*D 300 F/11 diffraction too limited?*

Started May 16, 2008 | Discussions thread
Pupfish Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: *D 300 F/11 diffraction too limited?*

Real world this diffraction is probably not a factor that will ever be noticeable except in enlargements beyond 11x17.

What will likely be more of a factor for you with photographing hummingbirds is that the D50 has an electronic shutter sync speed of 1/500 and perhaps well beyond, while the D300 has a focal plane (moving slit) shutter that is limited to a single-pop flash sync speed of 1/250. Though there is the FP sync mode on the SB-800 that overcomes this to a degree, it's not necessarily the best or most flexible choice with hummingbirds as it strobes multiple flashes to overcome the physics of the moving slit. Images I've shot in FP mode show a strangeness to this strobe effect with fast beating wings.

What's more, the faster sync speed of the D50 will allow you greater flexibility in overcoming ambient light to use flash as the main light-- and not just fill flash--to eliminate ghosting. Even stopped down to f/11-16 with the minimum ISO of 100, the ambient light of midday will be too close to the D300 top sync speed for this use in full sunlight. (ND filters aren't a good solution, because they cut flash power by the same factor).

Might also mention that in my experience, it's harder to get hummingbirds to come to shaded flowers in the morning when there are blooms in the sun nearby, since the nectar tends to flow better in the sunshine. Flowers in the shade of evening don't shut down the flow right away, so shooting in the shade can be better then. Shooting exclusively at feeders, this may not apply.

For many years the gold-standard cameras used for hummingbird photography were 2-1/4 with leaf shutter lenses that sync'd at 1/500 or 1/1000, and slow ISO Kodachrome 25 or Velvia 50 , (along with rather specialized and powerful short duration flash packs no longer available new) for largely the same reasons as above.

Ivan J. Eberle

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