How to capture fast moving birds

Started Feb 22, 2010 | Discussions thread
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rapidfire22
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How to capture fast moving birds
Feb 22, 2010

I have a question about using the 7D to get sharp action pictures especially of birds in flight. I am new to the 7D and tried to capture some bird in fight shooting at F4 between 1/100th - 1/400th of a second for shutter speed. I shot using center spot AF or AF point expansion using the center region, and AL servo drive. I was the F stop and shutter settings due to lower light available at this location and time of day. I was using a Canon 70-200 F4 IS lens with image stabilization turned on. The birds were moving fairly fast and I was panning horizontally in many cases to take pictures in other cases I tried to anticipate the birds in flight holding the camera steady and taking the picture as soon as I could hopefully lock focus.

Several pictures looked sharp in monitor view on a 19” LCD, but at 100% view no pictures were sharp , but fairly soft I think probably due to the F stop and shutter speeds used. I do not often try to gauge sharpness at 100% views, but due to the distance I was shooting the birds from - a 100% crop was necessary to fill the picture with the bird.

My main question to people with more experience and great pictures I have seen on this forum is what camera settings are best to use to stop action for fast moving animals panning or not. Also, any tips you might have to get the sharpest pictures possible with cropping heavily or at 100% due to distance from the subject?
Thank you, Dan

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