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Subject: "BIF Autofocus Settings" Previous topic | Next topic
jgamble Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd May 2007Thu 30-Dec-10 01:08 AM
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"BIF Autofocus Settings"


New Smyrna Beach, US
          

Has anyone come up with some autofocus settings for tracking BIF? I want to get a little ahead of the learning curve, by profiting from some your experiences.

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KnightPhoto Gold Member
30th Dec 2010
1
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30th Dec 2010
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richardd300 Silver Member
30th Dec 2010
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30th Dec 2010
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jgamble Silver Member
30th Dec 2010
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Photoman35
31st Dec 2010
7
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KnightPhoto Gold Member
03rd Jan 2011
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     Reply message My attempt - not so good!
evetsmd
03rd Jan 2011
13
          Reply message RE: My attempt - not so good!
KnightPhoto Gold Member
03rd Jan 2011
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03rd Jan 2011
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10th Jan 2011
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31st Dec 2010
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31st Dec 2010
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Todd Secki
08th Feb 2011
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03rd Feb 2011
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01st Apr 2011
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richardd300 Silver Member
30th Dec 2010
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Reply message RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF
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23rd Jan 2011
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02nd Feb 2011
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03rd Feb 2011
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03rd Feb 2011
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04th Feb 2011
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04th Feb 2011
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04th Feb 2011
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04th Feb 2011
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05th Feb 2011
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05th Feb 2011
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08th Feb 2011
49
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21st Feb 2011
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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Thu 30-Dec-10 04:06 PM
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#1. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 0


Alberta, CA
          

Brief List in no particular order

9-point dynamic
SHORT (delay)
AF-C
FOCUS (not Release)
Probably Centre-Weight but I also use Matrix.
Usually +1 (blue sky) to +2 EV (overcast)
HIGH HIGH HIGH shutter speed. Did I say HIGH Whatever ISO gives you 1/1600. I can't stress this enough. Yes I will shoot at 1/1000 but only AFTER I have made every other sacrifice below.
Auto-ISO Minimum 400, maximum 1600, minimum SS 1/1600.
Or set a manual exposure for BIF (this is the best but not always applicable if lighting conditions are changing)
If you really want to to eliminate variables and light is good 1/2500.
If using a teleconverter stop down by at least one-stop (for sharpness).
If you are using a zoom lens stop down by at least one-stop (for sharpness)
If you are using a prime lens stop down by at least one stop (for DOF) if light is good.
RAW
Neutral Picture Control and Sharpening 7 is my usual.
Or try Landscape, Sharpening 7, and Active D-Lighting Normal.
Handheld is the most flexible or on a gimbal if you have one (but not on a ballhead or monopod for BIF).

If your bird is not in flight then by all means trade (some but less than you think) shutter speed for reduced ISO. But for BIF then SS as above.

Flash fill might be quite interesting but maybe save that for another day.





Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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waxart Registered since 16th Jan 2008Thu 30-Dec-10 04:33 PM
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#3. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


Vallejo, US
          

Great shots! Lens?

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009Thu 30-Dec-10 04:36 PM
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#4. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


Dyserth, GB
          

Fantastic images Steve.

Richard

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Visit my website www.pixels4u.co.uk
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Einstein

  

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Thu 30-Dec-10 04:44 PM
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#5. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 4


Alberta, CA
          

Thanks Richard and Ann.

The Gyrfalcon is 500VR and the Ferruginous Hawk is 500VR with TC14E

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
My Nikonians gallery
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jgamble Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd May 2007Thu 30-Dec-10 04:49 PM
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#6. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


New Smyrna Beach, US
          

Awesome stuff. I shoot alot with my D90 and 300F4 w/14tcEII handheld. I just needed someplace to start with the D7000. I really appreciate the info, I've got that spot now.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Photoman35 Registered since 22nd Feb 2007Fri 31-Dec-10 11:41 AM
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#7. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


Hyannis, US
          

Exif info shows
that these images
were shot with
a D300.

Real nice images though.

Charles Oliver
Cape Cod Nikonian

  

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Mon 03-Jan-11 05:59 PM
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#10. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 7


Alberta, CA
          

Here's some from the D7000 (click on the image for a larger version):








Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
My Nikonians gallery
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evetsmd Registered since 11th Dec 2010Mon 03-Jan-11 06:40 PM
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#13. "My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 10


Rock Hall, US
          

New D7000 - 18 to 200mm....

