1. AndyG123

    AndyG123

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    I'm just trying to use my kit telephoto more to make me think differently about my photography...
    Im using my 70-300 sigma kit lens with my d3300...
    When at 70mm I can handhold this... At 300mm I cannot handle this lens.

    Do you have any tips? I know I can use this with a tripod but I don't feel this will help m Improve on handling this lens.

    (I do want a 70-200 2.8) but don't want to buy one if I can't master the use of it.

    Any suggestions welcome.

    Thanks
    Andy
     
  2. foggy4ever

    foggy4ever

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    Are you increasing your shutter speed for the longer focal lengths?
     
  3. flyingmonkeycorp

    flyingmonkeycorp

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    A handy rule of thumb is that to handhold a given focal length you'll need an equivalent shutter speed - so at 70mm you'll get away with 1/70th of a second, 200mm = 1/200th, 300mm = 1/300 and so on.

    Also be careful how you hold your camera. If you're stood up, you want one hand on the body, one on the lens. With the viewfinder up to your eye I then tuck the elbow of the lens arm right into my body and make sure I'm stood with my feet wide apart and well planted. Deep breaths help too.
     
  4. DG Phototraining

    DG Phototraining Woof

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    :agree: it's probably your problem that your shutter speed is so slow you're getting camera movement blurring your images

    You really need to be at least 2x the inverse of your focal length - so at 70mm you might be okay a 1 over 2x 70, so around 1/140th sec but preferably faster; while at 300mm you need to be at least 1/600th sec and 1/1000th or faster would be better still

    Dave
     
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  5. the black fox

    the black fox

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    and to be perfectly honest the d3300 with a sigma 70-300 which is one of the worst lenses I have ever owned/used is not exactly a ideal combo . follow the advise re- shutter speeds but also let us know your intended targets i.e if your trying to do birds in flight or fast moving cars/planes etc with that kit you aint got a hope
     
  6. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    As focal length increases, the effects of camera shake are multiplied. You are aware of the reciprocal focal length rule? If you can hand-hold reliably at 70mm at say 1/100sec, then at 140mm you'll need 1/200sec, and at 280mm that rises to 1/400sec. Options include:

    - Work on your hand-holding technique
    - Get an image-stabilised lens
    - Use a monopod - cheap, and they're at least as effective as any image stabilisation

    Just sharpening up (haha) your hand-holding technique can make a huge difference. All the weight should be taken in your left hand cupped under the lens; the right hand is only used to direct the lens for framing and should be free to operate camera controls. Stand at roughly 45 degrees to the subject with feet comfortably apart, tuck your left elbow into the side of your chest to form a supporting triangle with the camera pressed gently against your face. Release the shutter carefully and smoothly. When shutter speeds are marginal there's safety in numbers so if you can rattle off a few frames with the camera in continuous drive mode (not repeated stabbing at the shutter release) there's a far better chance of getting a sharp one.

    Edit: leaning against a wall or tree etc improves stability a lot. Equally, if you're down on one knee and stretching uncomfortably, things will be worse. Practise - it's easy with digital to try different techniques and focal lengths, then zoom in on the LCD to see the differences.
    It's always a good idea to do this pretty thoroughly, at least once in a while, to find out exactly where your own personal limits lie. You can then use the reciprocal rule (double focal length = 2x faster shutter speed) to adjust for different situations.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  7. GarethB

    GarethB

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    Use your burst mode and tracking focus mode, and don't set your expectations too high - you'll get some blurry shots, but you'll hopefully get some sharp shots too.

    Use your lens's sweet spot, usually two stops down from its widest setting.

    Press the viewfinder into your face, wedge both elbows in, take a deep breath, exhale and hold, then fire away.

    Don't be afraid of higher ISO when you bump up your shutter speed, ISO1600 can be perfectly acceptable these days, and can be tweaked in post for decent results.

