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Old September 18th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #1
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some new footage from this weekend

Here is some new footage. I know a few places are out of focus. It is very hard to focus with the big lens and the extender, (plus my cameras on board monitor is only 1.5" wide).
I am working on a way to fix that but please bare with me.

www.advnturefilms.net/Media/Birds_of_Prey.com

I am redoing me sight, so you have to use this link for now.

Let me know what you think.

(Yes I have a very big video tripod, but with all that on there, the wind still moves it around a little).
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some new footage from this weekend-my-setup.jpg  
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Old September 18th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #2
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Hi Chris,

Found your footage at http://www.adventurefilms.net/Media/Birds_of_Prey.mov

I see what you mean about the focusing issues. It looks ok when viewed at half-size. If you re-render the footage at a smaller scale you might be able to reduce the 20M filesize.

Apart from that - excellent views of the Osprey. I saw a couple last weekend but only at long distance (good job my XL2 hasn't arrived yet!) How close were you to the bird? Did you use a hide?

Grant
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Old September 18th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #3
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actually there was about 15 of us standing 60 feet from it on the back, it didn't seem to pay much attention to us. There was a gull trying to get the fish from it and after it took off, it wasn't 2 seconds later that a Bald Eagle came in for the attack. Thye had a dog fight for about 20 seconds 20 -30 feet off the river right in front of us, I couldn't follow with the camera as everything is manual at that point, but it was a sight to see. The osprey finally dropped the fish and the gull ended up with it. The shots of the osprey and eagle sitting in the trees are them watching the gull eat the fish.

Does any know if there is a way for the auto focus to still work if I use an EF lens on my XL2 camera body, I can't seem to get a good focus manually
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Old September 18th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #4
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Hi Chris!
like you said, the focus was a little off. But outside of that I thought you did a great job!
How much of a zoom did you use to take these shots?

~Gabriel~

PS: I love the picture of the XL2 with the mountains in the background!
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Old September 18th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Fritsche
Does any know if there is a way for the auto focus to still work if I use an EF lens on my XL2 camera body, I can't seem to get a good focus manually
AF is a function of the XL Auto lens so it won't happen without that lens.

-gb-
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Old September 18th, 2006, 01:30 PM   #6
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it can be very hard to get good focus with big lenses and the junky viewfinder. a camera-mounted monitor can help...just what you wanted to hear, more stuff to lug around! i enjoyed the footage, even with the focus problems because i know how hard it is to get good with these systems...and also because it's always a treat to get that close in to these majestic birds.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 02:44 PM   #7
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I've finally downloaded the clip, Chris, and now see what you mean about soft focus. Some parts of the clip are absolutley terrible (mianly the bad shaking and shifitng of framing) so the clip would be 100% improved if they were completely edited out.
However, even the best parts that are steady, still suffer badly from colour fringing, heat haze, extremely low image contrast, optical aberrations etc.

My suggestion is to get closer if possible to your subjects to cut out the amount of air and haze between camera and subjects, and to also to try a fast fixed ED/APO/LD type lens instead of a zoom + converter.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 03:24 PM   #8
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Chris, I second much of what Tony says. Field practising is the key word for good results. Personally I practised for weeks to get used to the small movements you have to do to get smooth pans and tilts. I also set the tripod as low as possible, spread its legs as much as possible. Also, find a comfortable position for yourself. I use a small tree-leg chair to sit on (not always possible).

It's not easy to get good focus with the original viewfinder. I use the fu-1000 viewfinder which is much better to maintain critical focus.
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Old September 18th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #9
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I have ordered one of those 7" monitors, also if you can see from the photo, I have an aluminum plate that the camera mounts to, I took off the battery/120 convertor on the from, mounted the fluid head plate to the hole that is roughly 1.5" from the end of the plate, (instead of in the back where it was).

That should balance out the lens/body by a 100%

most of the movement in the shoots was due to the 30 miles wind that was blowing.

The first Eagle shoot was from about 1/3 mile away at 400mm with a 2X extender, however it was very hazy, we have been having some fires.

The bird on the ground was 60-70 feet away, the eagle was about 150 yards away and the osprey sitting in the tree was about 200 yards away and when he was eating in the tree he was about 100 yards away.

I think setting up behind a bushy tree to sheild the wind and as you said, widing my tripod base will help. I need the monitor, I wear glasses and those are somewhat old, so what looks focused is as you have seen not, I do miss the auto focus of the 20X optical lens.

Thansk for the comments, I will try them this weekend. Those birds are always there so footage is somewhat easy to come by.

I got some great pronghorn and buffalo footage, I just haven't gotten a chance to edit it yet
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Old September 18th, 2006, 09:51 PM   #10
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Chris
You might try turning on the zebra and use that to aid focus. The zebra will become razor sharp when focus is achived. When I was using the XL1 I had the zebra turned on all the time just for that reason, and I now do the same thing for the XL H1 regardless if using the Canon 20X or the 80-400mm Nikon.
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:13 AM   #11
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so do you mean the pattern goes away or what do you mean?
Right now I will try anything
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Old September 19th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #12
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The viewfinder LCD's on all the XL series are rather course and not exactly hi res. When yor trying to focus on a bird, and it's not very large in the viewfinder, and your trying to focus on an edge or a plumage mark, there aren't that many pixels to work with. With the zebra turned on, the zebra stripes are very visible and contrast most times against a very dull subject. Even on a dark bird, it will pick up light reflection off the feathers. When your out of focus, the zebra is also out of focus. When you hit focus, the zebra will also be in focus and be very sharp and crisp. The only thing you have to remember is make sure the zebra is on the subject, and not on some hot spot in the background. The zebra never goes away, unless you turn it off. If your shooting in the shade or on a overcast day, open up the lens to where the zebra becomes visible somewhere on the subject, focus, and then adjust your f stop for the correct exposure. I hope this helps. Also as a side note, make sure the text on the viewfinder screen is sharp. If it isn't, adjust the viewfinder until it is. It's all in your manual....
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Old September 19th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #13
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Perhaps there's some confusion here between focusing on the image of the subject with the lens and focusing the viewfinder itself, by using its diopter adjustment. From the various messages, it seems that some are talking about focusing the viewfinder and others are discussing the focusing of the lens on the subject.

The sharpness of the exposure zebra stripes and the readouts in the viewfinder, are adjusted only by the viewfinder's diopter-----they aren't affected by the focus of the lens on the subject. Obviously, if the viewfinder isn't focused precisely first, then it will be impossible to focus on the subject when using it. Of course, the large viewscreen shows only the focus on the subject, as it has no adjuster.

Using the viewfinder readouts to focus it, is the first step, then you can focus the lens on the subject. Sorry to be so redundant in stating this, but it is a point that may be overlooked when starting the day's shooting. Often, the viewfinder diopter may get pushed out of adjustment or someone else may have set it so it doesn't match your eyes. The diopter I like best on my own cameras, is the ring adjuster at the base of the eyepiece on my Canon L-1. Perhaps the later XL models have this same type. It's easy to put a fine edge on the viewfinder's focus with it. The small lever-type adjusters seem much harder to set accurately, although they don't get knocked out of focus so easily.
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