6D birds in flight

Started May 3, 2013 | Discussions
mike clemens Regular Member • Posts: 118
6D birds in flight

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to shooting moving things. I am using a 6D with a 300mm f/2.8 IS-1 with a 1.4 EF II converter.

I have switched the cam to AI SERVO focus, and I use the button on the back of the cam  AF-ON and hold it in the entire time I am following along the bird(s). This works pretty well though initial acquisition can be painful sometimes.

1) I would like to turn off the focus feature on the shutter button, so it only operates the shutter, but right now it wants to focus too. This is the correct thing to do, right?

2) I have been using central point only, is this wise or can using all points be a good thing with BIF?

3) Can I stuff all these settings onto some kind of custom-settings slot? Sort of a pain to switch between kids/single shot, where I would want the shutter button to do all its default stuff, and this mode above I'm desiring?

Thx for any insight... i think i am on the right track and have been getting some good results,  just looking to cash in on any experience other people might share.

Mike in Alaska

Sandhill Cranes in flight

Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm FinePix IS-1
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: 6D birds in flight

Nice shot, BIF in formation.  I am envious you are living in a place with many big birds and bald eagles

-- hide signature --
Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: 6D birds in flight
1

mike clemens wrote:

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to shooting moving things. I am using a 6D with a 300mm f/2.8 IS-1 with a 1.4 EF II converter.

I have switched the cam to AI SERVO focus, and I use the button on the back of the cam  AF-ON and hold it in the entire time I am following along the bird(s). This works pretty well though initial acquisition can be painful sometimes.

1) I would like to turn off the focus feature on the shutter button, so it only operates the shutter, but right now it wants to focus too. This is the correct thing to do, right?

Most people that like using the back button for focus turn off the focus function on the shutter button. Personally, I just use the shutter button for focus and shutter. Using the back button for focus all day long gave my thumb craps. And there really is no advantage for me using the back button for focus shooting action related things. I said for me. I like using the * button for AEL. And if I feel like it, the AF-On button for focus once in a while. Only thing I ever found useful about turning off focus with the shutter is for focus and recompose. I don't do that very often though.

2) I have been using central point only, is this wise or can using all points be a good thing with BIF?

Personal preference, but your center point is your best point.

3) Can I stuff all these settings onto some kind of custom-settings slot? Sort of a pain to switch between kids/single shot, where I would want the shutter button to do all its default stuff, and this mode above I'm desiring?

Does the 6D have My Menu? If so, you can put everything you like to fool around with there and you won't have to dig through the other menus again.

Thx for any insight... i think i am on the right track and have been getting some good results,  just looking to cash in on any experience other people might share.

Mike in Alaska

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM +14 more
lee_b Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: 6D birds in flight
1

hey mike - you can setup the camera exactly as you choose and assign it to a custom setting (C1 or C2).

create all the settings as you prefer for shooting BIF: ISO, Tv (even select a speed), assign the shutter button to  set exposure and shoot (not focus), etc. then from Menu "wrench4" choose Custom Shooting Mode, Register settings, and select C1 or C2.

then turn the dial back to your normal shooting mode (Av, Tv, M, etc) and when you want to jump back to BIF settings just move the dial around to C1.

there is also and Auto update setting (two items below "Register Settings") that allows you to auto update the Cx mode.  you probably want to leave that as default disabled to avoid changing your custom setting unintentionally.

isn't the 300 lens a little small for you?   nice BIF shot.

-- hide signature --

Lee (fellow TEC owner

qianp2k Forum Pro • Posts: 10,350
Re: 6D birds in flight

Schwany wrote:

Most people that like using the back button for focus turn off the focus function on the shutter button.

Not sure if most people.  But it's a puzzle to me too.  I heard some said back button improves AF accuracy.  I thought it's just a different customization.  How the back button can improve AF accuracy as it's lens and AF engine related?  Anyway I am so used to shutter and don't want to change habit unless it actually has AF related advantage.

-- hide signature --
Anderson Silva New Member • Posts: 15
Re: 6D birds in flight

Looks good from here. Focus is impressive as well.

Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: 6D birds in flight

qianp2k wrote:

Schwany wrote:

Most people that like using the back button for focus turn off the focus function on the shutter button.

Not sure if most people.  But it's a puzzle to me too.  I heard some said back button improves AF accuracy.  I thought it's just a different customization.  How the back button can improve AF accuracy as it's lens and AF engine related?  Anyway I am so used to shutter and don't want to change habit unless it actually has AF related advantage.