    For birds in flight, your minimum shutter speed should be 1000th sec, even for larger, slower moving birds.
    For stationery go as low as you can get away with to bring down the ISO, but as above, remember the reciprocal rule.

    It's all about experimenting and practice, best of luck. :)
     
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  8. AndyG123

    AndyG123

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    Hi guys, Thanks for the responses... This post is one that i'm really wanting to nail to be honest.. i understand that the increased focal length should warrent an increased shutter speed. I'm also aware that i am on a 1.5 crop sensor so this 1/300th of a second is more towards 1/500th of a second...

    I have been doing test shots at home just then in a bright area with an iso of 1600 and a shutter of 1/3200th of a second... the problem I am having is I can visibly see the movement even before I shoot... on my smaller lenses I can actually feel when i've got a steady shot and i'm fairly confident knowing my image will be sharp...

    With this lens I can feel before i even press the shutter that it's going to blur.... I am currently shooting a tin of pledge, holding my camera with my right hand, one finger on back button focus, one on the shutter, steady grip, squeezing the button not pressing it (to the point I've tried a double burst shot to eliminate the "press"

    I will add... the purpose of me doing these shots at the moment is to improve my skill... I know it's not the best lens, i know it's very cumbersome... it's focal length actually changes if you point it past a 45 degree angle with gravity alone.
     
  9. ecoleman

    ecoleman

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    Some say you should factor in the crop but if you think about it why would the crop factor make any difference. A 200mm lens is a 200mm lens regardless of what body it is connected to. If you can hold it steady on a full frame camera then you can hold it steady on a crop sensor camera. Remember you are not actually increasing the focal length with a crop body, it is just the field of view that is narrower.

    There is no set in stone rule for this, it depends largely on the person holding the camera. Some people can get away with 1/focal length while others will need to go faster to ensure a sharp shot. You need to figure what shutter speed you can get away with.

    This is normal if you don't have image stabilisation. With a wider lens you are moving just as much, it's just that with a wider field of view you don't notice it as much and neither does your sensor. This is the reason why it is necessary to increase the shutter speed to ensure you freeze that movement. If you buy a telephoto lens with IS then you will not see this movement through the viewfinder as the IS will stabilise it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  10. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    I hope you mean left hand - cupped under the lens, and taking all the weight ;)

    Suggestion: when practising at home, be sure to stand as you normally would. Shoot in sequences of ten shots, then view them on the LCD and just count the sharp vs unsharp images. Raise the shutter speed, repeat and compare. You'll find that when you're around the hand-holding limit, results are often pretty random with a sharp image in amongst several unsharp ones. It's not an exact science - camera shake is mostly in the vertical plane but as the camera/lens jiggles up and down, there will be a point when it's pretty much stationary. Impossible to predict, but that's why shooting a rapid sequence in continuous drive mode can pay dividends :)
     
  11. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    No, it's the 'effective' focal length that matters, ie focal length x crop factor*. It's actually nothing to do with focal length per se, but magnification.

    *And if you crop an image in post-processing, that is another increase in magnification and 'effective' focal length as far as camera-shake is concerned.
     
  12. ecoleman

    ecoleman

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    Elliott
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    But it's not really magnification is it?

    If I handhold a 200mm lens on a full frame body at 1/200 and the centre of the image is sharp, then why wouldn't it be sharp on a crop body.

    The only thing that is different is the field of view so whilst I'm missing the outer part of the frame the centre is still sharp. It may look magnified, but it's not really.
     
  13. sk66

    sk66

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    As Richard said, it's about magnification (enlargement) of the physical area... I.e. a smaller sensor has to be enlarged more for equivalent size display (likewise a crop in post), and that will make motion blur more visible as well as reduce the DOF. If you're thinking purely in digital terms (pixel display); a smaller sensor has smaller pixels for an equivalent display size, and it takes less movement for the light to blur across a multiple of them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  14. sk66

    sk66

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    The amount of blur recorded (distance across the sensor a point moves) will be the same regardless of the size of sensor...
     