Going after the birds today for the first time in earnest.
Bright sunny clear cool day!
200mm 1/2500 ISO 640 F6.3 Center weighted
EV +1 Pic Ctrl Neutral - hand held
cropped orig raw image for size and no post processing other than convert to jpg.
SteveK been following ur suggested settings in this topic
my image is not in focus - SteveK ur images just pop out...focused, sharp..perfect

would appreciate advice on what to do to improve - what I'm doing wrong!



Thanks

Steve

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Mon 03-Jan-11 08:29 PM
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#16. "RE: My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 13


Alberta, CA
          

Just guessing Steve, but perhaps this is just simply showing the effect of a heavy crop? Will await to hear back from you.

One other item, may or may not be a factor here, is that I find my BIF AF a lot better on white or light birds than dark. I know my Canada Geese in flight and other dark BIF are always a little more troublesome to really nail AF crispness.

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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evetsmd Registered since 11th Dec 2010Mon 03-Jan-11 11:02 PM
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#17. "RE: My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 16


Rock Hall, US
          

Here's the no crop version

click on the image for a larger version

might be I'm expecting too much from too far away. On my previous post, I should have thought about impact of a heavy crop!! ur right!

OK so maybe I need lower flying geese or a bigger lens...
not giving 200mm & AF much to work on at that distance
reality may be this is an impractical shot to take! I've got 3 geese but too far for any detail!

so at 200mm and at this distance, leave everything the same except set focus to manual and adjust the focus ring to infinite....does this make any sense? or if I use AF, do a pre focus on something at a similar distance so the lens has a head start as I pan on these geese?
I'm thinking both would work but which is the better way?

thanks to all for ur inputs - I'm learning everyday I log in. It's also a good thing I have lots of geese in the back yard to practice on!

Steve

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mrginhop Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Mar 2009Mon 03-Jan-11 11:22 PM
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#18. "RE: My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 17


Newfields, US
          

Recognize that the 18-200mm lens is no match to a 500mm re. sharpness & IQ. See the DXOMark ratings. I love my 18-200 especially at 200mm wide open but it is not a sharp performer especially when you do serious cropping. I suspect the sharpness issue may have more to do with the lens then the camera & the camera is more sensitive to sharpness issues overall.

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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 2006Mon 03-Jan-11 11:35 PM
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#19. "RE: My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 17


Lowden, US
          

“so at 200mm and at this distance, leave everything the same except set focus to manual and adjust the focus ring to infinite....does this make any sense? or if I use AF, do a pre focus on something at a similar distance so the lens has a head start as I pan on these geese?

I'm thinking both would work but which is the better way?”


Manually focusing to infinity is unlikely to work. You are best off using AF and pre-focusing on a distant object.

It looks like the focus was good in this shot but the birds were just too far away for the camera to record much detail.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Mon 03-Jan-11 11:50 PM
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#20. "RE: My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 19


Alberta, CA
          

I agree with Dave and others prognosis. For comparison most of my gull shots the subject was filling the frame so close that I was accidentally clipping their wings off. So that is the difference between getting 16 million pixels and maybe 1 million pixels on the subject.

It's just that cropping is not free, unfortunately for us birders Keep at it though and try and get yourself close to your subjects and you will be happier with the results!

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
My Nikonians gallery
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jmiguez Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Oct 2010Mon 10-Jan-11 11:05 AM
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#22. "RE: My attempt - not so good!"
In response to Reply # 13


Lafayette, US
          

>New D7000 - 18 to 200mm....
>
>Going after the birds today for the first time in earnest.
>Bright sunny clear cool day!
>200mm 1/2500 ISO 640 F6.3 Center weighted
>EV +1 Pic Ctrl Neutral - hand held
>cropped orig raw image for size and no post processing other
>than convert to jpg.
>SteveK been following ur suggested settings in this topic
>my image is not in focus - SteveK ur images just pop
>out...focused, sharp..perfect
>
>would appreciate advice on what to do to improve - what I'm
>doing wrong!
>
>
>
>Thanks
>
>Steve

We are brothers in this Steve. I posted an almost exact situation on the wildlife forum. It was suggested that I try AF-C over AF-A. I too will try setting the above list in one of my user settings.

