HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)

Started May 21, 2012 | Discussions
brandrx
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HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
May 21, 2012

Hi folks,

I've been wanting to try my Pentax-A 100mm f2.8 Macro lens for Catch-in-Focus against the hummingbirds so I thought I would, at the same time, write about the process I go through of trying to capture HB's in flight. Normally I would use the DA*300/4 because you can use multiple focus points with that lens. I will assume that most of you already know how to set up the camera for Catch-in-Focus via the menu settings and the proper switch settings.

I first set the A setting of the lens so that I could select the aperture at the lens. Then I pressed the lens lock button and rotated the lens CCW about 10 degrees. This is so I can use the lens in the AV mode and set the aperture at the lens at f8 or f5.6 in order to capture more images. FWIW: An f4 or slower lens will capture more images than an f2.8 or faster lens because of the focusing DOF. Sometimes the light is such that an f5.6 or f8 lens will not fire the shutter with CIF. I had good light for my shots today.

I prefocused the lens at the distance of the approach of the future hummingbirds would be coming in to feed.

Then I moved the camera so that the feeder is more out of the frame. Note: When I use a DA*300/4 lens the feeder is almost always completely out of the frame.

I capture an incoming humminbird but it is not in focus. These things are so fast that sometimes they will move a bit between the time the camera senses Catch-in_Focus and the time the shutter fires.

Other times the camera will sense CIF but the HB is already at the feeder before the shot is actually taken.

Other times you almost make a good capture but the eye is covered.

Finally you get a good shot of a hummingbird in the right place and in focus. However, he/she might not appeal to you for it's color or the position of the wings.

So, then you continue to let the camera take images or you close down for the day and try again the next day. Hopefully you will sometimes get a shot that is sharp and colorful that has a great pose but unlike the following it will not have the tip of it's wing out of the frame. Note: I captured this image in 2011 with the DA*300/4 lens.

Setting up the camera for Catch-in-Focus is the easy part. Capturing a HB in flight with good color and composition and at the same time sharp is the hard part and that all depends on chance.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

BobORama
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

One key thing: you have to have a subject to take pictures of.

That's a nice tutorial. One question. On A-series and newer, the camera would meter and focus with aperture wide open, and stop down on taking the shot. So why "manage" the aperture at all? If you were forcing the camera into a fixed, tighter aperture to give a thicker DoF - the AF system should be less picky and get more arrivals / departures. That I could understand. But you seem to indicate it works the opposite way, as less light means less focus locks.

In a way, the entire sleight of hand would be avoided if Pentax directly exposed a AF sensitivity setting. Then you could make the AF less picky in CiF mode ( or more picky ).

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Fl_Gulfer
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to BobORama, May 21, 2012

So will this work with the Pentax DA*60-250 f4?
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Canari44
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

Great shots.

brandrx wrote:

Normally I would use the DA*300/4 because you can use multiple focus points with that lens.

Do you know if it's possible with the DA* 60-250mm F4 (or with the DFA 100 F2.8 Macro)?
And how set multiple focus points ?

nb : I tried CIF with the DFA 100 F2.8 Macro but i don't know how to set multiple focus points.

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brandrx
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Canari44...
In reply to Canari44, May 21, 2012

Canari44 wrote:

Great shots.

Thanks Canari44.

brandrx wrote:

Normally I would use the DA*300/4 because you can use multiple focus points with that lens.

Do you know if it's possible with the DA* 60-250mm F4 (or with the DFA 100 F2.8 Macro)?
And how set multiple focus points ?

nb : I tried CIF with the DFA 100 F2.8 Macro but i don't know how to set multiple focus points.

Any Pentax autofocusing lens that has an AF/MF switch on the lens can be used on the K20D, K7, and K-5 to do CIF. The DA*60-250mm f4 lens has an AF/MF switch on the lens. Simply set up the menu to do CIF, set your lens to MF and set your camera to AF-S and you are good to go.