  15. sk66

    sk66

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    I agree with this, especially if you're using/evaluating the images critically. With high resolution sensors (≥ 16mp APS, 20MP FF) I usually have to increase the SS even farther if I want to actually benefit from/utilize the resolution potential (or use tripod/other techniques).
     
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  16. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Yes, it's only magnification that matters. The focal length = min shutter speed is only a coincidence of numbers relating only to full-frame. It doesn't apply to other formats that must be adjusted by the crop factor.

    If it did relate to focal length directly, we'd be able to hand-hold M4/3 cameras at much longer shutter speeds, and compacts etc with even smaller sensors at longer still. But we can't ;)
     
  17. mark.roper

    mark.roper

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    I once had the D3300 + Sigma 70-300, and I found the rule about shutter = focal length to be a reasonable guide but by no means a hard and fast rule, you can get decent shots hand-held with lower shutter speeds with practise because the Sigma is actually quite small and light for it's focal range, but the the thing I found was it's just not a very good lens to begin with, so "sharp" is relative to what the lens can achieve. Furthermore sharpness is also affected by the aperture used at any given focal length, I generally found wide open at f/5.6 and / or fully extended to 300mm it just wasn't that good no matter how hard I tried, you should try to keep the aperture at f/8 or above and focal length to 200mm or less.

    Also, the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 by comparison is a pro sports lens, it's much much heavier than the Sigma 70-300, and although it has image stabilisation (which the Sigma doesn't) it could present further challenges to achieving sharp images if you haven't got the steadiest of aims.
     
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  18. the black fox

    the black fox

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    I cant quite get my head around this one Andy the sigma 70-300 is a old design by todays standards and was never a good lens when new . but to describe it as cumbersome does make me wonder what lens you have actually got , also I dont recall Nikon ever selling one of those as a kit lens ??? they would have gone for something like a 55-300vr ...
    this leads to the next two questions was this a new camera or used and or is the actual lens faulty ????... and if your finding this lens in your words cumbersome are you young or physically small .????... because if you cant handle a sigma 70-300 then a heavier lens is a total no no... just actually checked the specs on this one it weighs in at 545 grams very light indeed
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  19. Nod

    Nod Kronus

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    Nikon used to bundle a 70 (might have been 80) - 300 along with a 28-80 (again, might be a bit different - it was about 20 years ago!) as a 2 lens kit. That's how I got back into photography after a few years away from it - an F65 kit.
     
  20. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Sigma 70-300 is added to lots of DSLRs by retailers to make an appealing bundle. Ditto the Tamron 70-300 (non-VC version). They retail for around £100, and perform accordingly.
     
  21. AndyG123

    AndyG123

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    Hi, Sorry Cumbersome might not have been the best word to describe this lens... i don't mean cumbersome as in heavy to use... i mean it in the term more so inefficient, slow, clumsy... If you hold it upwards it actually goes from a 300mm focal length down to around a 270 because it slides down making it inefficient... it's focus isn't the fastest, it has no image stabilization... It's just an old cheap lens...

    the reason I want to learn to use this lens and learn a correct technique is because I would like to invest in a f2.8 70-200... I think learning to handle this old slow lens at a focal length of 300mm will increase my ability to use a 200mm lens which should hopefully perform better than this lens... I know a lot of beginners (I also thought this way) I want to take better shots... get a better lens... I've since learnt that if you want to control a fast car you have to learn the skills you require on a banger first!)
    I do still feel that the d3300 still has plenty of life left in it for what I do.. the 35mm 1.8 is great for what I do... I don't think i'd benefit from upgrading my 18-55 kit lens at the moment because I do still use this lens and get some decent results from it... Everytime i use the 70-300 I hate it. I only ever use it for moon shots!
     