John


John

My Pictures may be seen here: http://jmiguez.smugmug.com/

  

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evetsmd Registered since 11th Dec 2010Fri 31-Dec-10 01:09 PM
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#8. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


Rock Hall, US
          

Great Question and SteveK thanks for a great response. I'm in a steep learning curve with my D7K, in reviewing ur recommended settings I've tried not to just set and shoot but instead take the time to understand what and why ur doing things. Great learning experience

To do as u suggest I made lots of changes to the cameras settings...I'm thinking perhaps something to store in user settings U1 or U2. Does this make sense? I only have this one camera and an 18-200 lens.

Now having made the BIF setting changes, can I ask how folks easily get the camera back to what I could call a general starting point....

It would seem to me that I'm always going to forget some BIF setting that's going to have me scrolling thru menus looking for a problem, especially in the custom settings menu.

Would u just do a "restore default settings"?

Thanks again for the advice and education!

Steve

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Fri 31-Dec-10 03:53 PM
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#9. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 8


Alberta, CA
          

Yes I would say SAVE as U1/U2 is a good idea.

We are the first Nikon owners to have this U1/U2 capability and I find it a little awkward to "get back to where I was". I am still doing some thinking and experimentation with that. I am going to post more on this later as I am finding it really impacts how I set up my camera.

Personally I never use the "restore default settings" because that undoes literally dozens of settings I have made all through the menus. So I would do a 'Save Settings.. to U2' and then simply manually undo the BIF settings I don't want to use elsewhere.

I always keep about 8-12 settings in MyMenu for the key settings that I might vary so that I can keep a close eye on them - particularly:
- ISO sensitivity settings as the Top Item (and Top Item is linked as default action for Function button)
- focus tracking with Lock On
- Movie Settings
- Save user settings
- Battery Info
- Set Picture Control
- Active D-Lighting.

A lot of the other stuff I use in every shooting situation so I don't have to reset it. For example I always shoot RAW and I am a real proponent of AF-C rather than AF-S.


Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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Todd Secki Registered since 03rd Feb 2011Tue 08-Feb-11 12:36 PM
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#48. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

I am also trying to get this como down. Just started shooting with the D7000. I am shooting in AF-C continuos focusing and tracking. AF- area mode 3Dtracking. You can see the results from my photos. A VR lens is also key to shooting fast Moving, small objects. Hope this helps.



http://www.aplacecalledhoperaptors.com/

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Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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ronaldbegg Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010Mon 03-Jan-11 06:13 PM
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#11. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1
Mon 03-Jan-11 06:43 PM by briantilley

Ocean Grove, AU
          


Great advice, I am a bird capture fan too. I am a bit down on lenses at present. The D7000 comes with the magical 18-200mm VR, BUT not long enough of course.

Can't really decide which way to go. 200-400mm Tamron or Sigma, 300mm Nikon with TC??

I am happy to spend a few dollars, but not a small fortune.

Any suggestions?

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RickMz Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Oct 2006Mon 03-Jan-11 06:26 PM
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#12. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 11


Navarre, US
          

>Can't really decide which way to go. 200-400mm Tamron or
>Sigma, 300mm Nikon with TC??
>I am happy to spend a few dollars, but not a small fortune.
>
>Any suggestions?
>
Since the price spread is so large between the Tamron at the low end and The Nikon at the high (as usual ) end....have you looked at the Sigma (aka "Bigma") 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM SLD for around $1600? It's big , it's heavy but it's sweet. Do a search in the third party lens forum and see what you think.

Rick

Rick Montanez
D700, D7000/SB-700 and D-80/SB-800

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Mon 03-Jan-11 06:45 PM
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#14. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 11


Paignton, GB
          

>Any suggestions?

I would go to our 3rd Party AF Lenses Forum, where I see you've already made a post.

This thread is about AF settings.

Thanks!

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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ronaldbegg Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010Mon 03-Jan-11 08:16 PM
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#15. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 14
Tue 18-Jan-11 11:37 AM by briantilley

Ocean Grove, AU
          

Thanks, Brian, I am getting there slowly (with the Forum, that is)

You have an eagle eye!

Ron

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NY Jim Registered since 11th Feb 2009Mon 10-Jan-11 10:10 AM
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#21. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


Cortlandt Manor, US
          

Hey SteveK,

Thanks for sharing your list of settings for BIF. I've also started to use my D7K for BIF, and I studied your post with interest. I don't understand the second item in your list: "SHORT (delay)". Sounds like this refers to the release mode, but I can't map it to anything in my camera's guide. Can you explain this setting?

