Author Topic: 7D hints and tips  (Read 1320 times)

Offline LCPete

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7D hints and tips
« on: April 15, 2012, 09:48:04 PM »
I have recently upgraded from a 550D to a 7D just started using it for butterflies, dragonflies not out yet!
would be interested in peoples settings :smiley:
Am using single point autofocus in single shot mode and use the joystick controller to set the focus point over the insects eye
Am using AV mode and prefer to use large apeture for narrow DOF
Should I use any exposure compensation for butterflies and Dragonflies ? (assuming normal backgrounds)
For zoo shots at ISO 800 to 1600 I nearly always use + 1/3 and sometimes 2/3 compensation tried to get the histogram to the right seemed to be better for noise
I should be able to stay at ISO 400 and below for butterflies and Dragonflies so perhaps it wont matter so much


Offline LindaB

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 10:32:58 PM »
I do use single focus point and general use just the centre one without moving it about - never did get the hang of that lol, but maybe I will practice on it.

I admit to using manual mode and manual settings for practically all of the insect shots so far with flash attached on the hotshoe, but when we are in full summer I might try Av for the small insects and see what happens.

When in Av mode for birds though I have tended to use either spot metering or centre weighted average although all of it for me is still a bit hit and miss as I am experimenting with all sorts of things as I only got mine last autumn so still messing about with the settings.

I find the metering is more sensitive than the 40D so again am just seeing how things pan out.  I think I can only try different things given different situations and lighting and see what happens - hope I nail it with the dragonflies though as I mostly use my 70-200 for those unless I get lucky and have some close and would then use the macro.

I did accidentally find out how to use the light reading with the flash on though - I was baffled why it wasnt doing the same as the 40D with the * button it would do a pre-flash, but its now on the MFn button.

I dont know how people manage to use the histogram for insect shots though because you have to be quick dont you because they could be gone in a flash, so unless I know they will stay for a bit, I just have mine set to what I think could be right and hope for the best lol.

Linda

PS - I did manage a few DF shots in the autumn and at the time I did not use exposure comensation but I think this season I might try -1/3rd in very bright conditions.  I used to use that a lot on the 350D years ago and it worked really well.  Didnt use it so much on the 40D as the metering was different again.  I have found when changing camera's, its the metering you have to get used to more than anything else as they differ quite a bit.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 10:37:09 PM by LindaB »

Offline jccurd

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 12:22:29 PM »
I, too, am a recent convert from a 40D to a 7D. Actually, I trust the 40D so much I'm keeping it, maybe for the macro lens when I can get close enough. I figure the additional pixel count on the 7D will enable more cropping flexibility when I can't get close enough at all.

I only have the centre spot active for focussing on dragons and butterflies. Being left-eye dominant, I can't jiggle the point selection rocker without sticking a thumb up my nose :)) and I'm always afraid the subject will depart before I'm ready. The 40D seemed to have trouble "seeing" very narrow damselflies and had trouble focussing. The 7D has Spot AF (custom function to activate it) which is supposed to be more sensitive so I'll be trying it but my subjects haven't appeared up here in Bedfordshire yet.

I always use Partial metering (centre 9% of the screen area) to stop very dark/light backgrounds upsetting things too much. That's always worked well for me. With that, I've had success using -1/3 or -2/3 compensation, depending on background which can't be eliminated completely.

I have it all programmed onto the C1 (ISO 400) and C2 (ISO 800) setting (affectionately referred to as Critter1 and Critter2) so I can switch to them quickly. I'm trying Zone AF on Critter3 for flight shots but it's untested as yet. With a dedicated focussing processor, the 7D should respond better than my old faithful at which I'm frequently heard to scream, "just focus damn you".
John

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Offline LindaB

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 12:48:46 PM »
I, too, am a recent convert from a 40D to a 7D. Actually, I trust the 40D so much I'm keeping it, maybe for the macro lens when I can get close enough. I figure the additional pixel count on the 7D will enable more cropping flexibility when I can't get close enough at all.

