To aid my recovery I invested in the Canon 7D mk 2. The on-line reviews seemed good and Steve Ashton and Mike Gould seemed to think it did what was advertised so in I jumped. The camera only arrived Monday afternoon so my experience with it to date is limited.
Straight out of the box I slapped my 400mm f5.6 on it and fired off a few shots Ahhhhhh......they were rubbish. So it was out with the ruler at 45 degrees to check the focusing. Same as with my old 7D - it was front focusing (so is probably the lens and not the camera that was at fault) - so it was time to locate the AF microadjustment. A quick look suggested the degree of correction required was very similar to before at +7.
The next day I spent a little time at Restharrow trying out the tracking - which is superb, and the focus array options - which I'm still trying to work out. What I will say is that once it has locked onto a subject (ie flying bird) it does stay on it superbly my only problem is that with the wider arrays of focusing points I have no control of where it actually focuses and it's as likely to be the wing tip as the birds head/beak/eye. Still if it was easy.............
On the noise front I was hoping for an improvement and I've got one. Thus far I would say that ISO 800 with the mk 2 is similar to ISO 400 with the mk 1 but there may be more to come in that ignoring the noise controls the amount of noise is very dependent on the "Threshold" selected on the DPP sharpening tool. Certainly the shots I've taken at ISO 800-1000 have been usable with only the minimum of work (and this was before finding the "Threshold" adjustment).
Now for the shrike.
Today was the third time I've gone to see it. The first was a couple of days after my op and I was too tired to hang around waiting so I missed it when it returned for the afternoon. The second time was a week after the op and I dropped in on the way to the William Harvey (to have the stitches removed) and again on the way back but it was a no show for most of the day so I missed it again.
Today I arrived around 8.45, it was cloudy and murky but Ron (I've forgotten his surname) had been there since dawn and pointed it out in the hedgerow adjacent to the playing field. Tick achieved; now the wait for it to come close and hopefully for the sun to come out.
Around 9.00 it came out of the hedge and flew into the large hawthorn by the stream (on the Canterbury side of the bridge). Ron got his scope on it and saw that it was ripping a mouse/vole apart that it had impaled there - I'm sure it had nothing in it's beak when it flew across so this must have been an earlier kill. The shots I got were rubbish but here's one for the record:
Whilst there I tried a few changes to the micro adjustment ranging from +7 to +10 but ended up at +8.
It stayed there looking around and attacking the top of a twig for about 15 minutes then at 9.30 it flew to the wires by the Branch road bridge. I was actually relieved to get off the A28.
|Caught in the act!|
|Trying to look innocent|
Then I lost sight of and was scanning the distant hedges when some people who just turned up pointed out it was right above me on the wires (I was down by the pavilion where the wires are closer to the road). Fill your boots time the only problem being wires don't make great pictures.
It continued to fiddle about in it's original hawthorn bush, tried chasing a couple of long tailed tits who seemed to want to torment it after it had failed and even chased a snipe but eventually it returned to the wires near the Branch road bridge. The light was now brilliant but those wires are further away than you think.
|On it's way back to a distant hedge|
All in all a pretty pleasing morning.
A bit of sun, the bird came close, a few people to chat to, (though I'm left wondering whether Mark threw his camera into the river as he threatened) and even Mr Ashton couldn't spoil the fun - despite phoning me every time he drove past along the A28 in his truck..........and his tooting of his horn as he went past.