Thanks, Jim

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periflex Registered since 15th Apr 2010Wed 12-Jan-11 07:58 PM
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#23. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 21


GB
          

Hi Jim,
Just in case you haven't found the reference to this subject in the User's Manual, please refer to page 209 a3 Focus Tracking with Lock-On. This may be the answer?

All the best, Mike

  

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NY Jim Registered since 11th Feb 2009Wed 12-Jan-11 08:40 PM
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#24. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 23


Cortlandt Manor, US
          

Hi Mike -- Thanks for the answer. That makes prefect sense. I did not even know that setting existed. The manual says "camera waits for the specified time period", but in fact the settings: off, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 do not have any time units, so the sentence in the manual is helpful but unsatisfying. The parenthetical phrases short, normal, long make it clear that larger numbers cause longer wait times, but the real wait times must be secret.
Thanks for the reference Mike. I've burned some BIF settings into my U1 release mode, and just tried a few shots today. The light was less than ideal, but I've attached a shot that shows these settings are useful. I'll be the first to admint that this shot is no prize winner, but it's the first time I've been able to use AF for BIF. Now I have to practice tracking these swift little animals, and learning what the D7K's AF will and won't track.

Thanks, Jim



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periflex Registered since 15th Apr 2010Thu 13-Jan-11 07:29 PM
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#25. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 24


GB
          

Hi Jim,
I sympathize with your sentence, "I did not even know that setting existed". I suffer from the same problem at times, but fortunately this forum and its members come to the rescue!
I love the pose of the bird you captured.
Keep shooting,
Mike

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Marlin4E Registered since 14th Jan 2011Tue 18-Jan-11 11:05 AM
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#26. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 23


Hamilton, US
          

I really like this picture and you are definitely picking up on BIF photography. I am a bird carver and I appreciate the detail in the feathers that you captured. Well done! I will have to try these settings on my D7000 also.

My epiphany with this topic is either to be close with a 200-300mm top end lens or get a 500mm top end lens for being further away - where most BIF shots occur anyway! The issue is $.... I will have to look into the Sigma 150-500. Does anyone know how it compares to the Nikon 80-400?

  

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briantilley Moderator Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Tue 18-Jan-11 11:38 AM
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#27. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 26


Paignton, GB
          

>I will have to look into the Sigma 150-500.
>Does anyone know how it compares to the Nikon 80-400?

Check reply #14 above

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

  

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jgamble Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd May 2007Tue 18-Jan-11 11:38 AM
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#28. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 26


New Smyrna Beach, US
          

Take a look at the Nikkor 300 f4 with the TC14EII converter. It gives you 630mm equivalent on a full frame and is pretty snappy with the D7000. I think it will beat the quality of either of those two lenses with the converter and it will beat it for sure without the converter.

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b1234s Registered since 05th Dec 2010Sat 19-Feb-11 12:12 AM
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#50. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 28


Winter Garden, US
          

>Take a look at the Nikkor 300 f4 with the TC14EII converter.
>It gives you 630mm equivalent on a full frame and is pretty
>snappy with the D7000. I think it will beat the quality of
>either of those two lenses with the converter and it will beat
>it for sure without the converter.


Jgamble knows what he is talking about. Check out his posts in this forum in which he has a moon shot. That photo alone just about has me convinced to go 300 f4 w/TC14.

I too am trying to decide on this combo vs the Sigma 150-500 or the Tamron. I am looking for the sharpest results without breaking the bank.

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ronaldbegg Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010Fri 21-Jan-11 03:52 PM
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#32. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 26


Ocean Grove, AU
          

>My epiphany with this topic is either to be close with a
>200-300mm top end lens or get a 500mm top end lens for being
>further away - where most BIF shots occur anyway! The issue
>is $.... I will have to look into the Sigma 150-500. Does
>anyone know how it compares to the Nikon 80-400?

I am sure the Nikon would be very good, but my dollars don't stretch that far.

I have opted for the Sigma, the baby Bigma, at 150-500mm. The lens is designed for full frame cameras, D700 etc, and on our cameras it reaches out to about 700mm!! It might be a touch more.

Have only had the lens for a few days, so still getting familiar with the look and feel of it. You certainly won't be mistaken for a point and shooter camera person. On the D7000, it makes quite a rig.

The focus mechanism locks on real fast, which we need for our birding of course.

Ron

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Marlin4E Registered since 14th Jan 2011Fri 21-Jan-11 04:19 PM
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#33. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 32


Hamilton, US
          

>I have opted for the Sigma, the baby Bigma, at 150-500mm. The
>lens is designed for full frame cameras, D700 etc, and on our
>cameras it reaches out to about 700mm!! It might be a touch
>more.
>
>Have only had the lens for a few days, so still getting
>familiar with the look and feel of it. You certainly won't be
>mistaken for a point and shooter camera person. On the D7000,
>it makes quite a rig.
>
>The focus mechanism locks on real fast, which we need for our
>birding of course.
>
>Ron
>
>

Ron,

Let me know what you think of the Bigma lens after you have done some BIF shots. Post a few as an example when you get a chance.

Thanks

Mark4ENikon

  

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ronaldbegg Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Dec 2010Thu 03-Feb-11 01:41 PM
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#37. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 33


Ocean Grove, AU
          

>>I have opted for the Sigma, the baby Bigma, at 150-500mm.


>Let me know what you think of the Bigma lens after you have
>done some BIF shots. Post a few as an example when you get a
>chance.
>
>Thanks

Sorry to be so slow in getting back to you, just have not had the opportunity to catch many BIf's lately, they seem a bit scarce.

Have used the new Sigma a lot for other stuff, sensational.

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periflex Registered since 15th Apr 2010Thu 20-Jan-11 02:35 PM
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#29. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


GB
          

Hi SteveK & others,
I note that you and others use 9-Point Dynamic Area AF for your BIF shots, whereas Nikon suggest (on page 94 of the D7000 manual) using the 39-Point AF setting for birds. Is it just a case of seeing what works best for you, or is there a specific reason for using either?
Any advice or thoughts would be most welcome.
Mike B

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Thu 20-Jan-11 06:49 PM
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#30. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 29


New HArtford, US
          

>Hi SteveK & others,
>I note that you and others use 9-Point Dynamic Area AF for
>your BIF shots, whereas Nikon suggest (on page 94 of the D7000
>manual) using the 39-Point AF setting for birds. Is it just a
>case of seeing what works best for you, or is there a specific
>reason for using either?
>Any advice or thoughts would be most welcome.
>Mike B

If you are good enough to keep a flying bird on the 9 points instead of needing the 39 points the focus should be a little faster. There are less focus points for the camera's computer to keep track of. Also when using all focus points I would think it is more likely that the camera gets confused on exactly what your intended subject is.

I think using the 39 points is easier to do but if you get your panning skills up 9 points seems to work better.

With fast birds or birds with erratic motion I find I am only able to keep a bird in focus if I use more than 9 focus points and sometimes I need all 39.
I have even read about people who only use one focus point and keep it on the birds eye. They have skills orders of magnitude above mine.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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periflex Registered since 15th Apr 2010Fri 21-Jan-11 01:27 PM
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#31. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 30


GB
          

Very many thanks JohnE. Your comments make sense to me.

Mike B

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 21-Jan-11 07:39 PM
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#34. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 31


New HArtford, US
          

Mike,
No problem.
I will have the chance to go back to Florida next week and will be comparing focus and release modes. I will let you know if I come up with any meaningful conclusions.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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cochrun Registered since 16th Jan 2011Thu 03-Feb-11 06:17 PM
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#38. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


Parker, US
          

Great question and thanks to all for sharing settings. Birds in flight (BIF) and birds in general are high on my list of subjects. Our D7000's just arrived and we are anxious to get out and see what they (and we) can do. Unfortunately we are in the midst of a cold snap here in Texas much like many parts of the U.S. We live on our boat in the winter and so have easy access to many water birds. I am determined to get out and take some images today in spite of the weather! Oops, it's snowing now. Maybe I'll wait until tomorrow.

Dave... KD0IRS QRZ...
Castle Rock & Pacific; www.craprail.com - Parker, CO
s/v Indigo Moon; www.flickr.com/photos/cochrun/ - Kemah, TX

  

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amolsan Registered since 14th Mar 2011Fri 01-Apr-11 05:01 PM
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#54. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 1


IN
          

Stevek,
These are real WOWs.
Amol

  

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richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009Thu 30-Dec-10 04:08 PM
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#2. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 0


Dyserth, GB
          

I totally agree with the setting given, exactly what I use on my D7K including the sharpening.

Richard

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The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Einstein

  

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NY Jim Registered since 11th Feb 2009Sun 23-Jan-11 04:04 PM
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#35. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 0


Cortlandt Manor, US
          

I've come to the conclusion that not all BIF situations are equal. For example, tracking a soaring eagle at 100 yards is a different problem than tracking a blue jay landing at the feeder in my yard where the jay starts perhaps 50 feet from me and lands 15 feet from me in the span of perhaps one second. For the eagle, the AF problem is not that hard. For the jay, it seems impossible. I've tried hundreds of shots using all the AF modes, points, and timings on my D7K and none seem to be able to keep the jay in focus. Setting the AF focus lock-on to off (no delay) does not seem to help. I've read and re-read Nikon's descriptions, and while it sounds like it should be able to track the jay, I've had no success. I'm tempted to conclude that the D7K simply does not understand that it's the jay that it should track. Instead it seems to refocus on something along the jay's flight path even though the focus starts on the jay, the jay stays within the 39 AF points, and the shutter remains engaged (half way down). What seems to make the jay BIF hard is:
1. The background is noisy (trees and bushes and snow)
2. The distance between the camera and the jay changes a lot.
3. While it's not hard to keep the jay in the viewfinder, it's not possible for me to keep it directly in the center (and I'm guessing this makes a difference).

My many failed attempts show that something is always in focus, but 99% of the time it's not the jay.

If anyone has had success using AF for this kind of BIF, please share your thoughts. I'm not sure the D7K can do it.

Thanks in advance, Jim

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Wed 02-Feb-11 11:45 PM
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#36. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 35


Alberta, CA
          

OMG Jim you have hit upon the dirty little secret of BIF . Your Blue Jay scenario is the equivalent of a hail Mary pass with no time on the clock. For that scenario ONLY you could try changing the dynamic continuous focus in two ways: setting Delay to OFF and changing from 9 points to ONE. That and a whole lotta practice and some luck might increase your chances but it still is a tall order for any AF not just the D7K. I know my Canon bird-shooting friends and I discuss this same scenario and they have the same issues as does my D300 and D700.

In many years I have only seen a couple threads on this very difficult topic but I believe your statement about the camera not knowing what we mean it to focus on is the problem. You can tackle some of this by manipulating the shooting situation so that YOU are side-on to the flight path. And the pros do this by arranging a feeder that is clearly separated from the background by a lot of space. The other thing the pros do is place a highly photogenic branch attached to a stand just near the feeder. Birds will use this perch when they approach and leave the feeder and you can pre-focus to give your AF a better chance. Of course all of this is suitably arranged to be down light and high contrast so your AF has something to sink it's teeth into.

You might be surprised at the level of manipulation/preparation can go into this

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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NY Jim Registered since 11th Feb 2009Thu 03-Feb-11 09:21 PM
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#40. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 36


Cortlandt Manor, US
          

Hi Steve -- Thanks for your suggestions. It's amazing to me that someone else even wants to do what I'm trying to do. I'm always impressed when I see a photo of something that my unassisted eyes normally do not see, and "freezing" a BIF can have that effect for me. Using the single focus point sounds like it might work; BUT I'd have to keep that point on the bird, and that is really hard for me.

This is the kind of conversation that I can only have online, and the kind that keeps me a member of Nikonians.

Thanks

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jmiguez Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Oct 2010Thu 03-Feb-11 08:20 PM
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#39. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 35


Lafayette, US
          

I have had the exact same problem with the cluttered focus issue. Sometimes I think the poor focusing motor will burn up going in and out of focus, as it seeks the sweet spot. I have sometime resorted to manually focusing until it is close. Not sure it helps?

And when I return to look at the pictures I get hundreds of slightly out of focus pictures. Here are two that I think look slightly out of focus. Is it my eyes or do you guys agree.

They were taken with the Sigma 50-500 in during an off and on rainy yucky day.




John

My Pictures may be seen here: http://jmiguez.smugmug.com/

  

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mandrus Registered since 27th Jan 2011Fri 04-Feb-11 11:17 AM
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#41. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 39
Fri 04-Feb-11 11:22 AM by mandrus

US
          

Jmiguez, I have the Sigma 150-500, which I originally bought for my D5000. I probably have a couple of hundred pics like the ones you posted. I found with the D5000 that my best results with BIF or sitting in trees was a single point autofocus. However, for a bird sitting in a tangle of branches, I must really take the time to make sure I'm focused on the bird and not a branch or twig. I have tried different AF settings on my D7000, but single point seems to work best, although I intend to experiment some more. Being a shotgunner probably helps with the BIF shots because I am accustomed to tracking targets in the air.

Also, check your AF with the Bigma. Having read a number of posts on front-and back-focusing issues with the D7000, I decided to test my lenses. My 35mm f/1.8G required a -18 AF fine tune adjustment. My 28-300 seems fine at 0. The 55-200 kit lens from the D5000 need about a -6 adjustment. The 18-55 seems on. I haven't tested the Sigma, but I have been getting some pretty decent shots with it at 500mm (i.e., in focus) handheld with OS on. Here's one example:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcandrus/5378538645/

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 04-Feb-11 03:12 PM
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#42. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 35
Fri 04-Feb-11 05:19 PM by JohnE Nikon

New HArtford, US
          

Thanks for this post.

After reading it makes me feel like less of a failure. When a bird is big and slow moving like a Pelican I can nail sharp focus.
I shot some fast flying tree sparrows and barely got 4-5 fairly sharp unimpressive images out of 50. These were small fast moving birds that changed directions quickly. I was shooting them to challenge myself. They beat me.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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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 2006Fri 04-Feb-11 03:25 PM
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#43. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 35


Lowden, US
          

This is why you do not see many images of these small birds in flight. The ones that you do see are usually shot within a couple wing flaps of takeoff.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
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mandrus Registered since 27th Jan 2011Fri 04-Feb-11 03:47 PM
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#44. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 43


US
          

>This is why you do not see many images of these small birds
>in flight. The ones that you do see are usually shot within a
>couple wing flaps of takeoff.

I think that's exactly right. It is relatively easy to get a decent shot of a birds like herons, larger raptors, egrets, pelicans, gulls, ducks and geese in flight, but I find it virtually impossible to track a small bird like a warbler or sparrow.

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 04-Feb-11 05:20 PM
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#45. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 44
Fri 04-Feb-11 05:32 PM by JohnE Nikon

New HArtford, US
          

I corrected my post it was a sparrow and not swallow I was shooting. Sorry I am not a birder and barely a photographer.
These are my 2 best. They are cropped significantly. I could not get them close enough to cut off wings. These were very hard to pan on.





JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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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 2006Sat 05-Feb-11 01:22 AM
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#46. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 45


Lowden, US
          

Nice work! Those little guys are really fast. I still haven’t been able to capture one in flight.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
"My most important photographic investment, after the camera"

My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Sat 05-Feb-11 04:25 PM
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#47. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 35


Alberta, CA
          

Here's what I am talking about in controlling the situation to your advantage. Notice the separation from the background and the results!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN5voUBv8cA

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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NY Jim Registered since 11th Feb 2009Tue 08-Feb-11 03:23 PM
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#49. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 47


Cortlandt Manor, US
          

Hi Steve -- Now that is quite a setup in the video link you posted. The remote flash unit are a great way to light the birds too. I'll have to setup something like that once I can devote more time to photographing birds. I should have know that the really great shots I've seen of BIF are not just lucky shot, but are the result of some well-planned preparation.

Thanks for the post.
-- Jim

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keith5523 Registered since 30th Aug 2007Mon 21-Feb-11 02:08 PM
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#53. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings may be the same for all BIF"
In response to Reply # 35


US
          

>and the shutter remains engaged (half way down).>


Also be sure that you're using AF-C instead of AF-S, so the camera will continuosly change focus and track your subject.

Keith
North Carolina
www.greatbigshots.com

  

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Gamecocks Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jul 2010Sat 19-Feb-11 08:10 PM
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#51. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 0


Joanna, US
          

I can't seem to find the feathered variety of birds. This "bird" kept flying over me while I was out trying to find some subjects. The way my luck is going it might be my only shot of something flying.

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. <><

  

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jmiguez Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Oct 2010Sun 20-Feb-11 01:32 PM
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#52. "RE: BIF Autofocus Settings"
In response to Reply # 51


Lafayette, US
          

>I can't seem to find the feathered variety of birds. This
>"bird" kept flying over me while I was out trying to
>find some subjects. The way my luck is going it might be my
>only shot of something flying.
>
>

Also! be careful it doesn't doo doo on you. Its droppings can be hazardous to your health.

John

My Pictures may be seen here: http://jmiguez.smugmug.com/

  

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