FZ200 fast focus long distance?

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estero
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FZ200 fast focus long distance?
10 months ago

What would be the best camera settings to use on a high flying bird? I have seen some pictures of things taken at a long distance of fast moving objects that were very good. Is it possible to zoom in and take the shot and have it come out clear if one could follow the bird?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
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kkardster
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to estero, 10 months ago

estero wrote:

What would be the best camera settings to use on a high flying bird? I have seen some pictures of things taken at a long distance of fast moving objects that were very good. Is it possible to zoom in and take the shot and have it come out clear if one could follow the bird?

Here's a link to Graham Houghton's "Tip Cards" for the FZ200, providing short, simple guidance for different shooting conditions.  Tip Card #2: Nature - shooting Birds in Flight (BIF) might be a good place to start:
Graham's Tip Cards

Graham has produced several tip cards and videos to help get the best out of the FZ200 - you might want to check them out:

Graham's YouTube "How To" videos

Graham's Photography Blog - Tip Cards are available from the Downloads page

Graham's eBook Page

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

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estero
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to kkardster, 10 months ago

kkardster wrote:

estero wrote:

What would be the best camera settings to use on a high flying bird? I have seen some pictures of things taken at a long distance of fast moving objects that were very good. Is it possible to zoom in and take the shot and have it come out clear if one could follow the bird?

Here's a link to Graham Houghton's "Tip Cards" for the FZ200, providing short, simple guidance for different shooting conditions. Tip Card #2: Nature - shooting Birds in Flight (BIF) might be a good place to start:
Graham's Tip Cards

Graham has produced several tip cards and videos to help get the best out of the FZ200 - you might want to check them out:

Graham's YouTube "How To" videos

Graham's Photography Blog - Tip Cards are available from the Downloads page

Graham's eBook Page

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

Excellent......Thanks for the "TIP" to the Tip Cards.

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kkardster
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to estero, 10 months ago

estero wrote:

kkardster wrote:

estero wrote:

What would be the best camera settings to use on a high flying bird? I have seen some pictures of things taken at a long distance of fast moving objects that were very good. Is it possible to zoom in and take the shot and have it come out clear if one could follow the bird?

Here's a link to Graham Houghton's "Tip Cards" for the FZ200, providing short, simple guidance for different shooting conditions. Tip Card #2: Nature - shooting Birds in Flight (BIF) might be a good place to start:
Graham's Tip Cards

Excellent......Thanks for the "TIP" to the Tip Cards.

Note that in the tip card, Graham suggests using the Single Point AF Mode (called 1-Area on the FZ200), but he doesn't mention the size of the single AF area. The FZ200 1-area focus mode provides 4 different focus area sizes, which could be called 1, 2, 3, 4 with 1 being the smallest. The default size is 2 and is the size the camera will select whenever it gets turned on (i.e. The 1-Area focus size cannot be saved. This limitation also applies to the custom settings, which can recall the AF mode and style but not the size.)

Many have been able to get more "keepers" by enlarging the focus size to include more of the image frame - increasing the likelihood that the bird is within the focus area. You can adjust the focus area size in two ways:

  • Press Left, scroll to 1-Area, press Right, then rotate the thumb-wheel to rezise.
  • If already in 1-Area mode, you can simply press FOCUS, then rotate the thumb-wheel to rezise.

In both cases, you can also move the focus area on the same screen by pressing the 4-way directional buttons.

Note that no matter what suggestions you follow, your keeper rate may be low; but these suggestions should help to increase the keeper rate.

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

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ghough12
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to kkardster, 10 months ago

You are correct here in saying that you can adjust the size of the focus area. If you use the evf it is easier to track and keep the subject centered within the frame. Increasing the size of frame also increases the possibility of something in the background triggering a focus lock rather than the bird. Never an easy subject, and the FZ200 AF lock, even using the newer AFF mode doesn't always ensure a good result either. Good light, high contrast subject increases the chances of success.

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Rodger1943
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to kkardster, 10 months ago

kkardster wrote:

estero wrote:

kkardster wrote:

estero wrote:

What would be the best camera settings to use on a high flying bird? I have seen some pictures of things taken at a long distance of fast moving objects that were very good. Is it possible to zoom in and take the shot and have it come out clear if one could follow the bird?

Here's a link to Graham Houghton's "Tip Cards" for the FZ200, providing short, simple guidance for different shooting conditions. Tip Card #2: Nature - shooting Birds in Flight (BIF) might be a good place to start:
Graham's Tip Cards

Excellent......Thanks for the "TIP" to the Tip Cards.

