Still having D800 focus issues with birds...

Started Jun 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
Many Feathers Senior Member • Posts: 1,803
Here's why I think the OP might need a faster shutter speed

Here's a photo I took with a D700 last year at 1/2500...faster than the OP's 1/1600. To my eyes, if I just see this crop, it looks like it must be out of focus.

Here's a photo taken right before the above photo at the exact same settings, less than 1 second away (the exif shows the exact same time to the second) Be sure to zoom in to see that it is indeed in focus. (The original NEF is better...I should have sharpened when converting to jpg, but thought I'd leave all unsharpened)

If you look at the full frame of the "out of focus" photo at small size without cropping, it looks in focus. Blow it up and you can see it's "out of focus"...even more true with a d800 than d700. The grass in front of and behind the bird is in focus...the bird is moving too fast for 1/2500.

I have another 2 photos of a cardinal on a picnic table that show the same thing. Cardinal and picnic table in focus in one, another at the same time, cardinal looks out of focus even though picnic table still in focus. I can't find it right now, but when I do, I'll post it here.

Here's one more example...granted, taken at 1/80, but still shows the same thing. This is one of our family parrots, not afraid at all. Still, they never sit still...always moving. All are taken at 1/80. There is extreme movement in the first one...I can't believe she could move that fast and keep her eye still. If I didn't take the photo myself, I'd think it was photoshoped. The 2nd one, the eye looks a bit soft...the 3rd is sharp...all taken at the same settings. Again, I know this was at 1/80. Still, my point is that they move their heads soooo fast, I believe that frequently, out of focus is blamed on too slow a shutter speed.


nfpotter wrote:

Many Feathers wrote:

At 1/1600, you certainly may have movement problems. Birds heads are always moving. I'd try a higher shutter speed. When I went with faster shutter speeds, the sharpness improved a lot.


Are you kidding? I certainly hope so.

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