You are correct about "most". I should never make assumptions. I think Chuck Westfall recommends separating the two functions when using back button focus, and he wrote up a little guide on how to do it. It's somewhere on the Canon site.

I can't see how on earth using the back button is going to improve focus either. It does exactly the same thing as using the shutter button for focus. I'd rather use my thumb to help hold the camera up than be pressing on that little button. My action photography hit rate improved once I stopped using the back button for focus. I had a tendency to let pressure off of it during a pan burst and would end up with OOF frames at the end. Plus for me it really is sort of awkward even after doing it for a few years.

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM +14 more
OP mike clemens Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: 6D birds in flight

lee_b wrote:

hey mike - you can setup the camera exactly as you choose and assign it to a custom setting (C1 or C2).

create all the settings as you prefer for shooting BIF: ISO, Tv (even select a speed), assign the shutter button to  set exposure and shoot (not focus), etc. then from Menu "wrench4" choose Custom Shooting Mode, Register settings, and select C1 or C2.

then turn the dial back to your normal shooting mode (Av, Tv, M, etc) and when you want to jump back to BIF settings just move the dial around to C1.

there is also and Auto update setting (two items below "Register Settings") that allows you to auto update the Cx mode.  you probably want to leave that as default disabled to avoid changing your custom setting unintentionally.

isn't the 300 lens a little small for you?   nice BIF shot.

-- hide signature --

Lee (fellow TEC owner

> isn't the 300 lens a little small for you?

Hahah I was going to remark about the prices of the longer lenses being the stopper, but I see you know about the big TEC : ) still, there is only so much funds in the optical department.

Your post is helpful, thanks I will endeavor to figure out how to set the C1 as you describe.

thanks

Mike

OP mike clemens Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: 6D birds in flight

Anderson Silva wrote:

Looks good from here. Focus is impressive as well.

Thanks! I take hundreds of pics and quite a few are in focus and there end up being a couple keepers, I really like that one the birds are so serious.  That is the 300mm + 1.4x in action it really is quite sharp. It does have a bit of chromatic abberation of sharp contrasty edges but Lightroom just makes it vanish with a checkbox.

Mike

OP mike clemens Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: 6D birds in flight

Schwany wrote:

qianp2k wrote:

Schwany wrote:

Most people that like using the back button for focus turn off the focus function on the shutter button.

Not sure if most people.  But it's a puzzle to me too.  I heard some said back button improves AF accuracy.  I thought it's just a different customization.  How the back button can improve AF accuracy as it's lens and AF engine related?  Anyway I am so used to shutter and don't want to change habit unless it actually has AF related advantage.

You are correct about "most". I should never make assumptions. I think Chuck Westfall recommends separating the two functions when using back button focus, and he wrote up a little guide on how to do it. It's somewhere on the Canon site.

I can't see how on earth using the back button is going to improve focus either. It does exactly the same thing as using the shutter button for focus. I'd rather use my thumb to help hold the camera up than be pressing on that little button. My action photography hit rate improved once I stopped using the back button for focus. I had a tendency to let pressure off of it during a pan burst and would end up with OOF frames at the end. Plus for me it really is sort of awkward even after doing it for a few years.

I dont think it improves focus but I definitely need focus and shutter totally separate when in AI SERVO mode.

For years I have ran with single center focus point, I would focus on the object of interest until it locks focus, then keeping the button half pressed, reframe for composition and take the picture. This behavior is WELL SET into my brain.

Enter AI Servo at the moment I became interested in moving birds. Now I focus on the bird, attempt to reframe and AI SERVO immediately defocuses the lens. You must have the two functions separate for birds. It's OK when they are on the ground you could run with single shot but what if you need to be ready for them to fly too.

I don't see any other way it could be done except for two buttons, so pretty much it has to be a back button, right?

In the field the last few times I had no choice but to use the DO-NOT-FOCUS buttons on the EF 300 f/2.8 lens. That is super irritating though. In any type of cold weather I cannot feel when they are depressed or not.

Mike

ASR45
ASR45 Forum Pro • Posts: 36,736
Re: 6D birds in flight

Nice set of cranes.

-- hide signature --

Alan.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
Mark Twain

 ASR45's gear list:ASR45's gear list
Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II Nikon D750 Pentax KP Canon 6D Mark II Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR +10 more
Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Re: 6D birds in flight

mike clemens wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I can't see how on earth using the back button is going to improve focus either. It does exactly the same thing as using the shutter button for focus. I'd rather use my thumb to help hold the camera up than be pressing on that little button. My action photography hit rate improved once I stopped using the back button for focus. I had a tendency to let pressure off of it during a pan burst and would end up with OOF frames at the end. Plus for me it really is sort of awkward even after doing it for a few years.

