Bird Photography With Your Pentax Equipment

Here are some top tips for bird photography with your Pentax gear.

24/08/2013 - 00:00

Robin

Bird photography can be a tricky area of the craft to master. Not only do you have to be fast, you also have to be stealthy and be able to hide away from your subject to avoid scaring them away. Here are a few top tips to help you when you're out in the field. 

Research 
Certain species of birds can be difficult to find so it's worth knowing the rough habitat that the species you like to photograph is most likely to be found in, so that you can narrow your search. You could also go on a few scouting missions and note down what you see to give you a better idea of what can be found in your local area. This is of coure once you've exhausted your back garden and the park, where many species can be found.

Action mode
Most Pentax cameras will feature a sports or action mode, designed to enable you to capture clear shots of fast moving objects. This will be an ideal mode to use for your bird photography. If you've only got a compact camera, or don't have a long reach lens, don't worry. Great bird  photography can be captured at rescue centres and zoos too, where the birds will be a lot easier to capture.

Fast shutter speed 
If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera, or even an advanced compact camera, then you can set the shutter speed in most cases. Most bird photography will take place in daylight, so you should be able to use a relatively fast shutter speed, 1/500 or above should do it, and still get a perfectly light shot. Using shutter priority mode will allow the camera to choose the aperture it thinks is correct. If it's not producing the effect you want, switch to manual mode and set the aperture as you wish. 

Reach
Birds can be scared away easily, so it's best to shoot from quite far away and use a long reach telephoto zoom. A lens such as the 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED will be ideal. Use a tripod to keep the camera steady. 

Camera angle
A common mistake with bird photography is to take the photo from the human perspective. Sometimes it's necessary to get down low or up high to really immerse the viewer into the world of the bird. Placing the camera on a bean bag or tripod with splayed legs will enable you to get down low whilst still keeping the camera steady. Use of a remote release will also enable you to trigger the camera away from the scene.

Bait
To lure birds to your garden in order to photograph them, you can use bait. Seed, a little bread and a bird bath should be enough to get some flying visitors visiting the garden. Then, you can work on more elaborate props such as bird feeders, houses and ornamental logs to get birds flocking in and added background interest for your photos at the same time. 




Related Photos

senn

Link Posted 29/08/2013 - 09:44
except that so far Pentax is far from to match its direct contenders (7D, 300s, ..) as for its AF performances .. for the purpose, bird photographers know how much AF capability of an equipment is determinant a parameter for quality bird captures .. by the way the photo up here illustrates well Pentax characteristic AF problem
senn
my flickr gallery
Last Edited by senn on 29/08/2013 - 09:49

gwing

Link Posted 29/08/2013 - 10:42
senn wrote:
by the way the photo up here illustrates well Pentax characteristic AF problem

You have either got a better imagination or better eyes than me then if you can see an AF problem in the robin shot above.

senn

Link Posted 29/08/2013 - 10:56
gwing wrote:
senn wrote:
by the way the photo up here illustrates well Pentax characteristic AF problem

You have either got a better imagination or better eyes than me then if you can see an AF problem in the robin shot above.

.. probably
senn
my flickr gallery

QuestionableCarrot

Link Posted 31/08/2013 - 12:38
Pentax cameras and lenses are fine for bird photography. I just wish they produced a convertor for the DA* 300 before I go insane!!!!!!
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WalterH

Link Posted 01/09/2013 - 09:16
I have never had a problem using my Pentax cameras for Bird photography - recent shot taken with Pentax K200d [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/9640749845_41c319d833_n.jpg[/img]
20130827-_IGP1178 by Walter Hampson, on Flickr and I have used and own Nikon D300S and Canon 60D. Never had any problem with the AF on my K200D, K10D
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senn

Link Posted 03/09/2013 - 09:15
WalterH wrote:
I have never had a problem using my Pentax cameras for Bird photography - recent shot taken with Pentax K200d [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/9640749845_41c319d833_n.jpg[/img]
20130827-_IGP1178 by Walter Hampson, on Flickr and I have used and own Nikon D300S and Canon 60D. Never had any problem with the AF on my K200D, K10D



I've taken some bird pictures too (see my pf here and on EPZ ) and I missed dozens others because my Pentax often hesitates or take too long to focus subject, that's at any light condition.
senn
my flickr gallery
Last Edited by senn on 03/09/2013 - 09:45

dcweather

Link Posted 16/09/2013 - 20:09
senn wrote:
[quote:3496ace15f="WalterH"]I have never had a problem using my Pentax cameras for Bird photography - recent shot taken with Pentax K200d [img]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/9640749845_41c319d833_n.jpg[/img]
20130827-_IGP1178 by Walter Hampson, on Flickr and I have used and own Nikon D300S and Canon 60D. Never had any problem with the AF on my K200D, K10D

------------------------------
Nuri is right about this. It also isn't the world's best Robin picture - looks soft and cluttered background. Probably a bright day and they followed their own advice of shutter priority and had too small an aperture. I tend to use aperture priority like the majority of bird photographers and work back from that if I require more DOF.
Of course you can get fantastic bird pics with Pentax but focus speed means you will miss a few more than others might.
Dave

PhilSmith

Link Posted 30/03/2016 - 07:36
I've just taken up Bird Photography using a Pentax K-x and DA 55-300 lens. Even though I consider the K-x camera less professional camera, it does shoot clear pictures and it seems to be a little faster that my K20d, what I consider my better with a Tamron 18-200mm lens attached to it. Yes, in most cases Bird photography requires study, research, being in the right place at the right time, patience; no heaps of patience. I consider myself very much a novice in all of this but I love it and my Pentax. New Zealand, of course, is a bird haven. Some birds will just pose for you. I got an incredible photo of a white face Heron the other day that stood mesmerized looking at me. (This happens with my wife sometimes also, NOT!) Australian Coots are the same. Oystercatchers, again, are the same; a beautiful bird with red eyes and a long narrow beak. Wekas are difficult as is the Thrush. Ducks of course are easy. So, with the difficult birds, at least a 200mm lens, if not 300mm lens is very useful but you got to be fast. And of course the problem is the faster you are the most likely you will make a mistake by moving too fast and not paying attention. I think sometimes that I would like to have a 400mm lens but I'm a lowly paid person who has to be careful with the finances, as we all are! I can usually buy lenses and sneak them into the house without my wife seeing them but I wouldn't dare do that with a 400mm lens! She would notice....

Well, that's my two cents worth on this bird subject which was discussed three years ago.

tks Phil
Last Edited by PhilSmith on 30/03/2016 - 07:37

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