The 40D and birds in flight

Posted on 23 September 2007, 22:01

The 40D is a great camera in many ways (pretty much every way, so far!), but it certainly isn’t as “easy going” as its predecessor the 30D.

Specifically, while the Auto Focus (AF) on the 40D is faster and more accurate, it is much more – for want of a better word – sensitive, and will punish the photographer for any carelessness on his part.

In other words, you’ll need to improve your accuracy in getting the AF point where it needs to be!

This was brought home to me clearly tonight when I downloaded and installed BreezeBrowser Pro.

This RAW converter is one of the first commercial applications to support the 40D, and for my tastes it produces a better result than Bibble.

It also has a very useful Show Focus Points function, a la Canon’s own Zoom Browser EX and switching that on tonight was very illuminating..!

LBB in flight

This first picture is, by my humble standards, a rather good “BIF”.

It’s sharp, properly focussed and nicely detailed. Obviously, I got this one right then, eh? My talent in shooting birds in flight clearly nailed this one, right?

Wrong!

BIF - focus points

The second picture shows precisely what I was focused on when I took the picture.

Seriously, I could scarcely have missed the bird’s eye by more and still hit the bird.

I was lucky here – the edge of the wing and the bird’s head must be within the Depth Of Field (DOF) of the 100-400mm wide-open at f/5.6 – and I still ended up with a decent picture.

So, what does this tell me? It tells me that I really need to raise my game when it comes to accurately placing the focus point.

But it also shows that if you give the 40D’s AF anything to lock onto, it’ll do its best to oblige.



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