I dont think it improves focus but I definitely need focus and shutter totally separate when in AI SERVO mode.

I was responding to the comment that people have said it improves focus. People say just about anything. There's no correct way IMO, so no disagreement from me.

For years I have ran with single center focus point, I would focus on the object of interest until it locks focus, then keeping the button half pressed, reframe for composition and take the picture. This behavior is WELL SET into my brain.

Enter AI Servo at the moment I became interested in moving birds. Now I focus on the bird, attempt to reframe and AI SERVO immediately defocuses the lens. You must have the two functions separate for birds. It's OK when they are on the ground you could run with single shot but what if you need to be ready for them to fly too.

I don't know about must have them separated. But if it works for you, that's what is important. I don't use back button focus anymore. I can move the AF point all over the place and still have fast accurate focus on a 1D series camera unless I'm at f/8 with an extender, so re-framing is rare. The 6D may have some limitations in that regard. So it really depends on the camera, and one's personal preferences. I never re-frame on flying birds. I consider myself lucky if they are in the frame at all. he he

I don't see any other way it could be done except for two buttons, so pretty much it has to be a back button, right?

Personal preference.

In the field the last few times I had no choice but to use the DO-NOT-FOCUS buttons on the EF 300 f/2.8 lens. That is super irritating though. In any type of cold weather I cannot feel when they are depressed or not.

Been there with the numb fingers. Not fun

I'm not arguing by the way, just babbling.

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM +14 more
TimR32225 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,405
Re: back button focus accuracy...

Schwany wrote:

mike clemens wrote:

Schwany wrote:

I can't see how on earth using the back button is going to improve focus either. It does exactly the same thing as using the shutter button for focus. I'd rather use my thumb to help hold the camera up than be pressing on that little button. My action photography hit rate improved once I stopped using the back button for focus. I had a tendency to let pressure off of it during a pan burst and would end up with OOF frames at the end. Plus for me it really is sort of awkward even after doing it for a few years.

I dont think it improves focus but I definitely need focus and shutter totally separate when in AI SERVO mode.

I was responding to the comment that people have said it improves focus. People say just about anything. There's no correct way IMO, so no disagreement from me.

For years I have ran with single center focus point, I would focus on the object of interest until it locks focus, then keeping the button half pressed, reframe for composition and take the picture. This behavior is WELL SET into my brain.

Enter AI Servo at the moment I became interested in moving birds. Now I focus on the bird, attempt to reframe and AI SERVO immediately defocuses the lens. You must have the two functions separate for birds. It's OK when they are on the ground you could run with single shot but what if you need to be ready for them to fly too.

I don't know about must have them separated. But if it works for you, that's what is important. I don't use back button focus anymore. I can move the AF point all over the place and still have fast accurate focus on a 1D series camera unless I'm at f/8 with an extender, so re-framing is rare. The 6D may have some limitations in that regard. So it really depends on the camera, and one's personal preferences. I never re-frame on flying birds. I consider myself lucky if they are in the frame at all. he he

I don't see any other way it could be done except for two buttons, so pretty much it has to be a back button, right?

Personal preference.

focus control.  The camera focuses the same way whether you use the back button or the shutter button to achieve focus.

Many here are confusing focus accuracy with focus control. Taking autofocus off the shutter button and assigning it to the back button gives you more focus control in some situations.

The advantage of doing this is you can then leave the camera in AI-Servo and simply hold the back button to track moving subjects, then press the shutter botton to release the shutter.

When the subject is not moving, you simply press the back button to focus and then after the subject is focused, you release the back button and fire the shot with the shutter button (which does not attempt to re-focus).  This way you can have both AI-Servo and Single-shot focus at your disposal at the same time.

On the 1DX, I have programmed a button to switch between AI-Servo and one-shot, so if I am in one-shot, I simply hold that button to switch to AI-Servo, or vice-versa.  This allows one to be ready for any situation without the need to change settings on the camera.

It's all about giving yourself more control over how and when the camera focuses, as opposed to improving focus accuracy.    They are two completely different things.

-- hide signature --
 TimR32225's gear list:TimR32225's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM +13 more
Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,129
Personal preference
1

TimR32225 wrote:

Many here are confusing focus accuracy with focus control. Taking autofocus off the shutter button and assigning it to the back button gives you more focus control in some situations.

