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Subject: "Birding with D7100" Previous topic | Next topic
Sixmileman Registered since 06th Mar 2013Mon 17-Jun-13 04:00 PM
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"Birding with D7100"


US
          

I live in Florida and shoot mostly wildlife including the region's many wading birds and others. I recently acquired a D7100 and I am curious as to what settings others use for bird photos, including BIFs. Rather than static shots, I try to get shots of the usually slow moving wading birds just as they dart for a fish or make some other quick movement such as taking off. This usually requires a fast shutter speed to freeze motion, no less than 1000th. For birding I use a Sigma 150-500 usually mounted on a Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Pro 3 with a Jobu Jr 3 gimbal head and a Nikkor 70-300 VR (for handheld and BIFs). I shoot AF-C, Back button AF, Matrix metering.

1. What number of focus points are used? With the D7100 in crop mode, I can virtually fill the image area with 51 focus points. Nikon seems to tout this fact as a great asset to birders...true? Or, are fewer focus points somehow better? Is the trade-off that I am slowing the frame rate (I shoot in Continuous High) perhaps too much? At 51 focus points am I requiring that the camera do too much processing as a fast moving object moves within the frame such that I am actually missing focus?

2. Focus tracking lock-on (CS a3). Is this best set to off to capture rapid, unanticipated movement, or should it be set to one of the two shorter durations?

3. Finally, how do others set their ISO sensitivity? I have set U1 (aperture priority) to Minimum ISO of 100, Max ISO 4000, and Min SS at 1000th. I have set it this way to try to maximize the probability of a descent capture of a bird in motion even in low light.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on these questions.

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
dm1dave Administrator
18th Jun 2013
1
Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
Sixmileman
18th Jun 2013
2
Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
ericbowles Moderator
18th Jun 2013
3
Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
Sixmileman
18th Jun 2013
4
     Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
ericbowles Moderator
18th Jun 2013
5
          Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
Sixmileman
19th Jun 2013
6
               Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
MarkM10431 Silver Member
21st Jun 2013
7
                    Reply message RE: Birding with D7100
Sixmileman
21st Jun 2013
8

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 18-Jun-13 12:07 AM
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#1. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 0


Lowden, US
          

1. I like to use either 9 or 21 points. This keeps you on the most sensitive focus points. I can usually keep those points over a flying bird.

2. Most of the time I keep this on the default setting. If you turn it off then focus can quickly jump to the background if the bird moves away from your selected focus point.

For birds the size of eagles or hawks that are flying across a busy background it can be helpful to set it to a longer setting so that you can avoid focus shifting to the background.

You probably need to experiment with this setting to get a feel for how it works in different situations.

3. Your auto ISO set up looks good to me.

I will sometimes bump up the minimum ISO to 400 to maximize shutter speeds before auto ISO kicks in.

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Lowden, Iowa
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Sixmileman Registered since 06th Mar 2013Tue 18-Jun-13 01:47 AM
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#2. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

Thanks. Helpful suggestions...much appreciated.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Tue 18-Jun-13 07:35 PM
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#3. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

I always use AF-C for wildlife. You can get away with AF-S for perched subjects. I have some bad experience with AF-A and never use it.

Your shutter speed of 1/1000 or faster makes sense for moving subjects. I'd probably be shooting at f/6.3 or f/7.1 with your Nikon 70-300 or Sigma 150-500 since they have a variable aperture. With an f/4 lens I'd be shooting at f/4.5-5.6.

I use 51 points rather than 11 points. This is a recent change because the 11 point approach does not use enough cross sensors. The advantage to 11 point is the ability to scroll across the frame quickly.

For perched subjects I try to use single point AF. For a fishing or hunting subject, I try to use single point as well. For more active subjects I move to Dynamic 9 point. I use Dynamic 9 point for birds in flight.

With the D7100, I would use the center AF sensor as much as possible. It's the only one that works reliably above f/5.6, and you have variable aperture lenses that go beyond f/5.6. The center focus point is a cross sensor and is significantly faster and more accurate than other sensors. Here's a link to a thread about the AF of the D800 that includes links for the D7100 and D600 AF layout.
http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=430&topic_id=25725&mesg_id=25725&page=

Back button focus makes sense. I try to prefocus on a portion of the subject in the focus plane - the base of the neck or the shoulder instead of the eye in some cases. The DOF can be extremely shallow so this may mean some misses, but it helps. Don't expect the camera to immediately pick up focus on a subject outside the frame. It is often batter the second or third frame. You need to keep your finger or thumb on the AF-On button during this movement to allow AF to "catch up".

Shoot a little looser to make sure you don't clip a wing or foot on a moving bird. This also gives you a little more DOF and room to crop.

Focsu tracking is better at A3 because it keeps the lock on normal. It still tracks the subject - just maintains AF if another bird or a stick enters the frame temporarily.

I want ISO set to give me a slightly faster shutter speed than I need. That's probably 1/1250 rather than 1/1000 or 1/800. If necessary, I use ISO to get there. I try to avoid going to a high ISO needlessly. ISO 1600 is fine, and ISO 3200 in a pinch, but I try to keep it lower. Your settings are fine. You could raise the minimum setting for auto ISO to 1/200 and not have any impact other than a faster shutter speed in great light.



Eric Bowles
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Sixmileman Registered since 06th Mar 2013Tue 18-Jun-13 09:32 PM
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#4. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

Eric:

Thanks so much. I am a bit confused though. You indicate that you use 51 points, but you then go on to say you use either single point for perched, hunting and fishing subjects, but 9-point AF for BIFs. When do you use 51 points?

Also, I finally figured out that I can set the camera for 51 point AF (via the AF button and sub-command dial) but set the multi-selector to scroll only 11 points (a6) It can also be set to scroll all 51, but these are the only two options in a6, you can not set it to scroll 9 and 21 points. I'm thinking that this may be the best of both worlds in terms of capturing quick AF.

Thanks again.

Larry C.

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Tue 18-Jun-13 11:09 PM
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#5. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 4


Atlanta, US
          

Larry

I choose 51 points rather than 11 points in order to be able to scroll through every AF sensor. I tend to shoot using the center group and this gives me all of the cross sensors. The 11 point array uses mainly regular linear sensors rather than cross sensors.

As far as the number of sensors that are working at one time, I try to keep the number small - either a single point or dynamic with a group of 9 sensors.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
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Sixmileman Registered since 06th Mar 2013Wed 19-Jun-13 01:40 AM
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#6. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 5


US
          

Thanks.

  

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MarkM10431 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2013Fri 21-Jun-13 09:30 PM
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#7. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 6
Fri 21-Jun-13 09:31 PM by MarkM10431

jacksonville, US
          

Not an expert, but I was at the St Augustine rookery and I was shooting program, with a non-vr lens. I did not realise i had the iso cranked to 1000, but i got some pretty good images.

in program the camera adjusted I don't think i shot below 1/1000 and F8 continuous AF and 9 point for the BIF and single point for the nests. once i get a VR lens I'll be shooting ap priority on them pesky birds

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Sixmileman Registered since 06th Mar 2013Fri 21-Jun-13 10:16 PM
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#8. "RE: Birding with D7100"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

Good shots, indeed. Sometimes I think I can over-think this stuff.

Thanks for your reply and sharing these shots.

  

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