Note that in the tip card, Graham suggests using the Single Point AF Mode (called 1-Area on the FZ200), but he doesn't mention the size of the single AF area. The FZ200 1-area focus mode provides 4 different focus area sizes, which could be called 1, 2, 3, 4 with 1 being the smallest. The default size is 2 and is the size the camera will select whenever it gets turned on (i.e. The 1-Area focus size cannot be saved. This limitation also applies to the custom settings, which can recall the AF mode and style but not the size.)

Many have been able to get more "keepers" by enlarging the focus size to include more of the image frame - increasing the likelihood that the bird is within the focus area. You can adjust the focus area size in two ways:

  • Press Left, scroll to 1-Area, press Right, then rotate the thumb-wheel to rezise.
  • If already in 1-Area mode, you can simply press FOCUS, then rotate the thumb-wheel to rezise.

In both cases, you can also move the focus area on the same screen by pressing the 4-way directional buttons.

Note that no matter what suggestions you follow, your keeper rate may be low; but these suggestions should help to increase the keeper rate.

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

What Bruce has said is correct. I take many birds in flight and you need to open up the focus square, as its very hard to keep the default square on a moving object. I normally use a red dot sight, that way you don't have to use the viewfinder. You can check a red dot sight out at www.gadget.brando.com. Another suggestion is, if you don't want to use a red dot sight, then make sure your side lever is set to zoom that way you can zoom in using your left hand while at the same time half-pressing the focus/shutter button to get focus. You will need to start out at a wider angle than full zoom, probably 10-15x so that you can find the subject, then once located start zooming in with your lever and focus using your right hand. A word of warning, the camera won't zoom and focus simultaneously. If you are focusing, then you can't zoom, if you are zooming you can't activate the focus. You have to stop one briefly to do the other. Below is an example of the type of shots I take using a red dot sight. I don't think I could get a shot like this without the sight.

A few other tips - always use burst mode, 5.5fps with af is probably the best, as it allows you to fire off a lot more shots than the 12 fps mode. I also have my auto focus set to AFF. Limit your zoom range say 24 to 29x, because if you don't, when you're zooming you'll be so intent on zooming in, that if you have a longer digital zoom setting, you keep going way up into the higher zoom range and you'll lose the subject, as your field of view will be way too small. If you set the cameras picture size to 8mp, that will give you 29x extended optical zoom. That should be long enough for most subjects and will stop you from going too far in your eagerness to zoom in on the bird. 24x will also work for most things if you don't want to reduce you picture size. You can always crop later.

Good luck and good shooting.

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Panasonic FZ200

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estero
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to Rodger1943, 10 months ago

Thanks for all the great information.

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Aberaeron
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to Rodger1943, 10 months ago

Rodger1943 wrote:

kkardster wrote:

estero wrote:

kkardster wrote:

estero wrote:

What would be the best camera settings to use on a high flying bird? I have seen some pictures of things taken at a long distance of fast moving objects that were very good. Is it possible to zoom in and take the shot and have it come out clear if one could follow the bird?

Here's a link to Graham Houghton's "Tip Cards" for the FZ200, providing short, simple guidance for different shooting conditions. Tip Card #2: Nature - shooting Birds in Flight (BIF) might be a good place to start:
Graham's Tip Cards

Excellent......Thanks for the "TIP" to the Tip Cards.

Note that in the tip card, Graham suggests using the Single Point AF Mode (called 1-Area on the FZ200), but he doesn't mention the size of the single AF area. The FZ200 1-area focus mode provides 4 different focus area sizes, which could be called 1, 2, 3, 4 with 1 being the smallest. The default size is 2 and is the size the camera will select whenever it gets turned on (i.e. The 1-Area focus size cannot be saved. This limitation also applies to the custom settings, which can recall the AF mode and style but not the size.)

Many have been able to get more "keepers" by enlarging the focus size to include more of the image frame - increasing the likelihood that the bird is within the focus area. You can adjust the focus area size in two ways:

  • Press Left, scroll to 1-Area, press Right, then rotate the thumb-wheel to rezise.
  • If already in 1-Area mode, you can simply press FOCUS, then rotate the thumb-wheel to rezise.

In both cases, you can also move the focus area on the same screen by pressing the 4-way directional buttons.

Note that no matter what suggestions you follow, your keeper rate may be low; but these suggestions should help to increase the keeper rate.