The 40D seemed to have trouble "seeing" very narrow damselflies and had trouble focussing.

With a dedicated focussing processor, the 7D should respond better than my old faithful at which I'm frequently heard to scream, "just focus damn you".

Hi and thanks for the post.

Thats interesting about the focussing issues you have had with your 40D - I had the very same thing with mine which appeared more noticeable over the last couple of years, especially shooting dragonflies.  At first I thought it was a lens issue, then realised it was an intermittent issue with the 40D - very very frustrating when it does misbehave, with golden opportunities missed.  Maybe I thought it was more noticeable by being more critical of my photos, or whether it really was becoming slightly worse, I dont know.  Then, sometimes the 40D would surprise me with ease of focus and sharpness of even damsels especially using my 70-200 (or was it me performing better lol).

Like you, I am really relying on the 7D go give faster focussing results particularly with dragonflies.  I have practiced a bit on gulls for speed - both for my speed and the camera's - at a local pond with mixed results, but all in all, if I get it right, then the results are better.

As for more cropability, I will wait and see on that one lol.  In theory it should, but in reality it will probably show more faults with my photography skills lol.

I am still keeping my 40D because like you, I do trust it most of the time.

Linda

Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 09:11:46 PM »
I started with a 350D too and always had - 1/3 exp comp  :smiley:
I found the metering on the 40D spot on too :smiley:
Will try varying it a bit in the 7d as  its easy to do
It's worth trying moving the focus point with the joystick thing Linda esp for small things like damsels
 :smiley:
Will have a go at dragonflies in flight this year I've never got the hang of it I'm too slow !!
Hoping the 7D will help me a bit
Using the zone focus is a good idea guess you need a clear background tho  :smiley:


Offline jccurd

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 05:09:22 PM »
Yes, Pete, the clear background always helps a lot. Mind you, for in-flight shots, teh background is frequently the out-of-focus surface of a body of water so that helps a lot. I'm sure it's the confused background to a slender damselfly, frequently a mass of vegetation, that makes autofocus difficult; the camera "sees" the vegetation stems beyond the damsel and misses the damsel. Frustrating stuff!

I forgot to mention this but I generally use AI Servo focussing. With such a narrow DoF, even if the damsel/dragon isn't moving (i.e. being blown about on the grass, I wobble forwards and backwards a bit myself, especially when crouching a little, so one-shot can be difficult. Most of the time, I use a monopod, too. to help stabilize me. :))
John

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Offline red_fan

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 11:12:44 AM »
Some of my tips for the 7D (after moving up from the 350D) - some are also relevant for non-7D users.
 
I always shoot in AI-Servo when using auto-focus, with manual mode, 1/250th second at F11 as a starting point. In the past I have been setting the ISO as necessary to achieve the settings I want, but I am going to trial using AutoISO in manual mode see what that gives me.
 
I have also turned on the always move focus point via the joystick (a custom function I think) rather than having to press the 'set focus point' button first. I have also mapped the M-fn button to allow me to cycle through the AF area selection modes. Both save a bit of time.
 
If Canon had spot metering that followed the focus point (which makes perfect sense to me) then this is what I would use. But it doesnt, always using the middle focus point. So I leave it on evaluative metering (the default).
 
I am also going to try using M-Raw (approx 10Mp) and see how it compares to L-Raw (approx 17Mp) - mainly based on this article http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/7d/users-guide/.
 
For in-flight shots, it is patience, practise and accepting that you'll get an out-of-focus dragon most of the time, if you actually even get it in the frame. I use Zone AF at this point, but it is technique and not the equipment that makes the difference here. A read of this http://www.garyluhm.net/bio/tips_0310.html, although aimed at birds in flight some of the settings are equally as relevent for dragonflies.
 
