a wide aperture helps with composition.
My suggestion of f/8 and wider is simply a rule of thumb for wildlife. For landscapes I would go with smaller apertures to increase depth of field. That's where diffraction comes in. With most lenses at the smallest apertures - f/22 for example - you lose a bit of sharpness. It would be rare to see diffraction problems at f/11 or f/14, but at f/16 and above it can start to be an issue.
The related issues are shutter speed and ISO. For wildlife, faster shutter speed is much more important than for landscapes on a tripod. Animals move - trees and rocks don't. So to reduce the impact of motion - subject or camera - we use all the tricks available. And gear is designed with that in mind. So wildlife lenses are optimized for wide apertures. VR is incorporated to reduce the impact of camera movement on long lenses. Wide apertures are designed into long lenses to permit shutter speeds that reduce the impact of subject movement. In contrast, many macro images are at f/16 and higher, but with lenses designed for sharp images at apertures that maximize depth of field.
>I don't think I would say to avoid f/11 on a D300.
>My suggestion of f/8 and wider is simply a rule of thumb for >wildlife. For landscapes I would go with smaller apertures to >increase depth of field. That's where diffraction comes in. >With most lenses at the smallest apertures - f/22 for example >- you lose a bit of sharpness. It would be rare to see >diffraction problems at f/11 or f/14, but at f/16 and above it >can start to be an issue.
>When available light is very low, I'll use 3200 to get the >shot, and have had mostly good results. The noise is >acceptable, and can be mostly handled in post processing. > >Many of these Antelope slot canyon photos were taken at ISO >3200. >http://www.pbase.com/ronhrl/antelope_canyon
what lens did you shoot those with?
noise is ok - what did you use to post-process? I like the composition of your shots!