  22. Nostromo

    Nostromo

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    I'll admit that I don't have the steadiest pair of hands, so i really need a lens with stabilisation, especially at long-ish focal lengths (anything over 150mm). I think you maybe expecting too much from your lens and would benefit from a change. I use the tamron 70-300mm vc and while not an amazing lens, it's still pretty good. They're also quite cheap secondhand. You would definitely notice the difference between no image stabilisation and a stabilised lens, when used at long focal lengths.
     
  23. artyman

    artyman

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    An old dodge is to make a loop in a piece of string place around the end of the lens, a bit of wood on the other end, put that under your foot and push up against the string that will help steady your shots, cheap effective and it fits in your pocket :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  24. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    I sometimes use an old Tamron 28-300mm on my D3300, I only suffer missed focus due to no autofocus motor. When using the lens I use a high ISO, so I can get a fast shutter speed.
     
  25. cosmicma

    cosmicma

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    if it hasn't already been mentioned get yourself a bean bag to rest on it will make quite a difference if camera shake is a problem

    iv'e not go the steadiest of hands at the best of times my go to shutter speed at 300mm hand holding is 1,000th of a second and whatever iso suites the light and aperture on full frame, it more or less guarantees me a sharp image if get the rest of it right

    if i remember the sigma 70 - 300mm sigma lens it was pretty soft at 300mm and only really usable from around 200mm and below but this was a canon version i can't see the nikon version being much different
     
  26. riddell

    riddell

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    It sounds like a few different issues.

    It could be the shutter speed as many have suggested, but it sounds like you understand that.
    Which means it can really be only one of 2 things -

    The way you hold the camera / lens and stand. You need to be super steady. You are after all as a human effectively doing the job of a tripod. You need to lock your muscles, control your breathing, stand purposeful. Leaning against something if you can is always worth taking advantage of.

    Secondly.it sounds like you have a cheap lens at this point, and that may well be a hindrance. It may be really unbalanced, it may be that the physical zoom is too great. I have telephotos which don't change physical length, which is great. And if keeps sliding, well that may just be an effect of a poorly built or just worn out lens as well. If this is your issue then you may be just fighting a losing battle. Try borrowing or hiring a decent lens and see if it works better. If not then you just need to improve your stance and grip.
     
  27. sphexx

    sphexx

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    You can get broad rubber ‘bands’ that will hold the zoom action and allow smooth movement — no doubt a DIY version would work.
    On keeping still, holding your breath doesn’t help and makes it worse, at least in ‘real’ shooting ;)
     
  28. john.margetts

    john.margetts

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    I would reset the camera so that focus is entirely on the shutter button. You are pressing two different buttons to take one shot. If focus is on the shutter button and not back button focus, the finger on the back button can be used to hold the camera more securely. Back button focus is NOT an advantage for most photography (which is why your camera does not come set up that way) - leave it for those occasions when it is actually useful (which is not tins of Pledge).
     
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  29. Graham W

    Graham W

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    I've not read the whole thread yet, but has anyone said "Monopod" yet?
     
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  30. Nostromo

    Nostromo

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    Yes
     
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  31. AndyG123

    AndyG123

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    The main reason I use back button focus is because when I'm shooting with my son there are times where I'll lock focus and can easily reel off a shot, take it then re shoot without burst shooting.
    I also prefer how with back button focusing if I use a tripod and timer it doesn't focus when I use my remote shutter. Where when I use standard focus it re-focuses. I kind of like the feel of 'focus' 'shoot'
    I tried changing this back last month when trying to shoot in continuous focus mode. But for reasons not known this focus mode doesn't actually focus pin sharp. So I switched back to back button focus at this point also.
     
  32. Bristolian

    Bristolian

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    Andy, I know this is a bit obvious but can you get sharp images with this lens when you use a tripod? If not, then maybe you're chasing the impossible ...

    You might also consider getting rid of the Sigma and replacing it with the Nikon 55-300mm DX lens instead. It was/is far superior to the Sigma and is much smaller to boot so easier to hand-hold. This used to be a kit lens alongside the 18-50 that you've already got and they make a very good pairing. Just a suggestion :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  33. Craig_85

    Craig_85

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    Good post.

    I have shot silly slow shutter speeds at long focal lengths and there are a couple of tricks.

    Play the numbers game, so shoot a lot.

    Relax, so don't tense up and try and go rigid to stay still it won't work.

    Work on your position and breathing, you will notice if you look through the viewfinder as you breath in the framing moves up, as you breath out it moves down. There is a moment when you have finished exhaling but before you take another breath that you are very still. It only lasts a moment before you are holding your breath and it starts affecting things but anticipate that moment and don't press the shutter but think about it and allow your finger pressure to just increase gently, again don't tense up.
     
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  34. seaodyssey

    seaodyssey

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    Stand with one foot forward and apart, like your feet are on opersite corners of a square, also, if you bend your knees slightly when standing, it will help improve your balance. . You need to practice to get a steady platform for your camera.
     
  35. AndyG123

    AndyG123

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll have a look at things later on tonight and practice some bits then decide whether to go for the 70 200 w.8 or the 85mm 1.8.

    I'm actually surprised how much the 70-300 compresses the image even at f4.0 at 85mm.
     
  36. sk66

    sk66

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    Not sure what you mean... the lens/FL does not compress an image, that is only a factor of scene/subject distance.
     
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  37. Mr Bump

    Mr Bump

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    when I had a DSLR I had a D3100 and the Nikon 70-300 for a while and it that was very hit and miss sometimes on fast moving stuff.
    yours like mine is a slow lens at full 300 is it at F5.6?

    best I could do was use a monopod for starters, forget 100% hand held

    I generally used to shoot in shutter priority at 1/1000 with auto iso up to 1600 and that kind of seemed to work for me for small birds.
     
  38. AndyG123

    AndyG123

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    Sorry, when I wrote this post I actually should have wrote background compression, not image compression...
    My point was when i originally purchased my camera... I used the 70-300 briefly and thought... this lens zooms in a lot. that's what it should be used for...
    I had the 18-55 and thought.. This has a wide angle, this is my landscape lens.. and had little knowledge about the exposure triangle, F stops, shutter speed etc...

    When I purchased the 35mm 1.8 I learnt about the above and knew this would give me a compressed background or bokah with it been f1.8...
    Since learning even more and realising... the 70-300 might actually be possible for a portrait lens, I have actually found out this creates a LOT of Bokah (or background compression) even at F4.

    Which brings me to... do I really need the 70-200 at 2.8... Or do I use the 70-200 at only 85mm and see how much I use it at this setting and go for the 85mm 1.8... Or do I use it only up to 200mm and decide if I want the 70-200 F2.8.
     
  39. mark.roper

    mark.roper

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    You're mixing terms, "bokeh" refers to the amount of blur in the background, "background compression" refers to how close the subject and background appear to be in relation to each other at different focal lengths (longer = closer).

    You get more bokeh (blur) at longer focal lengths for any given aperture, hence why 85mm @ f/4 is similar to 35mm @ f/1.8 (probably). I suspect someone would even know the formula allowing you to calculate the exact comparisons.

    AFAIK the 70-200 f/2.8 can and is used as a portrait lens (for example) precisely because focal length + wide aperture = nice bokeh (which makes a nice portrait, apparently). But it's also a pro sports lens because the wide aperture allows it to focus faster (more light hitting the autofocus sensor = speedier response), but that's limited by the body to a certain extent, and might be wasted on a D3300.

    If portraits are your thing, I suspect a nice mid-range prime might be more cost effective.
     
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  40. sk66

    sk66

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    A longer FL generates a more OOF BG due to the increased magnification... you should get a somewhat more OOF BG at 300/5.6 than you do at 85/4, even if you back up in order to maintain the same subject composition (if you don't back up it will be very significantly more OOF w/ much less DOF).
     
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