A580's First Birding - in poor light

Started Oct 3, 2011 | Discussions thread
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A580's First Birding - in poor light
Oct 3, 2011

Saturday I finally had the chance to get out in some real shooting areas, instead of my front and back yard, to test out the A580 for the first time with birding and wildlife. As luck (good or bad, you decide) would have it, the light was mixed to poor - very overcast, lots of shadow, and quite challenging. The downside is not being able to get nice, bright sun-shiny conditions for lovely low ISO shots - the upside is that I was able to very quickly test how the camera will perform when you need to pump up the ISO a bit to deal with the faster shutter speeds needed. A trial-by-fire for sure!

The lens was my Minolta 300mm F4 APO with 1.4x teleconverter. All shots in JPG mode, straight from the camera, no post processing. I settled on Vivid mode, with saturation -1, sharpening +1, contrast 0 for the time being...I'm still settling on my final mix but this is decent so far - I just need to try it more in good light to confirm.

I first spotted this baby alligator sitting in the shadow of the reeds. I had to use the live view, with tilt screen, to drop the camera down by my feet, and needed ISO1600 to get a fast enough shutter speed:

ISO500 was enough to get this tricolor heron in some gloomy overcast conditions:

The black bellied whistling ducks stayed a little farther away, spooked by an attack on their babies from an unseen predator - this is ISO100, so you can see the light was not so hot:

ISO320 for this great blue heron standing upright with that long neck among the reeds:

This female black-crowned night heron was sitting in the deep shade in a small pond, and I needed ISO1600 to get her:

This green heron jumped up on the handrail to dry off - ISO400 as it was still quite overcast even out in the open:

He let me get closer, but Auto ISO also bumped up to 500 to keep the shutter speed up:

Yet closer, as he stuck his tongue out at me, and auto ISO crept up to 640 as I was filling the frame with more dark feathers:

For this black-crowned night heron male, I chanced low ISO of 100 and a slow shutter speed, letting steady shot handle my movement while the bird sat very still:

Back home, one last indoor shot - with the 18-250mm lens and ISO6400 in very low indoor light and steady shot letting me get away with a 1/8 shutter speed of my napping cat by my side:

That's it for now - I don't think I'll have any more shooting opportunities before I head out of country for my 2-week vacation. I'm happy I got in some diverse shooting to get more of a feel for the A580 - both the similarities with the A550 and the differences. I'm definitely liking the sensor's performance, and how clean it manages to be - even better than the already very good A550 - while still holding decent detail. And I love multistack ISO, which I'll use often.

Open to any questions or comments - one long week of work ahead, then off to Canada for me. I'm looking forward to jumping right into some travel photography with the new camera next week.

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