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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

FZ300 settings for a well focussed birdpic? (1 Viewer)

Ruud3105

Dutch in Spain
Spain
Hello,

I don't know much about photography, which is why I got a bridge camera instead of a dlsr, but I struggle with getting a sharp and well focussed image with my FZ300.

I am shooting in IA mode with a central point autofocus and whenever I cross 600-800mm zoom it just gets a bit blurry. Does anybody has some advice regarding settings I could use? Should I get me a tripod or monopod as I do understand movement might be the biggest issue? Should I expect less from birds that are far away and instead focus on stalking skills and trying to photograph birds closer by? Would love to hear experiences/advice from fellow FZ300/330 owners.

Thank you
Ruud
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hello,

I don't know much about photography, which is why I got a bridge camera instead of a dlsr, but I struggle with getting a sharp and well focussed image with my FZ300.

I am shooting in IA mode with a central point autofocus and whenever I cross 600-800mm zoom it just gets a bit blurry. Does anybody has some advice regarding settings I could use? Should I get me a tripod or monopod as I do understand movement might be the biggest issue? Should I expect less from birds that are far away and instead focus on stalking skills and trying to photograph birds closer by? Would love to hear experiences/advice from fellow FZ300/330 owners.

Thank you
Ruud

These pictures were taken with the FZ330 before I bought another camera. I don't know much about photography either. It depends what you mean by 'focused' and 'sharp': some people wouldn't consider these pictures to be sharp. But, if you'd like some advice after looking at these pictures, then I'm happy to help.
 

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Ruud3105

Dutch in Spain
Spain
Hi Paul, I would definitely be interested to get some guidance from you. I understand what you mean with defining what is sharp and what's not. While I get a bird with a sharp and focussed eye, the feathering is all blurry. Your images of the whitethroat for instance is 'sharper' in this respect than the reed bunting. My best pic is worse around the edges of his body and feathers if that makes any sense.
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
So let me see if I understand you correctly: you think you can get the eye sharp but that the parts of the bird that are not in exactly the same plane are unsharp?
I this is what you are talking about then the problem is depth of field. To get a different result you would have to take more control. To understand this you need a couple of terms:
Shutter speed is needed to be low to avoid shake - if not controlled, everything will be unsharp.
F-number (aperture) - smaller number give more light but less depth of field.
If you keep the shutter speed the same and increase the F-number, you will need to increase iso to keep exposure OK. increased ISO tends to give increased noise in the image. You are the only one to weigh up the components getting the best compromise for you.

Hope this helps
Niels
 

PaulCountyDurham

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi Paul, I would definitely be interested to get some guidance from you. I understand what you mean with defining what is sharp and what's not. While I get a bird with a sharp and focussed eye, the feathering is all blurry. Your images of the whitethroat for instance is 'sharper' in this respect than the reed bunting. My best pic is worse around the edges of his body and feathers if that makes any sense.

No bother.

I know you didn't ask for this part, but I'll carry on anyway.

'Don't get lost in the technical aspects of the camera. I went for a few basic settings and have done the same with the Nikon P950. I think the FZ330 has a better lens than the P950: the difference is the zoom. There will be experienced photographers out there who can get more from the FZ330 but as we're not in that bracket it could be a good idea to keep the camera settings simple as a start.

There's a demonstration by Graham Houghton on the FZ330 on YouTube. It will take you 10 minutes to set up. I pretty much used his settings. I did experiment but in the end broadly didn't move from what he recommended.

The focus I used was the equivalent of manual spot on the Nikon P950. I can't remember the Panasonic term but it simply means the smallest area which will ensure your focus is on the bird's eye rather than the whole of the bird's body or some branch. All of the yellow blocks stuff where you move the focus on the screen, I didn't bother with that: who finds a bird just sat in the same spot for a minute while you mess around with the buttons! You set manual spot up once, the camera stores that, and that's it, done, no messing around with buttons when a bird lands near you.

I tried various focus options and so on, and there wasn't much difference to my eye when looking at the image. When I first bought the FZ330 I had it in my mind that there were some magic buttons somewhere that would deliver picture gold, but on reflection I'd be surprised were that the case. Keep it simple, use Graham's settings, don't overdo the options because there's not much difference in the outcome.

In terms of your picture, yes, it hasn't turned out well on a bright day, but the good news is that you can fix that within a day.

Go with Graham's settings and practice holding the camera steady: that really makes a difference. It's easiest to keep the camera steady when lying on your stomach with your elbows on the ground or sat down with your elbows in your thighs. 'Just roll around in the grass and mud, do what you have to do to get closer and to be lying down in order to keep the camera steady; and who cares what dog walkers and the like think. While you're lying down, have the camera pulled into your forehead and when you've found focus with the half press, concentrate on not letting the camera move downwards on your full press ('sounds easy, but it takes a bit of practice for it to become second nature).

Put it on aperture mode, ISO not higher than 400 and let the camera deliver the shutter speed: use that as a start.

Oh, and as part of Graham's tutorial he'll have you reset the settings to default/factory before activating his settings.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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