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vulture
05-09-07, 09:48
Newcomer, because Mark Wilson reminded me that this might be a forum to learn about the use of modes, first ... manual ... and then AV ... so here goes some thread searching ... I believe, but I don't yet know why it's not worth buying a good lens if I'm only going to use "Sport" setting.

Constructive prompts, nudges even the odd KITA will be appreciated.

His Lofty Supremacy, Yelvertoft, kindly directed me here ... I'll be reading the threads for weeks but I'd love to get several views on this specific question ...

... Why is it not worth buying my new 100-400mm 4.5/5.6 L USM if I'm only going to use "Sport" setting for shots of vulture take-offs, landings and fly-bys ... very rarely against sky background (I have tested the locations with video XM2, now I want great stills)??

mw_aurora
05-09-07, 19:47
Newcomer, because Mark Wilson reminded me that this might be a forum to learn about the use of modes, first ... manual ... and then AV ... so here goes some thread searching ... I believe, but I don't yet know why it's not worth buying a good lens if I'm only going to use "Sport" setting.

Constructive prompts, nudges even the odd KITA will be appreciated.

His Lofty Supremacy, Yelvertoft, kindly directed me here ... I'll be reading the threads for weeks but I'd love to get several views on this specific question ...

... Why is it not worth buying my new 100-400mm 4.5/5.6 L USM if I'm only going to use "Sport" setting for shots of vulture take-offs, landings and fly-bys ... very rarely against sky background (I have tested the locations with video XM2, now I want great stills)??

Hi vulture, did I say it wasn't worth buying the 100-400 if you are using Sports mode? If so, I apologise, its not what I meant :o I definately remember urging you to try out using AV and come here to have a read though! :D

vulture
05-09-07, 20:58
No Mark, you did not say that and it's my mistake to have implied it accidentally. I apologise. I am coming to the view that it's just not good enough to be relying on "Sport" mode, but I have yet to be informed why that is so. From videoing I have learned to locate & video vulture flight below the horizon using x20 of my XM2 and I'm getting good colour and plumage detail despite handholding. I had hoped that the highly regarded IS on my new 100-400mm would allow me to handhold sharp still images of vultures. My next hope was that "Sport" mode was made for that sort of fast (but not very fast) moving image ... nobody has said that I'm wrong in thinking that, but several have suggested more sophisticated approaches ... so the question prompts itself in my "small but active" ... What's not good enough about "Sport" mode? Please do give your opinion if you have time.

I am reading Duncan's super articles on the 3 balls in the air and the use of AV but, given that I am alert to avoiding background light interference and accustomed to handholding birdflight, I am wondering why Canon bothered to provide "Sport" mode if it can't handle big bird flight better than my fiddling around with settings could achieve. It sounds like I'm advocating "dumbing down" but I prefer to think I am checking out the obvious before accepting the more complicated. Does that make sense at all at all?

nirofo
06-09-07, 00:50
Newcomer, because Mark Wilson reminded me that this might be a forum to learn about the use of modes, first ... manual ... and then AV ... so here goes some thread searching ... I believe, but I don't yet know why it's not worth buying a good lens if I'm only going to use "Sport" setting.

Constructive prompts, nudges even the odd KITA will be appreciated.

His Lofty Supremacy, Yelvertoft, kindly directed me here ... I'll be reading the threads for weeks but I'd love to get several views on this specific question ...

... Why is it not worth buying my new 100-400mm 4.5/5.6 L USM if I'm only going to use "Sport" setting for shots of vulture take-offs, landings and fly-bys ... very rarely against sky background (I have tested the locations with video XM2, now I want great stills)??


The thing about Vultures is that they are relatively slow moving in flight, however, when coming in to land at a feed melee they can drop out of the sky like rain, just before they make final landing they have to put on the brakes, this is the time to shoot them. I have taken many photo's at feeds, sometimes 200 to 300 birds or more can be circling over the kill waiting for the first one to make a move, there is an heirarchy, that is they don't all come to the kill at once, (although it can seem like it when the melee starts). Once the first bird has landed the rest follow very quickly, that's when the scrum starts. If you're lucky enough to come across the carcass of a horse or cow in Vulture territory it will pay you to stake it out, it could be several days before it's ready for the birds to start feeding, they seem to know when the flesh is just ripe enough to begin gorging themselves. I've found it's best to position yourself quite some distance from the dead animal, this can have two advantages, first it's not so smelly and second the birds are more prepared to come in! Work from the car if it's convenient, or a hide if not, remember these birds have terrific eyesight and can see you from 2000 feet up or more. I usually work with my150-500mm Tokina ATX zoom with a 1.4 converter attached, but more recently I've used a Tamron 200-500mm zoom plus 1.4 converter. This combination allows for picking out birds as they come in to land, single bird shots stood about and group melee shots. For the flight shots I work with the lens one stop down, for the melee shots I go for depth of field in order to have more birds sharp in the frame, all on aperture priority!

Here's a few shots to show what I mean.

nirofo.

Griffon Vulture flight formation.
http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o71/nirofo/Griffonformationflight.jpg

Griffon Vultures coming in to feed.
http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o71/nirofo/GriffonVulturesatfeed.jpg

Griffon Vulture melee.
http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o71/nirofo/GriffonVulturesatfeed2.jpg

vulture
06-09-07, 14:32
Quote Nirofo ... "For the flight shots I work with the lens one stop down, for the melee shots I go for depth of field in order to have more birds sharp in the frame, all on aperture priority!"

Thank you Nirofo. Shooting flight with the lens one stop down is useful to know. I lost interest in melee and feeding behaviour a few years ago and have found flight locations at or just below eye-level ... here's a link to some clips of vulture flight ... http://www.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/votacio.phtml?idVideo=15073

mw_aurora
07-09-07, 15:08
No need to apologise - just wanted to make sure you hadn't mis-understood me! A quick correction from what I told you before, I did say that Sports was one of the creative modes - I was wrong, it is in the 'Basic Zone' of the dial, AV, TV and M are in the 'Creative Zone' - sorry for any confusion.

I want to answer your question with some examples but my 20D (which has sports mode) is in for a service and the 1 series doesn't have it.

So, from memory and reading the 20D manual (with my opinions)...

Sports mode will do the following things well:

- Set auto-focus to AI Servo
- Engage multi-frame shooting

Average things:

- Beep at you when focus is achieved (I would hate that but...)
- Use JPEG to maximise the camera buffer and therefore number of shots in a burst...however I very rarely filled the buffer on my 20D or old 350D when shooting RAW

What it doesn't do:

- Engage center focus spot only (I can't remember what body you have, but it is the best spot of a very average bunch on the 20/30D and 300/350D for moving targets)

- Allow you control of Depth of Field using the aperture (it will bias towards fast shutter speeds at expense of DOF...and I can't remember if it changes ISO or not?)

- Allow you creative control of shutter speed (panning techniques, blurred wing-tips etc).

- Allow you to compensate exposure (and I can't believe this one - is it a misprint in the manual???) - a dark subject less than 25% of the frame (which is still pretty big!) will often be incorrectly exposed by the camera in evaluative or center-weighted. If you use partial or spot metering off a dark subject, it will get the exposure wrong.

To be honest, the good and average things are so easy to set yourself that I just don't think it is worth the negatives. AV and TV modes are not as scary as you think...honest ;) They gently ease you into controling your camera, allowing as much to be automated as you want. Yes, you need to worry about a few more things - but they are fairly mechanical in type and practice makes perfect.

vulture
07-09-07, 17:40
This is a great help Mark. This is a serious attempt to put words on camera electronics in specific interaction ... priceless to an old man. Into my bible it goes ...