-- hide signature --

Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

What Bruce has said is correct. I take many birds in flight and you need to open up the focus square, as its very hard to keep the default square on a moving object. I normally use a red dot sight, that way you don't have to use the viewfinder. You can check a red dot sight out at www.gadget.brando.com. Another suggestion is, if you don't want to use a red dot sight, then make sure your side lever is set to zoom that way you can zoom in using your left hand while at the same time half-pressing the focus/shutter button to get focus. You will need to start out at a wider angle than full zoom, probably 10-15x so that you can find the subject, then once located start zooming in with your lever and focus using your right hand. A word of warning, the camera won't zoom and focus simultaneously. If you are focusing, then you can't zoom, if you are zooming you can't activate the focus. You have to stop one briefly to do the other. Below is an example of the type of shots I take using a red dot sight. I don't think I could get a shot like this without the sight.

A few other tips - always use burst mode, 5.5fps with af is probably the best, as it allows you to fire off a lot more shots than the 12 fps mode. I also have my auto focus set to AFF. Limit your zoom range say 24 to 29x, because if you don't, when you're zooming you'll be so intent on zooming in, that if you have a longer digital zoom setting, you keep going way up into the higher zoom range and you'll lose the subject, as your field of view will be way too small. If you set the cameras picture size to 8mp, that will give you 29x extended optical zoom. That should be long enough for most subjects and will stop you from going too far in your eagerness to zoom in on the bird. 24x will also work for most things if you don't want to reduce you picture size. You can always crop later.

Good luck and good shooting.

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Panasonic FZ200

I've not read the tip cards and I could well be barking up the wrong tree here, but is not the focus box easily adjusted by doing the opposite of pinching, would that be 'expanding' fingers on the touchscreen?

Also would it not be useful for birds in flight to use manual focus and use the hyperfocal distance in order to gain the greatest depth of field possible for a given aperture? I know that this might not be appropriate for all situations but it would give a very fast shooting style with minimal chance for out of focus images.

You can probably tell that I don't do much bird-in-flight. 

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kkardster
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to Aberaeron, 10 months ago

Aberaeron wrote:

I've not read the tip cards and I could well be barking up the wrong tree here, but is not the focus box easily adjusted by doing the opposite of pinching, would that be 'expanding' fingers on the touchscreen?

The FZ200 does not have a touch screen, no, it is not easily adjusted by 'expanding'

Also would it not be useful for birds in flight to use manual focus and use the hyperfocal distance in order to gain the greatest depth of field possible for a given aperture? I know that this might not be appropriate for all situations but it would give a very fast shooting style with minimal chance for out of focus images.

You can probably tell that I don't do much bird-in-flight.

That's definitely an option when you can determine where the bird will be, but they're not always predictable.

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

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Aberaeron
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to kkardster, 10 months ago

kkardster wrote:

Aberaeron wrote:

I've not read the tip cards and I could well be barking up the wrong tree here, but is not the focus box easily adjusted by doing the opposite of pinching, would that be 'expanding' fingers on the touchscreen?

The FZ200 does not have a touch screen, no, it is not easily adjusted by 'expanding'

Also would it not be useful for birds in flight to use manual focus and use the hyperfocal distance in order to gain the greatest depth of field possible for a given aperture? I know that this might not be appropriate for all situations but it would give a very fast shooting style with minimal chance for out of focus images.

You can probably tell that I don't do much bird-in-flight.

That's definitely an option when you can determine where the bird will be, but they're not always predictable.

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

Ah! That will have to wait until the FZ250 then. It does work on my G6.

The fixed focus and focal length using the maximum hyper focal distance and a stopped down aperture works well with discreet street photography, especially when used with small sensor cameras. I sometimes do this with my NikonP500 and FujiX20, although it works best with the P500 if only because it has a tilting screen. On the other hand if a subject needs to be isolated from the background it's not so hot.

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Rodger1943
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Re: FZ200 fast focus long distance?
In reply to Aberaeron, 10 months ago

The hyperfocal distance seems to work well for things that are fairly close, but if you go out to the full 24x zoom, then the yellow area that represents the hyperfocal area is just a line, in other  words very small. I think that in principle you can use something similar to help with birds in flight. This is just my theory, but I thought the FZ150 used to focus faster than the FZ200, despite the fact that the FZ200 was supposed to have the faster focusing system. I put that down to the fact that at 24x (600mm equiv) the FZ150's aperture is F5.6, but the FZ200 could be F2.8. With an aperture of F5.6 your depth of focus is deeper than F2.8. My theory is that the camera finds it easier to focus on something fast moving when its got more latitude in its focus area (just like hyperfocal). I don't have any way to confirm this, but I think the FZ200 locks on quicker when you up the F number.

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phazelag
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Thanks for the Graham stuff
In reply to kkardster, 10 months ago

I will buying an FZ200 shortly for this purpose. I saved these in my favs!  Thanks!

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