Stephen
To know the truth, you have to understand the lies - SA

Canon 7D | Canon 350D | Sigma 10-20 | Sigma 17-70 | Tamron 18-270 | Canon 70-300 IS | Canon 100 IS | Sigma 150-500

Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2012, 06:59:00 PM »
Thanks John and Stephen will try out AI-Servo, at the moment I use one shot can see that AI-Servo would be helpful in breezy conditions
Am looking forwards to getting started  :smiley:
Just need the weather to improve and warm up there's no sign of anything yet  :cry:

Offline LindaB

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2012, 10:06:23 PM »
Thanks John and Stephen will try out AI-Servo, at the moment I use one shot can see that AI-Servo would be helpful in breezy conditions
Am looking forwards to getting started  :smiley:
Just need the weather to improve and warm up there's no sign of anything yet  :cry:

Pete

Over this weekend I have experimented with two things.

1.  Centre 'spot' focus point (the one with the fine point in the middle).
2.  Used the above with AI servo, with flash, manual settings, macro and it works a treat.  I think I have had even better results using this combination.

I remembered one of the birding guys who also does macro mentioning that for some strange reason AI servo and macro works very well so I tried it and I think I will probably continue to use that.    I am going to try the 'spot' focus point and AI servo when the DFs come out and see how well that works.

Am just going to post a couple of macro's using these settings today.
Linda

Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 02:26:45 PM »
Ahh l see  :smiley:
That's what I do for the zoo animals anyway focus with thumb on af on button
Will try that I guess focus and then shoot a small burst :smiley:


Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 02:29:40 PM »
Forgot to say never use flash  :grin:
Do prefer look of natural light shots  :smiley:
But will try some fill flash for dragonflies  :smiley:
Havent tried the spot autofocus point yet will have a go , expect its good for damselflies
About the metering I went to the zoo on sat and forgot to expose to the right the shots I got were a little bit dark don't know how it will work out for insects tho will just have to try and see
I went to our local site , whixall moss did not see anything at all hope it warms up soon
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 02:44:58 PM by LCPete »

Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 03:13:26 PM »
Probably a daft question but will it make any difference to the is on the 100l macro using is servo rather than single shot ?
With single shot when I press the shutter the is settles and the lens focuses and get a beep and take a shot but is the lens is focusing continuosly does that mean that the is won't be as stable
What I mean is that on single shot can get down to quite a low shutter speed and get Sharp shots if the lens is focusing continueosly in AIservo does it mean that the is won't be as effective ?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 03:16:26 PM by LCPete »

Offline LindaB

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 04:34:23 PM »
Probably a daft question but will it make any difference to the is on the 100l macro using is servo rather than single shot ?
With single shot when I press the shutter the is settles and the lens focuses and get a beep and take a shot but is the lens is focusing continuosly does that mean that the is won't be as stable
What I mean is that on single shot can get down to quite a low shutter speed and get Sharp shots if the lens is focusing continueosly in AIservo does it mean that the is won't be as effective ?

I think I read from someone, cant remember who or where, that when using AI servo its better to turn off the IS.   Thinking about it logically, if the camera and lens are both trying to do their thing ie AI servo will be tracking, the IS on the lens will be stabilising, then it would probably slow the focus down and would defeat the object.

So with insect shots where speed is often required, try no IS on the lens and AI servo active on the camera.  When in AI servo, there will be no 'beep' for focus confirmation.

Linda

Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 12:34:10 PM »
Thanks Linda that does make sense :smiley: will try it out  :smiley:
 when the insects are moving or if its windy I guess the IS won't be much use anyway
Am also going to try what you suggested when I next see a bee on a flower should work pretty well esp as the 100L macro is fast focusing anyway  :smiley:

Offline LCPete

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Re: 7D hints and tips
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2012, 11:21:53 AM »

I am also going to try using M-Raw (approx 10Mp) and see how it compares to L-Raw (approx 17Mp) - mainly based on this article http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/7d/users-guide/.
 
 
Stephen
Just had a look at that article Stephen and it did make sense 10mp is enough if you dont need to crop but I dont think its a good idea for insect and wildlife photography as sometimes you just cant get near enough and have to crop , not that often but dont want to take the chance, at least having 18mp it gives you the option if you have to :smiley:


 

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