The many here are confusing thing is an assumption.

I stomped out the focus accuracy myth from the get go. I don't get anymore control out of back button focus than I do focusing with the ole shutter button. Personal preference.

The advantage of doing this is you can then leave the camera in AI-Servo and simply hold the back button to track moving subjects, then press the shutter botton to release the shutter.

When the subject is not moving, you simply press the back button to focus and then after the subject is focused, you release the back button and fire the shot with the shutter button (which does not attempt to re-focus).  This way you can have both AI-Servo and Single-shot focus at your disposal at the same time.

All true, and well understood by many (assumption). I don't get enough out of back button focus from a control and productivity standpoint to go back to using it again. I do better without using it. I have enough control over when and what I focus on without using back button focus. I don't generally have to switch from AI Servo to Single shot to quickly take a still. However, if I'm only shooting stills where there will be no action, I always switch to Single Shot where I can focus and recompose all I want, or just move the AF point. I also move the AF point around using AI Servo. I'm not under the gun to get the money shot though. Personal preference.

 Schwany's gear list:Schwany's gear list
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM +14 more
OP mike clemens Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: 6D birds in flight

lee_b wrote:

hey mike - you can setup the camera exactly as you choose and assign it to a custom setting (C1 or C2).

create all the settings as you prefer for shooting BIF: ISO, Tv (even select a speed), assign the shutter button to  set exposure and shoot (not focus), etc. then from Menu "wrench4" choose Custom Shooting Mode, Register settings, and select C1 or C2.

then turn the dial back to your normal shooting mode (Av, Tv, M, etc) and when you want to jump back to BIF settings just move the dial around to C1.

there is also and Auto update setting (two items below "Register Settings") that allows you to auto update the Cx mode.  you probably want to leave that as default disabled to avoid changing your custom setting unintentionally.

isn't the 300 lens a little small for you?   nice BIF shot.

-- hide signature --

Lee (fellow TEC owner

Thanks again Lee I did this and it was straightforward once I started looking around.

I made C2 into family mode, one shot, AE and focus on the shutter, auto mode.

I made C1 into the birding mode, shutter button is AE only (well, and shutter), AI SERVO, and back button focus and Tv mode (which I hadn't considered before your post as the best BIF mode). This works nice.

DugT
DugT Senior Member • Posts: 1,154
Re: I prefer back button for everything

I like BB focus for bif because when I have my thumb on the bb focus button, I know the camera is trying to focus. When I am half pressing the shutter button, in the heat of the moment, it is hard to know if I am really half pressed or not. Also, after taking shots, is it still in focus or not or should I half press and then what if I full press by mistake. My action shot keeper rate increased substantially when I switched to bb focus.

For landscapes and everything else I prefer BB focus too. First I back button focus and I know the focus is set until I move. I can recompose or change the camera setting and know the focus will stay where it was. With shutter focus the the camera will try to refocus on the way to shutter release so I have to refocus and recompose again.

-- hide signature --

Some of my pics are in my DPReview Gallery
dt

 DugT's gear list:DugT's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 5DS Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM +5 more
DavidNJ100
DavidNJ100 Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: 6D birds in flight

mike clemens wrote:

Anderson Silva wrote:

Looks good from here. Focus is impressive as well.

Thanks! I take hundreds of pics and quite a few are in focus and there end up being a couple keepers, I really like that one the birds are so serious. That is the 300mm + 1.4x in action it really is quite sharp. It does have a bit of chromatic abberation of sharp contrasty edges but Lightroom just makes it vanish with a checkbox.

Mike

The 300/2.8 IS II is Canon's sharpest lens and the 300/2.8 IS is only slightly behind.

There are other AI Servo adjustments in the autofocus customization: tracking sensitivity, tracking accel/decel, first shot priority, second shot priority.

In AI Servo you can also set a base point that it starts it focus from and uses the entire array. The caveat is that your lens is fast and long and at least without the TC the autofocus sensors may be a bit challenged. The center sensor has a high sensitivity vertical sensor when an F2.8 lens is attached on the 6D. For the flying flock picture you had the TC and that is a 2Mp crop of a 20Mp sensor, so presumably a small part of the frame and they were relatively far away (250-400ft?) with a deeper DOF (may 10ft or more)..

 DavidNJ100's gear list:DavidNJ100's gear list
Samsung TL350 Canon G9 X Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 300mm f/4.0L IS USM Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM +21 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads