Focus tests on garden birds


Active Member

Earlier this week I got my 450D and lenses back from Canon after they were all sent off for focus calibration. I did some test shots with the 55-250 today in the garden and first impression is a bit mixed to be honest - it does seem to get it right more than it did but it's still a bit hit and miss. Anyway thought I'd post some of the better ones from a very mixed bag.

Most of these are 100% crops of the originals straight from the camera (embedding reduced, click to go to flickr to get full size). I've done these more for checking the PQ of the lens than artistry. I'd be interested to know what people think, plus general C+C welcome but please go gentle as I'm totally new to DSLR and still finding my feet.

1) A robin - the best shot I've done I think from the camera and lens since getting it :)

2) another shot

3) Same robin

4) and again (not many birds came out to play today)

5) Mr. Blue Tit came by, briefly

6) Finally, tested my 50/1.4. No humans available for portrait so got my chinchilla Chewbacca to pose, as best she could. Taken at f2.0 1/25th handheld.

Thanks for looking,


P.S. Clicking the pic doesn't work and I don't know why, but the flickr set can be found here Focus Tests - a set on Flickr

P.P.S - fixed the links now
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Distinguished Member
Nice, i'd be more than happy with these, if only i could get some birds in the garden.



Well-known Member
I agree with Mark. I too would be perfectly happy with these:thumbsup:. The focus looks fine and even looking at the original size on flickr they look plenty sharp.
If you still feel it's a bit hit and miss, I'd suggest it's just the AF. It can be a bit difficult when trying to focus on such small areas. Are you using centre point only? This can help when trying to be accurate as the centre point is often the most sensitive. However, this is often at f2.8 min so if your lens has a smaller maximum aperture, it won't take full advantage. If it's any consolation, the lenses I shoot with are both f2.8 and the 30D is meant to be a decent performer in the AF stakes, certainly using centre point, and for shots like you're doing I know my set up wouldn't always get it spot on.


Active Member
Thanks to all for the comments so far.

I found the FAQ and fixed the clickable links - thanks for the hint tontoshorse.

Mark/James - I am actually quite pleased with these shots - it's just that I'm probably only getting about 15% keepers (in terms of focus accuracy) with the 55-250. Before calibration it was more like 1% though so things have improved a lot.

I am using just the centre AF point and trying to stop down to around f8 when there is enough light to keep shutter speeds high enough, but light seems to be a rarer commodity than I'd imagined these days (today I was working at 400-800 iso just to keep shutter speeds around 1/200th)

Maximum aperture affecting AF is something I hadn't thought of - at 250mm the lens has a max aperture of f5.6, so not especially fast. I'm hoping to borrow a mates 100-400L soon which would be a little faster at 250mm I believe and obviously more length (though still 5.6 at 400). It will be interesting to see how much better that performs.




Distinguished Member
i have had noticeably better results since setting the camera to centre point autofocus , just need the weather now :rotfl:
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