To set for multiple focus points, on the K-5 press info twice, use the four-way controller to select Auto 5 or Auto 11, use the focus point selector on the back of the K-5 to select Auto.

The DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro does not have an AF/MF switch on the lens so for purposes of this discussion it cannot be used for CIF.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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brandrx
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Bob...
In reply to BobORama, May 21, 2012

BobORama wrote:

One key thing: you have to have a subject to take pictures of.

That's a nice tutorial. One question. On A-series and newer, the camera would meter and focus with aperture wide open, and stop down on taking the shot. So why "manage" the aperture at all? If you were forcing the camera into a fixed, tighter aperture to give a thicker DoF - the AF system should be less picky and get more arrivals / departures. That I could understand. But you seem to indicate it works the opposite way, as less light means less focus locks.

As I have written many times before, when focus trapping hummingbirds from a tripod like this, if the light is good, an f4 lens will focus trap more often than an f2.8 lens, an f5.6 lens will focus trap more often than an f4 lens, and an f8 lens will focus trap more often than an f5.6 lens. That is because the DOF of the focus is greater the slower the lens is. So for instance, you might capture a subject with an f4 lens whereas if you have an f2.8 lens for the same subject in the same position it might not capture it because it might be too far forward or back to detect focus and fire the camera. Believe me, I have long ago given up on using f2.8 lenses for this type of shooting. An f4 will almost always work in any kind of lighting. An f5.6 or f8 lens will not always work because sometimes the light won't allow the camera to sense focus trap.

I once tried a 200mm f2.8 lens for CIF the HB's. I captured two HB's in a four hour period. The next day I switched to 300/4 and captured about 50 subjects.

There you have the main reason that I think the DA*300/4 lens is the best damn CIF hummingbird shooter in the whole danged world.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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brandrx
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Fl_Gulfer...
In reply to Fl_Gulfer, May 21, 2012

Fl_Gulfer wrote:

So will this work with the Pentax DA*60-250 f4?

Except for the 1:3 macro capabilities of the DA*300/4, the DA*60-250/4 is almost as good.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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Greyser
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

Great images and great tutorial, Ron. Thank you.

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Canari44
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Re: Canari44...
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

brandrx wrote:

To set for multiple focus points, on the K-5 press info twice, use the four-way controller to select Auto 5 or Auto 11, use the focus point selector on the back of the K-5 to select Auto.

The DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro does not have an AF/MF switch on the lens so for purposes of this discussion it cannot be used for CIF.

Thanks for the explainations.
The DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro has a clamp and when i switch it on off, i can do CIF.

I've made CIF with an old FA 100 Macro but if i remember good, i've made CIF also with the DFA.

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brandrx
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Re: Canari44...
In reply to Canari44, May 21, 2012

Canari44 wrote:

brandrx wrote:

To set for multiple focus points, on the K-5 press info twice, use the four-way controller to select Auto 5 or Auto 11, use the focus point selector on the back of the K-5 to select Auto.

The DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro does not have an AF/MF switch on the lens so for purposes of this discussion it cannot be used for CIF.

Thanks for the explainations.
The DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro has a clamp and when i switch it on off, i can do CIF.

I've made CIF with an old FA 100 Macro but if i remember good, i've made CIF also with the DFA.

Well, I would have to see this done myself before I can believe it. However, I do know that it can be done by shorting the data pin with aluminum foil.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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Canari44
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Re: Canari44...
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

i just use the clamp (switch to off), i have tried it (CIF) for flowers in macro mode, set the K5 for CIF, set Macro lens to macro 1:1 and i approach (get closer) the flower to take photos.
PS : excuse my english

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brandrx
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Re: Canari44...
In reply to Canari44, May 21, 2012

Canari44 wrote:

i just use the clamp (switch to off), i have tried it (CIF) for flowers in macro mode, set the K5 for CIF, set Macro lens to macro 1:1 and i approach (get closer) the flower to take photos.
PS : excuse my english

I guess there must be something about the clamp that I don't understand. I'll take your word for it though.

I guess that the clamp must lock it down tight enough that the lens does not try to autofocus when you press the shutter button?

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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Canari44
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Re: Canari44...
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

i can't test it now (my K-5 is faulty, i've a problem with the mirror or with the motor of the mirror). i think that when the clamp is off, AF does not work (the clamp on/off looks like AF/MF). thanks if someone can tried it.

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brandrx
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Greyser...
In reply to Greyser, May 21, 2012

Greyser wrote:

Great images and great tutorial, Ron. Thank you.

I'm glad you like them Greyser.

I hope that someone might benifit from what I wrote.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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SanMat
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

Hi Ron,

I like #6 and #9 the most, as far as detail. I've tried some shorter lenses with CIF from time to time with mixed results. Before selling it I tried using the zeiss 100mm (attached to K5) but I never quite got the perspective and background effect that I wanted. It seemed like no matter which other lens length I tried, I kept coming back to the 300mm, since the combination of feather detail, and also background blur seem to be just right.

Nice to see you've had some good activity there. It's been real quiet here. I've seen a few of the Annas near us (from time to time), but I haven't seen many of the males at their usual perches around the neighborhood. Not sure why, as they are supposed to be here year-round.

Looking forward to more of these.

Pete

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Jim Beverlin
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

Ron - Great shots! Really like # 5. What kind of hummingbird are these?

I really wonder why I continue to subscribe to "Outdoor Photographer" when images that you and others post are superior to what is published in the magzaine.
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brandrx
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Jim...
In reply to Jim Beverlin, May 21, 2012

Jim Beverlin wrote:

Ron - Great shots! Really like # 5. What kind of hummingbird are these?

Thanks Jim. The first image (the OOF one) is a male Black-chinned. The last image, the one I took in 2011, is a female Rufous. All the rest are female Black-chinned hummingbirds.

I really wonder why I continue to subscribe to "Outdoor Photographer" when images that you and others post are superior to what is published in the magzaine.

Those are mighty kind words Jim. Thank you.

Have you looked into the Nature & Wildlife Photography Forum yet. I see some great images in there taken with every kind of equipment.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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kriztian
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Re: HBIF Catch-in-Focus process. (9 imgs)
In reply to brandrx, May 21, 2012

Brilliant
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brandrx
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Pete...
In reply to SanMat, May 21, 2012

SanMat wrote:

Hi Ron,

Hi Pete.

I like #6 and #9 the most, as far as detail. I've tried some shorter lenses with CIF from time to time with mixed results. Before selling it I tried using the zeiss 100mm (attached to K5) but I never quite got the perspective and background effect that I wanted. It seemed like no matter which other lens length I tried, I kept coming back to the 300mm, since the combination of feather detail, and also background blur seem to be just right.

Same with me. I've tried everything from a 16mm Zenitar FE, 28mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, 150mm, 200mm, 400mm, 500mm, to Pentax 600mm (via FA*250-600mm f5.6) and I keep coming back to the DA*300/4 lens. Although I've never tried it against the hummers, I suppose the Pentax FA*300mm f4.5 would probably work just as well.

Nice to see you've had some good activity there. It's been real quiet here. I've seen a few of the Annas near us (from time to time), but I haven't seen many of the males at their usual perches around the neighborhood. Not sure why, as they are supposed to be here year-round.

I havn't seen any of the Rufous yet this year. I will begin to worry if they don't show up here in a couple of weeks.

Looking forward to more of these.

Thanks Pete. I hope you see your male Anna's soon and get some images.

A friend told me that someone around the town had spotted a Calliope hummingbird this year. I've never seen one but hope to some day.

Cheers.

Ron

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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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brandrx
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Thanks kriztian. (nt)
In reply to kriztian, May 21, 2012
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Ron - 'We don't have time to go take pics this afternoon Carl.'
Carl - 'What do you mean? It will only take 1/1000s.'

'Keep your eyes looking forward. However, glance back now and then to see where you've come from. It will put a smile on your face.' ~ brandrx

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